August 12, 2015 - 47 comments

Why your video falls flat, 5 ways to make it more authentic.

Do you strive to create authentic videos that really resonate with your audience? Many marketers do, which is why “authentic” may be one of the biggest buzzwords around. Even if that's your goal, do you know how to quantify what "authentic" is, or is it just subjective?

That's why I wrote this. To give you 5 actionable steps you can take that will make your videos more authentic, and in the end, engage your audience.

1. Ditch the talking head
It’s good to introduce your speaker (preferably with their title), to show who’s talking. But people rarely connect with an interview. Instead, cover your interview footage with B-roll. Grab footage from the subject going about their day or relevant to what they’re talking about. People engage at a deeper level when you show the subject in their natural state, rather than perfectly staged the entire time. It brings about a level of reality to who they are and what they’re talking about.

2. Dont be scared of conflict
Too often companies attempt to showcase their product or service perfectly... to have perfectly scripted content. This backfires in a couple ways:

First, conflict is the basis of all story. People don’t engage with a story when it’s devoid of conflict. If you begin your video with the content completely resolved and wrapped with a pretty little bow on top, you'll hand your nicely parceled product to a sleeping audience. That’s why it’s vital to determine what’s the primary conflict of your company. Some might refer to this as your “why.”

Second, people don’t relate to perfect. Despite everyone wanting to be seen as perfect, no one wants to be around perfect people. Just like people don’t want to be around perfect companies. Especially millennials. So it’s important to understand the heart of the company, and the story you want to communicate to the world.

3. Be imperfect onscreen
It’s important to be prepared. Yes. We believe that. But so often we find that onscreen talent feels the need to be perfect. They’re either over-prepared and it sounds rehearsed, or they want to sound perfect and get stressed out when it doesn't come out polished. This often results in the subject falling apart. Remember, perfection can generate audience mistrust. It’s your goal to make sure the talent is conversational and relaxed.

4. Handheld is your friend
Sometimes having smooth, stable B-roll will actually make your video feel too polished. This can, in some situations take away from the authenticity of the story you’re telling. We like to use handheld cameras because it helps push the audience into the moment. It takes away a barrier and creates more visual intensity. This look can be very powerful if it is used intentionally, especially when juxtaposed with the smoothness of a dolly or locked off shot.

5. Pay attention to color
The "fade" is a specific look that has become quite popular for both photography and videography. This look did not come out of a vacuum but out of a culture that strives for the authentic. The technical components of this look go against some more traditional trends of coloring and editing because it highlights aspects of the image that doesn't necessarily look as "pretty" but gives a realism to the shot that connects with the audience.

It’s important to recognize that color plays a huge role in how people respond to visuals. That’s why it’s vital to color grade your video to fit the tone and emotion you’re trying to evoke. Like this still from our production for TEDxMinnepolis below. 
There you have it. The key 5 techniques we use to create authentic videos.  I’d love to hear what other methods you use. Leave a comment below and let me know!

August 6, 2015 - 3 comments

TEDxMinneapolis

 

About
TEDx approached us about creating a video to introduce their TEDx Minneapolis event and to play before each speaker. As we listened to the tension and darker tone they were wanting to set for the event, we showed them an inspiration piece to illustrate what we wanted to produce for them. They loved it.

Approach
So we got to work capturing footage all over Minneapolis, capturing both iconic and edgy locations in the city to produce a film that was both distinct to downtown Minneapolis and dripping with a sense of anticipation. In post production, we were intentional about coloring the piece and adding music that pushed those emotions even further.

Result
The client was very impressed with the piece. It captured the exact emotions they they sought to conjure in their audience.

July 28, 2015 - 3 comments

Storyworks1 Commercial

 

About

We were approached by Storyworks1 to create a piece that effortlessly communicated their new company name as well as a new platform release. They needed a piece that clearly communicated both of these developments in one video.

Approach

From the beginning we worked hand-in-hand with Storyworks1 to strategically develop a video that would best explain who they were and the specific applications of their product. From there we crafted a story that would be told through a series of interviews that revealed the heart of Storyworks1 as well the effectiveness of its product’s use. We shot for 2 days in 4 locations to create the beautiful aesthetic that the client desired, using plenty of natural light to create an authentic feel.
storyworks 1

In the postproduction process, we carefully curated the best clips to effectively tell the story:
Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 2.57.12 PM

We also color graded the piece to have the exact tone and feel that the client requested:
Storyworks 1 coloring

Results
In the end, the client was incredibly pleased. The final product is a beautiful video that explained who Storyworks1 is to its target audience: Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 2.52.16 PM

March 17, 2015 - 3 comments

EyeSafe Screen Covers from DigiHealth

About

DigiHealth creates protective screens for electronic devices that block out harmful light that causes eyestrain. We were approached by Digihealth as they were in the development phase of their screens. They wanted us to produce a video that would communicate their groundbreaking application of this amazing technology.

Approach

Brainstorming with the client, we decided that using a combination of live action and both 2d and 3d animation would be the strongest approach to producing a short video highlighting the vast benefits of the product.

After securing locations and nailing down our story boards, we produced this piece in a one day shoot using a variety of talent.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.03.47 AM

Following brand guidelines, we created custom designs for our 2D animation to effectively communicate the dangers of screen use and how the product protects against it.

digihealth

But we didn’t stop there. To accurately and elegantly showcase the product, we created a stunning 3D animation of the product being applied to a phone.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.05.32 AM

Results
The client loved the video. It was instrumental in getting them a significant amount of press including television time all resulting in an increase of sales.