Razzle Dazzle ‘Em - Pull in viewers with video previews and sizzle reels

Posted by Bob Appel on May 28, 2013 12:15:44 PM

Imagine that you are heading to the movie theater tonight with a group of friends, and you have been tasked with choosing the film to see. I would bet that your decision process will rely on watching the trailers of the movies playing in that theater, and sharing the trailer of whatever movie you choose with your friends.

fora tv video servicesMovie trailers serve to give us a preview of a film’s content, and also to entice us to watch the film, whether in theater or on your computer. We want to see who the actors are, get an overview of the storyline, and judge if it will be a good use of our time and money before we give up that 90 minutes and $15. Movie trailers are also a great word-of-mouth tool. The trailer should be so good and so enticing, that you immediately email it to a friend and say "Watch this now, and let's go see it tonight!"

Previews of your event video can serve the same purpose to your audience. Just a one to three minute snippet from each session, or even a “sizzle reel” that covers your whole event, will give viewers a preview of the content, who the speakers are and entice them to stick around and watch the full video.

And while a trailer for a Hollywood movie may offer the most dramatic, entertaining, and explosive clips from the film, an effective conference or event preview favors emotional and intellectual appeal over flash and glamor.  For example, a round table discussion on innovative and renewable energies is best served by a preview reel that combines and emphasizes the strongest, most relevant points of discussion.

So what makes an engaging and enticing preview? Here are some aspects we look for when we are cutting program previews:

  • High Energy: A speaker who is engaging and lively, not monotonous or boring.
  • Focused: A clip that relates directly to the overall theme of the session or the conference.
  • Efficient: A complete thought or statement that does not cut off in the middle.
  • Share-ability: A highlight that your viewer just can’t keep to themselves, and wants to show to their friends or colleagues, usually via social media.
Here's an example of a preview that hits all of these guidelines is ‘Dick Cheney: A Case Study in Linguistics Mastery’ from the program ‘Lera Boroditsky: How Language Shapes Thought.’

Here’s why:

  • High Energy: Lera Boroditsky is an articulate, up beat, and engaging speaker, and the audience reacts well to her.
  • Focused: The preview showcases a story about how the way someone chooses their words affects perception of an event, which relates directly to the overall theme of the program.
  • Efficient: The preview includes the beginning, middle and end of the story.
  • Share-ability: As you can tell from the audience reaction, this preview is clever and pretty funny, and definitely share-able.  The viral nature of this preview has garnered the preview more than 60,000 views.

These guidelines also apply when we create a “sizzle reel” for an event. A sizzle reel more closely follows the format of a traditional movie trailer - titles and logos, quick cuts of the best moments from the entire conference, perhaps some music. It’s an efficient and concise summary of your conference’s sessions, as well as function as a sampling of what your conference has to offer. A great example of this format is the sizzle reel we created for the 2012 UP Experience - watch it here.

If you want even more examples, take a look at the events currently on our FORA.tv homepage and their corresponding previews. If you’d like to discuss our capabilities or experience with video previews and sizzle reels further with us, email services@fora.tv and we’ll get back to you.


Topics: on-demand video, sizzle reel, Blog Post, online video, post production, previews