Sunday, February 18, 2018

Video Length: How Long Should Your Video Be?

November 2, 2010 by  
Filed under All Posts, Special Interest Video Biz

Q: One of the questions we get asked is how long should my special interest video be?

A: There is no magic video length to aim for in this type of production. Unlike other videos produced for broadcast television or commercials, there is no prescribed time limit. So my quick and dirty answer is – it depends. It depends on the type of video you want to produce, i.e., documentary, travel, how-to, edutainment, and where and how it will be shown. You also have to know your target market – your audience.

Production Type and Subject

Special Interest Videos come in all forms and cover such diverse topics that you have to consider each video individually.

As a guide, I like to refer to another form of media; business writing. Similar to a well-written white paper or report, your video should be as long as it takes to adequately get your point across. No longer and no shorter.

Some videos are best if kept at 20 minutes or under while others demand to be an hour long.

But keep this in mind…

Video viewers overall have incredibly short attention spans. Try to only put really COMPELLING information in your video. Stay laser focused. Do not wander off topic. Do not indulge your inner movie director just for the experience. Don’t show off.

There’s “real time”and then there’s video time. They are two different animals. Think about the last time you watched someone’s unedited video of their last vacation. Watching ten minutes of bad video seems an eternity, no matter what the subject. Ten minutes in real life usually flashes by in an instant.

So a good rule of thumb is to keep your video CONCISE. Your editing and scripting needs to be tight. In my experience, and we’ve been guilty of this as well, virtually everyone assumes their information is so compelling that the audience wants to see every little detail and know every little thing about the subject. Not only is that highly unlikely, it can also be too overwhelming.

For example, if you are shooting a video for an audience I’m familiar with, a high school class, you need to keep it short and sweet, just long enough to get the information across while keeping the viewer engaged.

Know Your Audience

Another important factor in deciding the length of your video is knowing who you are producing it for and how it will be viewed. For videos, this is not just who will watch them but also who will be buying them.

For example, let’s go back to those high school students…

Although the students are going to be my viewers, the teachers are going to be my customers. They will be buying them for the classroom. Since class times are usually around 45 to 50 minutes long, I have to take that into consideration when producing this type of video. Normally, I would shoot for a 20-30 minute program. Why not 45? Because I have to leave time for the teacher to do roll call, make any announcements, cue up the video, introduce it, play it and then review it.

Or maybe you have an idea for a “kidvid.” Children’s attention spans are much shorter, so these can be shorter too.

Exercise video? That one should be however long the workout should last.

We produced and sell a series of videos titled, “10 Minutes To Pain Free.” Those videos run a little over 10 minutes if you count the introduction. The whole point of that series is to quickly dispense information on exercises to help relieve pain. 10 minutes is an attractive selling point to people who want pain relief quickly and with minimal effort.

If your subject matter is too complex to cover in one comfortable sitting, then break it down into segments. From my experience in producing video “kits” for schools, I learned early on that people like to buy complete sets or “modules” that build one upon the other. This is a good marketing strategy because your potential viewers will want to be sure they get every segment to complete the series, meaning you will sell more videos.

So, as to that question, “How long should my video length be,” the answer is still “it depends.” But now you know some of the factors you need to consider to answer that question.

And if you want more information on producing and selling your video, make sure you sign up for access to your free “How To Sell Your Videos Starter Kit.”


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