Workflow for Creating an EIC Accelerator Pitch Video (SME Instrument)

The EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity) has gained a mandatory video pitch in 2021 and many applicants are uncertain as to how such a video should look or be prepared. While the official proposal templates and guidelines by the European Innovation Council (EIC) do not give an answer to this question, the following article aims to present a simple workflow that can be used by prospect applicants, professional writers or consultancies.

Since many Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) and startups have some experience with video creation or editing due to social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, this article will omit tools like Adobe Spark or Loom which are used to simply record a speaker on top of a slideshow.

This article will focus on video cutting and effects tools as well as a simple workflow to bring all essential parts together in an efficient manner. The software that is discussed is exchangeable for the most part but, due to their compatibility, we focus on Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects and Illustrator.

Note: There are excellent tutorials on YouTube for each of these steps and the following article aims at giving an overview of the workflow without detailing the exact mechanics of video editing in Adobe CC.

1. Adobe Premiere Pro (PP)

Premiere Pro (PP) is used as the main video creation dashboard and cutting tool. Here, everything is prepared, brought together and will be finalised for export. The most important tasks to be done are:

Note: A simplified version of this software is available under the name Adobe Rush.

1.1 Importing the Video Footage

Once the video has been recorded, it will need to be imported into PP. What needs to be considered is that every video might have different resolutions and frame rates which will appear different in the respective timeline.

The way PP works, a timeline is created that has a defined frame rate and resolution. The frame rate or Frames Per Second (FPS) defines how many frames (or images) are present in each second of video footage. Standard FPS’s are 23.976, 24 or 30. The former two FPS’s yield more of a natural motion blur while the latter (or higher FPS) will appear sharper during motion.

For an EIC Accelerator video, using 23.976 or 24 will be sufficient.

For the resolution, the video should be at least Full HD which translates to dimensions of 1920×1080. If no FPS or resolutions are specified prior to importing the clips, the sequence will automatically adapt to the clip’s original settings once it is dragged into the timeline.

It is advisable to already decide on FPS and the resolution prior to the shooting.

1.2 Synching the Video to the External Audio (optional)

If the video has been recorded separately from the audio (i.e. with an external microphone that was not connected to the camera during the recording) then the audio must be matched to the video in post-production. This is optional and not needed in cases where a shotgun microphone is mounted and connected to the camera or a wireless condenser microphone is used.

To sync the external audio clips to the built-in audio of the video, they must be placed into the same timeline in PP and the two can be matched with the synchronisation feature. This usually works well but, especially for shorter clips, it can be necessary to manually adjust the positioning.

For this, it is always advisable to have an orientation point in the video and in the audio to simplify matching. This can simply be in the form of clapping hands at the beginning of the recording so that the built-in microphone and the external microphone pick up the same sound which can be used as a matching point in post-production.

To finalise the linking of the external audio with the video clip, the two can be linked (not grouped) so that all cutting and moving is always applied to audio and video as a joined unit.

1.3 Cutting to 3 Minutes

The next step after the video and timeline have been prepared is the cutting to 3 minutes in total which means that all videos must be trimmed to that time. This is also an opportunity to already plan where certain video clips can be inserted to demonstrate the product, showcase the office or related parts.

Cutting down the footage is a challenge in and of itself but thoughts on this process can be found here: Why an EIC Accelerator Video Editor Should be a Proposal Writer or Story Teller

To circumvent the difficulty of this step, it is also possible to only record exactly 3 minutes of footage but this might be more difficult than the cutting process itself.

1.4 Colour Grading the Footage

After the footage has been prepared and trimmed, it should be colour graded by using Lumetri colour or a similar effect. The general goal is to make the lighting and shadows look well contrasted and to have sufficient saturation and balanced skin tones in the final video.

As there are plenty of high-quality tutorials out there on colour grading so it will not be detailed here.

Note: Adobe Photoshop can be used to create Lookup Tables (LUT) based on a video screenshot which can be directly imported into Lumetri colour inside PP. The LUT’s act as a filter for the video footage inside PP which can use the benefits of the image editing features native only to Photoshop.

