Three Simple Ways to Practice Video Storytelling

by qrayon 4. May 2013 16:59

Video is fast becoming an important medium for our business and everyday communication. You can describe things more clearly and in a more engaging way using video and simple drawings than with just text.

This is a short guide to help you get started using video and leveraging it in your own work.

I'm going to be working through the three exercises using Vittle on my iPad (you can download the free edition from the App Store here), but you can use any recording device you want, even your iPad or iPhone's camera.

You can also start practicing by recording audio-only first, then add the visuals later.


1. Exercise 1: Describe a Recent Trip
Pick one photo from a recent vacation or trip and pretend you are describing being there to a close friend or family member.

Here's one from a trip we made to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. last Fall:


If you are like me, you are probably going to find yourself getting some points out of order when you try this for the first time. That's ok. Remembering a scene from the past tends to be non-linear. You are trying to put your memories into a coherent structure. As you speak, you will likely remember additional details that you want to add in.

What's nice about video is you can easily record multiple takes, and that's the first secret to making great videos: Multiple takes. Your audience doesn't care how many takes you did, since they only see the last one.


2. Exercise 2: Your Living Room Layout
For this exercise, you are going to sketch out the layout of your living room, and describe it to someone such as an interior designer.

Here's my description:

In this exercise, we had to be a little more exact, to combine facts like sizes with subjective descriptions. Notice how even a crude and simple drawing helps convey the information more accurately. Imagine how difficult it would be to have to describe that same room using only text.


3. Exercise 3: Refueling a Car
Now, for something a little more complex: Pretend you are describing how to fill up a car to someone who has never done that before, as if to a teenager. This lets you practice describing something you are probably very familiar with already.

Here's the description I came up with:

Notice that this was a little more involved than describing the static layout of your living room. The quality of the sketch is not important here. The goal is to convey a piece of complex information quickly and efficiently.

Simple drawings help a lot to convey the relative locations of things and their operation. Certain elements are easier to show with a quick sketch, while other points are easier to simply narrate.

Next Steps

Ok, hopefully these three simple exercises have helped you warm up your video-storytelling skills. You can easily apply these techniques the next time you need to explain your business to a customer, or get a point across to your colleagues.

Please let us know what you think. You can send us feedback through our website.

Happy video-making!


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