Producing a branded-content Training Film

Training film title
Can a training film deliver more than training?

More than just a training film

Video is great for many things, but probably best when used for sharing knowledge and influencing an audience. If you can achieve both of these then video becomes an incredibly powerful training medium – and the perfect way to create valuable branded content.

We’ve recently completed a training film for Air Products – with the enchanting title of ‘Bump Testing of portable gas detectors’. If you really want to know what that’s all about then watch the training film below. It’s nearly 17-minutes long – and if you’re not into the subject I reckon you’ll find it hard going. However, if you are someone who is responsible for carrying out Bump Testing, or in any way involved in this life-saving process, I reckon it is essential viewing.

So what does Air Products gain from commissioning a training film like this? It’s certainly not box-office sales as the training film is part of their Analytical Insights series which are freely available to view from their website and YouTube channel. Despite the not-inconsiderable investment in time and resources, the benefits are manifold.

Besides the more obvious opportunity of raising brand awareness among bump testers, the Air Products brand also benefits through affiliation with the various organisations and experts who have contributed content to the training film. This brand augmentation works both ways too – and atop all this the target audience will gain the knowledge they need to carry out their work safely and within the regulations of their industry.

Everyone is a winner – and Air Products come out as being seen as one of the good guys.

Commissioning the perfect training film

Creating the perfect training film takes some preparation though – certainly if it is going to achieve wide circulation among your target audience. In this instance, the information your training film contains has to be widely accepted as being correct and trusted. The script development stage is therefore key. Whilst you can expect your video production company to help mold your draft scripts into video-friendly dialogue, the expert knowledge must first come from those in the know.

You must know your audience and what they need or want to know about the subject. This example is a highly specialised subject aimed at a specific trade, but a training film could just as easily be commissioned for a much wider audience and subject matter.

Keeping it real – with real experts

Give us a que!
Give us a que!

Whilst using professionally trained presenters will result in a much more polished end product, your training film might lack credibility with the audience. There will be instances where a professional presenter has specialist knowledge in that field (or familiarity and status with the audience), but the usual outcome of that situation is extremely high presenter fees. Sure, it would be great to have Professor Brian Cox presenting your film on how to use your telescope – but could you really afford him?

The other way to achieve gravitas is to present the information using those with specialist knowledge in the subject. Within reason, your audience will accept shortcomings in their presentation skills if they have real-world experience and knowledge of the subject.
In the case of the Air Products training film, the content is delivered by four contributors (an Industry Expert, an Equipment Manufacturer, a Gas Supplier and an End User). These are all stakeholders in the training film, and each has an interest in creating content that becomes widely viewed and shared.

Geeky tips on the production process

As mentioned previously, at the heart of a great training film is a brilliant script. However, it is unreasonable to expect non-professional presenters to deliver what can be lengthy passages of text without the aid of a teleprompt or autocue system. Having produced this type of training film before this was one of Air Products requirements in us.

It is also not reasonable to expect non-professional presenters to rattle off the perfect take in one hit – but at the same time the end product has got to look as if they did. And to keep your audience’s attention throughout longer passages, you are going to have to change the shot size to maintain interest and help illustrate important points.

There’s a couple of ways to achieve this when the presentation is straight down the camera lens as in the case of this training film. The first is to record various takes at differing shot sizes – and then cut these together in post production. The second method is to shoot all takes at the same wider shot size in 4K resolution, and then pan and scan to the create close-ups on a HD timeline (I did say these were Geeky tips!).

We adopted the latter technique in this example – shooting 4K on our JVC LS300 camera. Not only did this give us the ability to cut the best possible performance from each presenter, but it also saved a lot of time in re-setting the camera to generate the close-up. The same technique was used to record the practical demonstration section of the training film.

Mind your language!

Air Products are an international business, and whilst not in our original brief it soon became clear after the final version was approved that this training film would be useful to their non-English speaking markets. At present we are creating subtitled versions in German, French, Portuguese and Spanish. You might not think your training film needs subtitling, but the potential for a wider audience might make it worth it. (Google figures for world population 1st and 2nd languages – English 510M / Spanish 420M / German 229M / Portuguese 203M)

Your next training film

Commissioning a training film can be an extremely effective means of marketing and client relationship development. It’s a great way to build brand loyalty, and there are many other forms of branded content that will help you connect with customers and generate sales. Some well-known brands simply sponsor life-style type content which matches their brand aspirations. Some of the better known of these are the likes of Red Bull, Rolex and GoPro. It might seem like they sponsor content just for the hell of it but, like Air Products, they’re actually masters of the craft of hanging their name on content which their customers love.

To discuss your training video ideas please get in touch with Video Artisan for a no-obligation consultation on 020 3602 3356.

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