Harnessing the story-telling power of consumer films

Written by Emma O’Connell

Jeremy, RDSi’s video guru, recently held a ‘lunch and learn’ with the research team on making consumer videos more powerful for clients. We won’t bore you with the technical bits – don’t forget your tripod etc – but there are some more fundamental implications for how we run research projects with a filming objective.

Filming is not just a way of recording research sessions anymore. Compelling video of consumers has become a pressing client need. Clients know that a video is so much more immediate than a document and can whiz around an organisation, communicating its message far more effectively.

With the increased need for video outputs from research comes a need for higher quality film. Short, high quality mini-movies can have great impact – using consumer footage along with music & graphics to create an immersive and memorable experience.

This has implications for the way we do research. We have to be careful when trying to combine the objectives of research and filming. Research is about answering our clients’ need for consumer insight. Doing this may not make for great films.

Increasingly, we feel that research and filming need separate consideration. Firstly, do the research – find out what the client needs to know. Then capture this as effectively as possible on film. If film is the key output from the research, it might be that we need to interview several respondents before deciding on the one who will best convey the information required. If the objective of filming is to produce a series of clips that are illustrative of the key findings, it may be that we need to pause at the end of the research session, set up a camera on a tripod and instruct the respondent about what we would like them to say again.

External microphones help us deliver better sound quality in noisy environments such as in stores. And different kinds of cameras allow us to see different perspectives, e.g. monitoring an aisle over a number of days from a top-shelf mounted camera, giving shoppers a head-cam or trolley-cam while they are shopping. Having an in-house expert allows us to use the best equipment for each specific job.

At RDSi, we recognise how important outputs are for our clients. We know that a picture paints a thousand words, and a well-produced video can tell a consumer story in an instant.