Montages and more! Or, how to make a video on a tight budget (Part 2)

June 23, 2017

What do montages, talking heads, the “Ken Burns effect” and factoids have in common? They are all classic techniques for video styles. In this how-to blog we’ll explore some simple DIY video techniques that you can do on a tight budget.

If you are brand new to film, it’s a good idea to start researching and watching different documentaries and note the various styles you see. No need to limit yourself to documentaries, but they are a great starting place. Given that your options are pretty limitless, doing advance research will help you figure out what makes the most sense for your topical idea for your video. If you are short on time or feeling overwhelmed, here are five classic techniques to get you thinking about your video style.

  1. Montages (with music): In this Nike commercial you will notice lots of different clips that – once put together – create a film. Here, the filmmakers cut up two different videos, one vintage, and the other, footage from a single basketball game. They added a bit of slow motion for effect and let the music tell the story. No words were spoken, yet the video told a story and conveyed a mood about the spirit of the Olympic games. While you may not have access to Olympic players this type of film could easily be recreated from a single or multiple events.
  1. Talking heads: This is one of the most classic styles when it comes to documentary films, where your story or point-of-view is conveyed through your speaker’s opinion, expertise or personal story.
  2. The Ken Burns Effect: Another classic technique used in DIY videos. It was made famous by Ken Burns where you give motion to pictures by zooming in and out or by panning over an image.
  3. Factoids: Where you use text overlays to highlight key facts or even tell a whole story through just written words.

  1. One shot: If you are feeling a little more creative, you can explore one shot videos. This approach is a great option if you want to make a short video with little to no budget and are thinking about posting to just your social media networks. Below is a good example of one made for Instagram. (See on Instagram.)

Discovering what’s out there in terms of style is inspiring and will help you determine what makes the most sense for your video. As a next step, consider how you’ll set up your shots, interviews (if your video requires it) and what extra footage you will need to properly tell your story and convey your message.

Need a quick refresher from Part I of our how-to video series? Here you go.

Up next, we’ll give you pointers on how to set up your best shot and not miss a thing.

Marcela Gara