Online video is experiencing a boom like never before. As a result, fantastic new videomaking techniques are emerging, as well as some pretty cool uses of those new styles. Here are my predictions for some of the big trends in video production and approaches we can expect to see in 2014. That's everything from slo-mo to steadicams to explainer videos.
Video Production Trends For 2014
Video is a powerful medium when it comes to storytelling. But storytelling isn’t limited to words — story can also be teased out in filming and post-production. Technology is enabling a lot of great new storytelling techniques, which is driving several trends, many to do with motion:
With slow motion — once the domain of pros — now available to anyone with the latest iPhone, you can expect to see more stuff shot in slo-mo, at all levels. In the hands of the pros, with cameras like the Phantom Flex, slow motion lends scenes a significantly more epic tone.
Even scenes shot in slower motion can have emotional impact.
Sliders allow a camera to move smoothly through a scene. It’s a simple technique involving a tripod, but it emulates an effect big Hollywood productions have been using for years. Sliders can provide unprecedented depth, production quality, and additional information about a scene.
Thanks to drones, aerial footage is hot. Videographers no longer have to shell out to rent a helicopter or plane. And often the results are better — small, lightweight drones can go places no chopper can. All a filmmaker needs to do is strap a GoPro or DSLR camera to a remote-controlled drone to get something like this awesome eye view of Burning Man.
Steadicams bring viewers into the middle of the action in ways never before practical. A whole host of Steadicam gimbals are allowing videomakers to hold their cameras still as they move alongside a subject, whether that subject is walking, running, or rollerskating through Picadilly Circus.
Timelapse has always been a favorite, but now hyperlapse is adding a new dimension to it. With timelapse, the camera stays put. To achieve the hyperlapse effect, a camera is moved slightly over the course of the shoot. It’s a subtle change, but a whole new dynamic is created.
Increasingly sophisticated technology is also affecting resolution and overall quality, with 4K being the hottest newsmaker. RED cameras have been shooting 4K for a while, but now that the technology has made its way into Blackmagic and GoPro cameras, we anticipate seeing a lot more of it soon, and expect it be mainstream in two to three years — especially as 4K TVs hit the market.
Adding to the 4K transition, the new H.265 codec is poised to change everything soon. H.265 allows the capture of 4K video on SD cards on DSLRs, which alone will offer a giant leap in resolution and image quality.
Post-production technology is nearing the point where the average filmmaker can produce something close to Hollywood quality. For instance, color correction goes a long way in achieving the level of production quality that’s expected nowadays.
Color grading also helps give a video a distinct feel. And with new software on the market, expect to see more of that professional-grade standard.
Corporate and Branded Video Content in 2014
With online video audiences on the rise and expected to double to 1.5 billion people by 2016, companies will rely more and more on video to tell their brand story — they need to be where the people are. Video content is more likely to be watched and shared than other kinds of content, and videos shared socially are more likely to be watched to completion.
There’s no limit to what form or tone a corporate video takes. It could be the animated Chipotle story of factory farming, WestJet’s tear-jerking Christmas Miracle, or Patagonia’s Worn Wear, celebrating “the stories we wear.” Corporate videos aren’t just for the big players either, as this story about the passion and provenance of Fratello, a local, family-owned coffee purveyor, illustrates.
Video Advertising in 2014
Did you happen to catch Dove’s Real Beauty this year? Kmart’s Ship My Pants? Those two ads alone enjoyed more than 100 million views on YouTube. Sure, they’re two of the year’s viral sensations, but they demonstrate the irresistible allure of video — for both customers and advertisers. Video advertising is now the fastest growing online ad format. In a survey conducted by Reel SEO, the Web Video Marketing Council, and Flimp Media, 93% of marketers confirmed video was part of their marketing strategy for 2013 — a big increase over 2012 — and 82% said their video marketing had a positive effect on their business.
As this explainer video on explainer video explains, given humans’ general lack of focus, the more information you can communicate in a short amount of time, the better. Explainer videos are the embodiment of the storytelling principle “show don’t tell.”
So rather than simply describing to your customers what your company does or how your product works, show them. Coin recently caught the Internet’s imagination with its vision for one card to hold all your cards — and puts its explainer video front and center on its home page. Who would have thought anybody would care about discount razor blades? In 2012, Dollar Shave Club changed all that. Or check out Virgin America’s in-flight safety video, the explainer video to end all explainer videos.
Email Video Marketing
The “final” frontier for video, at least for now. In the survey noted earlier, 60% of marketers had used video in email campaigns, with 82% saying it proved effective. There’s still a lot to be explored in this venue, however. Given constraints such as large file sizes and email client compatibility, video files in email are typically linked to. But with technology catching up by way of HTML5 and progressive playback, we should start seeing more embedded videos, resulting in a more instantly engaging experience.
Across all these uses, marketers will be paying greater attention to video’s mobile applications — they have no choice. Between 2012 and 2013, the average time spent watching videos on smartphones doubled, and on tablets it tripled. Again, it’s about being where your customers are: 41% of adult cell phone users in the United States say they watch videos on their phones. Traditionally mobile has been an afterthought, but marketers clearly can’t afford to be lax in that area anymore.
So there’s lots to look forward to in 2014 for both videomakers and marketers.