I'll start by admitting my bias, I'm a big fan of case study films, I think having your customers, on film, explaining how great your product is, or how you solved a business problem for them is one of the best uses of video in marketing you can have. They can be surprisingly straightforward to put together and they can also be relatively low cost. But there are a few things to look out for when you are making one.
1. Getting the Customer to agree!
This is probably the most difficult part of any case study film, hopefully it's not hard for you to find a happy customer but getting them to agree to be on film can be a problem. In my experience people can be very nervous about appearing on camera and no matter how much you reassure them that it won't be difficult they still imagine that it's going to be a difficult experience. It's important to reassure the customer that they are in charge of the process, it's not live TV so they will be able to take their time to answer. Also (hopefully!) they will have approval over the final edit so there will be no chance of any inaccuracies or sensitive information being published.
2. Too much preparation
Once you've got them to agree you have to then make sure that they are prepared for their days filming without being too prepared. When interviewees turn up on the day with a prepared "script" I know it's probably going to be a difficult interview. It's much better to agree themes for questions beforehand rather than giving them actual questions, taking a conversational approach to asking the questions will get much more natural answers. I also try and make the shoot as informal as possible, modern LED lighting doesn't generate heat like TV lighting used to, so the filming environment is much more comfortable.
A few minutes of just a "talking head" can be interesting but adding cutaway material, sometimes called "b-roll", will make the film more engaging. This can be filmed at the customer's offices on the same day or sometimes at other sites they may have. Sometimes you get lucky and they have their own pre-shot and pre-approved footage to use. Once again it's important to stress that any footage that is filmed on their premises will be subject to their final approval before publishing.
I've already mentioned this but it's VITAL that you let your customer have the final approval on the video. Often it will need to go through legal, branding and marketing as well. I often find that the customer's marketing department ask to use the film as well, which is added benefit as it gives you a broader audience for the film.
5.Getting it seen
As with any video you shouldn't expect to just put the film on YouTube or your website and expect people to find it. Make sure that you plan a marketing campaign for the film, there are also lot's of SEO elements you can use when uploading the video that will help get it placed in search rankings. This is something we are happy to help with. The film can have many uses beyond online, a case study film can be a great aid for your sales department to use in pitches and presentations.
Video is a great tool, especially in a world dominated by social media so do take time to think about adding some great case study films to your marketing toolbox.