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Creating a Time-Lapse Video to Tell a Story

Showcase an entire complex process in a second with time-lapse technology

Time-lapse videos are the perfect way to show off your team’s latest project. By filming over a long period of time from a single vantage point, then speeding up your footage to condense it, time-lapse videos can turn a long-term event or project into a short, action-packed clip. These videos are wildly popular—and super shareable on social media—because they allow viewers to experience something exciting in an instant.

But time-lapse videos aren’t just about entertainment: They can also help your audience understand how efficiently your team works, how much thought and planning your brand puts into its work and your company’s personality. Those can have big benefits for your brand. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a time-lapse video.

When to use time-lapse video

Time-lapse videos are great for showcasing the scope of a project that took a significant effort extended over a period of time. It was a perfect fit for this video we made for Discover Card’s Orange Friday promotion, where they transformed a Downtown Chicago plaza into an orange-tinted oasis for holiday shoppers. By propping up a camera in a fixed location while they did their thing, and then speeding it up, we could show viewers how much work went into creating this promotion and how dramatically they transformed the space, without spending too much time in a video with a broader overall goal of capturing the feel of the moment and the details of the experience. If you have an event or project that could be a good fit for a time-lapse video, and you want it to look professional and polished, consider working with our team of experts at Bottle Rocket Media so you can focus on the task at hand.

How to decide what to record

First, determine what you want to achieve by making a time-lapse video. Time-lapse videos are most successful when they show action and change. Talk with your team about the project’s goal and what story it will tell about your brand. If you’re trying to engage with an audience and show off your brand’s personality, have some fun: Record the view outside your window over the course of a day, show your team putting together a crafty project or even document the growth of a beloved office plant. For an especially mission-driven project, look for ways to show off your company’s work. If your team is revamping your store, set up a camera to show your customers how you transformed the space, or create a time-lapse showing your company’s products in action.

How to get the most out of your time-lapse video

Time-lapse videos don’t just have to be videos: You can double your reach by creating gifs out of your time-lapse video content. Since time-lapse videos generate bite-sized clips that tell a big story, they’re perfectly packaged for social media sharing. Time-lapse videos can be infinitely versatile because unlike most video footage, there’s a lot of flexibility in how you edit their length and package their narrative.

If you’re wondering whether a time-lapse video might be right for a project or event coming up for your company, contact us today: we’d love to help you brainstorm.

Don’t Send a Human To Do a Video’s Job

A smart and well-placed video can answer customer questions or teach a how-to tutorial so you don’t have to

Providing good customer support often means answering questions—often the same questions—again and again and again. Of course, answering those questions ensures a customer will stay happy with your company, but it can also take up a lot of your staff’s time.

There’s an easy way to cut back on that time and make your customer service more efficient: videos.

Your company can use videos to answer frequently asked customer questions, provide updates to your audience or even lead short training sessions. Some of the biggest companies in the world are doing this: Amazon has made animations and videos showing its millions of customers how to address common concerns, and video hosting company Brightcove uses videos to share knowledge among its staff.

Once they’re made, these videos can be shared within the company or with customers so you don’t have to keep spending time and manpower on addressing the same subjects. That means your team will have more time to devote to more important tasks, like growing the company. Here’s how to make it happen.

Make Your Problem Into A Script

Talk to your staff about the questions they most often hear from customers and colleagues, or other bottlenecks that interfere with their day-to-day responsibilities frequently. Make a list of frequently-asked questions, and use that as the basis for your video’s script. If you’re examining a process, consider a step-by-step tutorial video. Try to keep your script concise and clear so the video will be short and easy to understand.

Prep, Practice and Shoot

Once you have your script and camera on hand, you’re ready to shoot and edit your video.

Distribute Your Video Effectively

Find the best channels where the issue you’re addressing most frequently arises, anticipate users’ questions, and make your video prominent and easy to find in the first place they’ll look. Whether that’s a page on your website (FAQs are a common spot for customer-facing content) or an email newsletter distributed to your team, make sure your distribution channel is well-matched to your target audience.

