Archive | video production

Industy news and helpful content on video production.

The Value of Video in Learning

Posted by Tom Hickmore, 28th February, 2018
news, video drama, video production

“It’s not the medium, it’s what you do with it.”

That’s what L&D experts have been saying in social media lately, and I 100% agree.  A haiku can be just as immersive as VR, depending upon the audience, and how good the poem is.

But all media have intrinsic strengths and we’ve been researching the evidence for the strengths of the various forms of video when deployed in a learning context.

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The Case for Video Drama in Learning

Posted by Tom Hickmore, 9th January, 2018
elearning, video drama, video know-how, video production

People can’t absorb information effortlessly, it takes hard work and application.  It is said.  But drama allows you to “effortlessly” walk through a learning dialectic as you look through the eyes of characters in a conflict.  Drama can be visual, but more importantly it’s emotional.

Danish educational theorist Knud Illeris says genuine learning involves a subjective connection between the learner’s interests and motivations and the learning content, which always includes a cognitive, emotional, and social dimension.

This makes perfect sense if we are teaching soft skills such as diversity and inclusivity.  Being led through a scenario and allowed to view the world through other people’s eyes is clearly a perfect means of fostering empathy and understanding.  But what about less emotional subjects?  Is it worth making a learning drama about compliance issues or accountancy?

If you can have more than one opinion about an issue it can be dramatized.  If you can have an argument about the pros and cons of an issue this can be crystallised into clear stages of a dialectic and this in turn transformed into the actions of characters who bring it to life.

Watching this drama, we naturally consider the wider implications of the actions.  What does it mean to break a petty rule?  We identify with the rule breaker, but do we really want to be them?  Is the righteous character boring or simply trying to make it better for the rest of us?  Such questions are not explicit, but implicit in the actions of the scenario.  The beauty of this is that the viewer makes their own meaning.  We reflect on it while we’re on coffee break.  It resonates, and sparks conversations with colleagues.  It weaves its way smoothly into our long-term memory.

Watching a learning drama won’t make you into an expert, but it can make you feel like one, because when we watch other people in conflict we naturally have an opinion about it.

Drama delivers a subjective connection between the learner’s interests and motivations and the learning content, including a cognitive, emotional, and social dimension. And once you have established that connection you can use cheaper media – perhaps cheaper-to-produce types of video – to deliver the more detailed learning.

This is the power of drama.  It’s effortless to consume but takes some serious expertise to put together.

How to release your inner video maker

Posted by Tom Hickmore, 26th July, 2017
video know-how, video production

As a seasoned video professional, you might find it surprising to hear me say you can make great learning video with almost zero technical ability.  I see lots of blogs giving tips to video newbies in which the emphasis is on the technical.  I’m concerned that this can act as a barrier to entry for a lot of people, not only because they find technology daunting, but because technique becomes the principle measure of success.  My empowering message to you is – if the voice track is comprehensible and that the viewer can tell what you’re pointing the camera at, you have a technical success.  Master the basics and allow your intrinsic strengths as a learning expert to come across.

Don’t forget, some of the world’s most popular videos are made by people with very little technical ability.  Disneycollector makes videos of unboxing Disney toys.  In this clip, with one fixed camera position, she unboxes six Play Doh Sparkle Princess.  It’s had over 500 million views. The latest Game of Thrones US premiere only got 16 million viewers!

Of course, many of Disneycollector’s viewers are children, so what about car fixing vlogger Chris Fix?  His video about cleaning your headlights with toothpaste has the most basic of production values and has had 13.5 million views!

Now, I wouldn’t say either of these people is charismatic or endowed with any unusual talents.  What they share is an enthusiasm for their subject.  They don’t shout about it, but they engage wholeheartedly, which means they enjoy what they are doing and that comes through.  Enthusiasm shines bright with or without whizzy production techniques.

On the audience side – these vloggers have plenty of learner incentive.  People want to know about this stuff and the production values simply don’t matter to them.

There are plenty of examples of vloggers whose output has become more polished, but usually this is because they’ve become successful and paid other people to make the videos for them.  And this happens in learning as well – if you’re successful with your video content you’ll get noticed and attract more budget.  Then you can get other people to do the technical stuff.  And relax!

Now, of course, you probably don’t want to be a vlogger.  Perhaps you want to film some interviews with experts and cut them together into a presentation.  The same principles apply.  What do these people say that you are excited about?  Take that and deliver it to others and don’t worry about the finer points of technique.  Use jump cuts, don’t worry about continuity or wipes or slick graphics, leave the technical wizardry to people who do that stuff for a living and focus on the part where you have an edge over them – your subject.  You know what needs to be communicated.  And you know your audience.

In fact, I’d argue that filming techniques aren’t really what distinguish a professional video maker either.  You can film a great script on a smart phone and watch it on a black and white tele and as long as you can hear the dialogue and see what’s going on it’ll carry.  You can film a bad script with all the cameras and lights available to a Hollywood producer and it’ll still be unengaging.  I’m not saying there isn’t a place for higher production values – there is, and I love working with them, but the greater challenge and the smarter play is to work around their absence.


Want some help to release your inner video maker? We offer a consultancy and training service – supporting businesses to create great video content in-house. Interested? Get in touch.

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Cake: Why Drama is Good for Learning

Posted by Tom Hickmore, 23rd June, 2017
video drama, video know-how, video production

Stories take impersonal facts and give them meaning. While Drama is not designed to deliver the level of detail you might find in a documentary style treatment, the impact, the engagement and the retention of the message will be much better.


Real Drama for Learning

Script consultancy: we work with your team to turn workaday content into something truly dramatic.

Training:  Using our conceptual toolkit, we work with your team to give an understanding of the basics of dramatic construction.

Agency support: working with you at the bid stage, we provide creative support to elevate your video-oriented eLearning idea into a winning pitch.

Production: From idea to final film we work with you throughout the journey.

Real Drama for Learning – using emotion to communicate ideas.
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BVE 2017

Posted by Daniel Markland, 10th March, 2017
news, video production

Tom and Rich went to BVE 2017 to check out the latest tech and trends in Film and Video. Here’s what they got up to. Read More

What engages you?

Posted by Daniel Markland, 16th January, 2017
elearning, news, video production

In my short time working within the eLearning world, one word has consistently jumped out from all the jargon. Engagement. At eLN Connect last year it was all anyone could talk about. ‘How can we engage the learner?’ ‘Are we engaging them enough?’ ‘What about millennial learners?!’ ‘Look there’s a learner! Somebody, quick – engage them!’

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