Bad videos lack authenticity, relevance

This one just came across one of my linked-in groups… a really bad video done by a firm in London to promote something called “City Gateway”. I frankly don’t have any idea what they do or why it’s significant, but they obviously spent some money and wrote a script and thought they would get the word out through the video medium.

Directorially, it makes a number of mistakes which make it almost unwatchable.

First, there’s an arrow fetish which assumes the viewer is feeling informed or enlightened by the animated arrows. What are they? What do they mean?

Second there’s a bunch of “testimonials” that are obviously scripted… you can even see the double takes in people’s eyes that reveal they’re getting told what to say and when to say it. The words come out but the face says, “I’m just saying what they told me to say.” There is absolutely zero credibility in any of those statements, and no context for understanding them. In fact, most of them are unintelligible because the music is mixed way too loud and the words are not enunciated by the speakers.

Third, it feels like some sort of committee decided on the shoot list and the “interviewee” list. There is no story at all, no personality… just “OK, we got the Indian woman, check. We got the young guy, check.”

There can be no authenticity without personality… surprise … free expression of whatever folks believe and experience.

And even if there is authenticity, it’s useless unless the piece also rings the “so-what” bell — relevance — in the heart of the viewer. You can’t get me to care by playing a catchy piece of music or including words by people from my demographic group. It has to touch me as a listener with something that makes me empathize with the storytellers.

Good production values do not guarantee good videos. Stories that are authentic, and relevant to the viewer, are the only worthwhile test of good video communication. Everything else is fail video — and not the funny kind.