01 June 2010|
Not necessarily. We've all seen enough head and shoulders style presentation or interview videos that seem to go on and on (and on . . . ) but there's no real reason why they should be that way. At least, not in our book.
So, what it is with head and shoulders shots (or 'medium close up' shots, as they're properly called) that put us in imminent danger of falling asleep? Well, to be fair, it's not actually the MCU shot that's to blame. In fact, any shot could do the same. The real culprit is inactivity. A lack of movement. Any shot that's held for too long will bore the viewer rigid. And if the speaker is talking about , oh, let's say "the performance gains to be made by implementing the updated international currency module of our accounting software", well, without being unkind, that makes it even worse!
Like wrapping a beige sweater in brown parcel paper before giving it to your loved one at Christmas, there's one sure fire way of losing an audience/wife - and that is to wrap a dry subject in a flat, dull video.
When we make straight presentation segments for our videos, we shoot the same scene several times with different framing - medium, long, extreme close up, etc, depending on the environment and how much room we have to play with. Then, back in the edit suite, we cut up the best parts of the presentation or interview, sequence them correctly, crop them as required, add in a few subtle (or sometimes less so) effects and transitions. The end result is a lot cooler than simply pointing a camera at someone and asking them to speak (regardless of how interesting the subject). We introduce movement into the picture, subtle focus shifts, jumps between focal lengths, flashes. Whatever keeps a viewers attention without distracting from the message. It's why our strapline is 'putting the show back into business'.
A great friend of mine - a first class live presenter - once told me that when he thought he was in danger of losing an audience during a presentation, he would bang the lecturn or clap his hands or shout the next sentence as though it was the most important part of his pitch. It wasn't anything of the sort - it simply made the audience feel they should be paying better attention. That's the same thing we're trying to achieve in our videos.
I despair when we see videos that have been shot against a plain office wall, or without careful attention to lighting. They look flat, lifeless, uninspiring. And if that's the impression the video gives, it ain't doing your message any favours. We take care to ensure that the background is interesting, without being intrusive. We make sure that lighting is set up properly. Sometimes the client is in a hurry to get us in and out. When we're pushed for time on a location shoot we will often add some dramatic lighting in the edit suite after the shoot. It's wonderful what you can do with today's professional editing systems.
All this might take a little longer, but the end result is a hundred times more interesting to watch than the static, locked off camera shots that so many others choose.
Check out the Emulex & Computacenter promo video (on the Portfolio page) for an example of what I'm talking about.