Long-form Video

long-form video

Got a minute? How about ten minutes? Twenty? If you were to search “optimal length for business video”, you’ll mostly see advice that ranges from eight seconds to two minutes. There will be a repeated theme that shorter is better. You’ll read evidence of our short attention spans and how social media caters to quick hits. Even though we’ve also given this advice in past blogs, we’re going to tell you today why long-form video can be a smart choice.

What is Long-form?

Long-form Video
Length is relative in video terms

First of all, what’s considered long-form? Google Ads contend that short-form videos are under ten minutes and long-form videos are over ten minutes. The Shorty Awards honour social media videos that they consider long-form; and in the realm of Facebook and Instagram, a video qualifies as long-form if it’s two minutes or more. We feel the best definition of long-form video is: one that runs longer than is typical for its distribution channel. Think about some of the Super Bowl ads that run sixty or even ninety seconds—long, right? But how many TED Talks are under ten minutes? Long-form is a fluid definition that we ask you to keep in mind while reading this blog.

Long Doesn’t Have to Mean Slow

Long-form video can be incredibly effective and affective. It has different goals than short-form video. Longer content gives you time to develop and tell a story. That means you can build a relationship with the viewer, earning their trust. Concentrate on brand reinforcement by backing off the hard sell that’s often necessary with a short video. Rather than presenting your product or service with a fleeting visual, you can work to instill a feeling about your company.

This video presented by REI is a short documentary on how strangers with one thing in common helped fulfill a man’s dream. By the end, we think you’ll remember the people and their stories. Somewhere in the back of your mind, we bet REI also cultivated a good feeling you’re going to associate with their brand.


Storytelling for Long-Form Video

Storytelling has never been more important than with long-form video. You have the opportunity to tell a brand story. By knowing and speaking directly to your target market, you can give them satisfying and fruitful content. Emotional engagement is key. A customer will be more willing to provide data if they get something in return—perhaps entertainment or advice. Create brand trust and capitalize on this value exchange.

SK-II is a Chinese skincare brand and high-end beauty product company. The company made a mini-doc about “leftover women”. They found their audience, told their story and connected with the viewer. Through this video, SK-II grew brand allegiance and created a positive association.


The Proof

There’s evidence that long-form viewing has been making gains in the last few years. YouTube is a big supporter of long-form video and its algorithm rewards this kind of content. The longer the video, the longer you spend on YouTube and that’s the platform’s goal. The average length of a first page YouTube video in almost fifteen minutes. Need more evidence? A Wochit study from 2017 found that longer videos got more shares and more views than their shorter counterparts.

The Long and Short of It

At Key West Video, we think you can have your cake and eat it, too. We commonly create a longer master video for clients and also provide shorter cutdowns. It’s our job to tailor videos to the subject and the platform. We like to think of it as one-stop shopping that suits all your needs. If you’re ready for a video that speaks to your customers no matter where they see it, call us today for a free quote.

Key West Video Best of 2018

Key West Video Best of 2018

Over the course of a year, we work on a lot of projects at Key West Video and 2018 was particularly busy. We worked locally with cities and regions. Clients such as Ornge, Bain & Company and Sun Life Financial were regulars on our roster. There were music videos shot in our studio and we supported more than one crowdfunding campaign. Cars, kids and colleges all had starring roles in our productions. We promoted apps, animated beer taps and even got into the international film scene. In short, it was one heck of a year! Here are some of the projects that left a lasting impression.

Local Heroes

Grant Thornton has been a client for years and they bring us a lot of interesting work. In the summer, the accounting and business advisory firm asked us to produce something they called Five Stories. We were given twenty-five biographies and asked to think about which would translate best to brand stories. Our DOP had the first look and he chose candidates that represented his visual interests. After he made suggestions, the client had the final say and we narrowed the group down to five. We were asked to flesh out a story for each that ran sixty to ninety seconds. The theme was human connection. It was our job to show how each Grant Thornton employee was connecting with their client while also contributing to the community. We shot in Nova Scotia and B.C. for the videos that now live on the client’s careers website. 

