Have you ever clicked on a business or commercial video and right from the get-go you’re snoring or even worse, you hit that ‘X’ button on the top left corner?
We’ll share some insights on how to keep your viewers engaged from start to finish and maybe even hit the ‘rewatch’ button once it’s over.
1. Audio Swell
A few of your favourite videos and movies may have had this effect on you without you even noticing it. You’ll hear it without even seeing anything, and then it’ll hit you like a sack of potatoes. Once it’s over, you’ll be helpless…‘helpless-ly’ engaged! ;)
This technique uses a sound design effect to build suspense called a ‘swell.' A swell consists of a sound effect that starts very low then gradually builds up and then tapers off, sometimes followed by a ‘hit’ for maximum effect. YouTuber Zach Ramelan alternatively uses it to break up a scene or help transition the mood entirely.
Using this effect in your business video could dramatically change the way your audience is listening and viewing it. Horror movie editors love using this technique in opening title sequences such as in The Conjuring, Insidious and Sinister. Depending on how you use the swell, some of your viewers might move up to the edge of their seat. Others might slouch into it and cover their face. Either way, you’ve got their attention.
Swells are great to get the viewer to focus on exactly what you want them to, because after all “sound is half the picture." We also used this technique in the beginning of our new reel, 0:00 - 0:02.
2. The Cold Open
Kill Bill Vol.1
A cold open is a storytelling method where the editor takes a chunk of the story (usually the most dramatic or conflicting part of the story) and sets it up in the beginning, acting as a ‘teaser’ for what’s to come down the line.
Film director Quentin Tarantino effectively used the cold open in Kill Bill Vol.1, setting up the audience with a bloodied bride laying half dead on the ground played by Uma Thurman. Oops, I’ve already said too much. Or have i…? :)
Using this method for your business video could further bring up engagement results by capturing people scrolling through their social media pages and grabbing their attention toward your video. For example, a close-up shot of someone’s face immediately appearing on screen, or hearing the first lines to a monologue or dialogue before there is even a picture displayed on the screen.
3. Music for Pacing
A catchy tune right at the start never seems to fail either— that is assuming, of course, it’s not one of those generic corporate jingles you accidentally click on when searching for music. Depending on the stage you’re trying to set up for your viewer, the right music choice can either make or break viewer engagement. One of my favourite examples is how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 used Electric Light Orchestra’s - Mr. Blue Sky to help compliment the fight scene at the beginning of the movie.
If music is one of the main components of your videos, e.g. music videos, using it to help you cut and time your edit to the beat of the song (bass drops, hi hats, kicks, snares, and synths), then there are many musical beats to cut to. The most important thing you can do, however, is give your video an even amount of pacing or else things could get a little messy.
Using this technique in your business or commercial video can make it stand out from the pack and awaken your viewers' senses. For example, say there’s a scene in your video that's falling flat and needs a kick in the pants. It may be a flashback, a fight scene, a montage of business people shaking hands… whatever the case, that dash of underlying music to help you with the cuts and pacing will come in handy. Watch out for copyright legalities, though. You wouldn’t want Justin Bieber’s team coming after you for using What Do You Mean in your video, would you?
Songfreedom has a great selection of popular music you can license from The Temper Trap and Imagine Dragons to Maroon 5.
What are your favourite uses of music in videos or films? Let us know in the comments!