The last 10 years have seen an explosion in branded videos. We are producing more video content than we ever have. This means brands have acquired a massive back catalogue of footage, which during COVID 19, presents a huge untapped opportunity for marketers. It’s amazing how when you use a new musical track or powerful script over archived material, you can tell an entirely new story from those raw ingredients.

But just how do you go about creating a fresh new film using existing content?

Define your message

You might assume that your content archive will be quite restrictive in terms of what you can say, but you’ll be surprised just how flexible old footage can be, particularly when it’s combined with stock video and photography. So like any other video project the most important thing is to define your message and what you want audiences to feel and do after they have watched the video. During COVID 19 its vital that you spend time getting this right. Brands need to walk a fine line between trying to make themselves and their products feel relevant, while at the same time being sensitive and empathetic in the midst of the pandemic. We liked how IKEA used archive material and stock footage to very quickly turn around this video about staying at home at the early stages of the lockdown in Spain:

Concept Development

With the direction of your video defined, work can begin on developing concepts and scripts. This process is slightly different from how we’d normally develop an idea, as scripting happens in tandem with reviewing the archive content that’s available. Creatives will be looking through all of your archive to pull out themes that could work effectively with the message you want to convey. And it’s not just footage, photography can also be a rich source for content as this video from Ford shows:

Additional Material

Your own archive is a rich source of material, but it may be that you need some extra content to tell the full story. This is where stock footage can be really useful. We’ve all seen montages of stock videos that immediately feel generic and cliched. But using stock sparingly and for very specific purposes can be really effective. Guinness produced this film using a mixture of stock footage and their own archive to tell a fresh story of togetherness on a very different feeling St Patricks Day:

Deliver your message

The way you deliver your message to audiences usually comes down to two choices – voiceover or on-screen copy (or both). This is how all the content is brought together to tell a singular story about your brand. Motion Graphics can be really effective at delivering punchy messages that are easy to understand. It also has the added bonus of working without sound. Voiceover is generally a more emotive way of telling a story, as can be seen from the Guinness example.

Harmonise the content

Ultimately you are going to end up with a film that contains content that’s come from lots of different sources – different cameras, different lighting conditions, different art direction. While it can be useful for your film to feel like it’s a collection of content from lots of different places, it’s also important that it feels part of the same film. This is where colour grade can be really effective in harmonising what viewers see on screen. Music will also help to unify the film and give it a distinct feel from past content that you have made.

So there you have it, a really simple, cost effective way to get powerful video content working for your brand during COVID 19.