Characteristics of good visual storytelling

Visual storytelling is not simply about having a good story and putting it in front of a camera. You could have great camera skills, but visual storytelling demands for more than skills. It requires creativity and innovative ideas. “Quality, time and collaboration are the keys to great storytelling,” says Brian Storm, founder and executive producer of the multimedia production studio MediaStorm. There is only so much a story can tell, once the right music, visual transitions, and pace are established, the story becomes greater and more powerful. It is about inviting your audience, allowing them to feel the emotions, become inspired, and learn something from the story.

An example of visual storytelling is the promotional commercial for the National Relay Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Australia. The two part video promotes the use of relay services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Instead of simply telling their audience about the services the company provides, the advantages and purposes are shown through a love story between a hearing man and a Deaf woman. Using the relationship as a timeline, the National Relay Service draw in people and tug their heartstrings as the main characters endure the joy and heartbreak of romance. Not once does it seem like a video for relay service, it appears to be a preview for an upcoming short film.

According to Deborah Potter‘s checklist, the National Relay Service promotional video uses these components to solidify their visual story:

  • Pacing – the music works with the events of the story, elevating the emotions of the story
  • Structure – there is a beginning, a middle and an end, all are important parts of the story. The story is linear, there is sheer focus on the development of the romantic relationship
  • Focus – although the short film appears to be about a relationship between a Deaf woman and a hearing man, the focus is on the communication between the two. In particular, the phone conversations that can occur, thanks to the National Relay Service.

The short film, Quiet Signs of Love, is not used for traditional Journalism, but more for a promotional video for a service company. It could be used as a journalistic story, as a human interest story exposing the communication challenges between two individuals from different perspectives and sharing the Deaf culture. The compelling love story presents the services of the National Relay Service in an interesting and creative way, in which can draw in more viewers and support.

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