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Storytelling without Special Effects

Last month, Burger King released a PSA video as part their partnership with the No Bully campaign (You can watch the full spot here) that became a viral sensation on the internet. It had over four million views on YouTube in less than a month. The video was incredibly well done, and did a great job of telling a powerful story of their cause in a video-based way that didn’t require an excessive amount of special effects. While there is absolutely a place for animated pieces that involve 2D or 3D animation or other fancy effects, and we make many of those types of pieces here at PEG, I’ve always had a soft spot for projects that are able to tell a story in a way that elicits an emotional reaction almost exclusively through video. Doing so is definitely an art, and something that takes a lot of talent to accomplish.

Hidden Cameras

In the example that Burger King created, it was done through a series of  hidden cameras. But capturing video like that takes very careful planning and pre-shoot preparation to allow the concept to work. That can’t be underestimated.



Another way is to find a great story and tell it via on-camera interviews, where the subjects tell the story. We were lucky to work on a project earlier this year that gained a lot of traction locally and regionally for the City of of Akron that focused on interviews of area residents. Allowing them to tell the story set the tone for the video and gave it a heart that really resonated with viewers.



Another way to do this is to organically capture an event and rely on great camerawork, a great story to develop in front of you and great editing to bring it all together. There is a video guy named Ty Rogers. He does football video for University of Michigan. I follow him on Twitter. He does a great job of capturing great footage each week and putting a piece together. Here’s an example of one he did earlier this year: MINI-MOVIE: Michigan vs. Minnesota


All of these example videos rely on great footage and great storytelling to be effective, without needing much at all in the way of effects or graphics to tell the story. They’re proof that while those elements do have a place in many videos, sometimes the most effective stories don’t require all the bells and whistles if they’re planned, shot and edited in a creative manner.


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