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It’s a Matter of Length

One of the most common questions we get asked by our clients is how long their video should be.  In some ways, it’s akin to asking how long is a piece of string.  Well, it all depends.  Let’s look at some of the variables.

Variables for Your Corporate Video

MattFirmStateFairWho is your audience?  Is it an older crowd that grew up on 1960’s and 70’s television and movies?  Or is it a much younger crowd who has grown up on YouTube?  That younger person is not going to easily sit through even a ten minute video, unless you keep a very fast pace in the editing.  Likewise, the older person might be turned off a bit by the “MTV” style editing.  We did a video on a retirement plan– it was a little longer than some of our similar videos for a different audience.

What type of video is it?  If it’s a very technical training video, it might be an hour long.  Or five minutes.  We done both.  One client has over 20 videos, each lasting only 90 seconds to 2 minutes for training.  Another is an hour lecture.  Is it a marketing video, showing off a product or service?  Keep it short.  90 seconds for a web video is a great length.  2 to 3 minutes is okay.  If you’re including soundbite interviews, three people’s bites, it will be hard to do a 90 second video.  A Seminar Recap video?  Your audience usually is the people in the video, it’s okay to be longer.  8 to 10 minutes.  A fundraising video?  Short again.

Scripted?

Narrated?

Interviews?

Subject Matter?

These all go into answering the question of “how long my video should be.”  As a default, it’s always better to simplify your message, saying one thing several times, than several things one time.  One mistake that’s easy to make, is to get into the minutiae of your product or services when your audience just wants the big picture.

Usually, length affects costs.  So the longer your video, usually the longer the editing and shooting.  However, the opposite can be true as well.  For a client we shoot a bunch of interviews, it takes less time to create a 10 minute version than to continue whittling away down to a 4 or 5 minute video.  And a :30 commercial spot, though the shortest of all, can run into six figures in cost.