The Power of Low Tech Video

With all of the robust digital tools available to us today, it is easy to forget the simple truth that high production value is not always necessary to create a video message with impact.  I mean, why else would YouTube be such a massive hit?

I was reminded of the power of low tech a few weeks ago when I came across this video from Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, announcing the acquisition of his company by the software giant, Salesforce.  Michael took a non-traditional route to announce this big news to his employees and the public.  He created a simple Keynote slide from his iPad, and then filmed himself flipping through the presentation with some music playing in the background. 

There is no set.  There is no fancy lighting.  There is no makeup.  There is no film crew.  

Yet, despite its simplicity this video is really powerful.  That’s because people can still feel the value of a message without graphic treatments, timed music and professional backgrounds.  With the popularization of websites like YouTube or Veemeo, people are no longer shocked or disappointed when they see low budget video.  It’s common place and for many, it is preferred.

There are many scholarly articles written about the importance and power of low tech, particularly in design communities.  The idea is that the optimal design is one where maximum function and minimum input intersect.  Researchers have found that low tech design increases collaboration, invites multiple perspectives and stimulates conversation. 

As internal communications professionals, I think that it is important to remember that what employees really want is reliable information that is delivered truthfully.  They want it to be authentic.  Sometimes, high production videos can come across as staged and guarded, even though the message itself is honest and real.  In this lean forward media world, people just want information without the fluff.  They don’t have time for anything else.  Creating a low production video does just that, it allows people to focus on the words and the meaning behind them.  

If you are new to this approach, start small.  Try testing the video out on a routine announcement or with a select audience.  Learn what the technology is capable of and how much flexibility it provides.  And don’t forget, the beauty of low tech video is that it’s easy to redo, undo and do-over.

Just remember to turn the camera on.