Technology Video Production
The story is never about the product. It’s always about the people. But how do you find a story when your product is beige boxes of technology or a nebulous concept like the cloud? These videos show 3 different techniques for turning technology into watchable stories.
1. Find a story: Microsoft Cloud
Data. It’s a bunch of bits and bytes in a box. So how do you make that into an interesting video? One way is to find the story of someone who’s using the technology to good effect and so much the better if it’s a gang of good looking young scientists battling to beat malaria.
This film from Microsoft shows how a bit of nifty casting goes a long way to making anonymous technology much more interesting. Although this film looks glossy and expensive, it would be relatively easy to achieve a similar film on a modest budget.
Key Technique: Casting. The film makers have gone to great lengths to find people doing interesting things and to keep the video short, they’ve paired well shot visuals with a clear, punchy script.
2. TELL A STORY: IBM Real Time Data
This is an old-ish film – from 2009 – but it’s stuck in my mind because of its fantastic story telling and clever use of documentary techniques. Right from the start it grabs your attention with a real life story: we drop straight into the action with a recording of an emergency call reporting a robbery. Then using the real victims and police officers, the video demonstrates how the smallest of clues – a neck tattoo – was enough for IBMs crime analytics tool to solve the crime. Shot in a gritty fashion with stylised interviews and simple clean sequences, this film is a tough looking thriller.
Key Technique: use a real story. This film uses interviews and reconstruction to bring to life a real crime and then carefully integrates the technology into a human story – and one that’s told from multiple points of view, adding real personality and warmth to the story.
3. MAKE A STORY: F-Secure VPN
This surprising little film turned a rather technical product – a virtual private network – into a world wide sensation with over 120 citations in the international press and approaching a million sales of the product. (Full disclosure – this was one of ours). Working with a technology journalist and a white hat hacker (a good guy) this film creates its own story by setting up free wifi networks across London and then revealing exactly what users are giving away about themselves. Accompanied by a detailed report, commissioned from a think-tank, this film generated coverage world wide.
Key Technique: use a simple stunt to create a story. This film used the classic technique of setting up a stunt that got the public involved and also produced results that could be shared with news media. The specially commissioned report generated column inches that created a platform for the product and the video.
Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy