Every video is fundamentally a story at heart. Human beings relate to stories on a primal level—we love them, and we’ve been telling them throughout history. We tell one another news of the day, our personal stories, bedtime stories; we watch movies and television, read books and newspapers; and we find ourselves in all of the stories we tell. This is the first in our series about story and video. It’s a broad concept which we’ll break down in other posts. Here, though, we’ll just clear our throats and introduce the subject.
Focusing on the story during video production makes messages more engaging. Every decision made while creating a video should be guided by the question, “Does this help tell the story?” Lights, lens choices, locations, shot composition, music choices, and every big and little editing decision should serve the story. The language of our medium is vast, rich and always evolving. New equipment and software are great, but all of these resources and techniques are mere distractions if they don’t serve the point of the story.
At their heart, all stories are about a problem and a solution: proposing a situation, no matter how abstract; including a challenge, desire, or question; and then resolving the situation. Video is the one medium that allows us to use the largest range of senses and techniques to tell that story in a way that will make people feel and think about something differently. When you’ve got something to say, video allows you to say it with light and sound, color, visual composition, timing, language and design.
Take a moment to look at these two videos.
The two are totally different, except that neither one is in English, and both story curves are compelling. In both cases, the visual and audio choices are vital in telling the story. Get out your hankies for the first, and pay attention to how color, light, sound, editing techniques, and great directing and acting pull you into this story about communication, human needs, and values.
Next is a completely different example of how video storytelling can stir human emotions. This little video is unabashedly about a product, but it’s also about the way we act when strange things happen. Hidden cameras, set design, and unusual, dramatic lighting help take the viewer into the minds of unsuspecting job interviewees on what turns out to be a pretty unusual day.
Next is a completely different example of how video storytelling can stir human emotions.
This little video is unabashedly about a product, but it’s also about the way we act when strange things happen. Hidden cameras, set design, and unusual, dramatic lighting help take the viewer into the minds of unsuspecting job interviewees on what turns out to be a pretty unusual day.
Every video is different, and the success of each depends on our obsessive attention to the most important question: How can we draw the viewer deeper into this story? Attention to detail and thoughtful planning make the difference between videos we care to share and those we don’t care to finish watching.