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Maintaining the story on silent mode

Maintaining the story on silent mode

Your video needs to tell the same story no matter how it’s viewed

Here’s an important lesson: your video should tell the same story whether it’s played with or without sound. It’s the b-roll footage – the video shots that fill in the blanks or add visual interest to a talking head interview – that plays a critical role here. Our brains are not built to process visual and audio at the same time. Evidence of that can be found in our daily lives: bits of conversations missed when our attention was on our phone or the attention-grabbing silence of a clever commercial that pulls us away from whatever we were looking at on our tablets.

If you are using b-roll footage for your video, you need to keep that disparity in mind (sorry, not sorry). If your subject is talking about memories of playing in the snow as a child, it doesn’t make sense to sow footage of kids in a swimming pool. Likewise, if your messaging is about benevolence and charity, showing  a person standing in a fight pose might be confusing. This is especially true of video that play automatically on silent mode or that has no audio beyond a soundtrack.

Watch the video below and try to determine what story it’s trying to tell.

If you guessed it’s about poachers in Africa, you are correct. But if you thought the video was about conservation, you’d also be right. A video landed in my inbox this week with this exact problem. The core of the video was made up of interviews with a team of white rhino conservationists who track and arrest poachers. The b-roll footage, however, showed shots of the poacher hunters in combat gear, guns poised for shooting, with many closeups of combat boots and angry faces. My brain stuttered at the message from the interview and what I was seeing on the screen.

When creating video, make sure your footage is telling the right story with clarity. A good measure of the efficacy of your footage is to watch your video on mute and test your messaging. The last thing you want to do is confuse a viewer and lose the audience.