Its often been said that we speak with our eyes, not with our mouth. When we talk to someone – or listen to them – we naturally look into their eyes, not at their mouth. The eyes are the entrance to the soul and its what we use to connect with people.
This is true for video production as well because video production is all about connecting with people, with your audience.
Exactly where the subject is looking is critically important as it sets up the rest of the video for the viewer. Their eye direction tells the viewer who they are talking to and what kind of conversation this is going to be. Is the subject looking at and talking to an interviewer that is sitting off camera somewhere? If so, then the viewer is being invited to listen in on their conversation. Its a comfortable place to be for the viewer because they are just invited to listen and not required to react or respond.
This is the most common form of video interview and we have many examples of this, including this video that we did several years ago for Woodstock School in India:
As a video production company, MotionPicturesAsia has a creative toolbox that we use to produce the best content that we can for our clients. All tools have specific applications and not every one works in every situation in the same way. So let’s look at another tool we have that might connect our viewers with our subject in a more impactful way – eye contact.
“When we talk to someone – or listen to them – we naturally look into their eyes”
In normal day to day life, when someone is looking directly at us and talking to us, it is hard to ignore them. And we are generally required to not only listen, but to listen well. Think of the difference of when a teacher is talking to an entire class generally or when he or she is talking to a specific student. If you are that specific student, you’d better listen up!
The same is true for video production. When the subject in the video is looking right at the camera (and therefore right at the viewer) they tend to connect more with the viewer because there’s a subconscious feeling that what they are talking about is more important. Think of newscasters. They hold the mic up to their mouth and look directly at the viewer. The news is important and the eye contact gets your attention.
Take a look at another video that we did for Woodstock School and take note of how different you feel watching it as compared to the first one:
The students are talking to ME! I feel a personal connection with them right from the first subject. I want to get to know them a bit more. They look interesting, they come from all over the world and have different accents from mine. And guess what? They actually ARE talking to me! They are inviting me to become a student of Woodstock School (and I actually was a student of Woodstock School in the 80’s, but that’s a whole other story…). And they are inviting me personally. They are looking at me and talking right to me. They are trying to make a connection. And then, at the end of the video, the entire school (well, most of the school at least) is welcoming me to their school! How can I refuse an invitation like that?
And guess what? It worked!
We launched this video for Woodstock several years ago during our first series of productions for the school. A few months ago, we were invited back to start work on a second series of videos for the school. And something really surprising happened. Students and teachers alike stopped us in the hallways and on the mountain paths (Woodstock is 7000 feet up in the Himalayas in India) and said, “Your videos are the reason that I’m here”.
We were humbled by the response but we were amazed when we asked for details – every single one of the people that we spoke with said that this student recruitment video was by far the most impactful and the one they remember the most. Why? Because it felt like the students were speaking to them personally.
“Connection. Its what not only video production, but much of life, is all about.”
Stay tuned for a future post where we will share another example of how we used eye contact to create more impact in a video for International School Bangkok. In the meantime, let us know what you think. Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.