As a kid I wanted to be Alfred Hitchcock. As a graduate student I won a screenwriting award. Today, as the Director of Content Strategy at Unboxed, I’ve had the honor of being part of a team that’s produced hundreds of microlearning videos for our clients.
You’ll often hear me say, “Use as much video as possible!” However, over the years I’ve observed how corporate training video production intimidates most people in the market for it. They have justifiable concerns about production costs, timelines, actors, branding, and quality.
In an effort to make the production process a little more human-friendly, we created the Training Video Production, Humanized guide. The guide covers enough video terminology to make you dangerous, plus what you can expect during pre-production, production, and post-production.
Before you read any further, you need to know why training videos work—and why it’s such a worthwhile investment of your time and money. Here are a few helpful stats:
- At least 65% of people learn by seeing.
- As we discuss in the article Employee Training Videos—What Style is Right for You: Cisco projects 82% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021; An estimated 75% of the workforce will be Millennials by 2025—and Millennials are some of the heaviest consumers of video as a medium.
- Entering the workforce on the heels of Millennials is Gen Z, and 70% of Gen Zers watch more than two hours of YouTube each day.
- Video-based training programs can deliver impressive results—like 70% completion rates for training considered optional. (I mean, who takes optional training?! People who like videos, that’s who.)
Training Video Production: Things to Know Up Front
So, let’s go ahead and assume we’re creating microlearning training videos, not feature-length films. This has positive implications when it comes to your training video production costs. For training to be considered microlearning, it should be 5 minutes or fewer (we usually target 2-3 minutes) and focus on a single topic. Your microlearning video could be live action, animation, or a combination of both.
To feel comfortable throughout the training video production process, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a little bit of terminology. Let’s start with the people you’ll meet.
People You’ll Meet
In most cases, the higher the fidelity and complexity of the video, the more team members are involved. Higher-fidelity training videos often involve sophisticated lighting setups, professional actors, additional sound and camera equipment, and extra crew. In our frequent participation in the 48 Hour Film Project, we’ve seen how the absence of the right equipment—particularly lighting and sound—can significantly reduce the impact of your content. Sometimes an iPhone just won’t cut it.
The Training Video Production, Humanized guide outlines the roles involved in a typical Unboxed training video shoot. Some of our corporate training video productions require more hands on deck, while some require less.
Here’s a sample of the people you’ll meet. Download the guide to meet the whole team.
What to Expect During Pre-Production
We can break training video production down into three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. In a nutshell, pre-production includes all of the up-front scripting, storyboarding, casting, and planning. Your Content Strategist and Producer will handle most of the heavy lifting during this phase, and they’ll be asking for your feedback and approval along the way.
Will we get to see what the actors look like to make sure they reflect the diversity and tone of our organization? Yes! We’ll work closely with you to understand the right demographics and find talented actors that represent your company well.
What if I can’t afford professional actors? In our experience, professional actors deliver the best result and keep your content evergreen. However, if you’d prefer to use your own employees, we can share some best practices with you to set them up for success.
Will we get to recommend locations? Absolutely! In addition to that, we’ll also let you know if we can achieve the right look near our Richmond headquarters. If our crew doesn’t travel far, we can save you money.
Who should plan to be there on shoot day? We’d love to invite at least one subject-matter-expert (SME) on set with us. This person can be a great resource on shoot day and help ensure scenes are true-to-life.
What to Expect During Production
If you’ve never been on set during a training video production, you’re in for a treat. It’s exciting to see all of the scripting, casting, and planning come together. It’s also busy—the Unboxed team is efficient and works hard to capture a lot of footage in a day. Wear comfortable shoes!
You’ll enjoy watching our Directors in action as they coach talent and keep things moving from one scene to the next. They’ll check in with you often and make sure you’re satisfied with what’s being captured.
What should I wear to the shoot? We recommend wearing something casual or business casual. You want to make sure you’re comfortable. Pay special attention to footwear! Flats typically work best.
What is my role on set? We love having clients on set because you can make sure each scene is a realistic portrayal of your organization. You’ll have the opportunity to consult with our directors to make sure they’re giving the talent the right direction according to your brand and subject matter expertise. Keep us honest and confirm we’re doing a great job.
Other Terms You’ll Hear
MOS. Lower thirds. Slate. Camera speed.
There are plenty of other video production terms where these came from. While you’re on set, the Unboxed team will be more than happy to go over any questions you have about what something means or why we’re capturing footage a certain way.
What to Expect During Post-Production
In the post-production phase, we create your final training video. Our Director of Photography sits in a dark room for three straight days, wearing headphones and moving pixels around. He only breaks for lunch.
Just kidding. Post-production can actually be very collaborative, as our Content Strategist, DP, and Producer work together to agree on the best shots, make smart editing decisions, and keep the project on budget. By the time you see the first cut, it’s already been through at least one round of internal review.
What’s my role during post-production review? We’ll send you the first cut of the video and ask for your feedback or approval. At this stage in the production process, we can still edit music, transitions, and text on screen, and if necessary, we can also look into alternate takes and shots.
How many rounds of review do I get? Your training video production budget includes one first cut review. Once we get your feedback on the first cut, our editor makes any changes you requested and delivers your final, polished video.
I have late feedback from an important stakeholder. What should I do? Talk to us! It happens, and our goal is to deliver training you’re happy with. Help us understand the request, and let us come back with a recommendation in case it impacts scope and timeline.
Lights, Camera, Action!
When it comes to corporate training video production, gone are the days of talking heads. With so many training video styles available, video is one of the best ways to engage your learners. Sure, production planning takes work, but it’s exciting and fun, and in the end you’ll have training you’re proud to show off. With the right team in place, shooting video doesn’t need to be intimidating—or a hassle.
And now that you know what to expect during the corporate training video production process, find the right partner who can help you decide which type of video treatment is right for you, estimate costs, and deliver better results. We’d love to tell you more about our custom training solutions.