Scientific Video Production - An Interview with Kris Walker

Kris Walker, Chief Videographer at AZoNetwork shares his broadcasting experience from over the last decade and how he sees the importance of video within the Science, Engineering and Healthcare industries.

Why has video become so popular?

AZoNetwork's own Video Customer Testimonial from Steve Hopkins at Bruker Corporation.

Video, just like images, have become more and more important for telling stories and providing information, whether that’s educational or promotional.

Social

The rise of social media alongside the internet has changed the way we as the viewer digests information. When we watch highlights of our favourite sports, hobbies or even cat videos, our desire for instant gratification has grown to such an extent that the publisher needs to provide information in the most visually engaging way.

With an image, you get a snapshot – with a video you get a chance to tell your story and convey your message.

Publish Once, Distribute Many Times

The benefits of video nowadays are endless: share it on social media, place in your email signature, use as training collateral, use as supporting literature for your website or even at tradeshows. One video project can add so much value to your existing marketing efforts so it’s worth the time and effort to get it right.

What are some of the challenges marketers face when wanting to do video?

The greatest challenge a marketer faces when undertaking a video project is time.

Storyboarding and Script Writing

Producing a video from start to finish can be an expensive experience where you end up doing most of the work yourself. Who has the time to storyboard and put together a script? This is the most time consuming part of the video process for marketers and it is the most important to get right.

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With a technical scientific audience, the target personas for whom the video is intended digest information differently - so attention to detail is vital.

The Devil in the Detail

For example, would your video production team know that when shooting a demo of an instrument, the individual doing the demo has to remove all jewellery and wear gloves as they would in a real-world situation? Would they know that a user has to wear purple gloves instead of blue? These are all small details that a scientific audience will pick up. If you are shooting a product video or "how to" video and the demo section is not a real-world simulation, then you may as well not show it.

Vital Experience

Choose an experienced video team that have worked for similar types of products and will provide a service where the process is seamless. We make a point of providing a skeleton script for every client. With nearly 10 years of broadcasting experience and our specialist Science background, our video team can get a script that is 90% there for the client. We know what it takes to reach your audience, tell your story and make the whole process seamless.

How do you make interesting videos for companies?

You can make anything interesting because there will always be someone somewhere who is interested in the story you are creating. That can have its challenges sometimes but there are many ways of being able to make a video more interesting and again a lot of this comes down to experience.

Who is it for?

Understanding your audience is a major factor – whilst endorsing a product is important, we want to first engage a potential audience before hitting them with a promotional message. In the scientific marketing space this can be as easy as focusing on an application or current research.

Empathize with your Audience

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer at a major tradeshow – do they just walk the exhibition floor, choose a product then commit to buy. Or do they go to talks, demos, poster sessions and networking events. Finding out what your audience is interested in and using it within the narrative of your video increases the likelihood of serious engagement.

It doesn’t just have to be about audience theory and scripting, creating an interesting video can come from post-production – quick cutting, utilizing your b-roll, mixing it up with imagery and essentially making sure that you have engaged your audience within the first ten seconds, otherwise you’ve lost them.

What should a scientific business look for when choosing a video production company?

You can’t beat experience in the marketplace – having planned, filmed and produced over 500 scientific marketing videos in the past five years, we not only have the experience, but we also have that creative eye to understand what works, and what doesn’t.

Additional costs

Other things to look for when sourcing a video production company would be asking about any additional costs within post-production, voiceover, turnaround time and what format you will receive your video in.

Tools for the Job

Just recently, I was asked to fix the audio for a video which a client had paid a local videographer to film. I was surprised to learn that the local company had not given a full HD copy of the video that they had paid for.

Why did they do that? It became clear that the local company did not have professional audio capabilities (a common occurrence with DSLR videographers) and they did not have the post-production facilities to manage large video files so had to compress it to 720p to complete the project they were paid to do.

Branding

Lastly, if you are ever paying for video then you are entitled to include your own logos and brand guidelines to your video. Unless it is being produced by the BBC, if you are paying for a video then you should have full copyright over any video you have produced. If a video production company wants to add on their own branding in any way, it is for nothing more than self-promotion and you should not have to pay for it.

Which types of video work best?

All types of video work well, it just depends on your method of distribution as to whether you get the best out of it.

The buying process has changed not just for a scientific marketplace but also in everyday life.

Explainer Videos

If we think about how we buy something today, we start with a search that would initially bring us to the company website where we can learn about price and technical specifications. After that we then search for endorsements in the form of third-party reviews to which we can relate.

