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Feel The Rhythm

There is a video editing secret that few videographers know? It’s this: A great video isn’t just about a great story. Each video has a rhythm or a pace to it. Finding the rhythm determines whether that video gets watched or not.

When I edit videos or films, I click into this pace, this rhythm, by using my musical background as a classical guitarist. I pay attention to two rhythms in the video: The major rhythm and the minor rhythm.

So, how does this video editing secret work?

The Major Rhythm

The “major” rhythm is that time you take to develop a single point in the story. I’ve found that an online audience gives you about 20 seconds to make a point in a corporate video. This doesn’t mean you have only 20 seconds to tell the whole story; just one point in the story. It’s like one step at a time in a ladder that is the whole story; which can have as many steps as it likes. After that 20 seconds or so, something new needs to happen; new information, a big visual change, etc. It can even happen with a simple insert of a text screen or a new speaker or character to be introduced into the video.

The major rhythm is like being on a road trip and turning onto a different road in order to get to the final destination. The scenery is different. The context is different. Everything is different, but you are still on that same journey, telling that same story; reaching the same final conclusion.

The Minor Rhythm

The “minor” rhythm is that moment in the video when you feel a tweak is needed; the visual or the audio needs to adjust a little bit; zoom the video in or add supporting b-roll footage or a photo. Maybe you can add music or some other layer of sound effects. For example, if the person is talking about his first time piloting a plane and you don’t have a photo of him doing it, you only have the ‘talking head’ footage of him telling this story, you can add the sound effect of a flying plane behind him talking. It’s just a small change to help reinforce that point your video is making or a moment to manipulate your audience towards the right response you want them to have for that point in your story.