Crowdfunding is a new form of economy that has been dominating the decade. It’s clear that what used to be a method used by small creators to fund their projects in their beginning stages has become a strategy that even big businesses have to reckon with. Statistically, the volume of crowdfunding projects in North America by the end of 2017 only equaled to $17.2 billion.
However, if you are to search platforms like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, you’ll see that most projects posted don’t reach their funding goal and hardly generate any traction at all. What is the factor that makes some ideas come across while others die unknown?
Mainly, it’s the lack of communication between a project founder and a patron that doesn’t allow the idea to be properly funded. As it turns out, a plain-text description of the idea (however detailed it may be) is no longer enough to communicate the worth of the project.
In order to create a stronger connection with the target audience, businesses started shooting and posting crowdfunding videos. The strategy turned out to be game-changing – however, it takes knowledge and skill to create a crowdfunding video that inspires trust and not come across as too amateur.
What does it take to create a video for a crowdfunding campaign? Are there any crowdfunding video tips, hacks, and strategies that will help any business, regardless of budget and location? We’ll go over them in this post!
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Why does every company need a crowdfunding video?
To set things straight, a business owner needs to understand why video is superior to other communication means when it comes to crowdfunding. The medium allows you to show passion and connection to the project like no other – here’s some reasons why:
- Videos create a faster connection between the project owner and the viewer. While words can be powerful on their own, seeing a person sharing their passion and excitement about the project through the video inspires trust. When a potential patron chooses an investment, it’s crucial for them to know as much as possible about the people on the other side – including their faces and voices.
- Most potential customers still watch B2B videos. If your business is selling a new product, a video is a good way to introduce the solution to the world. According to Google, 50% of potential buyers would gladly watch an explainer about the product before they get one themselves. Research by HubSpot shows that people are 55% more attentive when it comes to watching videos as opposed to reading texts or scrolling through pictures.
- According to Kickstarter, 66% of successfully funded projects had a crowdfunding video attached to them. If the leading crowdfunding platform says that ideas with videos are more likely to be funded, that’s the piece of advice worth listening to.
- A video has viral potential and can spread across social media faster. The fact that Youtube is the most popular website in the world right now is definitely a vote in favor of video content. Don’t forget about other platforms as well – on Facebook, 100 million hours of footage are watched every day according to TechCruch. If your project’s video manages to go viral, it’ll have a better sharing rate across all social media channels than even the most powerful text ever could.
Types of videos for main crowdfunding platforms
There are over a dozen websites that post and promote crowdfunding projects. If you’re serious about getting your project funded by people online, it’s worth giving each of these platforms a shot.
However, when it comes to videos, are there any peculiarities for specific websites you should keep in mind? We researched this matter and compiled a complete breakdown on video requirements for popular crowdfunding platforms.
As mentioned above, Kickstarter is the biggest crowdfunding platform in the world. If you’re looking forward to posting a project here with a video attached, here are the requirements to keep in mind.
Project videos have to have a size of up to 5 GB, for project description it’s up to 2.3072 MB. The popular formats are supported – MOV, MP4, WMV. Other than uploading the video, you can embed one from Youtube, Soundcloud, Vimeo, and Bandcamp. Recently, the support for HD resolution was added as well.
While not as famous for first-time crowdfunders, Indiegogo is certainly a platform worth looking into. It’s rapidly developing, has better conditions for creators than Kickstarter, and isn’t as crowded. If you decided to host your project on Indiegogo, keep in mind that the platform doesn’t allow users to upload videos from a computer. However, you can paste a Youtube or Vimeo link.
GoFundMe is the number one crowdfunding platform to collect donations for personal goals (getting a degree, for instance) as well as getting funds for non-profit incentives. According to the website’s official website, over $4 billion has been raised by now.
Similar to Indiegogo, GoFundMe doesn’t allow to upload videos from your own filesystem. You should upload them to Youtube or Vimeo in order to post on the crowdfunding platform.
WeFunder positions itself as a Kickstarter for equity investment. Essentially, it allows investors and startups to find each other in the easiest way possible. According to the website, WeFunder has successfully assisted in over $80 million in investments.
There are no special requirements regarding video uploading listed on the company’s website. Moreover, WeFunder suggests that creators don’t worry too much about high resolutions while uploading.
A step-by-step guide to creating a crowdfunding video
Shooting a video that people would actually enjoy might seem challenging at first glance. In fact, it doesn’t require any special location or equipment – luckily, there are even smartphone cameras to take advantage of.
