Scripting vs. Ad-libbing – which is best for your business videos

Scripting vs Ad-libbingWhen presenting to camera, there are two main delivery methods, a scripted (either teleprompter assisted or memorised) or an ad-libbed approach. Although both can work well, they do have their advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick run down on how these approaches differ.


Using a pre written script offers content accuracy, helps keep presentations on time and can help with situational nerves. Scripts are the preferred method for most presentations as the above benefits will keep production time to a minimum and ensure quality results. A script can also easily be turned into captions, offering search engine benefits and of course a version for viewers who require captions. The downside of a scripted presentation, is that work is needed to keep the delivery natural and not sound ‘read out’.

For the best result, presenters should practise and continuously revise the script to assist with their delivery. There are a number of good tablet apps (such as Teleprompter+ on the iPad), that offer the capability of displaying a scrolling script and simultaneously recording your performance, this allows you to play back each attempt and then let you revise your script as needed. It is particularly important to adjust the punctuation and reading speed until you are comfortable that your performance is optimal.

Although many public speakers (or confident personalities) may reject a script with a preference to ad-libbing, it is important to remember that this practise is commonplace on television and radio and generally provides the best results.


For some people, the freedom of ad-libbing results in a more natural and creative performance. These are usually people who are used to live presentations and are confident with their subject and delivery methods. When it works, the non scripted approach is better to watch, more engaging and often provides a stronger connection with the viewer.

Unfortunately the pressure of recording to camera can cause even seasoned speakers to struggle, as sometime the lack of ‘live’ stress means that starting and stopping is an option. The knowledge that this is possible can result in a lack of continuity and therefore a less than perfect performance. Ad-libbing is also prone to lengthy and sometimes over detailed content, resulting in the need to record shorter more concise versions. One way to assist with the structure is to use bullet points on a teleprompter and allocate an ad-libbed paragraph to each.

If this is the preferred delivery method, it is still advisable to rehearse the performance and make notes that can be used as prompts. It is worth remembering that whilst it is easy to perform strongly off camera, the added stress on the day can change the end result. Also without a script there will be no captions added to your video, captions are an important as they let the search engines know what your video is about.

An alternative

If you want to achieve the reliability of a scripted delivery combined with the natural performance of ad-libbing there is a third combined option. Simply write out your bullet points and pre-pare to ad-lib around these (using a clock to keep your timing in check). Using a phone or any camera record at least three versions and decide on which bits you like best. Type out your words making any corrections and improvements where needed into a final script. You will now have a natural sounding performance that originated from an ad-lib performance but is now easier to perform in front of a camera. That script will be full of your personal ‘quirks’ and should sound natural and less ‘wooden’ than a standard script.

Video hosting options – The alternatives to YouTube

Video hosting brandsWhen it comes to video hosting there is normally just one solution on the table, and that solution is YouTube. Its free, trusted and lets be honest rather good! However, there are other options, and in some cases very special reasons why you might wish to consider using them instead.

First of all lets look at why YouTube is still the most popular choice. Obviously its lack of fees and general acceptance are common reasons for selection, but there are some good technical and marketing points to consider too. The huge audience, the advanced indexing & searching tools and the compatibility with desktop, entertainment and mobile devices make it an easy choice. Oh and did I mention its free. On the downside we have the advertising, persistent branding and darker troll-like inhabitants that like ruining everyone’s fun.

Vimeo offers a cleaner and more professional interface with an overall higher quality of video playback. Unlike YouTube this is a paid solution unless you are making your own videos and they are not for promotional/business use. The Pro service is based on a annual subscription and uses a tiered approach to allow payment based on the number of plays. This starts at 250,000 so it may take a while before the need to upgrade. Vimeo Pro also allows you to customise the player, embed in full HD and of course has no adverts or third party branding. Vimeo is a good solution for video hosting scenarios that require quality delivery and full control.

There are a number of more advanced hosting services such as Brightcove and Wistia. These offer a number of clever features such as paid viewing, interactive elements and access to a programming interface. Other component systems such as Bits on the run and Amazon cloudfront need separate players and more complex set-ups, but often result in cheaper running costs for high traffic videos. These advanced systems are powerful but need to be carefully matched to your requirements to ensure maximum effectiveness and sensible running costs.

One of the main advantages of using an advanced hosting service, a streaming provider or even self hosting the video concerns search engine placement. Videos hosted on YouTube and other competitors such as Vimeo, Viddler and Vzaar are often indexed on the providers site rather than the page it is embedded on. This means that your website misses out on the direct link. This is especially true of YouTube where potential advertising revenue is at stake. Using a non YouTube video hosting provider, increases the chance of direct listings in the search results providing a single click to your website. Unfortunately it is not as simple as this, as YouTube results appear to be prioritised over self hosted videos possibly due to Google owning YouTube.

Is your company name secure on YouTube?

Is your company name secure on YouTube?This might sound like a repetition of domain name registration but it is just as important. YouTube video content has to live in a channel which is usually the same name as your username. A channel address is in the format and is used when linking to all your YouTube videos from an external site as well as being displayed prominently withinYouTube.

Hopefully you already have a Google account and a YouTube channel setup in your company name, if you don’t then its a good idea to reserve it ASAP and add some basic details to help viewers return to your website. As video becomes a larger part of online marketing, your identity on websites such as YouTube will become increasingly important.

Often businesses are using personal YouTube accounts for video and this is generally not a good idea. There is a risk that you might confuse personal and business activity, with likes, comments and viewing history mixed between business and personal use. This might provide the wrong message to potential customers.

If you can’t register your exact name you may have to compromise slightly, consider adding UK to the end or using a shorter form of your name if possible. You should not use trademarks of others or select a name that is disconnected from your normal activity. If someone else is using your trademark, you have to first attempt to contact the current channel owner and resolve through private messages. YouTube do offer to assist if you don’t get anywhere, however this is not something to rely on.

Once you have your user/channel name reserved you need to make sure you keep it. To do this you need to log on at least once every six months, you need to watch videos whilst logged in and ideally upload your own videos. Inactive accounts that are considered to be name-squatting will be closed and the name released.

With video marketing providing huge benefits for business, it is unlikely that your YouTube channel will go unused and properly setup should add value to your online presence.