This project was a top pick for many of us here at Key West Video. The owner liked that we were asked to do something different. It was up to us to pitch ideas, shoot in a more cinematic way and step outside the corporate box. Our DOP sunk his teeth into a dramatization that illustrates how these employees are involved with their community and have a real impact on their client’s lives. He saw firsthand how services are tailored to specialized industries in different parts of the country. The resident writer loved the challenge of telling each story in a way that satisfied stakeholder goals and connected with the viewer.

Here’s the story of Josh, Orchard Hill Farm and one of the cutest babies we’ve ever seen.

Key West Video Best of 2018

Talking Beer Taps

Many of our videos are created to be used internally. Sometimes these are training videos or CEO addresses shared with the entire company. Other times, they’re lip-synced music videos and spoofs that bring some levity to a meeting or seminar. Last winter, we produced a series of videos for Labatt Breweries to be used at their National Commercial Conference. There were videos that showcased branded swag, employees throwing out pitches for the Blue Jays, GIFs, and one video in particular that featured animated characters. The editor who worked on this project dug deep to bring some recognizable bar staff to life. Some other Key West Video employees pitched in with voice work.

Key West Video Best of 2018

Keep on Truckin’

Our DOP loves assignments for creative advertising agency Tattoo Projects. Based in North Carolina, Tattoo has clients all over the USA. That means our shooters get to travel and are often working with artists. It’s fun to shoot colourful visuals and capture the passion so many of these subjects have for their work.

In the fall, we worked with Tattoo Projects to help promote their client, convenience store chain Sheetz. These stores are well-known and well-loved with 500 locations across six states. Our DOP liked that this promotion was tied to artists working on pieces that represent their regions. He enjoyed learning about local features and the pride people took in their hometowns. The editor who worked on the video below had fun with all the footage our shooter gathered and liked cutting with music that isn’t the norm around here.

Key West Video Best of 2018

Small Business, Big Impact

Key West Video understands what it’s like to be a small business. We may work for some pretty big companies, but we also like to feature the little guys. Client Copper Marketing hired us to produce a series of videos featuring small businesses for Toronto Finance International. One of our shooters said the video for Paul’s Boutique was one his favourite jobs this year. He liked the opportunity to move away from an office environment and shoot in a visually stimulating setting. We think you’ll see what he means when you watch this video.

Key West Video Best of 2018

Learning and Growing

Key West Video Best of 2018
Line art from a new animation

Animation is a big part of what we do at Key West Video. Our animator is always busy with explainer videos for new apps, promotional pieces for benefits, and all sorts of other projects. She’s currently working with some line art and iconography animation, which she likes because it’s different from the usual story-based projects.

Our writer enjoyed scripting an animated piece for the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario. From the first meeting with LDAO staff, she felt connected to this project. Part of working in corporate video is learning about new businesses and services. This project taught our writer about the language used in this field and challenged her to consider the perspective of the characters being represented in the video. It’s the writer’s job to get inside the head of the target market and write in a way that connects with the audience. On top of all that, she loved what the animator did to bring the script to life.

Key West Video Best of 2018

Fun, Fun, Fun

We have one word to describe working with the City of Vaughan on their part-time recreational jobs video: fun! This client was accommodating, full of ideas and really excited about their program. When we shot with the workers featured in the video, it wasn’t hard to sell the idea that this would be a great place to work. We pitched an idea that showed the employees in action and paired that with an animated white card to punctuate their job titles and why they loved their work. The writer had a vision for this project and the editor was challenged by the technique used with the cards. Do you know which tv show we’re paying homage to with the introductory sequence?

Key West Video Best of 2018

Key West Video Final Thoughts

Thanks to all our clients for bringing us another great year of projects. In 2019, we hope to stretch our minds and flex our video muscle even more. Regardless of the message you want to deliver, Key West Video is up for the challenge. Call us today and let’s see if we can get you on our best of list next year.

Studio Space Available

Key West Video recently moved offices. Actually, we acquired a second office in the same complex. This new space houses post-production and a nifty boardroom. The original office remains our home base occupied by administration, producers and the boss. It’s also where you’ll find our studio. Moving some of our team has allowed us to create a large, comfortable green room. This gives clients even more incentive to use the studio, which has always been a draw. Wondering what goes on in a corporate video production studio? Probably more than you realize.

