29 Apr How to ensure your video stands out
This may be a pretty oversimplified headline at the risk of sounding click-bait-ish. BUT there really are some straight-forward ways that we’ve learned throughout the years to ensure that your video is not only beautiful looking, great sounding, but also interesting, compelling, and actually inspires a person towards action!
Leave this to the professionals.
A certain angle, focal length, framing, and amount of shots should be intentional to the type of story you’re telling, where the character is coming from, and the audience watching. The visual style shouldn’t be based on what you (the client) or us (the video crew) simply like the look of.
Yes, you may have some pointers or have seen some video content you really like that we can reference, but the visual style of one video just simply may not make sense to use in a different type of video.
Do your shots coincide with the messaging of the video?
Do they distract you from the narrative or enhance it?
Do the shots feel unique to the particular project, or something familiar?
Was there a moment, shot, or sequence that got a “dangggg” or a “whoa” because that is a good thing to shoot for, no pun intended.
There are countless other areas I could dive into here, but that’s a good start.
AUDIO & MUSIC
This takes things to an entirely new level. Video and film is a visual medium, but the way in which we use sound and music has an incredible amount of importance on the end result.
After all, 50% of what you’re experiencing is sound, even if a moment is completely void of any noticeable sound, that’s important and creates a mood all on it’s own. Asking yourself what mood and style you’re going for ahead of time is vital.
Music is also the magical ingredient here. I can’t tell you how many brand stories, videographer reels, and company stories we have watched that have basically the same generic soundtrack. It’s mind-numbing.
I do understand that a person outside the film and brand video industry may not notice this, and be happy with the same delay-plunking guitar with ambient swells and soft electronic beats pulsing throughout the video, but it’s not the way that you’re going to stay fresh. Again, trust professionals BUT make sure the professional isn’t phoning it in. This industry is a fairly easy one to “drag and drop” a lot of elements so-to-speak. Votary prides ourself in having an acute understanding of each individual story so we can create something unique to the story and organization, not continually making the same product. We’re just not in that type of business.
With that said, creativity takes energy. Keeping it fresh takes time.
It’s not easy, and if you want something truly special, it’s not cheap either.
Sound design is an under appreciated aspect of filmmaking and video work as well. Utilizing sound effects and added elements other than the narrative and music are key in order to taking the project to a higher level of quality. People are sometimes surprised to learn that what they’re hearing wasn’t actually recorded on the day of shooting but added later to enhance the experience. This goes for Game of Thrones and/or your Brand Overview video.
This may be the most important aspect for most organizations, and arguably any writing. I find that with the film industry, it’s kind of the opposite. The visuals and sound design, amount of special effects, and camera quality keep growing and getting more and more elaborate in Hollywood and even independent cinema, yet the scripts that they use for the biggest box-office films seem to get less and less creative, intriguing, risk-taking or original.
With brands, most of the stakeholders don’t care so much about the beautiful visuals, creative sound design, experimental typography, or unique music track. They care about the MESSAGE and RESULT.
I think a good example of this is 2020. SO many brands started using their phone cameras to start selling, creating, and advertising, and most people didn’t really bat an eye. It’s actually effective for certain markets because it has a very down-to-earth feeling to it. Again, the visual has to match the audience and the tone, not just be there to be flashy.
This is where we want to dive in ahead of time so we understand WHO this story is about, (Who the character(s) are), what the PURPOSE is (Why is this even being made?), understand the PLOT (or the “How” – the structure of the story), and PLACE (Where does this take place?) that this story, film, commercial video, etc. takes place. When the video needs to be done by is another essential detail that really informs the level of production that can or should be invested in a project.
An under appreciated area here is the CONFLICT of the story. This is very film 101 in regards to screenwriting, but completely void in most brand films commercial videos. It’s because most organizations don’t want to talk about the problems that arise, just victories. But the issue that arises if you fail to talk about problems is you have no problem solving. We NEED to cover this aspect of the video in order to understand how you solved problems and overcame adversity.
People need to connect to your video. We connect through empathy. If your video lacks conflict in the storytelling, you risk creating something that leans too heavily on “cool” factor with visuals and music. But why should someone care? I understand that this is the case for a lot of product commercials where the story is very minimal or nonexistent. A lot of clothing commercials are just attractive people doing cool things while wearing the clothes. That’s fine, it gets the job done. Maybe people saw that and then bought the clothes. But is that the most intriguing thing they could have created?
A successful way to talk about conflict is to simply be vulnerable and tell the truth about the struggles, challenges, and hardships that happened along the way of your journey.
Maybe there isn’t much of a conflict in your video. Well, is this the best story to be told to hit the goals you have? You may have to highlight a particular area deeper, or may need to go back to the drawing board.
Armed with this info we can then determine what type of messaging will be most effective for hitting your GOALS.
Ultimately, we want to create something that helps you get somewhere that you’re not – to connect with someone you need to, inspire people toward action, raise awareness, stand out, etc.
If we don’t do that, we fail at our job.
We want to accomplish this while also creating something that we as a team of filmmakers are proud of, pushes creative boundaries, and helps you reach your goals.
We find that the best of both worlds exist, and 9 times out of 10 when we push ourselves to do something truly unique and outside our comfort zone, that’s exactly what the client needs. The difficult part is defining all of this because creative work can be very difficult to gain clarity with.
A good thing to keep in mind is – if you’re doing something different and truly standing out among the crowd, it’s going to be a risk. This can be scary for some clients. But if you want to truly try new things, push the envelope, and reach people, you can’t just do the same old thing people are used to.
Wrapping this up…
How do you make sure your video content is truly amazing?
- Does your video idea look beautiful?
- Does it sound amazing? Is the music and sound design memorable?
- Does it’s message match the visuals and sound?
- Does it have unique and inspiring characters?
- Do you understand their purpose?
- Does the video highlight conflict honestly?
- Does it highlight the Resolution?
- Ultimately, does this video move the needle towards hitting your goals?
- Lastly, is this pushing you outside your comfort zone?
Another good rule of thumb is understanding how the film or video makes the viewer feel. We’re emotional beings, no matter how much we rationalize. If you were going for a highly emotional story that pulls others into empathizing for an issue or demographic or person, is that the result when you show someone who was not a part of the process?
If you’re looking to get started on a project, Votary has a passion for telling compelling stories through the art of filmmaking. We specialize in producing brand stories, creative commercials, and documentary series. If that sounds to you like we might be a fit, then let’s talk. Start a Conversation.