Media Production

Four Ways To Make Short Videos Deliver

Short video presentations have become one of the most important marketing tools in the world, and there’s no better place for using video than sharing our faith. Evangelism, missions, discipleship, promotions, fundraising – all can be more effective by using short videos. The problem is – most short videos fail. They don’t move the audience, call them to action, or motivate them to accomplish anything. If you’re suffering from “Ineffective Video Syndrome,” then here’s a few tips to get yours back in shape:

1. Video is about emotion, not information.  Stop cramming your video presentation with numbers, data, and results. If it’s information you want to share, then print it out in a brochure, or put it on the website. Video connects with people’s emotions, so for the best results, make sure you’re telling a compelling, dramatic story.

2. Never use two things: Cheesy stock footage, and cheap music libraries.  Both are deadly. Cheesy stock footage isn’t real. It’s staged (thumbs up everyone!) and undercuts the reality and importance of your ideas. Bad library music is the same – it stands out, distracts, and turns people away. Take the time to get good shots and find the right music that sets the scene.

3. Lighting matters!  I see reality all day long, so when I watch a video presentation, I want to see your vision. Create an artistic world that’s fascinating and intriguing. And when it comes to lighting, always remember, shadows matter, because what you don’t show is just as important as what you show.

4. It all starts with the script.  Whether it’s a dramatic or documentary presentation, the writing is more important than anything. As the old Broadway saying goes: “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” Great acting, lighting, or directing can’t overcome a bad script. Start with the right words on the page, and the rest will be much easier.

With current technology, there’s nothing keeping you back from making the best short videos possible. But remember – it’s not the gun, it’s the soldier. The best camera in the world in the hands of an amateur can’t overcome incompetence. People love short videos, so make yours deliver, and see the difference it makes in the presentation of your ideas, products, or organization.

 What are your suggestions for producing great short videos?

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  1. Two more things – sound matters, especially in interviews. Get a decent mic and know how to use it. And second, story matters. People are wired to engage with stories. Good storytelling, accompanied by reasonable technical quality will win over super high production value every time.

  2. I’d add that the director has to have a vision and follow through on it. Point of view is crucial.
    Also editing can make something dull come alive. The rhythm established with good editing can add to the build and climax of your piece. I’d agree that emotion is what you’re trying to achieve. If all of the elements are there in the material, the editing creates the feel with proper shot selection, music and video effects (but don’t lay them on too thickly and make sure you are up to date with graphics).

  3. Love this Phil. So pracical and unfortunately overlooked by many storytellers today.
    I would add that it is important to know the audience you intend to reach. Having a clear vision for who your audience is will help frame your message and communicate effectively.

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