By Sara Williscroft, ABC, CDMP

Think of the last video you saw online. Now think about the last corporate one. My guess is that the corporate one was less memorable. 

As online video content popularity grows, the pressure to produce sticky videos that cut through the clutter is more and more challenging. Today, in the time of COVID-19, people under 55 are watching more video content than ever before. And apps like TikTok, InShot, iMovie and others let even the novice user produce engaging content. So how do we cut through the clutter and avoid the boring, corporate video?

Gold Quill winner Brian McCullagh offers his tips on producing video content that meets objectives and inspires.

This is exactly what Gold Quill winner Brian McCullagh does every day: produces content that meets objectives and inspires. Here are his tips:

  1. Make it genuine.

Your questions should inspire genuine emotion. Let’s say a team is making face masks for essential workers. After asking the necessary 5W questions, ask about how it makes them feel. Use open-ended questions and focus on the emotion behind their words. 

  1. Think in sound blocks.

Listen. When you hear a piece of gold, ask a follow-up question that lets them re-state it a different way. Too often video editors are left with a great soundbite only to find out something was missed. Coach your subjects to answer in short sentences – this will help you in the editing stage.

  1. Don’t forget the b-roll.

Adding b-roll gives the story more context and gives you options to hide mistakes. For example, try adding shots of the subject at their work station, pans of relevant scenes they are describing, or add graphical elements that illustrate statistics or a metaphor.

  1. Edit to tell the story.

The sound blocks are your building blocks. Treat your video as you would a written story – you need a hook, a compelling story and quick summary. 

  1. Don’t overcomplicate it.

Good videos capture real emotion. If you nail a script you may meet your objectives, but people probably won’t stick around to hear it. Remove unnecessary repetition and make sure your video is less than two minutes long.

Brian McCullagh is an award-winning corporate videographer with over 20 year’s experience. In 2019, he won an IABC Gold Quill Award for outstanding audio/visual work for his Safety Starts with You video series. The series was designed to leverage employees’ personal safety stories to highlight, in a real and personal way, the importance of keeping themselves and those around them safe. 

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