How we created our first Kickstarter Video without any experience

Our workflow and tips for creating a Kickstarter video — including all the equipment we used!

Our first Kickstarter campaign for the card game soheresone is going to launch on the 10th of October and the thing that kept us up at night for weeks was the Kickstarter video. But as you can see we finished our video and we want to help you do the same and maybe even save you some bucks.

Sneak peek of our video

Some scenes from our video

Our campaign is not online yet, but you can check out the whole video and the campaign on our preview site before the launch.

First of all we want to say we did not account the skills and hours we worked on it. If you would do that we would of course spend money on the production. But as we did everything ourselves we figured it is okay.

Our Starting Point

Our three starting goals for the video:

  1. It should not suck
  2. It should be something unique
  3. It should be budget friendly

Those three points might seem basic, but trust me they are challenging. Especially the budget part makes the first two even harder to accomplish.

Our Equipment:

We had a MacBook Pro with Photoshop, iMovie, a Camera that was able to record video/sound and a Rode Pro Microphone. We wouldn’t call these high end material but we used what we already had.

Our equipment

Our Skills:

Daniel, our “creative blabla” was the master of the video. He is a graphic designer so he knows Photoshop really well. He was able to cut the video in iMovie, although he is not a pro and learnt everything himself.

Hakim, the creator of soheresone narrated the video and we recorded it in our selfmade “studio”. He is also an industrial designer so he could work with Solidworks and Keyshot to do the 3D models and the rendering.

The idea

The most important Part — Coming up with the Idea and writing the script

The first thing we did, was brainstorming and some more brainstorming. We drew a traditional mind map. We used the mind map to define our main elements we wanted to communicate, before going into further details. Those main elements kind of structured our idea. We soon discovered that making a traditional filmed video would be too complicated with our lack of video knowledge, and even more so to get our point across. We did a lot of research and decided to do a fast cut. We knew we would concentrate on having a lot of individual scenes, shown in a fast cut, instead of showing just a few long scenes.

As soon as we had the main points figured out, we went into the details and started to write the script. Defining the scenes and how they would fit together, the story flow and when and where we would introduce the product. This part was very hard. We wrote and rewrote the script nearly a 100 times. To keep an overview we made a shared document on our Google Drive. Every revision was saved with the date and the name of the person who revised it to keep track of all the different versions.

The last steps towards finishing the script was reading it out loud to what it sounds like. We also kept an eye on the flow, rhythm and where to take minor breaks to stress the importance of a word or sentence. We also let different people read the script to get feedback on the storytelling and to check whether or not they got the point we were trying to make.

The recording

The most fun Part — Recording the Narration

This part was so much fun for us. The three of us shared a place and we built a recording “studio” with 2 Queen size mattresses, 4 pillows, 3 Yoga Mats, 2 Blankets, 1 closet and lots of duct tape. This might sound crazy, but it was so much fun and actually worked.

First we recorded the sound under the blanket, but sitting under the blanket was uncomfortable and it got really hot down there. We also felt the sound was too flat as the narrator was crumbled up not being able to make hand gestures and move freely for a spontaneous narration.

So we searched for a solution and came up with the idea of using the closet to make a sound “studio”. Hakim was able to stand while talking, which helped him to sound more clear. We recorded the narration with Rode microphone connected to our camera. It was quite simple, we just recorded a video and then used the sound from the video. We also tried different recording methods, like the iphone and a lavalier microphone. The recorded version with the Rode microphone and the camera sounded best for us.

Our DIY recording studio

The video

The most time consuming Part — Finding pictures for the video

In order to make a video, it is not necessary to use video material. We made the video, by using free stock material. First we went through the script and defined what we wanted to show during this scene. Then we started searching for pictures. In the process we sometimes needed to change our first image idea, because we could not find a suitable picture. Be sure to plan enough time to search for all the material, this normally takes more time than expected.

Finding stock material can be hard, we used these free stock sites to find most of our pictures. This blog has a great list of all the free stock sites. We mostly used Unsplash, Burst, Pexels and Adobe stock (normally you have to pay for them, but when you sign up for the first time you will get 10 pictures for free).

