Producers Impart Wisdom on the State of Video

When it comes to video, every brand is trying to crack the code. We often hear clients ask “what content stands out?” Or “what video drives results?”

Why not ask the producers on the front line of video creation and production? Producers Sam Schachter (SS) and Merced Elizondo (ME) expertly answer important questions on current video trends and where they see the industry going.

Sam Schachter (L) and Merced Elizondo (R) are DHD producers with passions for storytelling using the medium of video.

I: When you consume video in all walks of your life, what stands out to you? What is the X factor, what “wows” you?

SS: Very simply, I want one of three outcomes – to laugh, to cry or to think. Otherwise, I’ve wasted my time. For me, there is no single X Factor. Maybe, it’s simply a great long form story. Maybe, it’s a clip from American Idol where an underdog achieves greatness in that one moment.  Maybe, it’s a dude perfect clip, where I ask, how did they do that?

ME: What stands out to me is great editing, clean sound, and cinematic visuals. This is the kind of content that I like to enjoy and appreciate.

I: Is there a certain type of video that is in high demand right now? (Ex: Narrative, 360°, POV, etc.)

SS: My personal favorite is narrative, but I have a long attention span.

ME: I would say event highlights driven by interviews are in high demand right now, at least in my experience.

This narrative piece, produced by Sam for Southern Power, was one of his favorites projects of 2018.

I: When it comes to producing corporate video, do you prefer long form of short form content?

SS: I think strategically you have both long form and social cuts. It’s mandatory. You find an audience on social; you tell a story in long form.

ME: When it comes to corporate video, I always prefer short form content because of the nature of the topics. Get in, get out, and don’t overstay your welcome by boring your audience to death.

I: Further, what video length do you believe to be the sweet spot?

SS: Social should be 12- 15 seconds. Long form, whatever it takes.

ME: I think 2-3 minutes is the sweet spot for videos.

I: What are the most common problems that clients are seeking to ameliorate using video?

SS: Most clients don’t think about strategy. They think budget. You can do both, but ultimately, they are judged by not overspending, so that becomes their overriding concern. It’s the reason big brands are so successful at social and building an audience – they worry less about money.

ME: I think many clients, particularly corporate ones, tend to unknowingly corner themselves when it comes to their marketing efforts. As a result, I see clients often trying to use video as a way to press the reset button and show the world who they really are and what they can be. They want to break free from what people normally associate with them and give their brand the life it deserves.

Sam producing a shoot with the Dallas Police Department in April of 2019.

I: How have clients’ expectations changed over the past few years, in terms of what they want out of a video?

ME: I think we’re seeing clients develop an expectation for their videos to be evergreen and have a life well after the fact. This puts the onus on us to make sure that our creative approach to video is increasingly compelling and can stand the test of time.

I: To follow up, how does this change the way that you concept, produce and release the deliverable?

SS: For me the idea is the idea. I want to think big no matter what the budget. Budget, obviously, makes things better – i.e. better VO talent, better production value. The client produces the video’s concept in the first meeting. They may not know it, but they do. They give one or two nuggets of info or say something that becomes the video’s centerpiece.

ME: This definitely changes the way I concept. It forces me to think about the lifetime of a video and what I can do to make sure it stays relevant for weeks, months, and years to come.

I: What is your favorite type of video to produce?

SS: Any video where the client is open (honestly, really open) to trying something concepted/different. It’s a gamble, but it can pay off with gold.

ME: My favorite type of videos to produce are brand identity/anthem films.

“This is ONT” is a quintessential example of a brand anthem video as it captures the vibrant essence of this airport perfectly.

I: What is one video trend that you would be happy to see phased out?

SS: Buzzfeed type videos – boring.

ME: I think influencer videos are rather pointless and I would be more than happy to see them phased out. At least for me, they often feel very manufactured and hardly based in any truth other than financial incentives for the influencer.

I: Using your producing experience as a sort of crystal ball, where do you predict the video industry to be headed in the next few years?

ME: I see the video industry headed towards the commercialization of series. No matter the content, people want a lot of it and they want it fast. I think we’re going to see a growing shift in people creating content that is both frequent and consistent. Audiences nowadays are very intrigued with specific people and/or talent, and they want to find those content-creators who can deliver their weekly Saturday video at 2pm. It gives audiences something to look forward to.