IF A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, THEN VIDEO MUST BE WORTH AT LEAST A THOUSAND MORE. It’s an idea embraced by freelance video producer David Albright, who fell in love with the medium more than a decade ago during a film class in college. The Seattleite now bases his eponymous company David Albright Media out of Seattle, and his subjects and clients range from politicians to corporations such as Allrecipes and Amazon. Albright has captured ten years of footage for Seattle’s beloved women’s basketball team, The Storm, weaving an episodic narrative of the unique triumphs and challenges that come with being professional athletes. “I gravitate towards storytelling—even if it’s something like an event, you still have to tell the story of the evening, which is more than just getting ‘cool looking shots,’” Albright explains.
For the GRAY Awards, Albright captured the buzz of the red carpet, and the magic of the entire party in all its confetti-filled glory—with Scott Carty as host, you won’t want to miss the memorable clips. We sat down with Albright to dig deeper to find out what makes a video project successful, and how the design community can leverage the medium to tell the stories behind the spaces.
How do you conceptualize a beginning, middle, and an end to your videos?
DA: Stories do have to have those three things; a lot of times with video that’s something that’s neglected. Making sure that there is some story structure—introducing characters, establishing their personalities, and story points that establish the narrative arc are vital. In company videos or product videos, you have to be intentional about making that happen or it can end up being a generic recitation of information.
How have you seen video change since you started, and how is the medium evolving?
DA: Ten years ago it felt like a bigger undertaking for a client to do a video, so they’d often want to pack everything about their product or company into their video. We’d end up with these big broad company-profile type videos. Today there is just so much more video content being created that you don’t have to have your video be everything all at once—each one can be more focused. There’s still a place for broad videos that showcase your whole brand, but now there’s also all these little pieces of content that come and go more quickly. It’s fun because it allows you to be a little more experimental.
What are some misconceptions people have about video production
DA: People tend to think that their options are the high-end agency style work or the low-end shaky, shot-on-my-iPhone videos, with nothing in between. In reality, there are many levels, and it’s possible to do engaging, high-quality work on a reasonable budget.
Does everyone have a story to tell through video?
DA: I don’t know about everyone, but I think all designers definitely do. With good design, there’s usually a lot more to it than meets the eye. A photo can convey the visual, but a video can take it a step further and really convey every aspect of the design and the story behind it. If you’ve put the effort into designing that product, service, or experience, why wouldn’t you take that final step and make sure it’s presented in a way that really captures all that work?
What’s the best way a company can use video?
DA: A company should use video to showcase what makes them unique. Skip the generic platitudes and get specific—what’s unique and different about your brand or your design?
What’s one of your favorite videos you’ve ever produced (you know, besides the GRAY Awards)?
DA: One of my favorites was a video I did with Glassybaby for Mother’s Day. We brought in a pair of sisters who told us all about their mom, and then we showed them picking out the perfect votive based on all the qualities they loved about her. It was just such a sweet way of showing how these items take on meaning for people because what really told the Glassybaby story is the personality of the kids and their emotions. Most importantly, we didn’t just tell the audience that—we showed it.
What are your best tips for making a good video that people can incorporate into something as simple as an Instagram Story…? A few do’s and don’ts?
DA: My number one tip is always to make sure you convey something authentic—viewers can sense phoniness a mile away. If you want to show someone interacting with your product, film someone who’s never used it before and capture their reaction. Don’t have your marketing person fake it… People can tell the difference!
Also a practical tip—if you don’t have a professional lighting, natural light coming through a window is going to be your best friend. The recessed lighting in your break room is not going to be flattering, nor is standing out in the direct sunlight. Stand a few feet from a window and you’ll get a soft, diffused light that’ll be flattering for you, your product, your lunch—whatever you’re trying to capture.