While technical restrictions, as well as the lack of a professional team, will add a couple of hoops to jump through, it’s still possible to develop a framework for video production on your own and stick to it.
Step 1. Gather a team
Depending on your concept, budget, and idea, you might have to cast actors, hire people to handle the lights, hair and makeup, etc. However, at the most basic level, you’ll need a cameraman, an editor, and 1-2 actors to help you out.
Step 2. Write a script
Now that you know what you’re dealing with (the number of people, equipment, budget), it’s time to get into writing. Outline the concept of the video, write the text for a voiceover or live-action scenes. Also, be sure to outline what’s going to be happening on screen at least briefly.
Step 3. Choose a location
When you’ve gathered a crew and wrote a script to lean on, it’s time to start pre-production. Choosing a location can be difficult – the go-to option will be renting a studio for a day. If you don’t have the means for that, you can shoot outdoors or at your office.
While choosing a location, make sure it has no distractions (noisy traffic, too many people) and has plenty of natural light during the daytime (long rooms with small windows won’t be the best areas to film).
Step 4. Get the equipment ready
Think about everything you need to make the best version of the video possible – microphones, cameras, tripods, etc. Then, check and see what of the above you already have around.
Even if you don’t have a microphone or a tripod for a shoot, there’s no need to fall into despair. Instead, think about all the ways to get the needed equipment – perhaps a friend can lend you something? Maybe you can rent a camera for a day and it wouldn’t be all that expensive? You can also dig around local filmmaking communities – they will often let you use the equipment for free or a really small fee.
Step 5. Choose the right time of the day
If you’re looking forward to making a crowdfunding video outdoors, the best time of the day is the ‘golden hour’ – an hour after sunrise. Granted, it’s a little early – however, you’ll realize that shooting is way easier in the empty streets, with no traffic to kill the sound.
For an indoor shoot, use the sun as a backlight – that means placing an actor between the camera and the sun. This way, you won’t be blinded by the light and you’ll stay well-lit. Make sure to do all takes at the same time of day to make editing easier.
Step 6. Shooting
Shooting a video is a huge part of the process. To avoid bottlenecks during shoots, make sure to outline the day and create a schedule.
When planning shoots, try to account for extra-time that might be needed to record additional takes.
Also, if you have several actors, it’s not necessary to have them on a location all the time. Invite only those who are directly involved in a particular take – this way, you’ll save time and money.
Step 7. Editing
At this stage, all of the takes are imported into editing software. Depending on your editing proficiency, there are different tools to try out. For instance, amateur filmmakers can be satisfied with the range of features Sony Vegas offers. For professionals, Final Cut or Adobe Premiere Pro might seem a better fit.
There are tons of editing tutorials on Youtube, so if you don’t know how to handle a particular stage of editing – just Google it.
Step 8. Checking on video size and format
After the video is edited, make sure to check if the export settings are satisfactory. This includes the resolution, the bitrate, the size, and the format. While there isn’t a single right approach, it’s recommended to go with the bitrate of 1500 and HD resolution (or H264 for Mac). As for formats, choose WMV for Windows. MOV and MP4 are both suitable options as well.
Step 9. Title and description optimization
As seen above, most crowdsourcing platforms don’t support direct video upload. Instead, you can embed a link from Youtube and Vimeo. While uploading a video to any of these platforms, make sure to pay close attention to the title of the video. Youtube’s title character limit is 100 symbols. On Vimeo, it’s 128 characters max.
Descriptions are not as strict but it’s better to limit yourself to a few sentences. To prevent legal issues, credit everyone involved in the video. If you used music or photos that you haven’t produced, write the source as well.
Step 10. Upload
Finally, it’s time to upload the video onto the website. If it’s been previously uploaded to another platform (Youtube, for instance), all you need to do is to copy the link and paste it on the crowdfunding platform.
If you’re uploading the video from scratch, make sure the size and the format correspond to the requirements set by the platform (we’ve listed those for a Kickstarter campaign and other platforms above).
Step 11. Marketing
After the video is available to the public, it’s time to spread the word about it. Here are a few basic steps to take:
- Post the announcement of the video on all of your social media accounts;
- Share the project in local communities;
- Start a Facebook Ad Campaign to get more clicks and views;
- Post the video on your website.
The bigger the budget is, the more possibilities there are to consider including big activation campaigns, paid guest posts, and press mentions.
