Video Art Direction

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The Challenge:
Create a unique visual look working as Art Director for a series of new videos for American University, that were student and faculty interviews, but weren’t the typical “talking head shots” that we’ve seen repeatedly.

My Approach:
When we had the initial kick-off meeting, there were certain words that I noticed written in the brief and also being reinforced by what the brand manager had to say about the school. That sparked and idea and I decided that we should use those as themes throughout the video. Initially, I had the idea to do a visual that was like a quilt of video thumbnails with a bunch of the interviewees all saying a phrase or a word together. But something about it didn’t seem to be quite the right direction. Then, the idea came to me to instead do a typographical treatment of these “power words” incorporated visually with the video interviews.

Taking some B-roll footage of the campus, located in Washington, D.C.
Behind-the-scenes, during the interviews.



Keeping an eye on how great each shot looked in the video monitors.

What we ended up doing was, after working with the director to make sure that each interviewee was properly set up, wardrobe adjusted, and lighting and background perfected, I took notes to see what the key words each interviewee was saying were. Then after each interview – we had the interviewees say those words separately into each camera. During editing we then matched up these, what we considered as “power words” that supported just who American University was, with the most powerful clips that reinforced that specific power word (we were fortunate enough to have VERY passionate, camera-friendly and well-spoken students and faculty to talk to!). At the beginning of each clip, we started with them saying the word, then cut to the interview portion and support of that word.

Another behind-the-scenes image.

Finally, the video editors added in the typographical treatment of those words. Seeing everything put together, each piece really sang, and supported the American University brand so incredibly well. I couldn’t have been more proud of how each of the videos turned out! View one of the videos here and another here.

Screen capture of one of the final videos.