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Class Is in Session: The Educational Video Production Guide

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You’ve seen educational videos before. They exist across every facet of the internet, ranging from explainer videos on social media to instructional videos on company websites. The fact that there are so many different ways to teach others about your product or chosen subject is wonderful, but choosing the right style for your video content can be daunting.

But not to worry, we happen to be experts on video production. Pull out the pen and paper—it’s time to take some notes on which type of educational video is right for you.

Let’s Define Educational Video Productions

While “education” is in the name, an educational video (also called an education video) isn’t just for educational institutions and online courses. The category includes any video that teaches an audience about a specific subject. Brands often use educational videos to establish credibility in their industry, and teaching viewers how your company helps solve their problems can support brand awareness and amplify your viewership.

Educational videos require brands to approach complex concepts, products and services with the client’s understanding as a priority. If you’re creating a new product line and want to show your prospective customers how to use it, you could create an education video to lay the process out in simple steps. After all, 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase.

While you may not be in the retail market, the same phenomenon applies: most consumers want to have a firm understanding of what they are buying before they commit to the purchase. Sure, they could look up reviews or read articles, but the fastest way to learn about something is often through video.

The Most-Used Types of Educational Videos

Before you start the production process of creating educational videos, you need to determine what type of video best aligns with your audience’s preferences and your company’s needs. Most educational videos fall into one of five categories, each fulfilling specific goals and getting your point across slightly differently.

Informative Live Streams

Social media gives users the ability to reach a world-wide audience in seconds—and in real time. Live streaming on social media allows brands to demonstrate a new product, educate viewers about a topic in their industry and more—all while addressing viewer questions and feedback right away. They can also be short or long videos, depending on the topic, platform and audience attention span.

No need to wait for the press release, no need for dynamic visuals or extensive video editing—just grab a phone or wifi-enabled camera and start rolling. If you aren’t comfortable with on-the-spot speaking or need time to collect your thoughts, this may not be the best approach, but if you know the topic well and want the benefit of immediacy, live streaming is the best option available.

In terms of educational video production, live stream productions are relatively light. You don’t have to worry about editing several revisions, so you can focus your time on finding subject matter experts who are comfortable speaking on camera and are able to write, or at least outline, the run of the show. Preparation to produce this type of project can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, but the results are instantaneous.

How-To Videos

When you approach educational video production, the goal is not only to educate the audience but to gain authority as an expert on the subject. How-to videos are a great way to show your expertise on a topic while keeping your audience engaged. These educational videos walk the viewer through the process of completing a task, with the added benefit of referencing how your product or service assists in solving their problem.

For example, say you’re thinking about purchasing a new air fryer. You find a series of how-to videos on a manufacturer’s website with various air fryer recipes. As you watch the videos, you start to think of the manufacturer’s brand as an expert in air frying. And when you decide to take the leap and buy an air fryer, that manufacturer is the obvious choice.

Production time for how-to videos is pretty standard. Pick the topic, write the script, capture and edit the content and in a few weeks you’re ready to roll.

The important distinction for how-to videos is that you’re going over a series of steps the viewer can follow on their own. Without the steps, you have an explainer video.

Explainer Videos

This term is sometimes used interchangeably with educational videos, but don’t let the name fool you. Explainer videos are typically short, and spell out how a product or service works. Common examples include Kickstarter videos about new-to-market products, the video on a SaaS company’s homepage and even some commercials. An explainer video makes complex concepts easy to understand, in turn making a brand and its products or services more approachable and enticing.

For companies that sell tech or CPG products, explainer videos show customers how to make the most of the product and use it effectively. Put simply, while a how-to video shows the steps of a process, explainer videos show how the process works and what makes that process impactful.

It’s no wonder why explainer videos are one of the most popular types of video marketing: they’re effective. According to HubSpot, 96% of people watch explainer videos to learn about a product—and 88% of those surveyed report being swayed enough by the video content to make a purchase.

Explainer videos are a fair middle ground in terms of production. While it does take time to decide on a topic, find the actors, write the script and edit the shots, it’s not as time-intensive as animated educational videos. They also tend to be motion graphics, which are a great option when you have little to no access to live video. 

The most common type of explainer video, however, leans heavily on motion graphics.

Motion Graphics and Animation Videos

Some concepts are difficult to communicate with words alone. Using motion graphics or animation to convey your message makes it more approachable and digestible, and enhances the learning experience. Motion graphics or animation are also good options when you have little or no access to live-action video.

An animated educational video is effective at featuring data and ideas, but including meaningful storytelling can also ensure your messaging sticks. Using animation and motion graphics can simplify challenging topics into a natural progression of ideas that can be easily followed.

Animation production timelines vary. Of course, it takes time to decide on the topic, write the script, record voice-overs and animate. Videos with animation and motion graphics can take a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on the scope of the video, but the wait is worth it for high-quality end results.

Interview Videos

Interview-style videos show experts discussing topics related to a business or industry. These can be used for timely events, breaking down complex concepts or even as part of in-depth video series on a specific topic.

Interviews with reputable subjects can also make your brand the go-to resource for trustworthy information. And you probably don’t need to look far—members of your team can serve as subject matter experts on industries, ideas and topics they’re familiar with.

The production process for interviews isn’t as time intensive as other educational video types. You’ll need time to produce and record the conversation, as well as editing what you capture, but the whole process should ideally take less than a month to complete.

Which Educational Video Type Is Right for You?

Educational videos can help your brand stand out in your industry or position itself as a reputable source of information. As with any video marketing, start by outlining your goals. From there, you can determine the type of educational video that’s best suited for your needs. Of course, there can also be some crossover between the types of instructional videos you use. For example, an explainer video can also be animated, and how-to demonstrations can be done via live stream.

You might need to experiment with different types of education videos in various parts of your marketing and sales processes to find what works best for your brand and what your audience responds to most.

Getting Started With Education Video Production

When done well, educational videos can become the backbone of your brand. Partnering with an educational video production company like Spot Content Studio can ensure your videos are professional and compelling. We have the skills and experience to create educational videos about a range of topics, from simple to complex, so no matter what you want to get out of your videos, we can help guide you. If you need help setting up your next video or want to see how we handle educational video production, let’s chat.