I analysed for you a few of the most-viewed GoPro and drone videos and found a few features they have in common that make it an amazing video to watch.
1. A Luxury Title, Included in the Thumbnail
Before you watched a video, you will most likely have been attracted by the thumbnail and clicked on it. Those thumbnails tend to be appealing by the beauty of the snapshot, whether it be a landscape or an action-shot, and they are traditionally stamped with a great-looking title. If it is a mostly-landscape video it will be very thin, sans-serif and high-end looking, sitting lightly in the sky just on top of a lake for example, or if it is a more adventurous video it will be slightly more stylish – in a custom font – setting the promise of a very engaging video.
Following a good marketing principle, once you’ve clicked on it, you see this title again within 5 seconds. This avoids cognitive dissonance and brings reassurance to the viewer that what they are watching is indeed what they clicked on.
2. Building Anticipation With A Very Smart Intro
In my previous post, I mentioned how the preparation always makes for a good intro. Whether it be footage of the packing before the trip, the ski lift going up the mountain, or even the road to where the action is happening, they all make for a nice introduction for what is about to come.
When I say a “smart introduction”, I mean that they take it even further than that. In million-times-viewed videos, they include elements that will make you want to stick around to watch more of the film. It can be a GoPro shot of the very tough hike to the mountain peak with a snowboard, or even a few extreme jumps (promising lots more), or the flight of the helicopter going up (promising the view from above later), or even some footage of very high palm trees from low on the ground (promising beautiful beach landscapes later).
It’s not just about showing the making of the video, it’s about building anticipation and hooking up the viewer to make them stick around for the rest of the video. You need to show just enough to make an enticing promise of an amazing video following right up.
3. Choosing your Shots and Music to Build Up to a Peak
There are usually two types of music, the electro-dynamic kind, with a lot of energy and perfect for action, and the more inspiring, Titanic-like music that will make you feel good and plunge you into the wonderland that is usually pictured alongside (typically landscape-focused, drone videos).
No matter which kind of music is utilised, there tend to be a build up to about a quarter of the video which makes not only for the introduction but also to build up to the top moments of the video.
These top moments differ. They can be jumps, breath-taking landscapes, a group of people bursting out laughing, or a high-sensation moment – watch that guy go through the tiniest hole in a wingsuit.
It’s important to make sure that you use great shots up to that moment, but follow up with AMAZING shots once the music has reached its full energy.
4. Focus on Actions or Landscapes, Not People
Most of those million-times-viewed videos focus on the action or the landscape and very little on the people. No one wants to watch someone’s narcissistic holiday video where most is filmed on a selfie stick. People want to feel the experience, they want to picture themselves in their shoes. They want a first-person point of view every now and then, or simply to be taken on a trip to wonderland.
Feeling the edge and the adrenaline rush when Danny MacAskill is about to jump from one roof to the next, recording with his GoPro, is what makes the video unique and inspiring. They take the people to the center of the action, which is something incredibly unique that GoPro-style footage now brings to the film industry.
They still have people shots here and there, but they are all about the emotion : the smile, the high-five, the laugh, or the worries before taking a huge risk. Watchers relate to emotions, they can hardly relate to friends and family they don’t know.
5. Experience-Enhancing Color Grading
The colours always look amazing. And however-much the camera companies would like you to believe they are straight out of the lens, most of those videos have had colour-grading applied. Not much is necessary as they tend to be of top quality already, but just enough to counteract those clouds shading some of the footage, and adding a bit of vibrance and saturation to make it truly colourful. This is key to make a million-times-viewed video. You can learn this by following online tutorials or simply leave it to professional video editors.
6. Unsurprisingly, Effective Marketing
Well, needless to say that the most watched videos tend to have been sponsored by GoPro, RedBull or DJI. There is nothing more effective than a good sponsor to gain visibility and be shared on social networks to an existing audience. GoPro’s Awards program is a great tool for that, submit your video and try your luck 😉