Note 2: If multiple clips require identical colour grading, an “Adjustment layer” can be placed on top of the respective clips. The effect can then be applied to the adjustment layer alone which will apply it to all clips below in the timeline.

1.5 Audio Enhancement

Depending on the source of the audio and the microphone settings, it is usually advisable to perform a voice enhancement. There are a variety of tutorials and guidelines on YouTube but examples of general enhancements are:

  • Audio gain: Used to increase the volume and/or normalise the peaks to a certain dB level.
  • DeNoiser: Removing background noise (i.e. white noise or wind).
  • Parametric equaliser: Major voice enhancements possible with specific frequency control.
  • Dynamics Processing: General enhancement based on a linear graph.

Note: If multiple clips require identical audio enhancements then “Nesting” the clips into a single clip can simplify the application of the same effect to multiple clips.

1.6 Adding Transitions, Effects and Title Screens (optional)

Transitions and effects can be added inside PP but it is not necessary to include any fancy effects in an EIC Accelerator pitch video. The general recommendations would be:

  • Names and titles of the speakers (can also be done in Adobe After Effects)
  • Background music at a reduced volume

1.7 Adding Images and Clips

PP allows the simple addition of logos or images which can provide useful for the EIC Accelerator pitch video. A good workflow can be in combination with Adobe Illustrator (AI) where vector graphics and other footage can be created.

Nonetheless, plain images can be dragged onto the timeline and timed according to their desired positioning, size and opacity. Simple animation effects can also be applied through “Keyframes”.

Additionally, there are a variety of options to include stock footage into the video which can be especially useful in the introduction where the vision of the project to the problem-to-be-solved is highlighted. Sources for stock footage are:

1.8 Adding an After Effects Composition for Effects

After Effects (explained below) allows the integration of its composition into PP. This way, all effects and clips that are created in AE are directly visible inside PP without the need to update each file. In fact, one can have both AE and PP open and co-edit them whereas all AE changes are immediately displayed in the PP project.

Note: In AE, the timeline is called a “composition” while timelines are called “sequence” in PP.

2. Adobe After Effects (AE)

AE is a tool that is mainly used for effects and animations whereas PP is used to collect and join/cut clips as well as apply effects like colour grading and voice enhancement. Both PP and AE share certain features but PP is the main editing document while AE acts as a support for the purposed of the EIC Accelerator pitch video.

Its main uses are the addition of names, titles, animations and more “fancy” effects that are not possible in PP. Especially animations for the appearance (and disappearance) of the name and title of the speakers are very useful while having on-screen word highlights that follow the text can be a useful addition.

Another popular use can be the animation of the company logo which can enhance the quality of the video production in a short amount of time.

For this, it is simplest to download dedicated AE effect templates that can easily be imported into AE without the need to perform any animations oneself. Options for this are VideezyMotionarray and Mixkit.

3. Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Photoshop (PS)

AI is a vector graphics software that is used to create 2D (or 3D) images. It can be used to create logo portfolio “slides” and import them as images into PP. Inside PP, opacity and movement effects can be easily applied through Keyframes.

Other uses for AI can be in the form of creating schematic overviews of complex technology component to support the spoken explanations or the creation of certain logos and graphics (i.e. financials, project management).

Photoshop is an image editor that can be useful for the creation of LUT’s used in colour grading (see Lumetri colour) and also for the editing of images such as removing backgrounds, changing the shape of objects (the “Liquify tool” is very popular on Instagram) and changing the image format.

4. Adobe Media Encoder (ME – optional)

Lastly, ME can be considered an export tool that can be used instead of PP to export the final PP sequence. ME usually runs more smoothly than the export inside PP itself and is also very useful when the footage has been pre-rendered inside PP since ME offers the “Use previews” selection before exporting.

This will tell ME to not render what has already been pre-rendered in PP and can make the export extremely fast. What has already been rendered inside PP is indicated by a colour-coded line on top of the timeline itself whereas green indicates “rendered” and red “not rendered” (orange and yellow are “partially rendered”).

The articles found on reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

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