Lumina Blog Post

The language of video and storytelling

#storytelling #language #video

I studied Latin for five years in high school. At the time, my teenage self didn't think it made much sense studying a language that wouldn't serve any purpose in my everyday life. Looking back, I'm glad not only that I studied Latin, but an infinity of other things that at the time I couldn't place in a specific practical space. What we learn forms the basis of our culture. Without culture we would only have information without the ability to process it and put our perspective around it.

Companies and various organisations are looking at video content as a new tool to deliver their corporate messages. The problem is that many of them only see the tool and not the language/subtext needed to use that tool.

Last week I met with this conservative professional who runs a news website. We had a chat and he mentioned that now they will also start publishing video content. Their traditional business is in written content and they have a team of great writers. Since this is what we do, I thought there was going to be a good opportunity to work together on their content. I was wrong. One of their young graphic designers has a camera and he can also edit videos apparently. So they are set, they will produce videos internally.

Of course, most of those who are in the business of producing professional video content would be horrified by the fact that their profession is vilified by the troops of comms/marketing/graphic design people recycled into video work. I am not. When I was in high school, while I was studying Latin, I started playing with my first VHS video camera. I would produce the most horrible family videos, but I started to familiarise with the language of video as a communication tool. More than twenty years later, our experienced team sits regularly in front of any screen to keep learning and be proficient in this language. Despite the fact that they have qualifications and experience to speak the video language very well.

The more people (companies are made of people) try to use video tools to deliver their messages, the more they realise that in order to learn to speak a new language just having a dictionary is not enough.

We hire writers for every project we work on. It wouldn't feel quite right telling them that we decided to do the writing in house because we have Microsoft Word and one of our video editors can use it! Or that we are good writers because we post on Facebook all the time and we have thousands of followers on Twitter.

To become a writer it takes a combination od studying, practice and talent. We have a deep respect for that. The same is for any other profession. Visual products however have been notorious for attracting hordes of amateurs who believe they can produce a professional result just by using an expensive tool. These days it's even worse as some think an iPhone camera is sufficient for a professional result.

I don't want to be overly critical, this is the world we live in and I do feel lucky that our job is to communicate with audio-visual productions that can connect with our audiences.

We are seeing just the tip of the iceberg for video as an everyday communication tool. But the next phase will & should be around the importance of storytelling. Way too many times this is not even considered in favour of just images and sound.

As video producers of commercial products we are only as good as our clients allow us to be. It takes innovative thinking to let go of the corporate communication patterns and embrace more engaging ways to tell your story.

We constantly work with our clients on creating great stories. It is crucial that video messages are seen for what they are: consider the process more similar to making a movie than making a family holiday video clip. Although there are some pretty amazing holiday videos out there :)

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