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You’ll Change The Way You Frame Your Video Emails After This

How to Frame a Video Email

A simple technique you can use to put your viewer at ease, while also increasing your powers of persuasion, is to frame yourself in the left or right third of the shot. 

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The difference is subtle, but also stark once you become aware of it.

The screenshot on the left (below) is from a video email I sent in 2013. The one on the right is from a couple of weeks ago. I invite you to consider, which video email looks more professional and appealing? The difference between them is more than a good hairdresser!

Talking "At You" vs. "To You"

Talking "At You"

Talking "At You"

Talking "To You"

The technique of positioning yourself in the right or left third of the shot (like in the second example above) is called “Rule of Thirds." It's a standard practice used by photographers and videographers (hence why they call it a "rule.") It's often the intangible reason people make comments like "I love that photo" and "That was such a great piece of cinematography."

Another difference is that in the screenshot on the left, I'm using a white backdrop. In contrast in the screenshot on the right, I'm not. I've realized the white backdrop was making my video email message appear boring, whilst destroying the personable feel I was aiming for -- screaming I'm trying to sell you something!

You'll notice in the screenshot of the right, I've ditched the white backdrop and am now inviting the viewer to see me in my office. Giving my video email messages, the personable feel I'm aiming for. Eliminating the white backdrop makes the process of following up phone calls with video email messages both easier and faster too.

Learn From Apple...

Here's an examples of a video from Apple, where they're leveraging the Rule of Thirds:

Notice how the position of the speaker in the left or right third of the shot lures you in and makes you more open to the message that's being communicated -- it disarms you!

After reading this piece, you'll notice the Rule of Thirds in action everywhere now. In television advertisements, sitcoms, movies, and more. By leveraging this powerful technique for your video email messages, you're tapping into the tried and true best practices of giants.

Want To Go Down the Rabbit Hole?

If you want to learn more about the rule of thirds, the three minute video below walks you through nine composition techniques. It's a montage of masterpieces from a world-renowned photographer Steve McCurry. He reveals the underlying rules he uses to make his photography visually stunning and balanced.

You will not be able to apply many of the compositions techniques above to your video email messages directly. But you'll gain a solid understanding of techniques like the "Rule of Thirds" and overall composition best practices. It's well worth the 3 minute investment, if only to improve your family photos.

Moral(s) of The Story

In real life, you'd feel awkward if someone stood directly in front of you, 6-inches from your face, and started talking to you. So don't do it to your clients in your video email messages. 

3 Rules to Follow:

  • Don't bother with green screens or backdrops. Build trust and rapport by inviting the viewer into your office. 
  • Position yourself in the left of right third of the frame. This puts your viewer at ease and therefore makes them more attentive to what you have to say.
  • Make sure you keep up with your grooming habits and visit the hairdresser often. Putting forward a consistent look and feel amplifies trust.

The result: you'll make your video email messages more personable and persuasive

About the Author William Franco

Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.

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