Customer Testimonials

We still see it in print and online where we have case studies that tell the story of the customer experience. A video from the customer’s perspective, talking about their research to grip the audience and then saying that they achieve their innovation using your instrumentation is a great example of a video that works best along the ever changing buying process of a potential customer.

Benefits of Compact MRI from AZoNetwork on Vimeo.

Product Videos

Product videos are a great way to provide a snapshot of your piece of equipment without having to read pages and pages from a brochure. I wouldn’t say that it is a replacement, it’s more of a supporting role, another way a customer can digest content.

In any high value purchase, there may be up to 5 or 6 people who influence the buying decision, individuals who might not have the time or interest in reading 1500 words on a white paper but can watch a two-minute video that highlights the product's key features, benefits and USPs.

Multi-Lingual Cost Efficiency

With product videos, they can also be used for the training of new staff and distributors. Most businesses don’t realize how easy and cost-effective it is to convert your product videos into different languages?

As head of AZoNetwork’s video team, how has the work you have done for clients changed over the last 5 years?

The landscape has changed massively in the past five years and I think it is safe to say I came in at the right time. From my first tradeshow experience in 2012 to when I head over to Pittcon in 2017, nearly every exhibitor has large flat screen monitors showing their latest videos. And what is also nice to see is that a lot of them were shot by us!

Creative Ideas

What we are seeing now is marketers becoming more interested in video and have bigger and better ideas. The only thing not to change would be the time marketers get to follow through on these ideas, which is probably why we have been so busy and getting busier, we really take the work off the Marketer’s desk and make the process seamless. The world has also opened up over the past five years with more focus on the APAC marketplace: We are increasingly seeing the need for videos in different languages as well as producing video testimonials in these areas.

What advice would you give to a Marketing Manager with basic video knowledge?

Lots of the marketers we work with have only basic video experience: Many have not done it before, or have had their fingers burned from previous experiences. To avoid the latter, I would recommend that you ask for examples of previous work that are relevant to your business.

Whilst it may be cost effective to use a student or a local videographer, if they haven’t worked within Science, Engineering or Instrumentation before they may:

  1. Struggle to understand the Science and what the audience is interested in.
  2. Lack sufficient project management skills and the ability to manage expectations

Questions to Ask

Once you have your examples and it is a case of cost and price, ask for a breakdown of everything. If something is more expensive, is it because they have a professional editing suite? There are a few key questions to ask in order to understand the quality and level of service you can expect:

  • Will they provide you with a full 4K or HD file at the end of the project?
  • What equipment do they have?
  • What audio equipment do they have?
  • How many people are in their crew?
  • How long will it take to edit the video?

Paying for Expertise and Experience

Finally, once you are happy with the choice of videographer – trust in their opinion. If they feel your script is too long, it probably is. You are not just paying for a video, you are paying for their expertise and experience.

Remember what the video is intended to be used for – don’t use it as a vehicle for cramming every piece of information into three minutes, people will switch off.

Where do you see the future of video within the Scientific, Engineering and Healthcare space?

Video has already changed so much within the past five years; the next five years will bring even further changes to video but one thing is for sure is that it is still a valuable way of conveying your message.

Short and Sharp

Videos will get shorter, become less general and more targeted. The rise of social media will have an even bigger impact for video, especially live video. I will be surprised if I don’t see marketers taking advantage of Facebook live for any demos they have at Pittcon this year.

4K and Ultra High Definition

Short term, 4K video is going to become standard rather than a flash in the pan. We can already see this with the video platforms now supporting 4K, more 4K cameras and 4K televisions.

VR and 360 Video

Longer term – virtual reality and 360 video will not only be a great way to immerse yourself in a complete visual experience if you think about say a ‘virtual lab demo’ but would also be a major cost saving benefit by not having to fly to various destinations.

Whatever happens, it will be exciting!

Book a Video Storyboarding Session

Feel free to drop me a line or contact us with any of your video related questions.

Related Video Testimonials

  • Pittcon Testimonial

    We originally had problems getting our speakers to participate... Their team is instrumental in reaching our speakers to provide video interviews and testimonials.

    Marian Nardozzi Pittcon
  • Spectro Scientific Testimonial

    They understand the importance of marketing automation. From educational emails, to video shoots, to streamlined reporting dashboards, they keep moving forward.

    Sandy Schiller Spectro Scientific
  • Bruker Testimonial

    AZoNetwork has been our most valuable vendor/partner in marketing over the last several years. They help us look good, and make us heroes in our own company.

    Steve Hopkins Bruker

Posted by Kris Walker

Kris has a BA(hons) in Media & Performance from the University of Salford. Combining editing with video, Kris is also our resident Social media expert. Outside of work, Kris is finally seeing a return on 25 years of hurt supporting Manchester City.

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