A short guide to a fast and efficient web video production for ecommerce

Running a web video production workflow for online retail may reveal tricky. Videos in ecommerce adopt many forms -product video, stories video, background video, social media video teaser- that pursue different goals. However, there're still some overall guidelines to streamline a video production pipeline, with a big potential impact on the success of a video marketing strategy. I revise here some key aspects that can make a difference in video production efficiency and effectiveness.

Web video production, simple and technically sound

  • Whenever possible, automate repetitive operations. If you're reusing your product and marketing videos in different places, you're likely repeating a bunch of operations that are better done automatically. Transcoding, resizing, or repetitive branding for a video marketing campaign should all be automated. Possibly, the most straightforward alternatives are either using online batch video processing or watching a hot folder for video transformation and optimization with a Gulp plugin for video optimization.

  • Keep your workflows light and technically sound. Handling 5GB pro-res files for a 20s video is inefficient and pointless in the context of web and ecommerce, even if we publish 4k videos. In 99.99% of cases, we can use master files coded in mp4 format at 30fps and 15000-20000 kbps, without fear of noticeable quality loss. We'll move faster with our videos. Other common flaw we should avoid is the use of color spaces other than sRGB. Remind that this is the default standard in web and is the only safe option. Perform your editing and color grading in a sRGB display (preferably calibrated).

  • Keep simple video editing simple. To deal with simple operations, use an online video editor that brings the essentials -trimming, resizing, watermarking, sound removal- with no distracting options and fuss. While professional suites like AfterEffects, DaVinci, Premiere, or Photoshop are great tools for creating high quality graphics to overlay, for color grading or for creating transitions and visual effects in movies, they're not good for automating simple operations that are so frequent in web and ecommerce workflows.

Repurposing ecommerce videos consistently

  • Repurpose video content. In the likely case we've produced a high quality 2 min video for our stories pages, we should reuse it. Just by trimming and extracting 5s to 15s clips and removing the soundtrack, we can create with almost no effort dozens of product videos, background videos, and video teasers for our marketing pages and our social media.

  • Share social media video teasers of your campaigns. This is more of a reminder but also something that deserves a point on its own. There's no reason for keeping our visual content hidden. Teaser videos that show our products and shape our brand aesthetics are great ingredients for our social media strategy. They complement images and benefit from significant advantages. Just think of the 4x size assigned to videos in the Instagram explore grid.

  • Multi channel retailing asks for multi channel videos. We should also use our videos in marketplaces -like Tmall- where we sell ou products. In most cases, producing videos that meet the requirements of a marketplace consists of resizing and cropping and readjusting the branding. This is something we can easily automate.

  • Keep video branding consistent. If we want to build a brand, we should be consistent. A well defined set of consistent logos and campaign messages -colors, shapes, fonts- is essential. It's also a good practice to specify technically the types of content that we use. The aspect ratio or the target duration are examples of technical measures of a video with a strong impact on aesthetics. Again, automating and constraining the final stages of video production workflows will reinforce our branding consistency. We should bear in mind that unnecesary manual operations are prone to unpleasant surprises.

We've seen some important goals that any web video production workflow for ecommerce should aim for. All of them will contribute to a clean production workflow and will prevent frequent problems that appear downstream -in the video delivery and video consumption stages- and usually damage the user experience and the image of our brand.