Tracing the thread, storytelling in video marketing

When starting on a video marketing project, there are so many things to think about. As complex as it seems, the rabbit hole keeps going deeper. All the different tasks, while important, can be distractions from the central premise, the story your company’s narrative. If you lose hold of that thread, all the rest of the work you do will be diminished. So this will focus on storytelling and how it effects the process, but for the whole project.

The universe is made of stories not atoms

Every project that our video producers work on gets to tell a single story. Every company has many stories. You have more stories than you have employees, but just like in the movies your web video needs to tell a single story, a story with a beginning middle and end. Our video producers’ most important task is to assess the situation and distill the narrative that our clients need to tell from among the stories that run through the company. Once we can identify the thread we need to follow we start pushing through preproduction. The choice of story identifies who we need to talk to, what we need to hear, and what are the key concepts we need to understand and communicate.

Camera is ready for live roundtable video at Pan's offices in downtown Boston.

Making the right choice

Every video is filled with choices, and every choice should be made with the story in mind. For example, we had a choice between a background of Boston harbor or of a crowd of people. The video was about a live event where marketer were collaborating, learning, and networking. In this instance we didn’t want a view of the harbor no matter how nice it was. We wanted to see the people. That’s the story we were telling, and that’s what it means to make the story driven choice.

Michelangelo's David

Everything that isn’t David

Editing can best be equated with sculpture. At the start of postproduction, we’ve shot hours upon hours of footage, and it’s from this mass that we’ll cut to create the story. With the whole thing laid out, we make the big cuts, removing tangents, breaks, and elements that don’t serve the story. At the end of this process is what’s called the assembly. The whole story is there, but it’s slow, choppy, and inelegant.At this point the editor has to disengage the brain, and listen to the heart. It’s akin to Michelangelo chipping “…away all that wasn’t David.” It’s with an intimate knowledge of every element of the footage and story that the editor cuts their way towards the finished product.

After much polishing, the result is a fine-tuned story. Before turning to distribution, the video comes to the window dressings part of the process. This means adding motion graphics that tie into branding strategies and music to set a mood and tempo. The  audio is cleaned and colors adjusted to ensure the best experience possible for the audience. While these are important elements that shouldn’t be overlooked, they are there to enhance the story created through the care of the video producers from preproduction through post.


Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 617-858-8232.

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