Time lapse clips are a great way to add high-end style production values to your b-roll. Time lapse clips have become common place in both factual and fiction TV shows as they make for great establishing and transitional clips. I’m going to add the proviso, that they can be over used. As filmmakers we can fall in love with the process and become attached to clips because of the amount of time we have invested in creating them. Time lapse clips can look beautiful but lay-people can become tired of them if they are over used and they are there just for prettiness and not to advance the narrative.
With that said, it is worth seeing what the masters of this genre can produce and “I Left My Heart” shows just that. I may be biased because this is also my adopted home-town, but there are some great clips here and the creator has also provided some behind the scene footage and information if you are interested. And you should be interested. Clients and viewers love these kind of clips, used sparingly.
There’s a fine line between good and bad parody. This could have so easily fallen the other side of the fence, but, instead, it is brilliant. It looks deliberately amateurish but this is deceptively hard to achieve so call in professionals if you’re trying to achieve something similar. The writing and performances have to be perfect. If you miss the target with this kind of humor you will look worse than if you never released anything at all.
Imagine Terry Gillian made Brazil, with stop-motion puppets, on his own. It would be strange and funny and weird. It’s been done by one man, Takahide Hori, and it is amazing – thing Nick Park meets Blade Runner. Apart from the artistic vision, if one man can do this what can you do?
I keep harping on about every video you make having the potential to promote you or your brand. Here’s another case that proves my point. This filmmaker used his skills in a comedic way to sell his old car on Craigslist and it worked: Nissan, in a good marketing move themselves, bought the car and donated another $1000 to the seller’s charity of choice.
But the filmmaker scores far more than just being able to dump a hard to sell car; his car ad parody has been seem more than 1.5 million times and so it’ has turned into a great piece of promotion for him. It’s also really entertaining and funny: he parodies the new car ad down to the British narrator (for gravitas) and all the ‘beauty shots’ that don’t even attempt to hide the tie-down strap holding the hood down and the torn seats. It’s great work and it shows that every video you make, no matter how trivial they may seem, have the potential to be a creative tour-de-force. This is something I’m going to try to keep in the front of my mind as the new year begins.
Here’s a video that’s gone viral on the interwebs in the last few days: it’s one creative family’s Christmas video postcard and it’s got over 12 million views at the time of writing. That way surpasses their video from last year that has a little over 100k views. So what happened? The Holderness family did kick it up a notch this year with some nice asides and b-roll footage but it just has the right amount of amateur haminess and enough production value to be watchable without being too slick. To some it up in one word, it’s ‘cute’.
You can get away with things at the holidays that just wouldn’t fly the rest of the year: the Hallmark channel has already been showing saccharine-sweet movies that wouldn’t find an audience the rest of the year but it seems to work for them. And while the Holdernesses were working all that cute they just promoted their business. I can’t decide if this is the most astute piece of self-promotion ever, or the luckiest. Whichever it is, I hope the family make the best use of all the eyeballs. If I had one criticism it would be to have held back on the monetization of the videos at least a little. It’s hard to resist when all those views come your way but they currently have ads overlaying and preceding even their company’s sizzle reel – that’s a little much. Still, we can learn a lot from this video: as we’ve mentioned before every video you produce is marketing. It doesn’t matter if it’s your pre-flight video or your video Christmas card, everything has the potential to promote you and your company so, take a leaf out of the Holderness family’s book, and do nothing by half.
“Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get to work” Chuck Close
The whole of the PBS Off Book series is worth watching for inspiration and information but this one is especially pertinent for anyone whose work and/or passion involves the creative process. The Off Book videos are 5 to 10 minute videos on interesting subjects, usually to do with technology and culture. Popular wisdom is that this is too long for YouTube but PBS take what could be just boring talking heads and intercut interesting b-roll, graphics and animated text to keep the energy and pace high.
Whenever I see that there’s a new video in the Off Book channel I drop everything to watch it: that’s a powerful response that we all aspire to for our own work. We should all aspire to make talking head, explanation videos this interesting.
The message is great but also this is a good example of kinetic typography done well. Animated type is something I see in quite a few corporate videos but not always done well. The secret seems to be choosing your source material well. It has to be short in length and high on interesting content with a single message.