The Benefits of Using Actors and Actresses in Web Videos

Does the thought of appearing in your website’s online video give you stage fright? While you may have decided to launch a Web video, you may not have come to terms with the thought of appearing onscreen. Fortunately, you may not need to! Instead of appearing in your own online video, consider usingactors and actresses.

Online Actors and Actresses Give You Greater Control over Your Image

One of the most immediate benefits of hiring an actor or actress is that doing so gives you greater control over the image you project. For example, if you’re a middle aged man running a company that caters to teenage girls, hiring a young actress to appear in your Web video could make much more sense than appearing yourself. Similarly, if you’re a twenty-something entrepreneur selling geriatric products to an older demographic, hiring a more mature actor or actress could be the right move. When considering who should appear in your Web video, think about your audience and the type of spokesperson that would lend the most credibility to your brand.

Online Actors and Actresses are Comfortable in Front of Cameras

Because actors and actresses are professionals, they tend to be extremely comfortable in front of cameras. This comfort level leads to several benefits: a more polished production, fewer mistakes, and faster production and post-production processes. Not only will your finished Web video look better with professional actors and actresses involved, the actual shooting and editing could go much smoother as well. For example, a well prepared actress requires fewer “takes” to deliver the message. Fewer takes translates into more efficient use of studio time and less time in the editing room piecing the final video together.

Online Actors and Actresses Allow You to Take Your Ideas Virtually Anywhere

Actors and actresses play roles – it’s what they do. Because of this, you can fill your Web video with virtually anyone from doctors and lawyers to cheerleaders and fairy godmothers. No matter what you’re imagining for your Web video, hiring professional actors and actresses to play the roles can bring your ideas to life.

If you’re suffering from stage fright at the thought of appearing in your company’s Web video, take a deep breath and consider the possibilities. Appearing in your own online video may not be the best choice. Many actors and actresses specialize in Web video and can deliver several important benefits. Not only can you avoid the stress, you can project the image you want to project, produce a polished Web video with fewer takes, and bring your ideas to life!

Behind the Scenes of Video Production: The Green Screen

If you’re planning on having a video production company produce a short Web video for your website, be prepared for a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity. After all, there’s much more involved than lights, camera, and action. When you arrive at the studio, you may be surprised at the lack of a set. In its place, you may see a gaudy green screen.

What Video Green Screens Do

The green screen may be bright and unattractive, but it serves an important function. This green color can effectively be removed from the video and replaced with other images. For example, when you watch a television weather reporter standing in front of weather maps and radar images, the weather reporter is actually standing in front of a green screen. In the television control room, a technician uses a switcher equipped with what’s known as “chroma key” technology to replace the green with a computer generated image. If you’ve ever watched the Suze Orman Show on television, her entire set is chroma key green and computer generated.

Why Chromo Key Green?

Theoretically, you could use chroma key technology with other colors. However chroma key green and chroma key blue are the most popular. These garish colors aren’t commonly used in clothing and props, making them a good choice. Remember, the technology finds all instances of the selected color whether the color is painted on the set or worn as clothing. If the onscreen talent were to wear a chroma key green necktie, that necktie would be replaced with the video intended to appear on the screen behind the talent.

The Green Screen and Online Video

While green screens are commonly used in broadcasting, they’re also used for Web video. If you want a unique background or a polished “broadcast-like” look, shooting your Web video in front of a green screen and replacing the green background with a computer generated or b-roll video background can accomplish that.

Another use for chromo key in the Web video realm involves virtual spokespeople who are superimposed over the actual website. In this case, the chroma key technology doesn’t replace the green background with a new image; it removes the background completely. With a transparent background, only the actor or actress appears. This allows for frameless video overlays and creates the illusion of the actor being a part of the website itself.

When you head to the studio for your next video shoot, don’t be surprised if you’re placed in front of an ugly green screen. If you’re curious, ask the director to show you the composite picture before or after the shoot and enjoy your time behind the scenes!

