Video, Design, and Story?

What is a good video?

Lots of my friends know that I love filmmaking, so they usually share me a kind of cool travel videos in which a lot of beautiful landscape scenes like a beautiful sky or a good looking city view at night are shot and edited with a nice music (I also notice that not only full-time travelers make this kind of video but also a lot of YouTubers who do review on electronic devices especially cameras). Some of my friends are super obsessed with those videos and consistently convince me that they are good editing, but are they?

Absolutely not!! Those youtube are seemed quite advanced in their video shooting and editing skills, but they are not! I believe that a truly good video or movie must feature anecdote, a sequence of events, as Ira Gra Glass points out and the true advancement of video shooting and editing skills can only be seen in how to create and present such anecdote. Therefore, in my own opinion, there is probably some video shooting skills but definitely not editing skill in those YouTuber’s travel video because what they do is to shoot couples clips of awesome stuff and find some nice pieces of background music then edit them together. No story is ever told. Maybe there is a story about traveling, but it does have enough momentum to capture audience attention. You are just traveling and looking at those cool stuff, and that is.

Brandon Li is a well-known YouTuber for its documentary Hong Kong Strong which is an overview of Hong Kong culture. I think Li is an excellent photographer and filmmaker, but I still find watching his documentary Hong Kong strong boring. Although I can see that he adopts an innovative way to switch between different scenes and show the title screens, which is much capable than most of the YouTubers, the documentary lacks a story with a powerful enough momentum.

However, another video called Boring Room Challenge also made by Li is a totally opposite example. It excellently exemplifies Glass’ idea that no matter how boring the material is, as long as it is in a story form, it can attract the audience’s attention. My curiosity is being caught when watching the video.

A good design should also tell a good story, conveying a good message but unlike video, design features a much shorter length of communication. I really like a saying made by Thailand famous commercial director Sri Thanonchai who also learned graphic design in college. He says a commercial with thirty seconds long can make the audience cry, but a poster can make people feel happy or angry but never cry. Why? Not because this poster is not a good poster but the length of communication of poster (only one frame) is still too short to trigger crying.

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