Best Practices for Visual Effects

One of the more challenging items for scaling video production is standardizing the use of visual effects. With written documentation, decisions on how and when to use headings, bold, italics, underline, etc. have been proven over time. Standards have evolved as content moved to the web from print. With video, it’s still the wild west. Decisions about when to highlight, box, shadow, or zoom are for the most part left to the creator. With software videos, you can improve the user experience by implementing standards for visual effects in your scripts just like you do for your website and product documentation. 

Here are some suggestions for best practices.

  1. Use them only when needed to draw attention. Like bold text, too many visual effects diminish the importance after a while.
  2. Use a limited set for consistency. While recording tools may offer dozens of different options, similar to how you build templates in other products, limiting the number of choices makes it easier to maintain.
  3. The color scheme should align with your brand. This seems obvious, so please create a video style guide just like you do for the web and print. Don’t leave color choices up to the video creators, many of whom could be great subject matter experts but not so great with color palettes.
  4. Words matter. What is best when presenting information in a top or bottom bar? Do slides help? Keep your top and bottom bars, callouts, and slides concise and easy to read.
  5. Establish rules for turning visual effects on and off. If you put a box around an element or highlight a panel, when do you turn it off? How is the length of time the visual effect appears related to the words being spoken?

With Videate, the handling of visual effects can be standardized just like formatting in your other materials. In addition to explicitly specifying when to turn visual effects on and off in your scripts, we recently introduced new capabilities in our platform to automate this. You can now automatically turn off visual effects when you perform the next action or at the end of the relevant speech. The magic is in how we synchronize the movement of the mouse and the text-to-speech. We can control the application of visual effects as part of the process.

Most SaaS companies still struggle with video. In addition to the challenge of frequent software updates and multiple languages, video production is people-intensive and time-consuming. While in some organizations, there are a handful of capable employees who can record quality videos, by and large, client success, documentation, and education teams cannot keep up with the pace of development and offer ample product coverage through video.

Implementing best practices for visual effects is an important part of your overall content strategy. If you want the best customer experience, make sure you pay attention to visual effects the same way as other presentation standards. With Videate, you can use your existing documentation or scripts to generate videos through automation. And you can add visual effects in a simple and consistent way.