Story elements

The importance of sequences in making a video

All videos need the same basic ingredients as any story – a beginning, a middle and an end. Within this simple structure are sequences made up of specific scenes and shots that contribute to the overall story.

Sequences create a rhythm, a tempo and a seamless progression of time. In a well-told story, the sequences will vary and change pace. They will accelerate with drama and slow down with tranquillity. A sequence that is too long or poorly constructed can easily lose the attention of a viewer.

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Building a video production script

A video production script describes all the sequences that need to be presented in the introduction, middle and end of the story. It answers ‘What is happening on screen now?’ at any point. This includes the type of camera shot, setting, characters, dialogue, voice-over, music and duration:

The example table has column headings: structure, sequence, story elements, visual elements and audio elements.

Translate your storyline to this framework or adapt the framework to suit your requirements. Add more details as you go, including details of visual elements such as location, people, props, camera angles and duration of shots; and audio elements such as voice-over, dialogue and music. Identify the visual or audio elements you already have – such as images, graphs, video footage or music – this will help you work out all the elements you still need to create or gather for production.

If you are getting professional help, the script will help you to define the scope of the project and provide details about the production requirements to the contractor; it can also be used to calculate an overall budget.

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Sequence structures

A number of conventional structures borrowed or adapted from documentary making are used in video production. These structures may help you build or strengthen your story. A sequence structure might include:

  • interview
  • host
  • step-by-step procedure or guide
  • disclosure (flow and order of information)
  • gist (high-level summary)
  • facts
  • questions
  • background information
  • different branches, perspectives or consequences
  • behind the scenes
  • idea versus counter-idea
  • metaphors.
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