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Composing, Boring and More… (We Talk About Video – Part 2)

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Welcome to our second video from the picturesque town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire where Jay Blake and I talk about video in the pub garden of The Ship. (You find the first video here.) What follows below is a representation of both of our thoughts. If you want to know who said what, it’s in the video.

As we drove along this morning trying to find a suitable venue for filming, we talked about the fact that video can be very much like music or more specifically, like composing.

Composing Videos

Videos are made up of so many different elements: the visual elements, the content, the soundtrack, and, of course, movement. You have to commandeer these elements to tell a comprehensive story, which integrates all of them.

And, yes, it isn’t enough simply to use any old soundtrack as a background, or to change from speaking very slowly with a boring voice to getting your energy up. It helps, but putting a video together is so much more.

All of the elements play a role. That’s why creating a video can be considered, certainly in my mind, to be like composing something multi-dimensional.

Target Audience

What’s also exciting is that this always has to be done with our audience in mind. This thought leads us to another very important element: How many videos are being watched without sound these days?

This is specifically true when we talk about business videos.

Even though business videos differ from other types of video or film, the genre nevertheless also shares all the other components. Above all, we need to tell a story and we need to address our audience. A writer writes not for himself, he writes for an audience. A filmmaker doesn’t make a film for herself; she makes it for her audience. If people don’t want to watch it she might as well not make movies. So say I.

Here, Jay and I disagree. Jay maintains that, at times, people make videos just for themselves.

What do you think?

But considering the audience is particularly important for business videos, not least when people want to work out what their return on investment in their videos will be. It now becomes all about who will watch the videos, and what action they will take as a result of watching them.

The target audience is very important on two counts. It is crucial not only for the return on investment but also for the respect and consideration we afford our audience.

We have to talk directly to our audience. This means that we have to look at the camera, not at somebody else over in a distant corner as the habit seems to dictate in corporate style videos. This kind of videos doesn’t do anything for us. Again, this is on two counts: They don’t do anything for us as viewers of the video nor are they helpful for us as the business person in the video who wants to engage, entertain, inform and educate their audience.

Given all these forces that seem to pull us in different directions, how do we put such a composition together?

For me, it starts with the content, with the idea. First, I have an idea of something to do. The very next question is ‘WHY and WHAT?’

Once I have the content, I have to give it a structure, a story structure, which for business videos is slightly different compared to blockbusters such as an Avenger or Star Wars movie, or short film or a documentary.

Call to Action

All these films have their own structures. Business videos have their own structure, too, that at the end of the business video, as the resolution of our story, must lead to the Call to Action.

Most people forget this. But it is hugely important.

Once we have content and structure, then we have to create the visuals that support the purpose of our video and select an appropriate soundtrack. My main piece of advice for selecting the latter is to run as far and fast as possible from anything that is labelled ‘corporate.’ Why? Because it is…


Nowadays, we find a lot of businesses creating Talking Head videos, presumably because they are relatively easy and very cost-effective to produce. But since they are now everywhere and mostly follow the same formula that endlessly navel gazes and instructs and in many cases commits he fatal sin: it sells something, they have lost their impact and have become totally and utterly boring.

Yes, I confess, I am guilty here, too, having made more than two dozen of these videos to show what they look like and how to create them. But that was a few years ago, and we are swiftly moving on from there.

Let us know, please!

Jay and I make videos primarily for people to watch them.

We both love hearing back from people who have watched them. We love hearing what people think and how they are composing videos for themselves and for their business.

If you are creating videos for your business, drop us a line or even send us a video. Tell us about how you are using video for your business, and ask us any questions that you’d like us to answer or provide you with some support and guidance as you go forward in making your own videos. And we’d love to hear from you what you think about what we said and how to move video forward.

Get in touch with Jay on LinkedIn> and with Max on Facebook.