The Real Value of Production Value

A little while ago, we spent some time talking about two kinds of purpose. If you remember (and if you don’t, click here), we established that there were two kinds of purpose- capital ‘P’ Purpose and lowercase ‘p’ purpose. To refresh your memory:

Purpose- to reduce the idea of capital ‘P’ purpose down to its most basic parts, you could say that the overarching Purpose of commissioning a video for your business is advertising and brand recognition. More specifically, the Purpose of a branded video (whether it be for internal or external purposes) is to lead your viewers or clients to a decision that you want them to make.

purpose- the lowercase ‘p’ purpose is a bit more conceptual than the capital ‘P’ Purpose. When we talk about purpose in a video spot, we are talking about all the microscopic and macroscopic decisions that go into making a truly compelling video. These decisions include choosing to combine the elements of character, emotions, and location. It also includes lighting choices, camera choices, angles, and all the other elements of filmmaking that give a specific video purpose.

What do these two things have to do with production value, you might ask? Production value falls somewhere in between these two definitions of purpose. It serves the capital ‘P’ Purpose, because production value is deeply tied to narrative transportation (a topic we will cover in depth next week). Narrative transportation is the ability to transport your viewer into a story and make them feel like they are a part of it. This serves the Purpose of giving your viewer a clear in-road to the story you are trying to tell, so that you can lead them to decision that you want them to make.

Production value relates to lowercase ‘p’ purpose because it is:

Production Value /n/: The combined technical qualities of the methods, materials, or on-set staging skills used in the production of a motion picture or artistic performance.

Because the purpose of a video is all of the combined choices that we make on a set to better tell a story, production value falls under that category. The types of cameras we use, the lighting, whether we follow a person throughout their day, or shoot them sitting alone and telling their story one on one, all contribute to how a video looks and feels. These elements of production value all add to the aforementioned theory of narrative transportation and how active your viewer feels in the story they are watching.

The general consensus seems to be that higher production value equates with better videos. Most of what is presented in movies and TV screens is expensively made, glossy, and inaccessible. Although, we do feel that certain brands (think high-end cars like Lexus) need that glossed-over, almost unrealistic look, at Rooted Content, we feel like the Purpose and purpose of certain projects don’t call for high production value. Don’t read us wrong here- the purpose of every video we make is of the highest importance. (That’s why we’ve made two videos pertaining to it.) We take every shoot we do extremely seriously down to the last detail. But we don’t feel that every shoot needs hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Accessibility: When we worked with Carolinas Healthcare, there were certain parts of the ER Nurses’ days that we wanted to capture, but we were not allowed the access. Meaning: you can’t set up a large video set in the middle of an operating room. We wanted viewers of the video to really understand what a day in the life of an emergency room nurse was like, and felt it was important to the Purpose of the video. So, we put GoPro cameras on some of the nurses and used that footage to show how intense their days can be.

  2. Feeling: Not every story is heavy, or dark, or emotional. By adding a glossy sheen to every video shoot, you remove some of the reality within the story you are trying to tell. Take our shoot with Mat Marrash and his camera. We shot that entire video on a Canon DSLR camera, because we wanted it to feel real. If we were out in the woods with Mat with a large set and tons of equipment, you wouldn’t get the sense that you were experiencing what he’s experiencing when he’s photographing landscapes.

  3. Narrative Transportation: There it is again, this beautiful concept! Recently, we talked to a school about having the students shoot the majority of the video we used for their shoot on their iPhones. We pitched this idea because it most accurately reflects the way the students at the school experience the world- through the cameras on their smart phones. By using those cameras, we are able to take the viewer into the world of the students and put them there. Which serves a large purpose.

Rooted BTS-0027.jpg

No matter what your project is, the production value matters to the story that you and your brand want to tell. Contact us today to see how we can help you tell the best narrative for your business that will reach the most people effectively. Stay tuned next week for more thoughts on narrative transportation, and why we believe this is one of the most critical element to an effective video and is most often overlooked.