How can a video help the viewer see into a story?

Once this question, “What do we want the viewer to feel?” has been answered, then it’s a good idea to dig into the next most important question: what do we want the viewer to see in the video?

The quality that we end up seeing is a combination of  what the camera is capable of taking in, what is available to take in and the shooter’s ability to manage these two for a positive outcome. 

Josh Whedon, the great producer, director and writer once said, “Light is good.  It helps you see what you want to see.”  This simple quip emphasizes the importance of choosing carefully what you want to be seen and how you want it to be seen on your video.  Dark shadows are great for drama and bright, omni-present lights are great for makeup commercials.  There are lot of  great possibilities in between the two.

Light creates the mood and a good photographer understands how to start with the story and apply appropriate lighting.  Good lighting gives dimension and depth to what is seen in contrast with videos that seem very flat and two dimensional. 

Once a subject and set are lit, a skilled photographer places the subject in the frame in such a way to create interest and balance.  Inversely, a lack of good placement makes the subject feel flat and awkward.  If I can see someone’s whole body when they’re speaking in a conversational tone, I’ll feel like something is disconnected.

Finding appropriate lighting to tell a story is one of my favorite parts of the video story telling process.  Once the visuals have been taken care of, the next most important question is to address is, “What do we want the viewer to hear from the video?”

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