Editor’s Note: We thought it would be interesting to show, in detail, how a Kickstarter is run. Natasha has agreed to document her entire process in a 6 part series so you can see what is involved with setting up your own crowdfunding campaign. 


I’m Natasha, the designer behind TechnoChic DIY tech-craft kits at TechnoChic.net. In just 2 weeks I’ll be launching my new DIY light-up paper bow tie kits on Kickstarter (That’s March 7th!), and the campaign prep schedule is becoming critical as we near the launch. This week, I focused on developing my Kickstarter video and planning the story of my project. I explored the most valuable pieces of information needed to tell my story and planned unique and creative ways to express them. This is the fourth week on my journey to launch – if you missed last weeks post, check it out here.

Telling your campaign story through video:

There are some Kickstarter creators who have their videos professionally produced with motion graphics and high-tech video equipment, and there are some who just hold up their smartphone and hit record. I’d say my videos are about in the middle of those two extremes. My goal is to make a video that’s interesting enough to watch, is fairly cheap to make, and says everything I need to convince a potential backer to make their pledge.

I’ll share with you my ideas on what needs to be said, my process for creating that content, and the tools I use (some unexpected) on my quest to make decent video on a budget.

To get a sense of my style, here are a few of my past Kickstarter campaign videos:

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CONTENT – What needs to be said or shown?

Here’s my list of must-have information for the video, and other info that belongs either in the video or the project page.

Definitely include this information in the video:

  • Who you are – Say Hi! and who you are on camera so backers see you and feel a personal connection to the project
  • Your credibility – Have you launched a Kickstarter before? Is your job or professional experience relevant? Are you a mom and your project is a solution for moms? Say that too!
  • What your project is – Say exactly what your project is – with details. Remember, most people watching may not be familiar with your project at all
  • What your end goal is – Are they helping you design, prototype or produce?
  • Why you care – Why is backing this project important besides the money?
  • Say Thank You – Manners apply to video :p

Include in Video or Project page:

  • When it will be delivered – Restating the delivery date helps backers visualize themselves with your rewards in hand
  • How you came up with your budget – Backers like to know you’ve done your homework
  • List the rewards – Show & Tell backers what they will get – make it easy to choose a reward and back the project!
  • Ask backers to share – Your backers can help make the campaign a success by sharing

PROCESS – Storyboards and Sticky Notes

A lot goes into making the video, but it can all be broken down into a few easy steps.

First, I write down each message or point I think I may need to say on a sticky note. (Basically, applying my list above to the project) Then, I edit them and rearrange them into an order that offers a nice flow for the video.

Next, I stick the winning sticky notes to white printer paper and sketch out a storyboard of what each shot should be.

These pieces of paper now serve as a shot list of each piece of video that needs capturing, and a voiceover script. Now it’s just a matter of shooting, recording and editing!

We had gorgeous weather in Jersey City this week – so we decided to go outside to shoot this time :)

Crowd sourcing in my crowdfunding video:

In my first post in this series, I asked for volunteers to test my products, provide feedback and shoot some video too! I’ve already received a few videos from my user testers. This makes me so happy to see people out in the world making my bow-ties! Editing the video will take awhile, but here’s a few seconds of a totally rough cut to show you:

 

TECHNICAL STUFF

I’ve been a hobby photographer for basically my whole life, and since photo / video equipment can get really pricy, I’ve tried to spend money only where it matters most. Here’s are a few products that I’ve found helpful:

CAMERA

I own a Canon Rebel T4i (an entry-level DSLR camera), but had I not had it, I would have considered my iPhone a completely acceptable camera. I don’t see much of a reason to upgrade to a DSLR just for a Kickstarter video – I’m trying to make money after all! A good investment would be a nice tripod. Camera technology changes often, but tripods last for years so the investment makes sense. I have a Vanguard tripod that lets me hang the camera facing directly down over the table, which has been great for shooting tutorials and stop motion as well as great for normal use. And if you’re shooting with your phone, you can still use a tripod with a smartphone tripod mount.

AUDIO

Good audio is so important for Kickstarter. It’s a major turn-off if potential backers can’t understand what you’re saying or if there is humming, ambulances or wind in the background. (This is a huge challenge in a city, but you try your best!) Because the microphone on my camera isn’t great, I bought a cheap lavalier microphone for about $20 and use a voice recorder app on my phone then sync the audio and video later. The audio is much clearer and it doesn’t pick up as much ambient noise.

Another trick I use for clear speech: I speak slowly with good diction, then speed up the audio track a bit to save time and seem more energetic.

As for music, I’ve found a few great places to get free music like the Free Music Archive, I’ve also paid for royalty free tracks at PremiumBeat.com and composers’ websites. Although I’d love to always find something that’s free, the paid music comes with multiple loops and makes it very easy to edit together- saving me time in the long run.

LIGHTING

The best lighting in almost always natural light. So shooting by a big window is usually perfect. Without one and to shoot at night, I ended up buying a few dimmable video lights for about $30. They work great, but they are battery powered so they drive me nuts always charging those batteries!

Another cheap hack is using tin foil as a reflector. In my second Kickstarter video, we created two light reflectors out of foil and shined lamps at them in my living room. It’s something you have lying around anyway and it works quite well.

EDITING

I’m an Apple user, and I use Final Cut Pro X to edit my video because that’s what I know. If I were to edit on the cheap, iMovie for iPhone is surprisingly powerful. You can cut multiple videos together, add music, titles, sound effects, transitions, and even speed up and slow down your clips. It’s worth taking a look at.

This week I’ll be finishing my editing and working on developing my content for the Kickstarter project page. Wish me luck!

A Personal Note

Since these posts are like a Kickstarter reality show, I thought I would end by sharing my feelings about the campaign and how the process is going:

This week, I feel like I got a lot accomplished. I filmed the part of the video with me on camera, so that has me feeling relieved – I get so nervous about shooting the video! This is my first Kickstarter that I’ve done in the middle of winter – which is hard. With so many things to plan, I’ve been working later and I wish I had some sunlight and nice weather to take a bike ride at night to let off some steam. I’ve been getting a normal amount of sleep. I ordered takeout 2 times. Let’s see how I do next week! :)

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Useful tips about making Kickstarter videos from around the internet:

From Kickstarter: Let’s Make Your Project Video

A few of my favorite Kickstarter videos: