We bought a garden shed the other day from Rona near Duncan. I drove up-Island to get it and decided to take a side trip to Sansum Narrows and get in some hard physical activity climbing a route on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It's high above the water and boats of all sorts pass by, giving their passengers a good look at my progress.
The route took about an hour to complete and along the way, I began to dwell on the issues of objective and subjective camera angles. Glancing down at the boats, I’m sure the folks were wondering about my state of mind. Their voyeuristic/objective viewpoint would allow them to come to any conclusion. If privy to the subjective view, the one inside my head, they’d probably have been more richly entertained.
If you’re telling stories about the products and services you supply, knowing how to use these two perspectives in your videos is important. It’s relatively easy to plop down a camera and record a wide shot of an event or person doing a demonstration. With exceptions, this omnipresent point of view offers no real emotional clues. The subjective angle, on the other hand, is invested in the emotional state of the participant, it gets the viewer involved. It wants us to experience what the character experiences.
I was using a pair of board-lasted climbing shoes, ones I normally reserve for hard crack climbing. The subjective angle would showcase my experience with them - happiness at their great grip on the first big holds, progressing to unease on small edges to fear and near panic as the crux (the hardest part) demanded great certainty on polished nubbins. From the objective angle, none of this was “visible” - it was just some dude climbing a cliff. In my head, it was a much different experience.
If you want your videos to connect emotionally with your audience, your story must get them invested emotionally. Knowing how to use subjective and objective camera angles will make this much more possible.
Although it’s concerned with cinema, here’s a great link to a video on perspective.
Have a great day - Allen Agopsowicz, Picture Story Productions.
PS - I successfully negotiated the crux and finished the route safely. Next time, I’ll use my slip-lasted shoes to see how they do. If you’re thinking about making a good preforming video, send me an email and we can talk story and how to get your audience involved.
Driving to a training session I was to give to a Search and Rescue (SAR) group, my mind wandered over the outline of my talk. Noting the outcome was the most important part of the session, I reconsidered my talking points. Was I introducing tools, concepts and skills in the right order? Was a deep understanding necessary or could I just cut-to-the-chase and allow a demonstrated proficiency?
In-person training differs greatly from making videos for businesses but I ask many of the same questions. What is the outcome we’re looking for? How should we structure it? Are we demonstrating properly? What questions must be answered? Additionally, videos must be paced, have the right tone and be on target with the audience and branding. Whoa, seems a lot more difficult than giving a talk and demonstrating skills. Nevertheless, here are five mistakes not to make when prepping for your business video.
Not knowing the purpose.
Not knowing the audience.
Not being concise.
Not knowing what you’re selling.
Not having a narrative flow.
In the SAR session, I began my talk with the point of view of the “client” and what they were going through. We progressed to how we’ll help them and introduced the tools and skills needed to get to the desired outcome. We then practised, engraining the lesson. Like making a business video, I knew the purpose, the audience, I stayed concise, knew what had to be sold and wrapped it all in an engaging story.
In a few days, the SAR group will be using their new skills at an event where we can make no mistakes. I’ll be on-site, double-checking their proficiency and making notes as to my teaching effectiveness. Your video probably won’t put people’s lives at risk but maybe it’s time to think about it in the same manner.
Have a great day - Allen Agopsowicz, Picture Story Productions.
PS - send me an email and I’ll reply with a wonderful short read, The Seven Pillars of Storytelling - an excellent primer on engaging your audience.
Video production is costly so it’s important to know what story to tell before you start. Whether you’re making a business or corporate video, communicating with intention begins with knowing the different types of stories available. Here are several story types that businesses can use to get their point across.
The Values Story: Great for individuals or companies who wish to share the core values and qualities which make them special. Expressed beliefs must be woven into a story which demonstrates the qualities espoused.
The Why Story: A great way to connect and build trust by explaining the deep motivations, influences and desires that determine why you do what you do.
The Origin Story: Overlapping somewhat with the Why story, this story boosts trust and connection by sharing with the audience where it all began and distilling the resulting journey down to the moments of conflict that were overcome with passion.
The Vision Story: Where are you or your company headed? Encourage the audience to become involved with a story of how the world would be better if your service or product is brought to life.
A Teaching Story: Lessons learnt by personal experience are woven into a story with conflict and desire. An emotionally engaging tale will leave the audience with the message you intend.
An Impact Story: Generally a case study or testimonial that’s crafted with a character’s journey and transformation to demonstrate the values and qualities a business wishes to portray.
An Objections Story: Confirm the objection but then through good personal storytelling, show how this was overcome and why it was for the best.
For a deeper look at story, see The Story Factor by Annette Simmons.
If video footage is not shot under the same exact circumstances, correction and grading will need to be done in post. For the most part, the following steps will need to be undertaken to convince an audience that a scene was shot at the same time and place.
1) Base Correction Stage a) pick a "hero shot" from the set of scenes and set your exposure values (gamma, gain and lift) with help from the waveform meter, b) modify the contrast values using gamma curves to your liking, c) colour balance with help from RGB parade and vector scopes keeping in mind people's skin tones are most important, d) match the shots from the rest of the clips to your "hero shot" by split screening.
2) Build your Look a) determine the mood the scene requires, b) determine the time of day, c) consider and build in the context of the scene, d) is there a popular look you wish to copy?, e) is there a stylized look the scene requires?
3) Secondary/Isolation a) using masks, clean up any details in the clips (exposure problems, skin smoothing etc) again with masks, focus attention where you want the audience's attention.
Correction and grading can make or break video footage, no matter how creative or imaginative the script, work of the director or DP. Poor shot-to-shot matching is probably the biggest sin no matter how many ungraded or uncorrected youtube, iPhone and GoPro videos the audience has seen.
Everyday I like to do some editing or video production work. Here's sample of some editing done with footage I didn't shoot.
This is one of the most fundamental video editing tips out there. The easiest way to make a cut invisible is to cut during some sort of movement. This can be the movement of a character, such as a head turn, hand gesture, or a punch. Or, you can cut on the movement of the camera itself. Often the camera will pan, dolly, tilt and whip around the screen. Cutting on these movements will help to mask your edits and create a more seamless experience for the viewer.