27 December 2018 | 19 Comments
One of the first things I learned as a Kickstarter creator was the importance of having a project video. Since then I honestly haven’t questioned it all that much–while there have been successful projects without videos, and there’s a lack of A/B tests to really show if they’re necessary, it just seems to make sense given the popularity of video media in general.
So even after I stopped using Kickstarter 3 years ago, I continued to create release trailers for new games (I’ll post them below), with the most recent being the video for Wingpan, which I posted on YouTube today. As you can see, all of these videos share some common elements:
- Each video is short (averaging just over 1 minute). I tested video length during my Kickstarter days, and I found that people were significantly more likely to watch the whole thing if it was close to a minute in length.
- Each video has text, a voiceover, and music. The first two make it a bit harder for international partners to release their own versions of the trailer, but I try to provide them with the source files so they don’t need to start over from scratch.
- Each video is focused on the “hooks” for the game (mechanical, thematic, visual, tactile, etc). Basically, all of the reasons a potential customer might consider it a must-have product.
- I appear in one of the videos (Charterstone) to add a personal touch, but I’ve moved away from those appearances. I think it adds a little too much length the videos, and it’s a bit jarring to go from my face to the more elegant aspects of the video.
I use a PowerPoint template that I tweak for each game as I storyboard it, and then I send it to Josh McDowell to bring to life. Josh is great at video editing, and he’s also become quite good at picking music for the videos.
After the visual element is complete, I select a voiceover artist. The videos below feature the voices of Alex Hall and Eric Summerer. The challenge they have is making sure the timing of the voiceover aligns with the timing of the video (scene by scene and overall).
The question remains, though: Do you need a $1500 video? Especially if you’re not using Kickstarter?
My thinking is that while a video helps, it certainly doesn’t need to be a professional-grade video (or whatever level these videos are–there are some that are much more elaborate and expensive). I’m also not sure that a video would be as effective if I didn’t already have an audience for the video (12k YouTube subscribers and 2300+ people in the Wingspan Facebook group).
But I’m curious to hear your thoughts, particularly for games released without a Kickstarter project. Do you like it when publishers create trailer videos for those games?
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