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The Emotive Art of Videography with Why Keen

Hooked on a feeling

I did my very first video in secondary school back in 1996. I was the sports captain of my sport team and I worked with a friend from the AV club to film and edit a video that journaled our school team’s journey to the National Interschool Shooting Championship finals.

When we watched the video together afterwards, we laughed and cried. I remember the effect the video had on my friends. It felt good to be able to move an audience emotionally – I was hooked on that feeling ever since.

Knowing your gear

I achieve crisp, stable shots for my videos using the Z 6 and Zhiyun Weebill Lab. The best feature about Weebill is that it is light and very versatile. When paired with the Z 6’s compact form and its video capabilities, a videographer can achieve the perfect shot efficiently.

Where cinematic movements are required, I can switch modes with ease. The quick release plates of Weebill enables me to swiftly change to holding the camera with my hand when needed. I can smoothly switch between using the camera on a gimbal and holding the camera alone, which is further complemented by the Z 6’s useful Monitor Mode Button, which switches the viewfinder on and off intuitively.

Laying the foundations of success

The most important part of videography is respecting the audience. This means that as a storyteller, I have to first understand my audience before working on the video. For example, if a video was meant for an arthouse audience, it would look and feel different to a video meant for a commercial.

No matter the type of video, I always strive for authenticity – it’s something that is felt. At every stage, from scriptwriting to video-editing, it is something that we have to constantly remind ourselves about. Does this line sound authentic to the story? When our interview subject says this in this way, does it feel real? The person who plays the biggest role in maintaining authenticity is typically the director, so I strive to be the best director in every production I am a part of.

 

Behind the scenes

After establishing an understanding of what and who the video is for, we move to pre-production, which can be as simple as a single paragraph about what we hope to achieve, to a full script and storyboard detailing precisely how the video would be. This is all before we even start the shoot – the idea is that by the time we begin, the team knows what exactly is needed.

Overall, the toughest thing to do is write. It is not easy to come up with a concept that can grab and hold the attention of the audience, while making sure that our clients’ goals are met. When that’s done though, the reward is what’s most thrilling: the filming process. That’s when you see the result of all your meticulous planning. You also get to travel then, so it is always fun!

Beyond pre-production, the importance of post-production should not be underestimated either. When filming has wrapped, the editing process plays a huge role in putting in the finishing touches to your video. Whether it’s creating a certain mood, colour grading, or piecing together shots to form a cohesive storyline, post-production is the final step that brings your vision to life.

Stay passionate and develop through failure

This might all seem like it requires a lot of money to achieve, but at the end of the day, you don’t need a multimillion-dollar budget, a huge production team and expensive equipment to express your creativity. Sometimes, all you need to start the production process is a gimbal and a camera. From there, you could create something truly beautiful and impactful.

I have had the chance to train a lot of videographers over the years, and I would always tell them to keep their passion alive by working on their own projects. When we produce videos professionally, we have to answer to clients and may not get the chance to do something that challenges us.

Without challenges, without failing, we could get stuck and not develop as videographers. With our own projects, we are then able to explore our passion and fail safely. Through failing, we learn and become better at our craft.

About Why Keen

Why Keen is a creative director and father of three from Singapore who has been writing and producing videos for over a decade. Showcasing an impressive range, his work always takes root in authenticity and aims to move the audience, whom he never fails to thoroughly understand and thus enrapture.