Home > Communication, Production > Six Seconds to Tell a Story

Six Seconds to Tell a Story

Many of you have seen the Vine app, and probably used it. Like most apps I think it has a place, and I have no problem with people using it for whatever they choose.

As a video guy in the enterprise space, however, I’m completely stymied as to how to make it work as a tool to deliver any kind of coherent messaging. I imagine that wasn’t the intention, but I keep sensing people looking for a tool for video that matches the strength and reach of things like twitter for text/links and instagram for photos.

In both of those cases it’s relatively easy to tell your story even within the limits of the tools. 140 characters isn’t much, but with some aggressive editing and a huge disregard for grammar and spelling you can communicate a lot. Obviously every business on the planet has grasped that, and whether they’re doing it well or not they’re all using twitter to share a message. Instagram has a similar value despite the limits – adding the filters can dramatically change the mood or message conveyed. While I haven’t heard of a lot of enterprise users leveraging it, I can easily grasp the message and I could see a company using it.

But six seconds of video? What can you get across by the six seconds alone? Based on some surfing I’ve done, not a lot. Mashable posted some examples here:

5 Ways Startups Are Using Vine

The results? Personally, without the accompanying tweet text explaining what’s going on I don’t think I’d really understand the message. That’s not a bad thing, and perhaps that’s why twitter put the app out there – pair a tweet with a video and you get more impact. I’m not sure I agree, but it makes more sense than the videos on their own.

Here’s some more examples collected on a tumblr blog:

The Joy of Six

As a tool for short stop-motion pieces it’s pretty neat, but again I feel there’s not much of a story being told.

So from an enterprise perspective I just don’t get it – how can you possibly get these tiny fragments to tell a tale? I look at video as an opportunity for storytelling – what does your company do, why are your products great, what do your employees need to know. I imagine it would be possible to release a series of these shorts to build up engagement and have people come back to see each new episode, but that puts a lot of faith in people’s patience to wait for each new development. Can you serialize a message in 6 second clips? It certainly puts pressure on the writer/producer to make some real statement in each short chunk.

So I’m not sold, but I could be (and probably will be) wrong about it. Feel free to convince me that this type of filmmaking has a place in the enterprise.

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