Don’t let your “students” sleep

Specificity of Motion design projects is that graphic designers are working on them. Whether it is single individual or group, it is people who create visual graphics. Most often, these teams don’t have an audio professional who can properly process the sound and make everything sound and look right.

But when project quality grows and budgets are increasing, the sound element becomes of vital importance. So when the sound begins to matter? — Always! The goal of motion picture is to deliver information to the consumer, and most likely you want your viewer to believe that information. You have heard and read that the hearing has great importance in the perception of information. In some sources the figures about perception are too high, but the following figures seem closer to truth:

25% of information we remember if we see the image
15% we remember if we hear the sound
65% we remember if the image is accompanied by its sound

But is it enough to simply add narration to a video to get all of the 65%? Let’s recall the lectures… The teacher writes on the board, and pronounces everything he writes. There are visual and audio components. But are all lectures equally interesting and entertaining? Not at all! It depends on many factors, including the volume of the voice, pitch quality, intonation and many other parameters.

Cheerful, emotional, colourful speech — we listen to the lecture with interest thus remembering it. Speech is sluggish or boring — we go and sleep at the back of the class.

Why your one-minute video is not a lecture? It is a lecture! And never let your “students” sleep!
In the era of clip thinking to keep the viewer’s attention even for 1–2 minutes is quite a challenge. Always try to make your “lecture” exciting and engaging. When you want to make good product, you put much more than 20% of efforts to get 80% of the result in graphics creation. In this case you get the project which has pretty good and detailed graphics but will it work? Will this motion picture have a bigger influence on the consumer?

Let’s look at figures. The following calculations are pseudoscientific but I want use it to visualize efficiency.
If 25% is a ceiling of graphical information perception, then you use much more efforts (80% following Pareto law) to get few percent to receive better perception of information. But will it have a big influence if your “lecturer” has dull speech? I don’t think so.
Speaking about process efficiency — I think that maximum efficiency you can have only in the case, when these two parts of motion picture come together and are well balanced.

Voiceover artists often provide treated recorded track. However, I have to tune and process every voiceover track. Sometimes their tracks are bad or even terrible — much treatment needed for such sound, at times I ask for the raw version.

I can spend few hours mixing voiceover and music, and next day do it all over again because it still doesn’t sound right. The quality of individual segments, length of phrases and words, speech parameters which affect the perception — all of these elements have great importance. Even perfectly uttered speech requires some modifications, similar to a well-made photo shot that can be improved by applying some processing with a photo editor.

The purpose of this sound metamorphosis is to convey properly information from the video, get the speaker to speak like the teacher on the most interesting lecture, and the audience will be engaged to take full 65% of the information from it.

One thing I can say for sure is that if your “lecture” will sound boring, your audience will fall asleep in front of the screen and in some cases — they might just walk out.

We do not know what information enhances the perception of how much, but I can say for sure that if your “ lecturer” will sound bored, your audience fall asleep front of the screen as well as a student at the lecture.