With my last blog post, I discussed the importance of telling a story with your images. The story that I shared with you started with a farm girl escaping to read in a haystack. During this portrait shoot, I took it a bit further and utilized HDSLR video to tell the story. With the video you see below, this girl escapes into a dreamland of warm sunset light, beautiful/elegant horses, as well as peaceful solitude.
In this video, watch how the cuts between visuals and the fades between scenes effect the mood and how this communicates with the viewer. 100% of the editing was achieved in iMovie to demonstrate that you do NOT need expensive equipment or editing software to achieve a stylized look. Furthermore, you do not need a large production crew, large budget, or even a long time to shoot. This short film was shot over the period of a couple of hours one afternoon/evening with the help of one photo assistant (Joel), myself, my subject (Sara), and then later someone to help tend to the horse. I don’t have a huge group of people helping me put this together… I can create beautiful imagery without a large budget (and so can you).
I’ve written several articles on HDSLR video in the past, but I have a few key suggestions for photographers. Importantly, I feel that in general the shorter the better! I could have developed the plot further to make this a longer piece, but with the imagery and plot I had, about 1:30 min -2:00 min was an acceptable length. If I had made it any longer the images would have gotten repetitive and less engaging. Many photographers approaching video do not realize that they should aim for quicker cuts and shorter clips… I’ve seen people do similar pieces lasting 10-12 minutes (and I was bored by 40 seconds). Only make your video as long at the content is fresh and engaging.
Think of it like this: Most music videos tell a story, have many powerful visuals, with plots and subplots running through the video. Most music videos run about 3 minutes in length, and even shorter when put on TV. Unless you have a really powerful plot, or particularly superb imagery, chances are you won’t keep an audience’s attention any longer than a music video. Studies show that the attention span of an online audience (once you’ve managed to catch their attention) is around 2:30min- 3:30mins. Don’t push your luck… keep it short and help ensure they see your content the whole way through. If you leave them wanting more, they’ll come back looking for more content in the future.
Feel free to view this video full screen or in HD, and enjoy Summer’s Escape!