Defining Genres — Training Videos

Training

On the face of it, training and tutorial videos are the most functionally–based of all the genres, but don’t forget their use as a sales and marketing tool. Clients love to show these as both a user–friendly, benevolent feature as well as an additional, subscription–based bolt on to the original cost of their product. The level of detail in the video has a massive impact on the possible treatment and use of language, so as ever it remains absolutely critical to know the specific objective of the film and its audience. The assumptions of the audience will play heavily, as an audience educated in the subject matter will want you to move briskly through familiar concepts while a general audience will need some degree of hand holding.

Limited Script

Training videos are one of the few instances where it may be wise to delve into a limited version of the actual script before the concept is developed. Clients often have a truckload of jargon that you’ll need to sift through, as well as a specialty with which you may not be familiar, so it is very important to make sure that you are understanding one another before going too far.

Breaking the script down into stages, you can first assemble all of the information into one place and give it a logical flow to confirm that you’ve identified the correct scope and depth of the material. This usually involves a lot of reorganisation of material, and won’t be a pretty read but is a critical step to establish so that you’re not wasting lots of time revising and rewording dialogue that is ultimately not contributing to the video.

Once this is approved, then you can go in and rewrite everything so that there is a more readable flow. As you do this, the rhythm of the piece will become apparent and you’ll be able to see the areas that need clarification or visual support to be understood. This Frankenstein script serves as an agreement of what needs to be covered, and you can now go back to the concept stage and determine how best to treat this information. Review some concepts with the client, and then you can come back and revise the script to fit the concept.

Get Trained

On very complex jobs of extensive training on a specialty subject, it is definitely worth the time to undergo the client’s training if you can. These videos are often conceived as substitutes for sending a physical trainer, so attending the training yourself will help in several ways. You’ll understand the subject matter with enough competence to guide you through writing, and you’ll likely yield an agenda or training order that can serve as a backbone structure to your series of videos. In the past, I have recorded these lengthy training sessions and had them transcribed, which served as an excellent basis for writing out the scripts. The job then became about editing down and clarifying the base text, but the depth, scope and accuracy of the script were at a fantastic starting point.

Kinetic Typography


This is a well executed version of the classic software training. The step-by-step clicking instructions are guided by a friendly voice with personality, the introduction is engaging with a few examples of the technique, and it ends with a review of the lesson objective.

Duality C4D


An innovative approach to software training drops the voice-over in favour of expediency and assumes a base level of viewer sophistication — anyone learning Cinema4D software will know that they can scroll back and forth on the timeline for clarity.

HDSLR 101 #1: Intro to shooting video on a HDSLR

How To Kick A Soccer Ball – 3 Soccer Kicks You Must Know

The style of these two videos emulates actually attending a seminar on the subject. There is no use of elements that would have been difficult to reproduce live, so the appeal here is largely internet distribution to achieve a larger audience. Consider how engaging these videos are compared to Film Ed’s training video below. Its on–location, relaxed, conversational style with notated examples of camera footage increase clarity, efficiency and engagement — and this is, after all, the purpose of a training video, to be understood by the audience in as compelling a way as is appropriate.

Film Ed Academy Of The Arts – Training Video

Product Videos

A notable subset of training and tutorial videos is the Product Video, a style of video largely aimed at people researching a particular product’s features and considered a decision–maker in the path to purchase. I often approach these by considering how the product is used and writing a loose story that depicts that function.

Research into the market material will likely yield a laundry list of all of the features that the client wants featured, and will probably need some further research to understand. (“Why is 40 PSI of steam on an iron a good thing? Is that a lot?!”) The most useful approach is to then group the features together in terms of areas of the product (front, back, top) or stages of using the product (before you plug it in, while you’re using it, when you’re wrapping it up). This helps economise dialogue so that you’re focused on the features and less about orienting the viewer. It can also allow for tidier graphics, as you can point out a few features in the same area at the same time. Here is an example:

Breville Power Steam Advanced 2600W Iron VIN368

K.

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