Five Tips to Make Your Videos More Cinematic

As HD DSLRs make “movie making” easier and easier for people, it occurred to me that there are a lot of videos out there that are just crap. So, I wanted to give you all some advice on how to make your video more “cinematic.” You’re gonna want to take notes on this one.

Adding the 20th Century Fox logo to your productions will make them more cinematic.

1. Add a Green “The Following Preview…” Screen to the Beginning of Your “Trailers”

You know like when you like go to the movies and they have like those green title screens that say like, “The following preview has been approved for all audiences”? Add one of those to the beginning of every wedding video trailer you make.

2. Add a Real Preview to Your Videos

If the video you’re making is not a wedding trailer, but just a plain ol’ video, then ADD a trailer to it. For instance. Let’s say you’ve made a promotional video for a local used car dealership. But let’s say you’re also working on a commercial spot for a local mortgage banker. Add a short trailer for the mortgage banker to the beginning of the dealership commercial. Oh, and don’t forget to add the green “The following preview” screen. That is of utmost importance.

3. Add the 20th Century Fox Opening

The 20th Century Fox animated opening with the movie lights and that famous music clip is practically synonymous with cinema. Just Google “20th Century Fox opening,” click on the “video” link to the left, and you’ll find a gajillion of them you can illegally download. I should also add the MGM lion roar is another great opening to give your video that classic cinematic look and feel.

4. Use Music from “The Gladiator” Soundtrack

Hans Zimmer’s score for “The Gladiator” is arguably the most cinematic score ever written in the history of movies. It automatically brings to mind sweeping vistas and cinematic mastery. Add “Elysium,” “Emperor is Dead,” “Honor Him” or “Now We are Free” and I guarantee you your clients will be raving about how cinematic your video is.

5. Crop Your Video to Make it Look Anamorphic

In the days when most videos were standard definition with the square-ish 4:3 aspect ratio, videographers would crop their videos at the top and bottom to add letter boxing and give it a true cinematic look. But now that everyone is shooting in HD, everybody’s video has the 16:9 aspect ratio associated with cinema. So how can you possibly compete? Easy. Go one step further and crop your already 16:9 aspect ratio video to be 2.39:1. Now even your 16:9 video will have black letter boxing, making your video way more cinematic.

These of course are all just a few tips to make your movies more “cinematic.” Do you guys have any more “tips” you can share. πŸ˜‰

21 thoughts on “Five Tips to Make Your Videos More Cinematic

  1. You’ve got the wheels turning. I think we’ve been rolling out most of our videos without much consideration for anything but the video itself. I’m thinking this could actually be pretty fun to add some extras to make it seem more cinematic. We mainly do wedding videos – any suggestions on what a good preview clip would be?

    1. Ha! I’m an idiot. I did think these sounded a bit off. Either way, you did get the wheels turning for me because I think there are some branding elements that we can add before or after our videos. I guess I’ll wait for your next post for what to actually do to improve our videos.

      1. Hey TJ. First, you’re not an idiot. πŸ™‚ Second, the post going up today will actually offer five more quote-unquote “tips.” Stay tuned tomorrow for my final commentary. πŸ™‚

  2. Certainly put credits during the beginning of the film, overlayed over the action. Instead of the 20th century fox, be sure to put the Jerry Brookheimer tree strike in there. Not to mention use an FBI warning you can’t fast forward through with the ugly photoshop filter background texture they always use.

    1. I love your FBI warning idea Adam. Would you go with the square 4×3 warning you even see on some 16×0 DVDs? And what do you think of having it in multiple languages?

  3. Hey….I’m offended now….I use that green screen at the beginning of all my Same Day Edits and trailers. For SDE’s it adds a few seconds of quiet to the beginning so the crowd can realize something is coming after their slideshow. It gets them quiet again. It’s called crowd dynamics…..cheesy or not I will keep the green screen for awhile till I find something better.

    One other thing you can do for the cinema feel is get some old CInema intros converted to video. You know, those ones that tell people to be quiet at the theatre and to hurry and get some Pepsi before the movie starts. I have a few hilarious ones about Lovers on a date and controlling their Public Displays of Affection (PDAs) in the theatre. That cracks the crowd up when it shows up before a SDE. Now that I have those I may get rid of the green screen. Make the people feel like they are back at the theatre.

    Just some additional thoughts.

    1. I love that idea Phil. Perhaps you can have a “Let’s all go to the lobby” animated hot dog intro too.

      And FWIW, I’ve done at least three of these ideas for real. How do you think I came up with them. πŸ™‚

  4. Ron, I think your attempt at sarcasm will be taken seriously by some. Was that the intent? What motivated this post? Did something recently happen or are you just making the point that you are fed up with cheesy effects?

  5. I find these kind of posts a bit condescending to a sector of videographers that might not have kept up with the latest trends, but are doing good work in small markets that the couples love. Just a bit mean spirited, IMHO. I know you are not a mean person Ron, but what’s with all the need for attention getting blogs posts lately? Maybe you are going a direction that I’m unaware of. But, as a friend I truly believe you are alienating lots of people with these type of posts.

    1. Hey Steve, As you say, you know me personally. Do you think I would write a mean-spirited blog post about anyone just for the sake of it. Especially an industry I admire and respect? As I pointed out to Philip in the comment above, I myself have (and on occasion still do) use 2-3 of those tips. So I’m not making fun of anything I don’t do *myself*.

      I do appreciate your friendship Steve And I greatly respect your stance in the industry and wisdom. I’m also a guy who is willing to look at himself seriously whenever critiqued. So, in all seriousness, besides this one, how many of the last 30 posts I’ve written since Jan 1 (just over a month) would you say are “offensive” or alienating? Is it really that I write a lot of provocative posts? Just curious.

      For those interested, here are links to screen shots of all the posts I’ve written since Dec 12.

      As is written on my about page (click link above) one of the things you can expect from this blog are provocative topics that will get you thinking and hopefully provide civil discussion. Ironically, in the grand scheme of things, I never thought of this post as “provocative.” I pretty much wrote it tongue-in-cheek as a way to gently poke fun at our industry (myself included) all the while making a point (which, will be heretofore revealed in a day or 2.) If anyone was offended, I do sincerely apologize.

  6. Regarding point 4: Use Music from β€œThe Gladiator” Soundtrack
    how does copyright go regarding this, we all try to guard our own work and not take other peoples, is it different in this case?
    Like your blog very much by the way

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for reading. The topic of using copyrighted music in wedding and other personal videos is one that will forever be debated in the event video world. I do plan to write about it in an upcoming post. Suffice to say that techncially, it is illegal to use copyrighted music for which you do not have the rights, in any video. Of course, there are thousands and thousands of wedding video clips online all over the world with copyrighted music and except for an occasional video taken down by YouTube or Facebook, no serious damage has ever been done. So, take that as you will and make your own decisions.

      Also, I encourage you to read the blog post that goes up today, and especially the one that goes up tomorrow. That’s all I’ll say for now. πŸ™‚

      1. Yes thanks for that I guess it is just a matter of making it clear to the client first otherwise it could be a bit embarrassing to have to remove it later.
        I read your posts each day, video is fairly new to me but I feel it will be the next big thing so I need to start getting into it now. Also looking to upgrade my 20D.

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