What is Good Video Storytelling
Updated: Nov 3, 2019
Every filmmaker has the same basic goal: Make good video. But you don’t have to talk to very many to learn that “good” means different things to different people.
This begs the question: By what standard does one judge the goodness of a production? Is there even such a thing as universally “good” video now that viewer standards and expectations have been influenced by YouTube, Facebook and Instagram? We have come to the place where we believe that the overall perceived quality or value of a video is no longer a constant. Whether or not a video is considered good has become a completely relative and contextualized rating that has more to do with viewer expectation than production standards.
As long-time filmmakers, our initial inclination when assessing the goodness of a particular production is to rate and rank the video in regard to three general standards:
Production quality, clarity of content and production value/budget. From the perspective of someone who loves and appreciates the art of cinematography as seen in feature films and on television, we're drawn to notice the subtlety of a certain lighting configuration, the artistry of an adeptly executed sequence of shots and the beauty of a complex camera move that gracefully tracks with an actor through a complicated scene. To an untrained or unaware observer, these expertly crafted techniques may go completely unnoticed and entirely unappreciated. But to those with a discerning eye, they are inspiring.
But even a very well shot, lit and edited production can be perceived as bad if the story does not engage, excite, entrance or delight the viewer. As consumers of so much media, viewers are no longer impressed by production techniques, including the latest and greatest visual effects.
High production quality is expected, but so is good storytelling.
In regard to making media, “good” truly is relative. The secret is to create content with a specific audience in mind and produce programs that meet or exceed that viewer’s expectations. Cinema buffs appreciate cinematography. Dreamers love good stories. Social media consumers like short, engaging videos that surprise, excite or entice them to watch a clip repeatedly and share it with their friends. Einstein famously said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
By that same standard, we believe Einstein would support the notion that what makes any particular video “good” or “bad” is entirely in the eye of the beholder.
In light of this, we as producers must be faithful to shoot with a specific audience in mind.