silent video

Hands up anyone who’s ever watched a video online, only to be startled when the sound starts blasting out around the office or train? Thought so! That’s why so many of us prefer to watch silent videos, whether we’re taking a quick break from work, using public transport, or trying to keep things quiet so the baby doesn’t wake!

In short, there are times when silence really is golden. A good videographer will ensure viewers’ volume preferences don’t adversely impact the messages in their video content.

In this post, we share actionable tips on producing great content for the silent screen. We’ll take a look at the very best silent videos online and discuss how the brands got it right.

Soundless video: hurdle or opportunity?

As marketers, creativity is in our blood. That’s lucky, because when it comes to video making, there can be lots of hurdles to achieving great engagement. One of these hurdles arises from many viewers’ preference for silent video.

Rather than regarding silence as an obstacle, consider it an opportunity to showcase your video making skills. Thanks to the absence of distracting music, the audience won’t just be focusing more on your message. They will also be paying closer attention to the shots you choose, every expression made by the actors, and even Easter eggs you’ve hidden throughout the videos!

Soundless video is a means of communicating with viewers whose first language is different to your own. This is especially useful for organizations who are marketing in different territories. There’s no need to make videos in another language – just make it silent (and of course, ensure it’s culturally relevant and appropriate).

Top 10 Tips for Making Soundless Video

  1. In the planning phase, distill your key message into visual elements.
  2. Emotive storylines will help to hold viewers’ attention. We share our expertise in narrative in The Secret of Storytelling: 11 Ingredients for Better Videos.
  3. People are interested in people, so start your videos with lifestyle shots featuring your product or service. We recommend checking out Anatomy of a Killer Establishing Shot if you want to get to grips with what makes an opening shot truly great.
  4. A vivid background can grab viewers’ attention. If you’re interested in learning about proper set design, our post Setting the Stage for Your Video is a must-read!
  5. Experiment with different editing techniques to spark interest.
  6. Use graphics.
  7. Captions are important, but should not compete with visual imagery. Don’t rely on the captions to tell the story. We explain exactly how to add captions using SproutVideo here.
  8. Avoid using talking heads – this would require too much text.
  9. You’ll have to be ruthless when you’re editing. If it doesn’t enhance the story, delete it!
  10. Use split testing to boost comprehension, engagement and brand recall. How to Maximize Engagement by A/B Testing Videos has lots of helpful advice.

Our Favorite Soundless Videos

We challenge you to watch these videos with the volume muted. In this way, you’ll appreciate the methods used by the brands to make them engaging.

Huggies: Hug the Mess – Glitter

Thanks to the complete absence of dialogue, the need for captions has been removed. The visuals are bright and appealing, and who could fail to be charmed by the mischievous flying creatures!

Tasty: Four Ways series

The Tasty videos are instantly eye-catching thanks to their bright colors and use of hyperlapse style. There’s no preamble – they launch straight into cooking and deliver the facts quickly. Captions are minimal, so they don’t distract from the visuals.

Hotels.com: Silent Ad

A brave choice – it takes a gutsy marketing team to make a video that sets out to annoy its audience (watch this with the sound on and you’ll see what we mean)! This video hooks viewers by embracing silence rather than trying to work around it.

Mode: 100 Years of Fashion campaign

An engaging soundless video doesn’t have to be complex or packed with special effects.  This video has a simple backdrop and an uncomplicated, engaging story. If budget is a concern for your organization, spend some time watching this campaign for inspiration, then get filming!

Conclusion

With so many people choosing to mute videos, every video you make should speak for itself. The visuals must tell the story quickly, drawing viewers in with eye-catching production techniques and a simple storyline. Appeal to your viewers’ emotions with a storyline they can easily relate to. If captions are necessary, they should not distract from the visuals.

Whether you’re planning to upload your next video to your own website or social media (or both), consider how your audience will consume it. What’s the best combination of techniques to get your message across quickly and silently?

Share your favorite silent videos with the SproutVideo community on Facebook or Twitter!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted May 17, 2017

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