Though the vast majority of our work includes interview commentary integrated with B-roll or simply visual elements set to voiceover, another option for corporate videos is letting the visuals tell the story, perhaps with text on screen, and using only music. Of course, such an approach won’t work well for a company overview video or a customer testimonial piece, but it can work for product launch videos, tour videos, and even service overviews. We have used only music and text for several bed and breakfast videos to create a tranquil mood that worked for the content and the client. Without interviews, the visuals become much more important, though, and you cannot skimp on quality cinematography.
At first, the idea of not needing to pay a voiceover artist and not needing a videographer with any audio gear sounds like a money-saving proposition more than a creative solution. In reality, though, to do justice to a video without dialogue you’re going to want to hire a top notch creative professional who has a great eye for visuals and understands how to make each shot beautiful. You will also want to make sure your video is the right fit for such an idea. A relaxing spa with a beautiful view of the ocean out the windows and set in a luxurious hotel is a fantastic candidate; an auto repair garage is not such a good fit. Unlike many corporate videos or event videos where a videographer has more of a documentary-style approach of capturing whatever happens, you’re going to want to spend time planning each shot and understanding how they will fit together.
In the example of a bed and breakfast video, you want to focus on any compelling visual elements, perhaps a great view from the porch, the rustic charm of the exterior, an inviting lobby, a well appointed bedroom, etc. Smooth camera movements, like on a dolly, jib, or slider, will add production value and allow each shot to hold the attention of viewers for longer. A still shot on a tripod held for eight seconds with nobody talking and no voiceover is just awkward, but a beautiful moving shot that’s well composed can be held for longer and still work. The quality of the image and the lighting and composition are much more critical to making the whole video shine and seem artistic rather than cheap.
Another way to approach a silent video (besides music) is hiring actors whose facial expressions convey the message perfectly without dialogue. You can show two people having a romantic dinner, smiling, laughing, and looking out at a sunset, without a word spoken. You could show someone receiving a relaxing massage in a peaceful setting. With a silent video, you’re looking to create emotional draw and yearning. For a spa, hotel, or bed and breakfast, you want the viewer to yearn for what you’re offering and imagine themselves in such a serene place, relaxing, enjoying themselves, and letting the stress around them melt away. With a visuals-only approach, you almost demand more attention from your viewers, which if done properly can draw them into your video in a very effective manner.
Videos without dialogue need not be serene and relaxing, though. They can equally be high energy and frenetic in pacing. Imagine a company offering ski supplies and creating a video with GoPro cameras mounted to the skiers, aerial drone shots of the skiers, and beautiful vistas in the background. Fast-paced and full of energy, the focus would be on showcasing the “cool factor” of the products and how well they work. You’re creating a feeling of energy through motion, showcasing the products in action and making viewers want to schedule their next skiing trip. A freeze-frame shot of a skier making a jump could introduce text elements, such as “Scientifically engineered for top performance,” without ever having the need for dialogue. With music to match, you have a great video that doesn’t belittle its audience and relies instead on showing what the intended audience loves — skiing. Whatever the company or concept, the key to great videos without dialogue is innovative, cutting edge cinematography and beautiful visuals.