Overcoming Short Attention Spans with Web Video

Though Web video has become extremely popular, there are still many potential viewers who choose not to watch your videos. Not only do you have people hesitant to commit to watching a video online, those that do may have short attention spans. So, how do you convince viewers to watch your video and how to you keep them watching?

The reason many people hesitate to click a Web video’s play button is because they simply lack the time. Web surfers are accustomed to being able to quickly skim text to see if an article is relevant to them before committing to reading the article in depth. With Web videos, it’s harder to skim. If viewers perceive a large time commitment just to see if the video is worth watching, they may opt not to watch in the first place.

To overcome this initial objection, it’s important to make the following crystal clear:

  • What’s covered in the video
  • How the viewer will benefit from watching it
  • The Web video’s length

These three key points let viewers know if the video is relevant to them. Outlining the video’s content is a substitute for the skimming that many visitors need. By listing at least one benefit, you’re giving your viewers a compelling reason to click the play button. Telling viewers the time commitment lets them know just how long it will take to receive the information – and the benefits.

However, while these steps will help attract hesitant viewers, they won’t completely solve the problem of short attention spans. You can have viewers that want the information you’re delivering and completely willing to invest the time to watch the video, but if you don’t quickly capture their attention and then keep it, you could quickly lose them. People are simply too busy and pulled in too many different directions to put up with Web videos that do not engage them.

Remember when television shows and movies used to have long, creative title sequences? Think of the opening sequence of M*A*S*H as an example. The same opening song played each week while the same montage of helicopters and characters filled the screen. Each week, this opening sequence set the stage, introduced the characters, and got viewers in the mood for the story to come. Today, few television shows and movies have long opening sequences. Now, it’s not uncommon for the show to begin immediately with a brief, 10-second title sequence. Why the change? Attention spans.

What does this mean for your Web video? It means to forget the long introductions. It means get to the meat of the material quickly. It means you have to get the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds. So, forget the long fade up from black to a series of dissolving titles. Forget the “In this video we will tell you about. . .” monologue. If you can set expectations before viewers press the play button and then get your video off to an engaging start immediately after, you will have overcome the first two of many short attention span obstacles.

Improving Video Search Results

In earlier blog posts, we talked about how your site’s videos can enhance your search engine efforts. For example, a page embedded with optimized video could be listed in the results pages twice – once for text and once for video. As more sites integrate video, ranking well in the video search results isn’t as easy as it used to be. After all, more competition means there’s less room at the top. To combat this, you’ll need to adopt some stronger strategies to help your video rank well in the search engine results pages.

Continue Using Standard Video Optimization Techniques

Continue using video optimization techniques such as using keywords in the video’s title and meta tags. This is standard practice and easy to do. By incorporating your keywords into your embedded video files, you are also telling the search engines what the video is about.

Start Using Traditional SEO Techniques to Promote Your Video

You’re likely familiar with the power of anchor text and incoming links. In fact, you may already be optimizing your website by linking to it from other sites. Link building using keyword-rich anchor text is one of the best ways to get a page ranked for the given keyword phrase. If you want your video to rank well in the video search results, start building links to it.

For example, if you’re already writing and submitting articles to article directories, consider launching an article marketing campaign around your video. Some article directories allow you to include two different links in the resource box. Use one of those links to link to your video, making sure to use keyword rich anchor text so that the search engines are crystal clear on what your Web video is all about.

Continue Developing Professional Web Videos

Online video is popular for a reason – it’s far more visual than text. As the mobile Web grows and 3G and 4G technologies become more widely adopted, Web video is going to become even more important to your site than it already is. What if you could add just two short videos to your site a month? This time next year, you would have 24 Web videos working their way into the video search results pages. You’d also have 24 Web videos engaging, converting, and nurturing your prospects.

Developing and optimizing Web video is becoming more important than ever. Investing in professional video production and creating an online video marketing strategy should be on your radar if it’s not already.

Have we missed any tips for boosting video search results? Share your tips in the comments section below.