Online Video Concepts: Why Set Decoration Matters

First, what is set decoration?  Also referred to as set dec in the movie business, this refers to the decorating of your set i.e. the selection of every single piece of furniture and doodad and knickknack that is included within the camera's frame.  Everything you see on screen in a movie was a choice.  It's no accident that there are pink flowers on the table.  In fact you can be sure that there was a conversation of some length about what colour those flowers should be and whether or not they should be roses or gerbera daisies.  

But does set dec matter in the modest world of online video for small business?  Quick answer: a resounding yes!  The power of visuals is that they show rather than tell.  So if your verbal message is that you are a warm and friendly company, but the visual you are providing doesn't back that up, you've got a mixed-message problem on your hands.  

As I spend a lot of time watching online video and also digging into the materials of online marketing folk, I've seen a lot of bad online video, and some pretty amazing stuff too.  What is true for all of the bad online video, as well as the mediocre stuff, is that nobody payed any attention to the set decoration.  

To simplify my message, let me just say this: every single object and colour within the frame of your video must be a choice, which means they must be observed, analyzed within the context of your message, and either accepted, changed, or rejected.  

This is a process that adds time to your shoot, but it's extremely simple, it's free, and it will add more legitimacy and polish to your video than any piece of expensive gear can possibly hope to add.  

So if you ask a potential video production company whether they will help you out with set decoration and if they give you a waffle answer, go elsewhere.  Tech is important.  But set dec is equally if not more important.  

-Colette Nichol, Vancouver