Order of importance: 1) story, 2) technology

Technology is wonderful these days.

So many plugins, so many transitions, so many effects.

So many stabilizers, so many drones.

I don’t know about you, but I see so many videos these days showing off all these wonderful things that don’t tell story. Well, if there is a story it’s ‘look at me, look what I’ve done’.

Who cares?

Use them to tell a story and forward a message and people might actually watch and enjoy them.

(The picture? Just a lake in the early morning near where I live in southern France.)

14 responses

  1. It all depends who you are trying to impress. Every client needs his ego massaged and every assignment needs the right balance of storyline & clever effects. The problem is that clever effects stop being ‘special’ when they are the norm. However a great punchy intro or well timed teaser is worth its weight in gold, we need to remember that attention span is not what it used to be.


    • Thanks Barry. I don’t think that alters the point of this article which is summed up in the title. If it forwards the story or message, go for it. If it doesn’t or distracts from it, don’t. I’m referring to the many examples I see of the latter. For example, I’ve done a series of corporate videos for a large packaging company that deals in cardboard packaging. For their videos I’ve used that ancient ‘box roll’ transition as well as some newer plugins that emulate the folding of paper or cardboard. I’m not against effects or ‘fancy’ transitions. I have a ton of them. But when I use them it’s for a reason and that reason is to forward or reinforce the message or theme of the video. I’m sure you do the same.


  2. As prices of all video technology have come down dramatically over the last 20–and actually the last 10–years, everyone wants to get into the game, Whether it’s the drone craze of late to all the other stuff out there. Remember when DSLRs were the “latest and greatest” in video production? And despite all the wonderful tools we have today, it really is a shame that folks just slam footage together, without even a shred of a story. And it ain’t that hard to get your hands on one of several books that give insight into story mapping, story arc, etc.

    Sorry, Gerry…I dropped out of rehab and bought a drone! What’s an ol’ Marine helo driver to do with himself! 😉



    • Good for you, Terry. With your history of flight, you would be a natural with a drone.

      I thought you’d all like to see this DJI behind the scenes video from “The Eagle Huntress”. This is a documentary where the drone is integral to the telling of the story.

      You can see The Eagle Huntress on Netflix. Best to watch on the biggest screen you have, with home theatre sound.


  3. Hey William. Funny coincidence. Just after replying to your comment I got an email from this guy who has started an aerial business. Watched the first sample and part of the second. This is what I’m talking about. Yep, got a nice drone, but doesn’t know how to utilise it for forward a purpose and is relying on transition effects to make it trendy and cool. Take the real estate one. If I was shopping for a house, this would just annoy me. Even if he’s just show-reeling aerial samples meant to be used in conjunction with shots on the ground shot by someone else, if I was him I’d shoot the whole thing to show how aerials can make a real estate video better. But if he did, I suspect he’d be so hung up with his aerials that we’d still be suffering with 20 second shots booming up a tree and zippy little speed ramps in the middle of a shot. In other words, this is my point.


  4. Interrupted 5 times trying to post my comment by these damnable advertisements. What a waste of time and really irritating.


  5. Content is king, but I’ll say something in defense of those who shoot what I might call scenic video–like some of the thing I an others shoot: we are not writers, we cannot hire ourselves–it’s even hard to get people to volunteer to allow you to shoot their story. So what to do?
    Keep your shooting, editing, and grading skills up to par until the opportunity arises.
    Just what is the problem with that?


    • Nothing wrong with that. I was really talking more about the weirdly fast-cut edits full of stabilized shots and transition effects. Lot’s of effect, lots of new tools and toys, but I have no idea what their videos are all about. As to drone scenics, I’ve seen some good ones too of course. But then there are those just strung together with some music schlocked on with no editing flow and often no titles. Wouldn’t a scenic drone video have a nice title (‘Soaring over Citi Carcassonne’) with a nice sense of pace and something to do with the music? Anyway, I think you know what I mean. Hey, what’s up with adverts. Is WordPress forcing me to upgrade by plaguing everyone with ads? Tell me what happens please.


  6. Ha, ha! I’ve been drone free since I crashed two–but I really want to get a new one. Gunna go with the Phantom next time rather than all the Johnny-come-latelys. But really–all these beautiful shots I see just wasted. Begging to be used for some sensible purpose. I mean, come on, the shots just practically shoot themselves, don’t they? Wonderful technology.


    • Exactly. Content is king. Drone rules have gotten quite stringent here in Canada. I’ve been fortunate to connect with a drone pilot who’s been flying radio controlled aircraft for years. He’s licensed with Transport Canada. Hired him for a job recently, and living near Canada’s largest Air Force base, it was reassuring when he called the tower before takeoff.
      By the way, I love the calming lake photo.


    • I agree entirely. A lot of the footage is flouting the rules anyway, Just showing how far and high they can fly with no concern for safety. I am registered to fly commercially by the CAA here in the UK. Don’t do a lot but at least it allows me to obtain full insurance cover should I ever have a problem.


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