Consider a workflow like Amazon’s, which uses a video addressing commonly-asked questions as a gatekeeper before customers can access contact information for a real person. If the video is sharing news with customers, you can post it to your blog, website or social media accounts.  If you’ve made a training video for employees, you might want to keep the video more private.

Call in a Professional

Looking for a team that can help your company make the most out of training or customer support videos? Bottle Rocket Media can work with your staff to make your videos customer-friendly and easy to use.

Video Project Shoutout: iO Comedy Network

Pairing cutting-edge video technology with the boundary-pushing improv teams at iO Comedy Network was a perfect match

Bottle Rocket Media recently had the privilege of teaming up with the world-famous talent at The iO Comedy Network to produce their very first 360 video improv experience. Shooting improv comedy in 360 video is a perfect pairing, allowing viewers to experience not only a hilarious onstage show, but also the magic that happens in the audience as the crowd and the performers feed off each other’s enthusiasm. We sat down with Brett Singer, Bottle Rocket’s creative director and the producer at the helm of this project, to get his take on this innovative fusion of live comedy and immersive video tech.

How was the project with The iO Comedy Network different than other 360 videos you’ve produced?

Capturing a live stage performance is a completely unique experience for us. With other 360 projects, we worked to tell a unique story for the 360 viewer using typical storytelling tools like editing, composition, and so on. For the iO Show, our paramount goal was to transport the viewer to the theater and make them feel as if they’re sitting in that audience—which is a long way of saying, we did our best to just let the amazing cast do their thing, and we were lucky enough to capture it.

Why did you choose 360 over traditional film?

In a theater environment, and especially in an improv theater space, the viewers make their own discoveries watching the performers across a wide stage. There’s so much competing for their attention: who should I watch? The 3 performers in the center of the stage, or the 4 waiting in the wings to jump in? I love seeing the actors’ wheels turn, so for me personally, I love catching those transition moments where new characters are introduced into a scene, and then watching closely as the other performers react. In 360 video we retain the viewer’s ability to make their own choices in what they want to watch. We’re not forcing them to focus on this performer only. They’re free to take in the whole theater experience.

How do you think using 360 enhanced the improv experience for viewers?

I think we captured something very special that night. These are world-class improvisers, and creating a 360 video experience where anyone—anywhere—can feel like they’re sitting in the audience is quite an accomplishment. It’s opening up the improv theater-going experience to not just the 150 people sitting in that crowd, but to anyone with a 360 headset. That’s a barrier that hasn’t been broken before now. So much of the improv experience is feeling the energy of the room, seeing the people around you, watching the whole stage and the performers. This 360 video gives you a front row seat.

Since the video consists of a continuous shot of the iO Theatre’s stage, was there any editing involved? Can you elaborate on the post-production process for this video?

We cut down the show a bit, just to tighten the length. The biggest post-production challenges were in the 360 degree spatial audio editing. We captured audio with individual lav mics for each performer, and then a 4-channel spatial audio mic for the room and audience. Blending all of those sources together into one smooth mix is what really tricks your brain into thinking you’re really in that room.

What was your favorite part of this project?

The show itself. Those iO performers (the group is called “The Late 90’s”) deserve all the credit (obviously!) for making this project such a success, and getting to enjoy their performances over and over again during the post process was my favorite part. We can’t wait for the next one!

The Recipe for a Bad Video

The worst video list: Decidedly more embarrassing than the worst dressed list

Video is everywhere. Some of it is outstanding, and some of it is really awful. YouTube alone gets 4 billion views a day, and the quality of these videos spans the spectrum from HD music videos to a Mom filming her kid’s soccer goal on a first-generation Samsung Galaxy. With the opportunity to get your content in front of a new set of eyes every second, putting out a good product should be a top priority for brands and marketers, and that means avoiding the following production fouls.

5 signs your video missed the mark

We’re all about creativity in the storytelling space, and while making your own video is totally doable, there’s always the chance that something out of your control will spring up and throw a wrench in production. One way to avoid these hangups is to work with a professional production company that will help draft, produce, edit, and manages the entire process for you. We’ve got a team ready to do just that (and then some). Contact Bottle Rocket Media to get started.