Extra tips for creating a crowdfunding video
it takes more than a mix of quality shots and advanced editing to make a crowdfunding video. Its business-oriented appeal is what differentiates this type of content from other short clips. In order to be seriously considered by investors, consider taking these tips into account.
- Decide on how long should a crowdfunding video be. According to Indiegogo, a crowdfunding video shouldn’t be longer than 3 minutes. That’s why you need to replace all the complicated terms with simpler and shorter synonyms. Avoid long sentences and complicated clauses as well. Be short and precise – what’s been said doesn’t need to be repeated.
- Write a video with a size up to 250 MB. When the file is larger, it’s harder to share or send it via email. Also, such clips tend to have a longer load time – you’ll lose a few audience members who don’t have a stellar internet connection.
- Be emotional. When it comes to crowdfunding video production, one has to find a way to marry emotion and reason. When needed, show statistics and appeal to the audience’s rationality throughout the video by explaining how the investment will be fruitful. Still, nothing is quite as appealing as being able to support someone with a cause bigger than themselves – show potential supporters that your campaign offers this.
- Add subtitles to make video social-media friendly. We often watch Facebook and Youtube videos without turning the sound on, especially when we’re at work or in public spaces. Make sure to provide a viewer with subtitles – this way, a video will be clear and easy to enjoy while sitting in a line, on a bus, etc.
Successful crowdfunding video examples
Now that you have all the technicalities broken down, you’re ready to produce your own killer crowdfunding video. For business owners who wouldn’t mind taking some inspiration from successful funding campaigns, here are 5 awesome examples of successful crowdfunding videos.
1. The Coolest Cooler
The video is a great take at how to explain technicalities in a way where everyone can understand how innovative the product is. The overall structure couldn’t be simpler – it’s really just a problem-solution video.
Constant references to real-life applications of the features of the cooler blended with the beautiful nature background and positive images of families, running kids, and happiness – all of this helps a format avoid being a cliche and instead be an effective way to tell The Coolest Cooler’s story.
It’s not a coincidence that a video managed to score more than 3,000,000 hits on Youtube, with people commenting on it three years after the upload.
2. Good Spread Peanut Butter
This video is appealing from the start. Home video footage and a joking tone used by narrators help create a stronger personal connection.
Still, what makes Good Spread Peanut Butter one of the best crowdfunding video examples is the cause behind it. Seeing two people passionate about making the world a better place is extremely contagious – you can’t help but support their incentive.
3. Pebble Kickstarter Video
Seven years ago, before Apple Watches became mainstream, Pebble was a revolutionary product. The technology that enabled a connection between smart watches and iPhones was mind-blowing. Now that it’s no longer news to anyone, Pebble Video still works really well. Mostly, the value of the project lies in the idea.
However, when it comes to the project video, you can’t help but notice stylish, sleek editing that presents an amazing product in the best light possible – including changing colors, different designs, and smooth transitions between various applications of the product.
Ouya’s video might not be as original and creative as some of the crowdfunding video examples shown above, but the presentation works undeniably well anyway – all because it inspires trust. Seeing a big team of professionals working on a solution will assure investors that the project is built to last and generate profits.
Also, there’s a clear problem the product addresses – the lack of possibilities for game developers to bring big projects to the market. This pain point is backed up by a few experts in the industry. Seeing the cause, the solution, and a team brilliant enough to handle it is the formula for Ouya’s success.
5. The Veronica Mars Movie Project
When looking for the best examples of a famous and successful crowdfunding campaign, how can you not mention The Veronica Mars Movie Project? The idea is well-shot (and the actors are professionals – that’s not something all business owners can achieve) but the script is its main advantage.
Seeing the crew worrying about their project, willing to shoot the movie themselves – that’s not a common thing to happen in entertainment. No wonder the fans of the series managed to raise almost $6 million and saw the movie made.
Note how clearly all the rewards are communicated. If you want to motivate patrons to donate, choose the same path and state clearly what you can give to each patron.
Crowdfunding has been going strong for the last couple of years. However, with a large number of projects posted on Kickstarter and Indiegogo every day, a business owner has to go the extra mile in order to stand out.
Videos are a solid addition to a successful crowdfunding campaign. If you’re looking for a team of professionals to help you out with a shoot, Xplai is happy to present your project to the world. We’re an ambitious video production company, with a wide range of products for startups. We’ll appreciate your vision and capture this passion on camera.