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Marketing video tips – 3

By August 4, 2014May 17th, 2019All members, Promotion, Video

In this third part of a series of marketing video tips, let’s ‘focus’ on content and staying legal.

Content can be your footage or still images, (professionally shot footage or images), library footage or images, (purchased, usually online from a stock library) or simply graphics and text. This maybe supplemented with some music and a voiceover.

First off: stay legal. There are plenty of stock libraries to buy still images and video that you may need, i.e Shutterstock. You try before you buy with a watermarked version and then replace with a purchased high quality version when you are ready. ‘Borrow’ them from Google Images at your peril!

Music licensing is a minefield of confusion best described as a total mess! You cannot simply use copyrighted music (except specific library music) legally without hideous expense not to mention dealing with MCPS and PRS.

So NO, you cannot use anything you just fancy without at best risking your video being taken down from YouTube, Vimeo etc who have sophisticated detection software and at worst receiving a letter from a hotshot firm of American Lawyers.

YouTube has various arrangements in place for using some copyrighted music on non commercial pieces (Skateboarding Cats) but not on commercial (business) content. There are many exceptional collections of very good library music tracks, that can be used on web video for a modest fee £25-£100 and you can then “sleep at night”. There are also collections of royalty free tracks that can be purchased as single tracks or CDs. Some of them are quite good but some are not so. Most video producers will have access to these libraries or have collections of music tracks.

Voiceovers: a good voice can make or break a programme – even a short promo – but the type of voice is going to be personal choice. These days v/o’s are done online and there are endless websites where you can listen to voices of all flavours. Even if it’s a programme you are appearing in, doing a PTC, it may be better left to a pro voice.

This need not cost the earth and many except the top guys are open to negotiation for short pieces. A good v/o artist will give you variations of expression and often if asked advise on script tweaks to make it sound better. As with the auditions on X Factor, many of us think our voices sound better than they are, so unless you have a clear voice and can pronounce clearly, a good v/o could be money well spent. I have used a variety of voices in all “shapes and sizes” and happy to offer pointers.

I am happy to answer questions and can be contacted here or by email or visit my website:




  • Great post David.
    Absolutely right on all counts.

    I come across this worryingly often in the world of voiceover. There are many people who think it a good idea to voice their own productions, as it’s ‘their business, they know it best’ etc. But more often than not, that’s a really bad idea. It’s always better to use a professional – because after all, they’ve got a professional in to produce their video, why then spoil it with amateur narration?
    I blogged about this last year which resonated amongst many…..

    I have video clients, (whose clients, incidentally, are spending a good amount of money having their material video’d and produced into a really nice shiny promo), to then have them say ‘Oh someone in marketing will voice it, we don’t want to spend money on a VO’.
    That’s happened 5 or 6 times now – and on all those counts so far, after whoever else has recorded it in their office, they’ve realised it wasn’t a good idea, & I’ve ended up doing it after all! (Or at least one of my colleagues has if they wanted a female voice).

    My mission is to educate people on the fact that audio shouldn’t be an afterthought – after all, a promo/corporate video/business film is an ‘audio/visual’ presentation….not just visual. Audio should be treated with the same respect the visuals do. Always.

    And when you mention about advising on scripts – absolutely right again. Sometimes when I receive a script from someone in a company’s marketing team, they may not necessarily be used to writing scripts that are meant to be voiced. They could look and read beautifully on paper – but sometimes when something is meant to be narrated aloud, some wording can sound overly jargon-ised or clunky, or overly fancy when simpler phrasing would sound and flow much better.
    I don’t go through things with a red pen teacher-style of course! But sometimes if the need arises, I do voice my ideas because after all, they want a script to sound great, and that’s my job. And if it needs the odd slight tweak to make it gel and flow nicely, then it’s certainly worth looking at.

  • Nigel Temple says:

    Video enables you to communicate on an entirely different level, doesn’t it? If you are looking to work with a professional, talk to David Strelitz.

  • Thank you for your comments Richard. I have just read your blog and along some of the other points you make here, many of those have been covered in my first two articles. This merely reinforces that as pro’s we just want the best for our clients.
    I covered a point you have reiterated here in video tips 2 – what looks good on paper does not sound good. One client insisted on reciting “the back of a 3 fold flyer”. He was delighted that after an intial stumble he rattled it off from the Teleprompter in one take and headed off to to polish his Porche…he would not accept it was simply too wordy and he had lost the viewer after 20seconds as he was reciting AT THEM and not talking TO THEM. In contrast when a client takes on board advice and minor tweaks from the V/O and acknowledges “it just sounds so much better” everyone is happy and invariably the result is a better job.

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