The Kickstarter Blog

How To Make an Awesome Video

If you’re like us, the first thing you do when visiting a project page is click play. A video is by far the best way to get a feel for the emotions, motivations, and character of a project. It’s a demonstration of effort and a good predictor of success. Projects with videos succeed at a much higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%).

We know that making a video can be intimidating. Not many of us like being in front of a camera. We also know that making a video is a challenge worth taking on. It says you care enough about what you’re doing to put yourself out there. It's a small risk with a big reward.

If you have computer access and a ready supply of enthusiasm, you’ve got all you need. Some videos are big montages and others are epic long takes, but most videos are just someone telling their story straight into the camera. You can spend days shooting and editing, or you can just knock it out with a couple friends on a Saturday. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be you.

No matter how creative or bare-bones your video, you'll want to:

  • Tell us who you are.
  • Tell us the story behind your project. Where'd you get the idea? What stage is it at now? How are you feeling about it?
  • Come out and ask for people's support, explaining why you need it and what you'll do with their money.
  • Talk about how awesome your rewards are, using any images you can.
  • Explain that if you don't reach your goal, you'll get nothing, and everyone will be sad.
  • Thank everyone!

And don't be afraid to put your face in front of the camera and let people see who they’re giving money to. We’ve watched thousands of these things, and you’d be surprised what a difference this makes.

Another thing to remember: don't put any copyrighted music in your video without permission! Expensive lawsuits are never fun. Here are some music resources you can use when the time comes: SoundCloud, Vimeo Music Store, Free Music Archive, and ccMixter.

And finally a few technical specs: videos must be 250 MB or less and have a file type of MOV, MPEG, AVI, MP4, 3GP, WMV, or FLV.

Comments

    1. Screen_shot_2014-02-14_at_12.58.32_pm.small

      Creator Katherine Pan on April 3, 2012

      i love this.

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      Creator David Pennington on April 3, 2012

      This is very charming.

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      Creator Alex Ander on April 3, 2012

      cheers K.S. !!

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      Creator Brady Choate on April 3, 2012

      awesome!

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      Creator Michael A. Miller (deleted) on April 3, 2012

      The burden of having to make a video is what has kept me from launching over the last couple of years. I'm struggling to get it done on the premise that something is better than noting (I guess), but there's nothing about it that's even the least bit enjoyable, and it's an obligation I could live without.

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      Creator Meaghan O'Connell on April 3, 2012

      @Michael A. Miller: Sorry to hear we've burdened you! It's in no way an obligation, but it's something backers appreciate, so you should definitely bite the bullet and make that video! We know it's outside a lot of people's comfort zones, but it's all in the spirit of putting yourself out there and taking a risk. That's what this stuff is all about!

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      Creator Collin Ferry on April 3, 2012

      Nice work guys!

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      Creator Walter Jeffries on April 3, 2012

      Tech tips I found using iMovie (other programs will have similarities):
      Export to QuickTime Movie
      Options
      H.264
      Medium Quality
      Multi-Pass
      640x480
      Current Frame Rate
      Automatic Key Frames
      Automatic Data Rate
      Turn off Frame Reordering
      Sound:
      AAC
      Stereo 44.100
      Advanced Settings
      Quality Normal
      Constant Bit Rate
      128kbps
      Prepare for internet Streaming Fast Start

      I tried an awful lot of settings and found the above worked best for me. I had very low end consumer grade equipment and older computers so the whole process took about six days. The results aren't going to be confused with the works of James Cameron for sure but they're us, they're homey, they show our farm, the butcher shop we're building, very short testimonials from chefs who buy our pastured pork, quick intros of everyone in our family, lots of pictures of pigs on pasture, chickens, geese, ducks. The pastoral farm and rising on-farm butcher shop coming together.

      I also discovered that my older PowerBookG4 even with a fast internet connection simply couldn't play the videos well. Too much stuttering. However a newer (5 year old?) MacBookPro has no trouble using the same internet connection.

      On actually making the videos, something we have never really done before, we story boarded ours with still photos and a written outline. I recorded any new video we needed. I then got all the video and stills into iMovie and we all looked at it, rearranged things, trimmed and got it down from 39 minutes to 4 minutes 30 seconds. Phew!

      Friends looked at it and mostly suggested things to add. The time went up to 12 minutes. I trimmed more and got it down to 8 minutes or so. Then I added transitions.

      Once the length and image order was set I added ambient sounds, narration and then music to act as a transition across scenes for our Kickstarting the Butcher Shop video.

      I then put it out to internet friends who viewed it again, made bits of polishing, got the sound levels fairly well evened and was done just in time for my launch date of March 30th.

      A big trick I found in editing was that since my computers are old they were not good at playing everything in the movie editing program where it must be rendered. So I would export the video or short segments of it at 160 x 120 pixels. This is relatively fast so that I could then watch it and listen to the sound mix without waiting literally for three to five hours for the export. This way it took more like 15 minutes each cycle.

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      Creator Resplendent Entertainment (deleted) on April 3, 2012

      Fun video. I actually made those exact same shelves for my apartment.

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      Creator Yancey Strickler on April 3, 2012

      Great tips, Walter!

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      Creator Danny Pettry on April 3, 2012

      thanks for sharing.
      sounds great.
      think i need to include a more personal touch to my own project video. maybe i'll create a new video this weekend.
      thanks so much for kickstarter!

