Content // Video


By Matthew Desotell
Sep 12, 2018

I’m curious what comes to mind for most people these days when thinking of “video.”   Are they thinking TV commercials? Filming on sets? Youtube? Footage caught on a phone? An instagram model’s selfie, in front of a mirror, outside the club?

While all of those things are true, I’m sure it depends on what your usage will be with video or on video that determines how you are thinking about it.  Most everyone would like to be doing more video for either their personal brand or business in some way.  It’s certainly is popular.  The mobile-social-video combination is a hot, relevant combination, that if executed well can be great for the dog groomer entrepreneur that makes house calls, and equally, for the law firm who just rebranded their masthead on the building.

Video production is known to be expensive.

It can also be cheap.

It can be done for cheap and still look great.

It can be done on huge budgets and turn out poorly.

It can look beautiful and be perfectly wrong.

How it’s done is important with most things and certainly holds true here. Video has more moving parts than other mediums.  There’s sound, music, voice, words, possibly text, visuals, footage, lighting, subject matter and maybe most critical – time.   Time is unique in video.  Whether it’s a motion graphic based video or hand-held selfie message, time and pacing is important.  If a great message is there at :48 secs but everything before it isn’t compelling, likely people won’t stay past 6 secs.  Their thumbs will swipe and move their attention on.  The thumb is the new remote control. We’re talking about attention.

And the requirements for putting a video together— whatever rules there were, have all changed.  Let’s dispel some now.

There is no “go-to” camera format these days.

Not everything needs to be shot on “the red” camera or the “dragon” or whatever sounds like an enemy robot.

The best video for you might be shot on an iPhoneX but not many production companies will say that to you.  It’s not in their best interest.  They have expensive equipment to pay for. And they like shooting on camera systems that look like they’re about to transform into something.  They want to use the drone (aka: toy) they just bought and they want your budget to pay for it.

There are no set rates.

I don’t care what someone says.  It doesn’t necessarily cost a certain amount per day or hour. Their camera packages don’t have to be YOUR rates. It depends on how something is shot or the script.  If they can’t communicate that, it is their problem -not yours.  If they’re not creative enough to plan a 30 sec version of your explainer video versus the quote they gave you for a 2 min version that involved multiple camera and shoot days – that’s their problem not yours.  [Einstein was both smart and imaginative enough to conceive of the theory of relativity and also explain it to most people.  Most scientists at the time who could understand it, couldn’t explain it to anyone else.].

A video project doesn’t always call for a big shot director, fancy lights, or cranes.

Many talented professionals in the film & video industry are quite romantic about making movies and calling the shots on a set.  It’s mostly a male-field, and boys like gadgets. Their overhead shouldn’t be your problem. All of these thoughts may sting a little to some in the industry.  I know.  I was one of them too. (I made a movie once btw. I did it on my own time and dime.)  The 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s had profound effects on the people that grew up in them.  Things changed big time around 2008 when billions evaporated from the economy, and when digital-social platforms like YouTube and Instagram were being born.  The Internet changed everything majorly in the 90’s and it went to sonic boom just 5 minutes ago back around 2007-2010.  That’s a reality.  If someone’s not adapting to the mobile first-social-content world – that’s their problem.  You need to.

Big companies can do small videos and small companies can do big things on videos.

Ideas and execution matter more than production.

A thoughtful piece of video content will work in ways that defy time and money.

And where should your video go these days.  It’s not just TV or your home page.  It might go everywhere or only on instagram. It might be the same video on your home page, is different than the one you ask people to watch on Instagram.  Your videos might go on Facebook and never on TV.  It might only go on Youtube.

Video is great and everyone who has at least a personal brand or any and every business should be doing it and figuring it out.  That’s pretty clear.  If you can be on video in mobile social platforms, you’re likely going to win more than the others who aren’t.  Look into it.  Figure it out.  I can’t imagine what business shouldn’t.  If you are one and you think you can stump me, please try.  (Brick companies and funeral homes – I’ve already thought of you.  Try harder 🙂

Here’s some things that won’t change btw.

Humans love story.  Humans love moving images.

A thoughtfully produced video piece shot in the right way, in the right amount of time, offering the right amount of information, cleverness or entertainment – works every time.

In its most powerful form, the combination of narrative, words, imagery and sound to capture our emotions is paramount.  In its mildest form, it offers to show and tell us something in a convenient way – without us having to read or study!  We can sit back and watch.  We don’t have to turn a page.  Don’t have to skim.

And the ones that hold our attention or offer us something of value – we’ll return to.  Remember: our thumb is the new remote control.  Whatever you’re doing on video should be compelling enough to keep the thumb at rest.