Tips for kickstarter videos


#1

Shall we share tips about creating videos for kickstarter?

If you have created one recently

  • what software do you use?
  • record in one go or use several tracks?
  • choosing what to say and what not to say?

If you have looked at some recently,

  • did you watch through to the end?
  • what makes a good video?
  • what makes a bad video?
  • ideally what do you want from a video?

Cheers!


#2

To make KS videos I usually use Sony Vegas Pro and I find it very intuitive with a lot of resources online.

Sounds like you’re talking about a talking head video. I’m of the mind that a talking head (or any video on KS) should be 2 min max. Ideally 60-90 seconds. I always reshoot if I mess up and do it in one go but I don’t think it matters if the editing is ok.

A good video garners interest, gets people to take a look and is very shareable.

That said, as a backer, I have never watched a single video and never plan to (so never put any important info only in the vid and not the page text).


#3

Thanks Kyle!

I see some talking head videos, more that are voiceovers over images or animations, some that include snippets of actual play. I’m genuinely curious about which are most engaging (and for people who do Kickstarter’s, how much of the video gets watched when people do watch it).


#4

Yeah, I’m mostly at this point too, maybe I’ve watched one or two? I don’t know if that’s because the videos are not engaging enough, or because I just don’t get much from videos.

That said, the videos I have watched generally feel uninteresting because they’re just a flat narration with inflections to mix up the sounds, but they just don’t sound authentically interested. I think it’s because pitches are made by people who generally don’t have performance training, which makes them less interesting to watch.


#5

There’s also the fact that, while a video can help, for most of the KS I back, they’re about a TTRPG, which is kinda hard to make interesting to watch when you’re showing off core mechanics and detailing that you’re about. If anything I’d suggest making your video part of an Actual Play of your game after the first 2-3 minutes of intro/why I should give you money.


#6

I’m currently wrestling with this myself :slight_smile: probably not helped because I actually have a membership in a stock footage library so I have more options for making the video.

For tools you can also look into Hitfilm, which is astonishingly fullfeatured in its basic version (it can do sophisticated composite shots and layer blending right out of the box) and has tons of videos to help make it work. (I cut together at quick titles sequence for a vid last night in about a half hour, not counting the time to find the music and stock footage I liked).


#7

Honestly, I think it might just be better to explain mechanics on the page, and use the video to sell the idea of the game, to get people hyped about the subject matter and tone of play.


#8

I’m running a tiny poll on twitter at the moment, and I’m surprised at the number of people who wouldn’t watch a video at all. There was certainly evidence in 2009 that kickstarters with videos were more likely to fund but (a) I’ve not seen something more recent and (b) that might just reflect all-round care and attention which the kickstarter creator was applying.

What I think I’ve been seeing so far is

  1. Be short and sweet. Shorter is better than longer.
  2. It is the opportunity to put a human face to the creator of the game, and to sell the idea

I’d certainly be interested in understanding what others have gleaned though.

@BeckyA has just run a successful kickstarter; I wonder if she might drop by with words of wisdom?


#9

So here are my thoughts on Kickstarters and KS videos.

  1. If I got to your Kickstarter page by being someone I already know and follow, I’ll probably watch your video, to completion. But because I know you, not because it will give me insight into your Kickstarter. I am probably backing your project, just at what level.
  2. If I got to your Kickstarter page from getting a link from someone I know, I’ll probably watch your video to get a general idea of your project, and what you think makes it stand out. I’ll probably watch it to completion, unless it’s offensive or extremely boring. If I don’t know you, I probably won’t back you just on your video, but it might get interested enough to read the longer text and the backer levels. Video’s at this level to me, are sort of a low level test. You can lose me here, but it’s extremely hard to win me just on the video.
  3. If I got to your KS page from some other place, I’ll watch your video, but I’ll be doing a bunch more research on who you are and what the people I do know and trust think of your products and reputation so far. If you have no rep yet and there is no other information I can find, I will likely pass. If you have a negative rep, I will pass. If you have any sort of positive rep, I’ll take a closer look and see if it’s something that would interest me. If you have a demo I might look at that. I might have KS remind me about it 48 hours before the end. It’s a lot harder for me to back these projects (but not unheard of), and usually the video is just an opportunity to lose me.

What does that mean in terms of tips for videos? For me:

  1. Short, concise and informative.
    a. General overview of project
    b. Why it is important to you
    c. Why does this stand out
  2. Don’t be bad. No video is better than a bad or offensive video.
    a. Don’t be boring
    b. Don’t be funny, unless you are really sure your jokes are going to land with all of your intended audience. Jokes that don’t “land”, are a quick way for me to stop watching and closing that tab.
    c. Production quality matters, because, for me, videos are mostly an opportunity to lose me and not to gain me. I interpret any problems I see in the video as a foreshadow of potential problems down the line. This is largely unjust, as whether or not you can properly light, edit, or produce a video has little to do with most projects I back.

#10

I use iMovie, because it’s what I’ve got.

I generally record a few takes, then cut and paste the best bits into the finished version. I’ll be adding bits of visuals like the art etc into the video, so I can easily make it look seamless.

I tend to write myself a little script, but not necessarily stick religiously to it. I’ve found that I come across pretty wooden, but better if I’ve got someone on the other side of the camera who I talk to.

