Dec 26, 2015

Kickstarter Lessons #7: 5 Tips in Producing a Budget Kickstarter Video


One of the greatest challenge in the presentation of any Kickstarter campaign is probably the campaign video. 

With our Kickstarter campaign planned for a late October launch, we started sourcing for sourcing for video production studios as early as April to help us produce a video that will get our backers on fire to click on the "PLEDGE" button.

We were inspired by some of the most successful campaign videos such as Exploding Kitten and Zombicide and wanted our video to look as cool as theirs. However, the price tags in producing these videos are quoted at a hefty SGD5,000 - SGD10,000 for a 3 minutes video due to the amount of animation involved. We even ventured to Malaysia to look for a quote given that the Ringgit has fallen to a record low during 2015 and the business savvy Malaysian studios decided to quote in USD rather than in Ringgit. We initially thought that the high price tag is due to the fact that we identify ourselves as a Singaporean company and we asked our Malaysian friends to help us check out the prices using the similar quotations. Our hopes were dashed when the price turns out to be the same. We found video production houses which does not specialize in animation to charge a more reasonable amount of SGD2,000 - 3,000 but there will be minimal animation with mostly live footage, which we can probably produce ourselves anyway.

We asked among ourselves: Will an expensive video nearly the price of the campaign goal that we are intending to raise bring in more than proportionate value in pledges? We are afterall, a small independent games studio, boot strapped by a couple of co-founders and have no access to corporate sponsors or VC funding to churn out expensive marketing materials. We had an extensive debate on this issue and decided to produce the video in-house. Afterall, the spirit of Kickstarter is to help small independent creators to launch their dreams and a self-produced video will no doubt give an indie feel to it. In any case, video production is a useful skill which will benefit us in the long run (Youtube videos, here we come!)

The first video we produced is 3:22 minute long, which we thought is a satisfactory length for a Kickstarter video. Kickstarter has an interesting tracking utility that tracks the amount of video plays and the % of people watching the full video.

Our first 900 video plays only netted 29% completed video plays which is pretty low. This is pretty bad meaning that most of the readers did not watch till the end to listen to our pleads for funding at the end of the video. There is also comments that our video lack the human touch as the game designer did not appear on the screen to share his personal experience.

We decided to revamp the entire video and reduced the length to 1:18 minute and included a sharing session by the game designer and that seems to work well as the video played rate jumped to 50%. However, we received feedback again that we chopped the video so much that people are unaware that this is actually a board game, by just watching the video.

Oh Boy, back to the drawing board again...

We revamped the video again, moving parts of the original video around and created a 1:30 video and we asked ourselves: Which are the most interesting parts of the video that we as viewers will like. We went through all our footage numerous times and re-assembled a new video on the 3rd week of the campaign. The last change gave us the most number of positive feedback and the current video which you see on our Kickstarter campaign


After such an exhausting production and reproduction of the campaign video before and during the campaign, I hereby present to you the 5 tips of producing a great Kickstarter video!

1) Keep the video between 1:30 to 2:00 to ensure that most of the viewers will finish watching the video.

2) A short introduction of the features of the product is needed. Lengthy technical details and game play video not needed.

3) Ensure that your prototype or at least a 3D rendering is featured in the video

4) Include a call to action in your video

5) A fun and humorous video helps!   

While the quality of our budget video is not as fantastic as those produced by professionals, we learn many important aspects of what attracts people to a Kickstarter video and I believe that this will facilitate our directives with production houses in the future should we become rich enough to fork out the money for an expensive video.

Meanwhile, we will stick to our trial and error ways of producing a great video!

All part and parcel of the woes of a poor start-up...

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