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4 ways to turn old videos into new ones

Close Up Decoding Video Production For Your Business

Recycling existing video is a thing? Yes – in fact, it's a wise and well-used strategy. We lay out four options to help you tell a great story without setting up a camera and lights.


Welcome to Closeup: Decoding Video Production for your Business. I’m Laura McElree and this episode is all about giving you tips and strategies for taking existing videos & images that you ALREADY OWN and turning them into something new.

This is a great tool in your marketing arsenal for those times when you can’t shoot more video – or you simply don’t have the budget for an extensive production shoot.

Repurposing assets is actually a wise and well-established strategy.

Many of you already use this approach every time you create social media posts. We’re going to touch on that briefly as one of the placements for your repurposing strategy.

Just know that we’ve also devoted an entire episode to social media videos. So, you’ll want to review that too.

What we’re going to do next is go in depth on four creative production strategies you can use to turn existing or old assets into something new. More from video producers Rhonda Patzlsberger & Ken Schellin

RHONDA: When I open my fridge, and I’m never quite sure if the sour cream container is actually going to contain sour cream or leftover spaghetti.

Recycling, reusing, repurposing...we do it all the time in our daily lives

And video production is no different. We’re always finding those creative solutions to solve a need.

Just because you’re not going to set up cameras, lights and microphones doesn’t mean you can’t produce a video for product marketing, training, trade shows, case studies or testimonials – you name it. You just get more creative and resourceful.

So, Ken, where do you start?

KEN: First, follow the golden rule of producing videos. Start by identifying your goals:

  • What’s your overall message and goal?
  • Who’s the audience?
  • What should viewers think, feel or do after watching the video?
  • How will you use the video – in what digital placements and physical settings?

Jot those answers down or work through a creative brief.

Then work with your production partner and scriptwriter to create a rough outline of what a video script or storyboard might look like.

After that’s done... then it’s time to think creatively. While there are many strategies, we’ve boiled it down to four production options that will help you tell your story without shooting additional footage.

Production Strategy Option #1

RHONDA I’ll dive into the first one. Option #1 is reusing existing footage or images you ALREADY own.

If you’re fortunate to work for a company that has invested in capturing quality video and photography over the years, your task becomes so much easier. That’s obviously the best-case scenario.

But... if your first reaction to Option #1 was, “We don’t have much!” well... then let’s go hunting.

You likely have more assets than you think.

  • There’s a very good chance your product marketing managers and your colleagues in Communications have done photo shoots of products – which originally were used to create printed sales brochures.
  • Or... your Communications team shot previous video of the headquarters, manufacturing plants, service teams and employees to create a vision & values video for the company.

I’d recommend going out your company’s YouTube channel to get an inkling of what might be out there.

KEN: Another obvious place to hunt for assets is on your company website.

While it would be easy to right-click on website images and download them, it’s not going to result in a high-quality image... because they’re resized and compressed for the web.

  • You’ll need to ask colleagues where those original assets are located.
  • Then... also hunt around on your internal company portal or Intranet.
  • Are there sales brochures or other printed collateral with images?
  • Find out who produced them and ask for those original high-resolution assets that went into the layout.

If you’re in a global company, definitely reach out to your global or regional teams as well.

RHONDA: What happens next? Now that you’ve collected all of these assets, go back to your script outline or storyboard.

  • You’ll begin to see opportunities where this existing footage and images fit perfectly.

Let’s look an example:

Let’s say you need to create a 60- to 90-second high-energy product video to loop on a screen at a tradeshow.

Or maybe it will be placed on a product landing page next to a call-to-action button.

Let’s look over what you’ve got to work with:

  • You’ve found great photography of the product or service from sales brochures or the website.
  • You got images or video from the manufacturing plant to fill in the part of your script where you talk about quality and employee pride.
  • And you may have images from company headquarters to talk about the mission and values embedded in every product.
  • Be sure to get the company logo to represent the solid reputation you’re promoting.
  • One other important asset: Do you have testimonials from customers? You may not have video testimonials, but you could have testimonials in print. You can use those in your video with creative text treatment onscreen.

KEN: After you refine the storyboard and script, hire a professional narrator.

Keep in mind, a narrator for a healthcare video will sound very different from a narrator talking about outdoor power tools.

Choose the voiceover talent who has the “quality and tone” that aligns with your audience and your brand.

The same thought applies to selecting licensed production music.

It adds energy, emotion and pacing. Know your audience and your brand when selecting the music clip.

RHONDA: Bottom line: if you’re fortunate to work for a company that has invested in capturing quality video and photography over the years, this hunting around was probably wasn’t too tough.

In fact, many companies approach this need very strategically, and they purposely invest in high-quality video production so that they can keep repurposing those assets year after year.

If your company hasn’t done this, I’d highly recommend this strategy – solely from a cost-efficiency perspective.

Production Strategy Option #2

KEN: Let’s move onto your Production Strategy Option #2. What if you have NO appropriate video or photography? Nada. Zippo.

This can happen even if you’re not a small company on a lean budget.

Sometimes the purpose of the video is very conceptual, and you may feel that your existing assets DON’T seem to fit the need.

This is a case where Stock footage and stock images can come into play.

Stock image videos are commonly used for aspirational and highly conceptual videos.

