As another year of Wimbledon begins (something I can’t help but be drawn into every year) I started to think about how watching a video is much like watching a game of tennis. At least it should be anyway.
As a match starts, there is an inevitable anticipation for what you’re about to see. You have an idea what might happen, as maybe you’ve seen the players before, or you’ve at least seen one game of tennis before… So the expectation is already there, but you can never be 100% sure how it will play out. It’s down to the players to surprise you.
This is much the same with video. There are very few people out there who won’t have seen any video at all. Therefore your audience is already primed with a certain level of expectation, even if subconsciously. So when it comes to the basics, if you don’t deliver the goods, the audience won’t be impressed. The pacing of the edit, the colour, the composition etc… should all be at a high level, that of a top seed at Wimbledon. As much as it’s good to be different or unconventional, a paying crowd wouldn’t be amused by a player serving with their racquet upside down…
Similarly, when it comes to the final delivery, you should be so well drilled that the simplest of mistakes can never creep in. A flash frame in the edit or a spelling mistake in a title is not what the audience expects to see. Much like when a star player serves a double fault, the crowd deserves better.
Then we come to the overall performance. While a lot of the game might be as expected, a few short standard rallies, a changing of ends, and so on. There will always be the moments that shake things up a little. The 140mph ace down the middle is like surprising the audience with a hard hitting fact. The 25 shot rally is the detailed explanation you never quite understood, but when you get to the end it all makes perfect sense. Then of course there are the moments of flair. The shots that don’t seem like they should be possible. For me, these are the moments video producers most look forward to. When you can surprise and amaze your audience with something unexpected, special and beautifully executed.
Finally we get to the end of the match, the moment it’s all been building up to. When the crowd hold their hands up and say “this player really knows what they’re doing”. In video, never undersell the ending. If your audience has been good enough to watch it all the way through, don’t pass up the opportunity to give them everything they need to see you play again, or better still become a loyal lifelong fan. When you reach the end of the video make the most of your call to action. You never know who might be watching on from the royal box, it could be the client or customer you’ve always been waiting for.
So, next time you’re making a video, just check you’ve got all the same ingredients as the Wimbledon final. Then you can sit back and eat strawberries while the fans roll in!