This article is a continuation of Part 1 and suggests a process for the creation of pitch videos as they are part of the EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity financing) in 2021 under Horizon Europe (2021-2027) (read: Proposed 2021 Process). The official template by the European Innovation Council (EIC) and European Commission (EC) does not give useful guidance for successful pitch videos which makes it important for consultancies and professional writers to develop internal guidelines for their preparation.
For startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME), it is useful to carefully consider what will be included in video pitch productions and estimate how an ideal workflow could look like. Examples of pitch videos can be found here (read: Pitch Video Concepts).
Step 3: Shooting Footage & Animations
The gathering of footage can take a variety of forms but it is a good idea to simply start with a pitch deck as the visual material and a camera for the recording of interviews with the management team as well as the shooting of hardware footage.
Interviews can be shot with 5 minutes of speaking time for each founding member whereas questions and concise answers should be prepared in advance so that they can easily be cut down to the desired length for the final video. Animations (i.e. in Adobe AfterEffects or Microsoft PowerPoint) can be created based on a meticulous script so that no excess work is put into video creation.
Filming hardware footage, laboratories, machinery or production facilities should be planned in advance so that extra effort can be placed on the quality (i.e. lighting, transitions, visuals) as opposed to the quantity of the shots (i.e. the more shots, the more work in post-production). The general rule is that even minor preparations will significantly reduce the production workload.
Step 4: Editing and Post-Production
Video editing is notoriously tedious and can take up a lot of time since all the collected footage has to be re-watched multiple times, colour graded, audio-adjusted, cut and fit with suitable transitions or effects. The editing of the footage can easily require more time than all previous steps combined if the first scripting, planning and footage collection have not been executed properly.
It is advisable to perform everything that can be done during the production stage (i.e. Step 1-3) and not rely too much on the editing. The script should be concise and to-the-point right from the start so that no excess footage is collected. The prospect applicant should only film meaningful content and not simply collect everything. The lighting, sharpness, saturation, contrast, white balance, movie settings (i.e. shutter speed, ISO, aperture, frames per second, resolution) and all other details should be adjusted in the equipment before the filming begins so that the effort in post-production is minimized.
Lastly, it has to be assured that the final rendering and export of the video does not exhibit any problems associated with different framerates, aspect ratios or resolutions so that animations, interviews and hardware footage can be combined seamlessly.
For the video production, planning is everything and the more attention is placed on each step, the less work will be required for the creation of the pitch video.
- Step 1 – Splitting the Video into Acts: Plan the pitch video in a top-down approach by allocating the order and timing for each act
- Step 2 – Scripting the Acts: Plan the content for each act so that the following production will be brief and simple
- Step 3 – Shooting Footage & Animations: Create the content based on scripts and assure that equipment settings are optimized to minimize post-production efforts
- Step 4 – Editing and Post-Production: Bring all the footage together, cut it to the appropriate length, add effects and export the pitch video
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These tips are not only useful for European startups, professional writers, consultants and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) but are generally recommended when writing a business plan or investor documents.
Deadlines: Post-Horizon 2020, the EIC Accelerator accepts Step 1 submissions now while the deadlines for the full applications (Step 2) under Horizon Europe are:
- Step 1 (short proposal)
- open now
- Step 2 (business plan)
- 1st cut-off: (early 2024)
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: -
- Step 3 (interview)
- 1st cut-off: -
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: January 29th to February 9th 2024 (extended again)
The Step 1 applications must be submitted weeks in advance of Step 2. The next EIC Accelerator cut-off for Step 2 (full proposal) can be found here. After Brexit, UK companies can still apply to the EIC Accelerator under Horizon Europe albeit with non-dilutive grant applications only - thereby excluding equity-financing.
Contact: You can reach out to us via this contact form to work with a professional consultant.
EU, UK & US Startups: Alternative financing options for EU, UK and US innovation startups are the EIC Pathfinder (combining Future and Emerging Technologies - FET Open & FET Proactive) with €4M per project, Thematic Priorities, European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), Innovate UK with £3M (for UK-companies only) as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants with $1M (for US-companies only).
Any more questions? View the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
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by Stephan Segler, PhD
Professional Grant Consultant at Segler Consulting
General information on the EIC Accelerator template, professional grant writing and how to prepare a successful application can be found in the following articles: