The rise of videos taking viewers through a journey has become common place, as video allows us to use our senses of sight and sound to help us see through the eyes of the subject. Whether that subject be a person, animal or thing, nothing can compare to the effectiveness of video as a means of telling a story.

Compelling stories tend to be a good basis for creating compelling videos. However, sometimes interesting stories get lost when we don’t utilize proper techniques in shooting and editing the video. Bad lighting, ineffective camera angles, or even less than desirable audio recording, limit the quality of the video before the editing even begins.

Likewise, bad practices in post-production can also take away from impactful storytelling. Too many special effects, poor audio mixing, or cutting in the wrong places can also make a story worth telling turn into a video not worth watching.

Sometimes a simple technique is to allow the subject to tell their own story. This means, instead of hiring a voice actor or narrator to do a voice-over, allow the person who is telling their story to poignantly tell their own story while being interviewed, and allow that audio to be the voice-over for the piece. There should be a focus around the questions asked during the interview. For example, when they answer questions have them repeat the question in the form of statement, so when the piece is being edited, the statement can frame the part of the story they’re trying to tell.

Visually, a standard frontal interview angles (think about watching the news) cannot be the only angle used in the video, unless there is a certain effect your trying to create. Try and limit the amount of time the main interview angle is used, and shoot footage that can be interspersed with the interview of other places and spaces that help tell the story.

In the end, as it is with many creative endeavours, keeping it simple often makes for better end results as visual overload may distract from the narrative and lose the story. Sometimes instead flashy special effects, try and use simple effects and transitions. Text should be simple and help tell the story, but not be the sole tool of telling the story. Let the visuals tell the story and let text play a more supportive role.


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