“Like a River” is a short movie directed by Jim Aikman, courtesy of Bedrock Film Works studio. It tells the story of artist and climber Jeremy Collins, who finds the inspiration for his art in the vast and foreboding canyons of Southwestern United States.
Clocking at almost 4 minutes, the video is an evocative homage to both his artworks and the splendors of nature that nurture the artist’s creative spark. Collins is narrating the video himself, speaking – in very stimulating words – about his fate being intertwined with how the rivers shape the canyons.
The video shifts from majestic, sweeping overviews of some of the most well-known canyons in the US such as the Black Canyon, Grand Canyon and Zion Canyon, to Collins in his workshop in the midst of his creative process or climbing the steep, rocky walls of the great outdoors.
Closeups, slow-motion shots and very delicate post-production work are the defining traits of the video which is complemented by the crystal-clear narration. The sound design makes the voiceover follow the visuals perfectly while being front and center as a part of this video experience.
2. Broadmoor Baptist Church By May Marketing Group
Graphic elements that provide visual aid
Concise and optimal video duration
Bright, vibrant colors
The marketing video for Broadmoor Baptist Church, created by May Marketing Group, ticks at only 30 seconds and is an example of how efficient and engaging short commercial videos can be.
The video begins with a brief view of planet Earth, quickly zooming in to the location of the church and the main point is narrated by a female voice opening with: “Imagine a world with more ways to connect and more times for worship.”
The camera then pans to the church's interior to reveal a packed hall during the gospel band performance and numerous other amenities within the establishment.
The narration, accompanied by the uplifting piano music, reassures the viewer that the main pain points from the opening line are solved by this institution – and provides details on how they’re able to do so. Visual annotations and graphical elements pop up occasionally to provide more context to images on the screen.
3. Vitapod By Paper Crowns
Striking visuals for a new technology
Vitapod is a “revolutionary high-performance drink machine” that makes drinks with a series of health benefits. The high-tech product required a striking video design, provided by Paper Crowns agency.
The video is a continuation of sorts of the original Vitapod ad that was half the length of the new one. Exactly 60 seconds long, the Vitapod TV commercial connects the brand’s mission statement of health and wellness with an explosive visual journey.
The video commercial begins with the machine emerging from the dark, with the “Vitapod” name across the screen in a custom, modern font. The font’s color transfers to the surroundings more than once during the video, creating an interesting visual theme that shifts whenever there is a change on the screen.
A series of claps and percussions make up the soundtrack for the video. They’re synchronized to the swaps of messaging and imagery which list all the health benefits that the machine provides to the user.
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Trackivity is a time tracking and productivity tool used by companies for managing the workload and measuring the performance of their employees. Their 49-seconds long promo video is a product of First Launch marketing agency.
The video has no narration – all the messaging is done via on-screen text, video footage and graphics. It opens with a dictionary definition of time and proceeds to discuss its intangible qualities and how it cannot be controlled. It ends with “What if you can...?” before segueing into the tool’s logo, name and website URL.
The lack of a narrator is compensated with a persistent, electronic music beat. While it doesn’t introduce any melodic qualities into the video, it keeps the pace going. Snapping of fingers, the sound of cymbals and other subtle effects roundup its sound design.
The video’s visuals rely on the Trackivity brand color, lime green, which makes several appearances in the material. Behind the messaging are video footages of people in various situations that underline the main point the brand is getting across.
5. Discovery Channel Shark Week By Dixon
Double messaging (for the show and the sponsor)
Well-incorporated branded color palette
Action movie-style soundtrack
The TV commercial ad for Discovery Channel’s show “Shark Week” by Dixon delivers two messages: about the show’s main characters, the sharks, and a custom vignette about the show’s sponsor, Sherwin Williams.
The latter advertises the color palettes the viewers can “sink their teeth into” — the company’s Color ID service that invites the audience to take a quiz at their own website.
This aquatic affair of a video is naturally dominated by the blue hues, as underwater, animation-aided footages present sharks as creatures with their own “colorful personality”, from the trendsetting hammerhead to the great white’s free spirit.
Each shark is given a swash of colorful brushstrokes once they freeze on the screen, to make the connection with the sponsor’s portion of the story.
The sound is a dramatic, bombastic, action movie-like bonanza of loud effects and symphonic crescendos. The entire video lasts only 31 seconds and impressively manages to communicate both the show and the Color ID initiative in this short amount of time.
6. Dooney & Bourke - Midnight Sun By FRNDS
Atonal, experimental music
Imagery reminiscent of fashion editorials
Dooney & Bourke is a company that produces leather goods such as handbags, wallets, backpacks and other accessories. The brief, 30-second promo video for their brand is a work of FRNDS creative agency.
The bright, airy video showcases two young women in white linen dresses walking and posing along a beautiful, pastoral scenery on hilly terrain. They both wear or carry, quite discretely, Dooney & Bourke products that are made more apparent towards the end of the video.
