Pacing is more than just the speed of the cuts between clips. It’s a mixture of many things; flow, timing, and rhythm to name a few. Pacing helps tell your story and convey emotion to the audience. It can be fast, slow or in between, but a lot of times you will be using a combination to help illustrate the story and take the viewer on a journey.
When determining the pace for your project a lot of factors come into play. The type of shot for example, filming close-up, medium shot, establishing (from a distance), what is being shown, what is being said and even the sound effects or music can affect the pace of your video. There isn’t a template or set of rules to follow, this is something that is born of experience. It takes time and practice. These are all decisions that videographers and editors need to make when creating a video.
As a client, using tools like content briefs, scripts, or storyboards are your opportunities to provide information that influences these choices. The type of video project is important information to share, but knowing the urgency, importance, or feeling that you want the project to convey can help greatly as well.
For example, if you are telling your audience about an important new tool and explaining how it works. You’ll want to have even, digestible pacing so that the audience understands the product. If the video moves too quickly and doesn’t let your audience absorb the information, chances are they won’t understand or worse, they’ll lose interest. Too slow and they will get bored - definitely losing interest. But this isn’t a universal rule. If the new tool is available for a limited time and will have an immediate impact on your audience, you may want to use fast-pacing, to convey a sense of urgency. But, when you get to the instructional how-to section, slow down to a more even pace. By mixing the pace this way, the audience receives cues about how to feel and behave.
Here are some examples of how pacing can dramatically impact your message:
MHI Executive Summit Event Opener: This event opener video shows quick cuts, fast moving graphics and upbeat music in order to capture the viewers attentions and creates a sense of excitement and anticipation for the upcoming event.
YPO Soles4Souls Spotlight: This feature video draws attention to an important and meaningful project using slower, evenly paced cuts, minimal shifting graphics, and a mellow soundtrack help to emphasize the emotional impact of the story.
In the end, the most important part when starting a video project is to figure out how you want your audience to think, feel, and act. Pacing can drastically impact all of those elements. Video editors use pacing to take the viewer on a journey and when it’s done right, your audience won’t even notice the pace - they will just know how to feel.
When creating new videos consider how choices, like pacing, will impact the project. To learn more about effective story telling check out our blog post, What's the Story? Context is Key.