Here at Loom, the vast majority of the video messages we send to one another are brief and casual in nature, often created alongside, or in lieu of, a quick email, text or Slack message, or video meeting.
While most video messages require virtually no pre-planning and can be recorded in one take, sometimes it’s necessary to put in a little more planning and polish to aptly convey your message.
Because of the flexible and multifaceted nature of video messaging, you might wonder how much time and effort to put into recording a video message based on your desired outcome. Like most people, I often find myself bouncing between both ends of the spectrum of formality on any given day — whether I’m saying hi to a colleague, reaching out to an industry acquaintance, or preparing a more polished presentation or demo that I want to share with multiple people.
Below are some examples of different types of video messages, along with quick and easy ways to level up the production value when the time comes to record a video message that requires a bit more effort.
When is it OK to send off a quick video message?
Most video messages are ephemeral in nature. They’re recorded on the fly, informal in tone, and meant to be viewed once. Like text messages, their primary goal is to communicate a message as quickly as possible. (Unlike text messages, video messages contain a great deal of additional context, such as non-verbal cues and expressions, ensuring nothing is lost in translation.)
These more spontaneous, off-the-cuff video messages might include time-sensitive tasks such as:
Demonstrating a product feature for a team member
Saying a quick hello to a new team member
Introducing a couple of people
Reaching out to a job candidate
Video messages like these are generally more casual and prioritize timeliness over production value, so don’t rush to scrap and re-record if there’s an occasional “um” — this won’t deter the viewer from absorbing your message. Think of those moments of vulnerability as opportunities to add a more personal, nuanced tone to the message you’re trying to send, beyond what simple text can capture.
When is it worth adding production value to your video message?
In contrast, video messages that deal with more complex information involve a greater time commitment and some level of preparation work. This type of communication benefits from a general outline or a full script, is usually more formal in tone, and can be intended to be viewed more than once or by a broader audience.
Examples of video messages that might require more planning or formality:
An introductory video to a potential hire
A company-wide quarterly or yearly review
Video messaging does much of the heavy lifting when it comes to conveying information in a way that is nuanced, human, and makes complex concepts more digestible and engaging. When you spend a little more time polishing up a video message, you can rest easy knowing the viewer can better focus on and retain the information that you’re presenting.
5 tips for quickly elevating your video’s production value
When you’re recording a video message intended for repeat viewing or multiple people, or the subject matter requires some more gravitas, a few production considerations can help ensure your message is delivered effectively and received well.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when your video message calls for a little more polish.
1. Write talking points or a script
Having a few talking points or a script to follow will help you communicate your ideas more clearly and effectively. It will also help you maintain a level of consistency in case you have to record a few iterations before you have a final version that you’re ready to share.
Remember that it’s OK to rehearse and delete a few times, but always record your first attempt anyway! This is a best practice for two reasons.
Your first attempt might end up being your best. Save your first try just in case!
What looks and sounds good on paper might change when the “camera is rolling,” so it’s good to get a feeling for how your script lands when recorded live. Sometimes, the unplanned parts actually end up working well, too.
2. Check your lighting
Make sure your viewers can properly see you and that you’re not backlit. If you don’t have a quality light source in your workspace and foresee recording many planned video messages in the future, you might want to look into investing in a ring light for a portable and reliable light source.
3. Reduce background noise
Don’t let background noise distract your viewers from hearing what you have to say. Even if you’re in a quiet space, your computer microphone might occasionally pick up the sound of your keys or your mouse. A noise suppression app or external microphone can help reduce any background noise.
4. Focus on the camera
Looking directly at the camera will allow your viewers to feel that you are speaking directly to them, giving your video message a more personable feel. If it’s hard to focus on your camera for the entire duration of your recording, try taping up a pair of googly eyes on either side of it to feel as if you’re speaking directly to another person. You can also move your camera bubble closer to your webcam, which will remind you to look up.
5. Edit as needed
Depending on the overall goal of your planned video message, you can edit it to include some finishing touches, like a call-to-action button or a custom thumbnail, which you can do with a Loom Pro account.
Whether your video message is going to exist indefinitely, be widely available to colleagues or to the public, or you’re using it to earn business or trust, it can pay off to put a little more effort into it while still maintaining a humanizing approach.
Video messages are an ideal way to get your message across — especially when you take into consideration the fact that we talk much faster than we type and the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does text.
With Loom, you can create video messages that communicate your ideas effectively regardless of their level of formality or permanence.