Green Screen

Our studio has green screen capability. That means we can replace the background of a shot with any picture, video or pattern. From interviews backed by a subtle colour gradation to music videos with castles, we’ve replaced our big green wall with all sorts of customized images. The sky really is the limit when it comes to green screen.


Most of our shoots are done on-location. Traveling across North America, our shooters work with clients in their homes and businesses. But sometimes it’s easier for people to come to us. The studio is a space custom-built to accommodate video recording. Clients can use this facility for interviews and testimonials without disrupting an office or home. We can even create a set for your interview if you’re interested in making the space look like the office or home without the hassle of hosting.


Studio Space Available
Headshots help businesses connect with clients

It’s not unusual to have our studio booked for headshots. Not only are our shooters talented videographers, but they also do still photos. Does your business need updated team pictures for your website? Or maybe you have new employees you’d like to add to your portfolio? Key West Video is always ready to put your best business face forward with professional headshots. Using our studio gives us access to house lighting and custom backdrops. Say cheese!

Product Shots

Studio Space Available
Studio shots for web and print use

We don’t just photograph people in our studio; we also photograph products. Professional shots of your product can be used in a video, on your website, in pamphlets—anywhere you want a picture-perfect image. We work with our clients to give them what they need, varying angles and lighting to create pics that help explain and promote their product.

Self-Tape Audition

If you’re not an actor, you may be unfamiliar with the term “self-tape”. This is an audition done remotely, then sent to a casting director. It’s something we do a lot of in our studio. We have a quiet, private, equipped space for actors to record their piece. Once the client is finished, we send them a file of their audition. It’s as easy as that!

Music Videos

Studio Space Available
Still from a music video shot in our studio

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of music pass through our studio. From gospel to rap, the Key West Video facility has been used by musicians who want a visual to go with their audio. Sometimes we’re part of the project, taking care of the shooting and editing. Other times, artists just want to use our space and shoot their own video. Either way, we like to think we’ve helped more than a few people realize their musical aspirations.

101 Studio Uses

The Key West Video studio has witnessed a lot since we took up residence in North York more than four years ago. Now that the office has expanded, clients have even more room to prep and shoot whatever their project requires. If you’re interested in finding out more about using our studio, give us a call.

Casting Corporate Video


Casting is an element of corporate video production that a lot of people don’t consider. You may assume the CEO will be the one to talk about your business or that Amanda in shipping can do the demo. Often, the CEO does appear on-camera and an employee will participate in the video. However, there are also times when the best choice is to use an actor.

Do I Need Casting?

Casting Corporate Video
Actors know how to project energy on set

To be totally honest, being on camera demands a lot of energy. What comes off as quietly interested and engaged in person looks bored in front of a camera. Actors are referred to as “talent” for a reason. It takes work to emote in a way that cuts through on video. Hiring a professional is one way to make sure you’ll get a good performance.

Sometimes nobody in the company wants to appear on camera. That’s fine. If you prefer to remain behind the scenes, you can let someone else represent your business or product in a video. You can still give direction on how to act and what to say without stepping in front of the camera.

Casting is a good option for appealing to your target market. If you’re trying to attract the attention of a specific demographic, cast them in a video. When the audience see themselves represented, they can relate to your product or service. Hey, I’m a young man who also uses my cell phone at the gym! I could really use those workout headphones.

Casting Corporate Video
Cast for specific characters

Finally, are you looking for a character or pitch person? If you need a clown to sell your birthday balloon bouquets, casting is the best option. In a case like this, you’re looking to build a campaign around an image so it’s important to pick the right one.

The Casting Process

At Key West Video, we take care of casting for our clients. We work with an agency or an online service to find the perfect fit for your video. Then we present the client with options based on their preferences. We’ve found this is the most efficient way for the client to enjoy all the benefits of casting with less of the hassle. Did you know that ACTRA performers have to follow certain rules? That’s just one of the things we take into account when casting for a client.

