THE HYPERACTIVE MULTI-BROWSER
There are many differences between online video making and other forms of moving pictures. One of which is the fact that with online video your viewer might be rocking numerous tabs at the same time.
You know, browsing four different websites at the same time...that old chestnut.
I've been known to have up to 15 tabs going at the same time on two or three different browsers.
How does this relate to online video?
Well, if your viewer has multiple tabs and browsers going chances are they press play on your video and then click away to another window right away, surfing something else as they wait to see if the audio from your video catches their attention. They don't do this consciously; it's just a habit that generally comes from YouTube use. If you don't have this habit, it might seem a little ADD, but it's much more common than you think it is.
This means that if your audio doesn't catch your viewer's attention right away, they might not ever click back to watch the whole thing.
THE REST OF THE WORLD
If you aren't dealing with ADD viewers, it's still important that you grab your viewers by the ears right away.
Because the sound of a human voice speaking will draw a viewer in far more than just a moving picture with lovely instrumentals.
Images are powerful. But they can be ignored.
Sound cannot be ignored.
And speech is especially hard to ignore.
Much more so than music or sound effects.
Spend some time watching how sound affects you, and you'll see what I mean.
How hard is it to concentrate when you're doing work at a coffee shop and the people next to you are having a fascinating conversation in full voice?
Compare this to the ease or working with music playing in the background, and you'll begin to understand how powerful the human voice is.
THE WHAT & HOW
So how exactly do you (gently) grab your viewers by the ears?
By making sure you have a human voice on your video's audio track within the first 3 seconds.
(I prefer to have a human voice within the first second of an online video, but there is some moderate wiggle room to this.)
This is a dead easy strategy, and it works every time. And yet, it is bizarrely underused.
In a later blog I'm going to talk about why music is such an important part of a complete video, and how to go about choosing the music.
So don't think I'm saying music isn't an important element. It is!
But unless you're making a music video or a silent film, the human voice will always be the most important element of any film, micro film, or online video.
-Colette Nichol, Vancouver