Location, location, location. The backdrop of your scenes creates the first impression for the entire video. The setting will determine your credibility and your branding within the first few seconds.
Viewers will instantly make conscious and subconscious judgments about your video based on the speaker or characters, what they’re wearing, how they’re talking, what they’re talking about, and the overall ambiance of the video—including and especially the backdrop. You want to tailor this snap judgment appropriately so you can engage with the audience and sell more.
The backdrop sets the tone and the feel for your video content. It is the foundation of the message you want to convey.
So how do you choose the right setting for your video?
1. Make the backdrop relevant.
The background you choose is the part of your brand. The colors, room, and props all tell their own story. They have an impact on your viewer’s perception of the brand and the content. Consider what story your backdrop is telling.
A video in your office gives a natural feel of authenticity. It sets the time and place within the workday in the employee’s natural environment. Showing the office also builds a sense of company culture. This is especially great for client testimonials.
A background of a library, classroom, or bookshelf gives off the sense of learning. This would be good for a training or educational video. You could also use a white board or chalkboard background to tap into the sense of teaching.
A background of Central Park might give a fun, community-vibe. A background of your living room gives a personal, intimate feel. A background of the beach could create a calm, tranquil atmosphere.
The place and props you choose becomes a part of your brand.
You might also want to consider a solid color background. You can use a painted wall, quality green screen, or paper backdrop. This creates a blank canvas that ensures the focus is on the speaker and message. This is a great way to show mood and branding through color (like your logo colors). Note that muted colors tend to work best, though, as some colors can wash out the subject or be too distracting. You can even try using textured backgrounds, like wood or brick, which are simple while adding dimension.
2. Focus on the speaker.
In real life, our eyes naturally focus. When you look at an object, everything else in the room blurs, even though you’re peripherally aware. The same is true in videos. You want to control where the eye focuses, so you need to create an emphasis point in the video. Blurring out the background will still set the subconscious tone and ensure the eyes are engaged at the correct point. Blurring helps to separate the subject from the background while minimizing distractions.
3. Remove distractions.
You’ll also want to remove other distractions that are in the setting of the room. Movement behind the subject or bright, misplaced props can cause a viewer to lose attention with the topic at hand.
Nothing should upstage the main speaker or subject of the video. Keep background props to a minimum. Avoid having people walking around or talking in the background. Don’t shoot in front of a messy room or cluttered desk space. Remember that noise is part of the background as well. Even a car honk or humming AC unit can be distracting to viewers.
4. Use product placement.
Subtle product placement branding is a strong way to soft-sell while providing value to your audience. However, you’ll want to keep this refined. For example, you could have a branded water bottle sitting on the speaker’s desk. You could have prepared dishes in the background of your restaurant scene. Keep product placement subtle so as not to distract from the content or appear too promotional.
5. Keep it consistent.
If the backdrop is a part of the impression your viewer has of your content, then you want to keep it consistent to build a consistent brand. This doesn’t mean using the same backdrop every single time. Consistency means that you find the relevant backdrop to the content of the video while also keeping overall atmosphere consistent. This helps your viewer subconsciously connect the scene with your brand. For example, you could show client testimonials with the same blue background, while company leaders always stand in front of a purple background.
• Create a comprehensive shot list.
• Shoot on cloudy days to maintain a steady ambient light. Shadows can change position throughout the day, which can mess up the flow of your shots.
• Use a roll of photo paper to create a “paper background” anywhere in the office. These come in a variety of colors and styles.
• Use a scoop light behind the speaker to emphasize the subject. Or use floodlights to create a solid background.
• If using multiple subjects, change the location within the office or backdrop. Keep the general scene the same with slight changes.
• Don’t switch colors between people if using a plain background.
• Try breaking down the fourth wall. Show how you are filming the video as a way to create an honest, transparent connection with the viewer.
The Bottom Line
The setting of your video will help support the content and build your brand’s message. But constructing a “location” can be expensive. You need tools and resources to ensure the backdrop is appropriate. This means lighting equipment, location scouting, editing software, and more.
You don’t need to make a huge investment in equipment and research, though. Partner with a production agency to function as your in-house video marketer.
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