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I have just returned from the Qual360 event in Berlin, which was a really engaging conference that bought together researchers from all over Europe. With our company’s focus on video, I was delighted to see how extensively this medium is now used, either for primary research purposes or for presenting insight.  At whatever level people use video, it brings the consumers and research to life in a way that makes an impact, is memorable and relevant in our digital age.

As a company, Vox Pops International has been using video in research for 25 years now and has seen the industry evolve dramatically, not surprisingly with the advent of digital technology and the internet.

I thought it was an opportune time to summarise the way video is being used in the research and insight market at the moment.

Image of VPI MD, Diane presenting at Qual 360 on the topic of video insight.

1. Using video as Primary Source footage

There is a growing abundance of footage, which in essence is raw data.  A video project can generate anything up to 60 hours of footage if it’s International in scope.

Typically this footage is made up of mobile ethnography, filmed focus groups, vox pops, depth interviews, observational filming, day in the life of, eye-tracking and webcam videos.

This source footage is unedited and raw.  It can be user-generated with little or no researcher intervention, or it might be from highly moderated interviews with experienced qualitative researchers.  The footage may or may not include shots to illustrate respondents’ lives and these, in turn, may be filmed professionally or by the researchers themselves.

The footage varies dramatically in quality and will include filming that is professional, good amateur, amateur and beginner levels.

Key watch-outs when commissioning this source footage are recruitment, depth and quality of responses required, quality of film generated, language issues, technical components and being aware of audio and filming basics. In addition, it is important to consider how video is distributed internally and made accessible to ensure maximum impact.

2. For Presentations & Communication

Video makes a dramatic impact at the presentation stage.  A well-edited creative film can be used in marketing communications, for training, for sales, at events and so on, making market research go a lot further.  This transforms findings and insights into actionable deliverables and gives value for money.

The first step is for the researcher to sift through the source footage, wherever it comes from and this includes looking at what’s been said, cutaway shots and body language.  Insights are drawn, a story is developed and key messages highlighted.

The next step is to edit clips for use.

One route is to drop short clips into powerpoint presentations, these can be edited by researchers using simple editing packages and the quality of the actual footage and editing is not necessarily critical. There are now companies that specialise in platforms to host large volumes of source footage to help find and select clips.  However, realistically, given that at least 50% of the material is not worth storing, this could be expensive, cumbersome and increase the time needed to find the ‘right’ clips.

Other ways to edit is to use video production professionals who can take the video content and produce any of the following; animations, videos that mix clips with text and data, filmic consumer videos that tell a story,  segmentation videos and much more. They do not need an accompanying powerpoint presentation or researcher to deliver.

3. Fit for Purpose

One area companies need to think about is the quality of the video, both from a filming and also an editing perspective.  Not all video research projects need perfect filming or editing, it is a case of ‘fit for purpose’. It’s important to think about how and where the footage will be used as this will impact on the type of deliverable that is needed.  If the end video is going to be used for communication purposes or shown to larger audiences, then a well-edited video will have the most impact.

About Vox Pops International

So who are we?  We’ve been established for 25 years and started using video in research well before the digital age.  During that time we have been interviewing and filming consumers, bringing them to life for leading companies worldwide, to a high standard.  We are experts at filtering hours of footage to look for the nuggets, we find the insights, illustrate key points, build a story and edit engaging, creative videos that include animation, split screens, graphics, moving text, data and cutaway shots.  We also produce video portals to house numerous videos that are easy to search and download.

Diane Earnshaw, Managing Director, Vox Pops International

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