My patented content generation method is this:

  • Make sure you get across the basic sales pitch in the first 15 seconds. That should be enough that the watcher is grabbed and wants to know more.
  • Make sure that if they stick around for the first minute, they get enough additional detail about what the game is about to be converted. Situation and/or setting first, and then perhaps a bit about the mechanics. But remember most people are grabbed by flavour, not by rules.
  • The rest of the video is for people who really want to know all about it. Talk about the art, talk about stretch goals, all the extra bits and bobs that might sell someone who is on the fence.
  • It’s nice if people get visuals, not just your face talking at them, so interweave illustrations from the game, snapshots of the layout, pop quotes from people who liked it (playtesters, fellow designers, whoever). Just anything to add a bit of visual interest and make the game feel more real. Honestly, I don’t know if people are that fussed about seeing the designer talk on camera at all - though I always do include this, myself.
  • Don’t go over 3 minutes if you can help it. If you haven’t sold them by 3 minutes, you probably aren’t going to, and you risk them forgetting to do the thing they came here for: click on the “back” button.

Now you obviously can hardly say anything in 3 minutes, and that’s the point: you focus in on the really important stuff. But you can make more videos with details of specific things, if you want to. My honest experience is that most people probably won’t watch them, but if you feel like you really need to talk about the detailed mechanics on camera, then that’s what I’d do. This means you’ve got something else to share as well, which is always nice.

Now that’s all my view as a creator. As a punter, I basically don’t watch videos. They are not for me at all. I find it annoying to have to sit with my eyes on the screen for a fixed amount of time rather than consume at my own pace. I actually find it slightly baffling that people want videos rather than text. But with that said, I know (as a creator) that having a video statistically increases your chance of success. And if you don’t have one then I notice (as a customer) that you’ve failed to make one, which makes me wonder what other things you aren’t going to get around to. So as a customer, I’m basically looking to see if you’ve got one, nothing more.


#11

I’m not sure I have much to add.

Basically I think that if you have a vid it makes the page look more professional and gives people the option to see your face if they want to. Now, lots of people don’t watch vids - BUT having the option of watching a vid is still something I look for even if I don’t then watch the video. So it is worth having a video even if people don’t watch it.

I think the video for Bite Me! was played around 900 times (around 250 more than the number of backers I had).

Also your poll didn’t take into account something that expect is super common - which is people who watch the first 30 secs make their decision to buy based off that and then don’t watch the rest. I suspect that accounts for most watches. So say all the important stuff really early!


#12

Re: twitter poll I also didn’t take into account I’d only get four questions to ask! I knew that I wouldn’t get anything like a statistically interesting volume of answers, but was still a little interesting.


#13

Some really helpful input here from people BTW, thanks for putting time to put fingers to keyboard on this - hopefully it will be helpful for everyone who ends up considering a video for kickstarter :slight_smile:


#14

So I just watched the One Child’s Heart KS video. I thought it was really good. It was short, it told you about the game, it told you why the game was important, it put a face on the game and made it personal.

I was going to back it anyway, but if I wasn’t, this video might have got me there.


#15

I just saw that, too! That was a really tight one-take KS video!

For RPGs and Larps, I’ve definitely noticed that Banana Chan makes good Kickstarter videos, and I especially like the work she did on Star Crossed. Her portfolio is here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5nTQc2TjJscN0pby7q0PNXububTDyyhl

Slightly further afield, C. Spike Trotman’s Iron Circus Comics has been putting up short, dialog-less, punchy, motion graphics and art heavy videos that’d be really easy to emulate for RPG book or zine-folks that have already paid their artists: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/ironspike/created

I actually just shot and edited my first Kickstarter video! My friends Ceridwen and Kylene hired me to to make a video for their Larp event when there was just over 2 weeks left in their campaign (there’s 5 days left now!!). I tried very hard to follow @rabalias’s last bullet point and keep it under 3 minutes, but they ended up posting the first release candidate I sent them rather than doing another round of feedback to help me kill another 2 to 4 darlings.

I’d love constructive criticism, or on the flipside to talk about the production!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/locrpg/flight-of-corvus-a-larp-event-in-the-catoctin-moun/description


#16

I’m also going to throw out that videos aren’t terribly necessary in our industry. Campaigns like UVG and Swordsfall didn’t use any and did fine. I recently also launched a campaign with no video and a fairly small following and we’re doing really really good. Just food for thought.


#17

It feels to me that it is a bit of a hygiene factor - doesn’t necessarily sell the kickstarter, not often watched, but it does send a message that care is being taken to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.

End result - I’m working on mine at the moment. Nothing flashy, but hopefully enough to make it worthwhile for those who do care for it.

Cheers


#18

It is interesting that there is some data to suggest that kickstarters with videos tend to fund more than kickstarters without videos. Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/how-to-make-an-awesome-video says 50% vs 30%.

I don’t think that is necessarily showing a causal relationship (have video = more funding!). I suspect that it is more a case of a video being a marker for a range of things which together contribute to the funding of the kickstarter.

That linked page is from 2012 of course. I’d love for Kickstarter to provide some more current evidence on the importance (or otherwise) of video usage - after all, they must have all the data!

Cheers


#19

I’ve backed over a thousand Kickstarters. I can count the videos I’ve watched on one hand, and those I remember on none.

Here’s the thing about video: it allows you the creator to control the pace at which information is given to me. That’s great, for you. I, however, have no interested in you controlling the pace I’m consuming information. Nothing about that helps me. Reading does.


#20

I also don’t really watch Kickstarter videos. HOWEVER, I judge the hell out of Kickstarters that don’t have them. They look unprofessional. Weird dichotomy.