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!

Published by: Ryan Gates in Storytelling

Comments are closed.