The video opens with the brand’s name in classy serif fonts and white cloth flapping in the wind. The palette of green, blue and white is enhanced with meticulous post-production work and quality lighting. The entire scene is quite exuberant, vibrant and worthy of a fashion magazine editorial.
Surely the most unusual part of this video is its soundtrack. Instead of the typical somber, accessible tones that accompany these types of videos, the music here is experimental, atonal and at certain transitions, even jarring.
This contributes to the dream-like quality of the video, as the music becomes more conventional in the latter half. The video ends with the same imagery and brand name with which it started.
7. Beame Recovery Simply Sorted By Stratitude
Confident, benefit-driven messaging
Beame is the smart tracking and stolen vehicle recovery service in South Africa. Their tagline, “Recovery. Simply Restored.” is featured at the very start of the almost 2-minutes long promo video produced by Stratitude.
The length of the video is justified by the level and depth of messaging that goes the extra mile in explaining all the benefits of this service. Both its visual and auditive aspects are very simplistic: there is no narration — instead, all the messaging is conducted via on-screen texts and bits of copy in a readable sans-serif font.
The texts are mostly white to stand out against the multicolored backgrounds. With each new message on the screen, the color of the background changes: from orange and blue, to green and red. The only visual elements besides the color and the copy are the photos and icon-style images related to each on-screen messaging.
The video’s soundtrack is also an exercise in simplicity: nothing but a strumming of an acoustic guitar alongside a man whistling a cheerful melody.
The music conveys the carefree, confident atmosphere, much desired by potential users who are looking for a worry-free car ownership experience — from roadside and other types of driver assistance to, of course, vehicle recovery.
The Own Your New Home video designed by Techxide is an informative and educational video for an organization of the same name that helps people acquire and own a property instead of renting it.
An elaborate animation follows the narrator explaining the US housing and homeownership crisis — the history, origins and causes of the issue — all while offering a solution. A familiar cartoon-style animation details every bit of information and communicates emotions.
The story is professionally narrated by a voice talent with excellent enunciation. It is easy to understand in terms of terminology and sound production. A deliberately muted, almost inaudible music provides some background ambiance that doesn't distract from the video's important message.
The video has very little written copy (except for some that explain the charts and graphs), uses bright, solid colors and a prominent call-to-action promising specific results at the end of the video.
The video for Wildwoods, NJ by Forge Apollo emphasizes the laidback, summery nature of this vacation spot. Its serene yet exciting imagery, sounds and post-production work get the most out of the exquisite camerawork.
The just-under-one-minute video displays footage of people enjoying their time in the coastal region. The camera angles switch from birds-eye view to aerial and ground level. The video has a very bright, saturated color filter that adds to its leisure vibe.
There is no narration or messaging in the video. The sights and sounds do all the talking when it comes to pointing out the values of visiting this area.
The animated video created by nine dots for the Relief for Human Suffering Foundation clocks at around 1:30 and shows the story of an African villager whose eyesight health issues prevented him from contributing to his family. The video consists of vibrant imagery and colors, a detailed narration and subtitles that make it easier to follow the story.
The storytelling goes at great length to explain how the Foundation helps people in need. The subtle music background provides enough ear candy and stays just beneath the threshold of disrupting the message.
The images used in the animation help greatly with the timely delivery of the message as they discuss all the vital points in the narration.
UnitedSenses' video for FIBA (International Basketball Federation) runs for 1:24 seconds but has plenty going on in terms of overlapping visuals and message delivery. The complex rhythms from the basketball tapping on the court synchronize with the change of images and provide cohesion for the video.
Excellent production quality lends a very high-end appeal to the video, as it communicates the several different basketball events organized by FIBA. Despite the lack of narration, the graphics deliver the message well.
The images of both on and off-court action switch in fast sequences, adding dynamics to a promotional video for an equally dynamic sport.
12. Mad For Fun
Element of humor
Bright, pastel colors
Mad For Fun's promotional video for their own agency's services uses an imaginative, almost surrealist setting to "explain the difference between an anteater and their company." The element of humor is a refreshment in this segment, while amazing colors and its short duration of only 20 seconds keep the audience's attention.
The narration is in Polish, so subtitles come in handy. They also follow the pastel color pattern of the entire video which features high production values and multi-camera shots of an anteater moving through a playful landscape.
87th Street Creative's promotional video for Walmart Photo service runs for 15 seconds only but in that short amount of time packs a heartwarming story, colored in unconventional yet striking hues.
The musical soundtrack is the unassuming, feel-good melody, which is usual in videos of this kind. Narration is omitted and replaced with a simple and understandable story told by on-screen bits of messaging.
The video ends with the brand's message, "Save money. Live better." delivering the final touch to this very charming video.
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