I have just created 2 sales videos for horses and was thinking about what makes a good sales video. First, I would like to say that I am NOT an expert in the field of making/creating sales videos for horses. But what I can say is that I think I am as good as an expert as can be for “watching” sales videos.
Another thing I can tell you is that a video is absolutely necessary to sell a horse these days. Everyone is connected, YouTube is easy and making a little movie of your horse is not as hard as it used to be. Now, the hard part of the sales video is getting someone to shoot the video and doing it in the right light.
First – getting someone to shoot the video.
Of course, friends and family are great. In fact, I usually suggest to people to do a “trade-sy” kind of thing. Plan a day where your friend can video you and then you can return the favour. Even if she isn’t selling, videoing a lesson or tests at a show are great to have too. Have a tripod or a very steady hand, a lot of cameras have steady shot options as well. The other option is to pay someone.
Next, Where are you going to do it? Inside? This can be tricky since the lighting can make it difficult to see with glare from the outside. If this is the only option, try it at night so there is no glare through the windows or a dark, rainy day (not a difficult thing in winter). Outside? Sunny days can have issues as well with shadows. Some cameras have no problems. Remember “sun to your back”, so you avoid it glinting in the camera lense. Higher sun is better than early or evening – the lower the sun, the more glare.
Turnout. Neat, tidy and clean. You are trying to sell it, look pretty. I always like white polos and white saddle pad, with the rider in dark clothing. You are trying to highlight the horse, not the rider. However, sometimes white saddle pad can glare too much depending on where you are videoing. To braid or not to braid, you choose – what makes your horse look the best? I usually don’t braid (too much work) but will elastic over the mane onto one side, so it looks neat and tidy even if it is a wild mess of a mane.
What are you videoing? Have a plan. What you do know is that you have to show all three gaits. Next, show the movements that the horse does best in a place that the video will get the best view. Usually videoing from C is a good place. I personally don’t like the person in the middle swivelling around. If they are at C, the viewer can see the inside, the outside and a decent angle from front and back. If you are selling a third level horse, show the flying changes. I hate it when I watch a video and there are none. What is the essence of the level and make sure you show it. If you are schooling third level, then at least show some attempts at changes – even if they are not that great.
The Editing. Try to keep your video to approx 5 mins. I can tell you that I will fast forward most of it anyway, so don’t make it 10 mins with 5 or 6 20m circles each way. Show the best gait or the best movement the horse has first. Get your buyers attention. I would put the flying changes front and centre in a video for a third level horse. Please don’t start with walk or slow motion or pictures. Boring. I want the three gaits and a few movements.
To add music or not? Doesn’t matter to me. We are not likely to have music that fits all the gaits, so put something in there. But I, personally, turn it off anyway. Same goes for if it is a lesson – no one wants to hear your instructor telling you want to do. Or more often – yelling at you.
What makes a poor or down right bad video? In my humble opinion, someone who watches, on average, 10-20 a week?
- Bad lighting – too much glare that you see a dark blob in the video.
- Shaky footage.
- Video from too far away, so the horse is miniature on the screen.
- Tests (I know this is where most people have video footage, but it usually is not your best riding AND if you are schooling PSG, why are you showing me a second level test?)
Here is an example of a video that is not that great. This is the first sales video for my horse Steddy, filmed indoors with poor lighting and a bad glare.
Here is another video of the same horse as above – much better huh?!
What makes a good sales video in my mind?
- Good lighting.
- Short, to the point.
- Putting the movements in a way you can see them – please don’t make me search to find the flying changes if you are selling a third level horse. Or have to watch the clip 5 times to figure out if it was clean or any good. Try to put the good stuff at the beginning – get my attention and keep it. Sorry to say, I am probably going to fast forward most of your video anyway – but if you can get me to watch more than the first minute that is pretty good. I am usually fast forwarding within the first minute and if I can’t find anything good quickly, I don’t even get to the end.
There you go – that’s my opinion….. may be out in left field,