Thousands of users have discovered how easy it is to make videos in Storykit. And with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can make your videos even better. We asked Fredrik Strömberg, VP Product at Storykit, to share his best advice for sharpening up your storytelling.
To make a Storykit video is a bit like playing with Lego. Instead of working in a timeline, your video is built with blocks that can be put together in endless ways. One of the most basic building blocks is the Storyboard, where you can make your video with slides.
This means that you can work very efficiently with Storykit, but sometimes you might think it's a bit... Well, square. And to be honest – a frequently asked question is: “If everybody uses the same tool, won’t all videos look the same?”.
The short answer to the question is “No, all stories are different from the next”.
The medium-length answer is: “Well, if you use the default settings and don’t make any independent decisions – then it will look similar to something someone else has done. It’s as if you use the default template in Keynote.”
To find the long answer, and some other good advice, we contacted the father of Storykit Video Studio, Fredrik Strömberg.
You need the freedom to make quick changes
– Dare to experiment with your expression. Let the script be formed in tune with how you wish to tell your story, says Strömberg, VP of Product at Storykit.
– If the script says: "You should know French, Spanish and German", then I look at it and think: “How about 'You should know French'; new slide 'You should know Spanish'; new slide 'You should know German'.” I need to have the freedom to change how it’s written. I need to be able to make changes – without altering the message.
Fredrik Strömberg has two fundamental pieces of advice for users of Storykit Video Studio.
The first one is to always start with the script – but that doesn't mean you should let it limit you later on, in the editing process.
– The script first, the assets second, and the styling last. It’s the same as when you work with a more traditional media production – the text comes first, then the pictures and then you finish with the layout. I believe that’s important because the way you phrase your script will dictate which images you’re going to use and how you should work with them. Especially if you’re using a stock photo. The text on the slide should dictate how you adapt your asset. And that can change from slide to slide?
Test your script
A good way to test your script is to make a preview without images. To see the text on its own on a black background.
– It’s like when a good proofreader asks the writer to use the font Courier, without any styling, just the text completely raw. It’s a classic trick, says Strömberg.
You also need good timing in your video, don’t just rely on your words. What slide for what purpose? How will it be received by the viewer?
– Mind the delivery, is it clear what the key message in your video is? Adapt your pacing and phrasing to how you want your script to be perceived, he says.
He compares to how newspaper layout editors work when they try to draw focus to certain parts, and away from others. Because, no matter if you’re editing a newspaper, making a Powerpoint or if you are working in Storykit, it’s about creating highs and lows from a pretty homogeneous amount of information.
– Read your text out loud. Which sentences are vital? Does anything feel like a headline? Should it be delivered word for word, or could you change colours to send out a different signal?
Make a video, then make it differently
Fredrik Strömbergs' second piece of advice is to experiment. Don't stop after making your first idea for a script or a video.
Instead, when you’ve finished a video in Storykit Video Studio, duplicate the storyboard and make another version. Be impulsive, play around and try your ideas out. If you think “It would be cool if…”, then follow that thought and try it out.
– It’s important not to be holy bound to the words you begin with. You need room to make changes when you’re a creative, says Strömberg.
You can say the same thing in different ways. A text can be presented as a fluent sentence, chopped up to several shorter sentences or maybe as a listicle.
Depending on how you write, your text will be interpreted with various meanings and emotions.
In Storykit it’s not about production cost – since it's so easy to experiment with different expressions.
Feel free to adapt your script, but don’t change your facts or intent. Let the script be formed in tune with how you wish to tell your story.
The most important thing to realize is that there are no readymade solutions adaptable for every occasion. The best way to make a video will always be determined by what you wish to achieve.
– There is a concept called “Mainstreaming”, that is equal to death for a teaching process. For example, you might find that “Oh funny cats work, let's stick to funny cats!”. But things only work until they don't. When it stops working and you have no clue what else there is to do – then you’re dead, says Fredrik Strömberg.
3 ways to sharpen your skills
1. Beware of the Simple slide trap!
Avoid making a sleeping pill of your video by mixing up the types of slides you use. A good way to present running text, without risking slowing down your tempo, is to use Quick text. Instead of two Simple slides, use three Quick text. It has a label box where you can write a small headline to help your viewer remember the subject. Dare to use more slides to fasten your tempo, to give the viewer something new.
2. Choose slides with dramatic effect in mind
Read your script out loud. How would you tell this story to a friend? Where would you raise your voice, where do your dramatic peaks land? Then think about how you should arrange your slides to match the way you would like to tell your story.
3. Choose assets based on your script
If you don’t have premade material, and instead work with stock photos, then think outside the box. Be associative and think symbolical rather than literal. Avoid writing your viewer on their nose. Think twice when you choose your assets and try to see if you can avoid literal images. If your material is limited, work with what you got. Zoom in and out, rotate, filter, blur, change the colours or just use a monochrome colour plate.