We want to thank everyone, who put up their pictures for free. You are the BEST!

Please always check if the pictures are free to use.

The dynamic part — Bringing motion to pictures:

Just showing the pictures, was too boring for us. We still wanted to give our video a unique style. We decided to cut out the main scenes and places them in front of a colored background. So the scenes would fit together. To bring some movement into the motion pictures we worked with different layers and animated them with a simple effect called Ken Burns in iMovie. To make everything easier for us we just animated every scene on it’s own and then put them together into the final video later. This gave us the advantage to still speed or slow down every single scene to fit the narration. We chose to work with iMovie instead of Adobe Preview, because for us the Ken Burns effect tool was really easy to use in iMovie.

One scene from our video

The product part — Presenting the product

As we were on a tight-to-zero budget we weren’t able to produce our final product design into prototypes to use for the video. So instead, Hakim 3D modeled the products in Solidworks and rendered the products in different angles and positions in Keyshot. Typically, his laptop crashed and was too slow to render the animations and images on time. So we hired a render guy on upwork for 150$ to render all the animations and images in one day. If you’re planning to do the same, we have to warn you that it took us 4 days to find and hire a qualified person. Because you have to take into account that if you ask for a test render to evaluate their skills, it will take an hour up to a day to get a response on that (not because they are slow, it just takes time to render).

One of our finished renders

The part we almost forgot — Recording the Team Introduction:

We discussed a lot about how and if we should include a introduction of the team. We saw a lot of the Kickstarter video’s include a brief talk of the team. Most of the time it cuts a bit in the holistic style of the video.

In the end we decided to include it, as it adds a face to the project, and we thought the viewer might appreciate that. So we went out and did the classic sitcom-like video where we sat on a couch, introduced ourselves, and briefly mentioned something about the project. It took us an hour to set up and record several takes. We then went through the footage to choose the best take, but we all felt it was a bit standard, boring and stood in contrast to the high pace of our fast cut video. Instead of tossing the footage we just took an outtake and just keep it as short as possible. The main thing we wanted to accomplish with the team video is showing our faces, names, and mentioning the word card game. We edited it a bit and we think we accomplished those goals, without ending up in long monologue about how we met etc. Two of our team members could not be with us while recording. We added their video later and made a fun Harry Potter moving frame look.

Scene from our team video

The step to combine all steps — Cutting the final video:

Combining all the Video scenes, the Narration and the Music was our final step. Finding the right music can be a tricky part while producing a video, we already had a soundtrack customly made for our Youtube videos and to avoid new costs and stress, we used this song in our Kickstarter video as well. Hiring a composer was really easy, we found our guy through soundcloud. The process of composing the song, including feedback rounds took around two weeks and we are really happy with the result.

We are not sure if we should account it in our Kickstarter bill, because we had it before and we did not produce it for the purpose to use it on Kickstarter. But just in case, it cost us 300$ to get a custom soundtrack.

The feedback rounds

After finishing the first draft, the feedback rounds came. So be on the safe side and finish your draft as soon as possible and make sure to have enough time to work in some changes. Sharing the video with friends and family is helpful, but at some point you will get too many opinions. Don’t listen to each of them. It is also wise to show your video to people who have never heard about the project before.

Our expenses:

  • 150 $ — rendering guy from upwork
  • 300 $ — music (we already had this for our youtube videos)
  • 10 $ — lots of duct tape ;)

Our learnings:

  • Choose your team wisely — at least one person should know how to really use Adobe Programs, has a sense for Creativity and is able to cut a video.
  • Write a good script before starting to produce the video and take your time with it! Find out what you want to say
  • Record the Narration as professional as possible. Good sound is key. If you are not confident with recording your own voice or feel like you are not a professional narrator, find someone on upwork.
  • Searching for the right pictures takes up most time.
  • Even if you’re on a tight budget, outsourcing saves you a lot of time and headaches. And even if you think your time doesn’t cost anything, it actually does.

Hope writing down our workflow, will help you to produce your own video for a small budget. Check out our Kickstarter preview page for more Information on the campaign. If you have any other questions feel free to contact us