Lessons learned from making 3.5 videos to use on social media

My third interviewee, theatre director Sara Joyce

I’ve talked about experimenting with content on LinkedIn, but confession time: I cheat.

I use Instagram and YouTube for my hobby (theatre blogging), and those have become a bit of a playground for trying new stuff.

(Yes, this is how I spend my free time.)

My most recent experiment started with an idea for short and snappy video interviews with creatives that would satisfy my love of talking to people and give me a point of difference from other theatre bloggers.

At the same time, I was mulling over interview-style content for my business social accounts but hadn’t settled on a format that I liked and which might work.

This is where trying stuff out has helped, not just in developing my technical skills but also in refining and developing the idea and format.

I’ve only made 3.5 videos, but each is an improvement on the last, and I wanted to share the journey and a few of the things I’ve learned so far.

🎥 Video 1 – the self-tape lesson

My first interviewee was writer/director Rebecca Holbourn, who I know and was happy to be my guinea pig.

The idea was to send 5 questions; they would video their answers and send the recording back to me. I’d then edit, adding in title cards and questions.

Rebecca said that self-taping her answers took a while to get something they were happy with.

I used Canva to create the cards and Veed.io to edit everything together and was pleased with how it came together, but it was fiddly and time-consuming.

🎥 Video 1.5 – Interview failure

My second interview attempt didn’t make it to the recording stage.

An actor in a play I was reviewing agreed to do the interview in the format I wanted, but their video answers never materialised.

I realised that ‘self-tape’ interviews are perhaps too big of an ask, and doing the interview online might make it easier.

🎥 Video 2 – technical problems

My third interviewee was writer/director Emily Aboud, and I booked a time to record on StreamYard.

I was on screen asking the questions but planned to edit myself out of the video, something I’d seen other people do.

The interview happened (hurray). However, I ran into technical problems with the recording quality and editing.

Even though I’ve used StreamyYard for webinars, I’ve not used it for ‘studio’ recording, so I didn’t choose ‘local recording’ as an option.

This meant the quality of my guest’s video wasn’t great (the internet connection may have played a part).

Added to this, there was a picture/sound delay for reasons unknown and chopping me out of the video didn’t leave the polished result I hoped.

Doing the video in person also meant it was a bit longer than I wanted.

So even though the content was good, the combination of the poor quality and the length meant it didn’t perform very well on Instagram, where I have the most followers.

🎥 Video 3 – we’re getting there

Another director – Sara Joyce – agreed to be interviewed, a time was set up, and the local recording box was checked this time.

And it all went well, except the interview was even longer again.

The local recording was far better quality, and I had a separate file for Sara’s answers, so I didn’t need to edit myself out.

I ditched Canva, did all the editing on Veed, uploaded it to YouTube, and turned the transcript into a sizeable blog post.

But from the last video, I knew it wasn’t worth uploading a 10 min vid to Instagram.

In the end, I pulled out 3 shorter clips to drip feed onto Instagram and link to the full video in Stories.

For selecting and editing the clips, I gave Descript a go clips as I’d heard good things. And it was pretty easy to pick up and use.

The first 30-second clip on Instagram did really well. The test will be how the remaining clips do.

Theatre in 5 Questions, as I’m calling it, feels like it’s getting there, and I’m looking for my next theatre interviewee.

It’s helped me develop an idea to try for business content on LinkedIn. It won’t be the same format, but I feel more confident about the tech and editing.

The biggest surprise is how much-written content a short interview generates. I’ve got good 700-900 word blog posts from my interviews.

Which is great news for when I get my business interview series set up.

Watch this space.

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