  • For example, the script or storyboard focuses on outcomes derived from using your product or service, rather than the actual features & benefits themselves.
  • Think of happy, healthy people – living their lives better because of your product or service.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with stock footage and images, just do a Google search on that term and plan on spending a few hours going down a rabbit hole.

There is a lot of good stock video and photography.

And an awful lot of bad-looking examples. In fact we’ve done a spoof video on all the bad examples out there.

As with all things in life, quality is going to cost more. You’ll pay more for that beautifully stock footage clip and the cheaper options. And you’ll be happier in the long run.

RHONDA: Another thing to keep in mind about stock footage: Searching for good stock footage takes time.

  • This is a task you can offload to your video production partner.
  • They’re very good at identifying quality images – since they also SHOOT them for a living.
  • The first thing you’ll want to do is brainstorm with them about the kinds of images that fit your script or storyboard.

What they’ll do is download what are called “comps” for you to review.

  • These are watermarked, low-resolution assets.
  • As they edit the video, they’ll use these low-res comps up until the point you get final approval.

Remember, you don’t want to pay for stock images that hit the cutting room floor, so work with comps.

Once the video is approved, your video producer will pay to download and license the assets.

Done well, these stock image videos can be highly effective in setting the tone for a company’s product or service.

But, just know that the general public is becoming more savvy about recognizing what is stock imagery and what is not.

You don’t want your customers to see your video – or your company – as a cookie-cutter operation that looks like every other company in your industry.

Production Strategy Option #3

KEN: One way to avoid that problem is to follow Production Strategy Option #3.

This option involves COMBINING Stock footage videos WITH customized and branded graphics & animation

Imagine this scenario:

  • You WERE able to find a few good video assets hunting through your company’s archive as we descripted in option #1
  • Then, you supplemented those assets by searching and downloading several very well-chosen stock images as in option #2 to visualize the outcomes of your products & services.

Here’s where the customization comes in... to avoid that cookie-cutter look.

You add graphics animation to further tell your story – and do it in a way that follows the tone and look of your brand

RHONDA: Ok, Ken. But let’s face it, may be parts of your storyboard or script with holes in it that you just can’t cover with Options #1 (existing video) and Option #2 (stock video).

The script might have been describing a process that sets your company apart – something harder to visualize.

Why not use an animated overlay with text onscreen can call out the process?

Or the storyboard describes the inner workings of your product.

Why not SHOW your customers an animated exploded view or cutaway?

When you mix in graphics with existing assets and stock imagery, it customizes the video and enhances the pacing and energy of the video.

If we go back to our example of a video for a tradeshow or a product landing page on the company’s website, this option #3 is highly effective.

KEN: It’s also extremely effective when creating those 30-second social media videos – that you’re using to drive people to your product landing page.

We talked about that on a recent podcast episode. And Gary on our staff mentioned how he start out with printed material from his client and turns them into social clips. Check that out.

Bottom line: This combo-approach is s a win-win all around.

We’re nearing the finish line. There’s a fourth production option that we’ve hinted at already. Option #4 is a fully animated video.

Production Strategy Option #4

RHONDA Fully-Animated video is where you free your imagination.

I love playing the “what if” game as I work with clients to storyboard animated video.

Start with your company’s branding guidelines to provide inspiration. And then decide on the artistic style of your composition

Just like choosing a narrator and a music bed for the video, your animated video can take on a “feel” or a “tone” just by the way you choose your style.

  • Is it icon-based?
  • Text on screen
  • Symbols or highly-conceptual movements that suggest processes and outcome.

If you’re doing a product video, you can show the features & benefits with call-out copy, then it can morph into showing the application of the product at the customer’s site.

I particularly love animated “explainer” videos on product landing pages. There’s something about animation that captures people’s attention.

KEN: The pre-production process you go through to create an animated video is a little bit different than scripting and storyboarding a traditional video.

We have an entire episode with an art director discussing those differences on this program. So be sure to check that out.

I hope these 4 production strategies we talked about get your creative juice flowing and help you make the most of your production dollars. You may have to do a little hunting to find assets...

But just because you are not able to do a full-blown production shoot with lights and cameras shouldn’t hold you back.

RHONDA: In fact, as we talked about several times, consider investing in high-quality video production so that you CAN build your company’s library of visual assets and create videos more cost-effectively throughout the years.

KEN: exciting... be strategic”

LAURA: Thanks Ken and Rhonda

The biggest takeaway you should have is this:

Even if you can’t shoot more video – or you simply don’t have the budget for an extensive production shoot – you still have production OPTIONS.

  1. Re-use existing footage or photos you already own
  2. Look into Stock footage or photos when your video requires it
  3. Add branded graphics animation to customize your stock video so it doesn’t look cookie-cutter, AND especially when you need to post quick social media clips
  4. Finally, consider full animation, especially when you need to explain a topic or concept on a landing page.

And as always, any video project starts with good Pre-Production planning. Map out your message and your goal. That way you’re more efficient in hunting down video assets.

For more information about “How to reuse old videos to make new ones” go to where you can see sample videos AND learn more about the producers featured in today’s episode.

Make sure to subscribe and leave us a comment. And if you have any questions, you’d like us to answer, send us an email to

Close Up: Decoding Video Production for your business is produced by Plum Media. I’m Laura McElree, thanks for listening.