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      Creator Michael A. Miller (deleted) on April 3, 2012

      @Meaghan O'Connell: Kickstarter is a fine program. Making the video is just overwhelming.

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      Creator Kimberly on April 3, 2012

      It's scary. Really scary. Especially if you are over 45 years old and have to make sure the camera is far enough away from your face, but in the same time zone. It almost ended my relationship with the cameraman. In the end I kept him- he's really cute.

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      Creator Cynthia Shelton on April 3, 2012

      Yeek, my Mac hates me. I've shrunk my video made on iMovie down to 4:13 on MOV and it still doesn't upload! I get some kind of error message every time after a long anxiety-laden wait.

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      Creator Lorenda Kisse on April 3, 2012

      Thank you Walter for taking the time to share all the work it took to make your video presentation for your on site butchering facility on the family farm. Very generous information as well as a very good video!

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      Creator Scott Amaral on April 3, 2012

      Thank you ALL for the insight!

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      Creator Don Ptashne on April 4, 2012

      Those of you in the LA area I would be happy to help you with your kickstarter video. You can see my work at www.LAphotoPro.com Best of luck to everyone!

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      Creator LYNCH THREE PROJECT on April 4, 2012

      Thanks for making and sharing the video. Good advice.

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      Creator James Hawkins on April 4, 2012

      I will admit that a video is rather scary but I am a solo performer. I jame with alot of different people who perfom with diferent people. I'm wondering how can I sell me! I'll have to give this alot of thought!

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      Creator Jesse Lee on April 4, 2012

      I did the video for Battles of the Florida Roadkill with my 4 year old camera and the free version of iMovie that came with my mac.

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      Creator Joseph Russitano on April 4, 2012

      How do I file a compliant?

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      Creator Walter Jeffries on April 4, 2012

      You're welcome. It took me days of doing tests over and over to finally get something that uploaded and then downloaded without stuttering, without having the video and audio go three seconds out of sync or the pigs in our video turn into nasty jpeg mud splotches. I still haven't figured out how to get it to work with YouTube. I uploaded the same exact file to YouTube as I did on Kickstarter yet the Kickstarter movie comes out much, much better. Mysteries abound. If anyone wants to check out our video you can find it at http://SMF.me/k which is my short link to my Kickstarter project. Cheers, -Walter in Vermont

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      Creator Jes Schattie on April 5, 2012

      @ Michael and Cynthia (and everyone, really): Keep in mind that it doesn't matter what you look like on-camera. This isn't Hollywood, and no one expects you to be perfect! What really helped me and my husband was finding a place and time we could file where no one else was around, spending some time being silly in front of the camera so we could sort-of forget it was there (you should see our blooper reel!) .... and the most important part: imagining our friends and family inside it.

      As you're making your video, think about the people you've already told about your project. What did you say to them? How did you explain it? How would you tell your grandmother about it? Your best friend? Your neighbor? It feels awkward if you're making a business pitch to a camera - but it becomes much easier if you're just telling some friends why you wanna make your project a reality. And, bonus - your friends already know what you look like, they're not going to judge how you appear in your video.

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      Creator Jes Schattie on April 5, 2012

      Edit: That should read @Michael and Kimberly... not Cynthia. My eyes are playing tricks on me O_o

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      Creator Ken Malsan on April 8, 2012

      It was extremely difficult to make, and I had to upgrade my mac to get a more current version of imovie. I launched on Thursday and am now wondering if I should have hired a pro to make it better. Too late for a new one, but I may make some revisions. Ken

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      Creator Bob Golding on April 9, 2012

      These are helpful tips. It is a bit scary to do a video.

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      Creator Kay Larch on April 10, 2012

      After I found a friend with a video camera to help me, painted my face in an
      attempt to "hide behind a mask", and stumbled through my video, I thought that maybe I would have felt more comfortable, more natural, if I'd had someone (just off camera) asking me questions, like an interveiw, rather than staring into the camera and giving a speech. Too late for me, but maybe others would prefer that way?

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      Creator Scott Picunko on April 15, 2012

      Since my project has a lot of history behind it, I created the video as a documentary with me doing the voiceover. Not as easy as it sounds. I really had to slow down and enunciate , and still had to record it several times. Got really tired of hearing my own voice over and over, but I think it turned out well.

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      Creator Randy Granger on May 20, 2012

      Thank you all for your advice. Getting set to record the video and launch my campaign. Nice to read that others are just as nervous as I am about the vid. Seems to be quite a bit riding on the video but it makes sense in today's quick byte. It helps us, the artist etc., be succinct about our projects and well, in the end that is what we need to do.

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      Creator Ilya Kastenka on December 11, 2012

      Hello. i'm from videpix.com. We produce videos for startups and businesses. Maybe we can help you in something.

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      Creator Robin Stephens on March 29, 2013

      Anyone got any suggestions on software for editing a video? (This PC user doesn't have imovie)...

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      Creator Aaron Berg (deleted) on June 12, 2013

      I keep getting errors when trying to upload a video to Kickstarter. I've tried all video formats and sizes with no luck.

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      Creator Jason Glaser on July 10, 2013

      Video gets an error message every time. This is the sole thing standing between me and the launch of the Kickstarter.

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      Creator SHOWcialize on January 6

      You can make your own videos from your photos with zero hassle. Just check out http://showcialize.me.

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      Creator Nick Harrison AV Geek 6 days ago

      It's been brilliant doing this project. And today I decided to do a video which will be fast and loud. Never made a video before, expect jet engines :)