A piece to camera is one of Shootsta’s most common types of video. Apart from a script for the autocue you’re good to go, right? …. Right!? Check out our guide on what you actually need to plan for a piece to camera.
First, here's a great example of a piece to camera we made here at Shootsta:
There are good reasons why you should plan your video in detail, for example so you can run an efficient shoot. So, for optimal results, consider these best practices on how to plan a piece-to-camera.
VARIANTS of the piece to camera:
Personalised video messages
The piece to camera structure
Here's our video overview of how to plan your piece to camera:
To plan out your ideal piece to camera and relevant cutaways you’ll need a:
The basic structure of a piece to camera has four main parts + relevant cutaways:
Like in any video, the introduction is where you grab and keep your audience’s attention. Let’s breakdown what that looks like for a piece to camera:
Within 3 seconds, grab attention: by starting with a strong visual, a bold statement, or a provocative question to engage the audience’s interest.
e.g. “Example Business has a huge secret to share with you.”
e.g. “10 years from now, you won’t have to drive yourself anymore. ”
Within the first 10 seconds, set the scene: Introduce yourself and establish your topic. Keep it short and to the point.
e.g. “Hi, I’m Jane. I’m the CEO of Example Business, and I’m so excited to announce our new product line with you.”
Within the first 30 seconds, communicate your key message, starting by establishing the problem or need you’re addressing or the beginning of the story
e.g. ‘Too many businesses think that the key to great video content is…’
e.g. ‘When I started my career, I believed…’.
After that, give a very brief outline of your topic, like a roadmap for the rest of your piece to camera.
e.g. ‘What I’m going to show you is that there are three secrets to great video: Point 1, Point 2, and Point 3’.
Your points make up the body of your video. Here are some things to consider to make them stick :
Keep it short. Keep your script short, and your sentences short too. Long scripts and sentences are tough to deliver without running out of breath. Check out our guide on Video Best Practices on The Optimal Video Length.
Stay on topic. Focus your points on the topic you’ve established in the outline. Be ruthless with your script and make sure you don’t get off track with your message.
Logically order your points and use ‘signpost’ language like ‘First of all…’, ‘Secondly...’, and ‘Finally…’ so your viewers can follow the logical progression.
The conclusion is where you bring your points together and link them back to the key message:
e.g. ‘The one thing I wish everybody knew about creating great video content is…’
e.g. ‘What I’d like you to take away from this that it’s all about…’
3. Call To Action (CTA)
Make sure you have a clear call to action at the end of your video. You can learn more about why calls to action are useful in our article on how to grab and keep attention in video. Pieces to camera are about creating a direct, personal connection between the presenter and the viewer, which means that your CTA is best delivered by the presenter at the end of the video. What is it that you want them to do next? Focus on the single action you want them to complete and say it straight down the lens.
e.g. “Next time you’re looking for a product to solve your problems, contact us by...”
e.g. “Keep an eye out for our next video, which will be about...”
Cutaways are related or illustrative shots to break away from the piece to camera. You can keep the presenter’s voice as a voice-over during the cutaway. Cutaways keep things visually interesting for your viewer and they can help them to visualise the message.
Use the Piece to camera - Video Plan to plan out the structure of the piece to camera first and then identify matching cutaways.
For abstract topics (e.g. happiness, personal growth, career opportunities, innovation, creativity, future, etc.) illustrative cutaways can be challenging as there isn’t always something physical to film. Try to think of ways you can demonstrate these topics or ideas in an indirect way.
e.g. Let’s say the topic of your piece to camera is about career opportunities. You could plan for some general shots of your presenter at work, interacting with others and the service or product. You could use some generic stock footage where relevant and possible.
Need help or have questions? Contact us. We'd love to help!