#SMLive Experts mull Vertical Video: The Present & Future of Storytelling

SM Live 2020

In a panel discussion at Social Samosa’s #SMLive 2020, creative experts discuss the phenomenon of vertical video storytelling on the live stage – decoding the future of this trend.

Moderating a session on a Tuesday morning and on the special occasion of World Social Media Day, Manesh Swamy, Vice President – Creative, Logicserve Digital kick-started the discussion about the talk of the town since past couple of years – Vertical video storytelling  – with creative geniuses on the panel including Rajdeepak Das, CCO & MD, Leo Burnett South Asia & India,  Sukesh Nayak, CCO, Ogilvy India, and Garima Khandelwal, CCO, Mullen Lintas at SM Live 2020.

Vertical Video- The Next Big Idea

Swamy questioned experts on their views on Vertical videos being the big idea in the creative context.

Das reverted by questioning the question that are we going social-first because there are no shoots happening or are we going TV first? “We always look at social media with what niche do we have. There is nothing like digital-first or TV first.  Think idea, content, context, and reach first instead of the digital or platform first. As a brand we can’t be quite so we need to create things constantly. It’s about what you want to preach,” he said.

Agreeing to Das’s point of view, Khandelwal added that it’s all about how people are watching, what they are consuming, and what have I learned.

Presenting a slightly different view, Nayak reverberated that it’s very unfair to say that the digital screen is cheap and that it requires less creative detailing. It’s also wrong to say that ‘Kuch Sasta Bana do’ on social. All the time it was always about the amount of craft and detailing that went into work. The idea is one and most important aspect of any problem.

Exploring different art forms

Taking into consideration the production halts induced due to the lockdown, Swamy highlighted creators experimenting with different creative formats like animation and 2D, 3D for specifically good quality content. “The idea is we have not restricted ourselves”, prompted Nayak.  “And if it makes sense to do it, why not”.

He stresses that some of the best videos take longer time to process and that some of the best animations have probably taken more time than shooting the whole video film. As per him, if it fits the medium, we should experiment with everything.

Meanwhile, Das exclaimed here that the best freedom in creativity we can have is not having freedom. When everything cuts off we start inventing ourselves. It’s not an easy fix. But we try something else and merge things to execute.  “It’s not about how I shoot the film, it’s about how people see it. Rethink how people absorb it and create content keeping that in mind.”

For Khandelwal, the real takeaway out of what’s happening is the learnings that we are grasping every day. “It’s not like we didn’t do animation earlier but it does take a lot of collaboration. We are learning every day,” she stated.

Also Read: #SMLive 2020: Sessions you can’t miss

Of Recreating Magic with Vertical storytelling

With a number of challenges in place, while experimenting with different creative formats, Swamy posed a question to the experts on how can we look at recreating magic with the vertical video format.

Das was quick to mention that Eva stories, according to him, are the mindblowing Instagram content that got created. He shared that he got in touch with the creator friend behind it where he mentioned that how the team did not actually shoot the video but sequences of 5-10 seconds and then merged them creatively to make it a 40-second video.  

He added, “It will take time to evolve and it is possible. The challenge is getting used to it. The creator rethinking about how to shoot a film and how people absorb it. It’s not about how I shoot the film, it’s about how people see it. Rethink how people absorb it and create content keeping that in mind.”

On the other hand, Khandelwal pointed out that amidst all, editing has become even more important. To optimize the same content in different dimensions is key, so is to adhere to the data around say how many seconds after which viewers drop out. “Nostalgia also plays a big role. We are seeing how work is getting created out of old photographs,” she quipped.

“We have four different dimensions for different platforms. If you try to shoot it four times, fatigue will happen. Standardization is important,” suggested Nayak. The bigger challenge for him would be thinking about the typography caption for a film you are putting on digital and how do you invite someone to switch off their already existing format of consuming content.

He adds there are multiple ratios for vertical formats. Nayak has a problem with the challenges with that format. “If u keep adapting or compromising, it won’t work”.

The panelists further went onto sharing stories behind their successful content pieces and trends in the video storytelling space.


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