Think More Cinematic. Less Talking Heads.

by James Loizou

People expect high-quality video all the time — even in your video marketing efforts. With the lines blurring between a good old-fashioned movie and a moving Duracel commercial that brings you to tears, viewers crave a story, not a sale. 






To fully immerse our audiences in something cinematic, we’re turning to Hollywood techniques that convey both professionalism and authenticity. Dolly shots. Handheld. Aerial photography. Slow-mo. We’re not boring viewers with a corporate message — we’re entertaining them with something well-made.

How Cinematic Techniques Tell a Story

Telling a story starts with understanding what it’s about — a no-brainer, right? Not always. With video marketing, you have to consider how you want the audience to feel as well as what you want from the audience. Their emotional journey, from beginning to end, is influenced and shaped by cinematic techniques.

Some of our personal favorites include:

  • Handheld shots: While some filmmakers stray away from handheld shots due to their shakiness, when you use them here and there they can have a big impact on the feel of your videos. Handheld shots in our #IAmIH project, for instance, emphasized the day-in-the-life moments of being an industrial hygienist. For a smoother shot, Steadicams are the answer.

  • Aerial shots: The bird’s-eye view of aerial shots gives perspective. We see these all the time in movies taking place in New York City, London, or another major hub. Use this cinematic technique to help your viewers understand the scale of a facility or flesh out the story you’re telling of a small business in a farming community. Check out our New Markets Tax Credits project to see this in action

  • Dolly shots: Who doesn’t love a dolly shot? They’re a classic! Whether you’re using a tracking shot or push-and-pull movement on a dolly, you can create a visual experience that makes audiences feel like they’re walking alongside or following your subject. We’ve used this technique precisely for that in our Retail Across America video series.

  • Crane shots: “Epic” is one word for crane shots. And their history is a long one, going all the way back to silent films. Crane shots are useful when you want to create a visual scene that’s larger-than-life while still offering a view that’s more intimate than an aerial shot. And we were thrilled to do just that through a partnership with Prince George’s Community College.

  • High-speed photography: For a dramatic, slow-motion effect, you can trust high-speed photography. This cinematic technique is also useful for capturing fast movements in nature, like the motion of a hummingbird’s wings or the jaguar-fast punches of a boxer. Hint — that’s one of the ways we’ve used high-speed photography, highlighting professional boxer Rau’shee “Baby Pit” Warren.

Of course, these tricks only emphasize a solid story. We partnered with The Association of Union Constructors to celebrate Craftperson of the Year Kevin Knowlton. We developed a day-in-the-life video that honored not just Kevin's family legacy, but also the entire profession of millwright-ing. So when TAUC's audience demanded something cinematic, we gave them less talking heads and more Dirty Jobs



Third Generation Millwright



Want to see how we make a cinematic trailer? Reach out to us today and we’ll not only show you, but also turn your marketing message into a well-told story.

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