For Your Consideration

When it comes to casting, consider who you want to represent your business. Who is your ideal customer? If you want the viewer to relate to your product or service, cast your target market. Be as specific as possible by designating age, gender, ability, and any other physical attributes you’d like to dictate. Really think about what you see when you envision your product represented.

Once you’ve chosen suitable actors, you can be specific about shoot day. Let them know what you want them to wear if you’re not providing wardrobe. Will the shoot be outside, in a studio, or on location? How long is the shoot expected to take? Certain actors, think children and animals, can be harder to work with and have less stamina.

More Than On-Camera Talent

On-camera talent isn’t the only kind of casting. About half of our projects use voice-over actors. This person provides the narration for a video. When we ask a client about the kind of voice they’d like used, we ask about gender, age, and overall delivery. Then we send some voice demos and the client gives us feedback on who they like. We can also have a candidate do a sample read if required. One of our clients wanted a child to read the narration for their toy drive campaign. We think this young actor’s voice lent a special touch to the video. Here’s a snippet.

Casting Corporate Video

We Got This

We’ve cast for everything from music videos to mental health assessment modules. Whatever the focus of your project, we’re confident that we can help you find suitable talent. It’s just part of our overall video production service. Call Key West Video today for a free quote on your next video.

Evergreen Video

Evergreen Video

Evergreen video is to content what eggs are to the culinary world. It doesn’t have the hot flash of a viral video, but it has the slow burn of a reliable and foundational part of video marketing. An evergreen video can deliver good, strong content for a long time. You get a lot of bang for your buck. We’re talking about a timeless piece of content that gets a lot of mileage. Eggs may not be the star of a lot of dishes, but there are a lot of dishes you can’t make without an egg.

What Constitutes Evergreen?

Evergreen Video
Evergreen video has a long shelf life

If video is part of your overall marketing plan, you should have some evergreen content. This is the kind of video that will benefit all segments of your audience by providing useful, high-quality information. It serves as a platform for your business by covering the basics. Here are some examples of evergreen video:

  • Instructional or how to
  • Educational or training
  • Biographical or historical
  • FAQ
  • Testimonial
  • Branding
  • Company culture

Evergreen Video

What to Avoid and What to Include

Evergreen content is timeless by definition. To get the most out of such content, there are a few things to avoid.

  • Anything that will date it. From a holiday-themed setting to new releases to sales.
  • Transient employees. Don’t have a tour narrated by an employee you’d have to replace if they left (ie. “I’m Kevin, the head of marketing”).
  • Time-limited offers or sales.

An evergreen video should have many of the same elements as any other successful video.  But there are also some specifics you should be sure to follow.

  • Keep it short.
  • Make it simple and easy to understand.
  • Stay on topic. This boosts keyword search and helps people find your video.

The Benefits of Evergreen Video

Evergreen Video
Boost search rankings with evergreen video

An evergreen video is ageless, delivering benefits far into the future. It’s the kind of content that gets you ranked in searches. Your SEO will get a boost from a video that proves to be a valuable piece of content with legs. Any video that answers basic questions or clearly describes a business will be viewed again and again; it has information that people are going to search for often and over an extended period. This kind of content results in a long click. Here are some other benefits:

  • Builds brand trust. If a user sees your video and the info is still relevant, they can share.
  • Drives steadily increasing numbers of people to your site, unlike trending content.
  • Evergreen content naturally receives more shares than most trending topics.


An evergreen video really is the kind of content that keeps on giving. If elements of the video become dated or are no longer correct, refresh it! Removing any misinformation and making necessary updates is often a simple procedure. Evergreen content is modular by nature. It can easily be updated or revised. We’ve done this for clients in the past, updating training and safety videos along with other evergreen content.

Evergreen Video
Evergreen is the gift that keeps on giving


You can also repurpose an evergreen video. Minimize additional work by using the basic structure, script, and footage from your initial video. Then update with shots of your new office, the current CEO, or technology upgrades. You could also use the information from your video to create a blog, whitepaper or guidebook.

Go Evergreen

An evergreen video is a great place to start if you’re venturing into video marketing for the first time. It’s a low-risk, big return investment. If you’re ready to engage with video marketing, give us a call today. We can help you create the kind of video that commits to your business long-term.