Sketch #6: And what if it only contained personal opinions?

Video reviews with personal opinions creates acknowledgment, such that the viewers are able to experience “using” the product with the reviewer. Personal opinions can be incredibly useful for those who are looking to invest in a product.

Nowadays, more and more consumers are watching video reviews as part of their pre-purchase research. These video reviews have the capability to affect a product’s image. How so? Well, when viewers acknowledge a reviewer’s personal opinions, they may choose to adopt the same mindset towards the product being discussed. They can “collect” these opinions and eventually come up with one for themselves, allowing them to decide on which product might be best catered to them.

Here, we decided to come up with a sketch with personal opinions alone, with the absence of factual information. Is this helpful at all? In the sketch, we have somebody who is supposedly reviewing the Samsung Note 4. However, he elaborates only on how he finds it faster and better than his old phone, and not giving any information whatsoever on the technical specs of the product. How many megapixels is the camera? What processor is it running on? What are its physical dimensions?

Yes, personal opinion is important and very necessary, but a video review with just that would not be convincing or reliable without any factual information.

Sketch #5: What if video reviews only contained facts and information?

In Marques Brownlee’s video review, he often states facts and provides his personal opinions on the product that he is reviewing. By doing so, it helps the viewers to better visualise or understand the product at hand.

After watching his video review, we decided to explore how it would work if a video review only contained facts and information, without any personal opinions. How would this play out? We then decided to make a sketch that only covers a product’s facts and information. We used an iPhone 5s to illustrate our point.

We find that the sketch with facts alone is dull to watch, as there is nothing else to it. If we look at it this way, people may as well check on a product by finding it on the official website, or getting a brochure from a physical store nearby. Why would they need to watch a video review?

This is why it is important – people tend to look to video reviews before purchasing a product, because they expect that they would be given more insight to help them make a decision on whether or not they should buy a product. They would like to know an experts’ view on the product, and some comparisons made in the video review would be helpful as well. Without these elements, viewers would not be able to have a better understanding of the product.

Sketch #4: Pictures versus physical products

Marques Brownlee’s videos in the past had an average of only 10,000 viewers as he was simply making product reviews by showing pictures that he had found on the Internet. However, as he gradually became more popular among netizens, companies began to provide him with the products to sample and try out. The fact that he is now able to physically test the products, makes his reviews, statements and personal opinions more reliable.

For our sketch, we put two clips side-by-side – the one on the left shows pictures of the Classic Oxford Lady (found on Daniel Wellington’s website); the one on the right are clips of the actual product. We included a quick voiceover for our sketch. After we had done so, we realised that it is very different to see the product in real-life conditions rather than to have one where the product is simply stagnant.

From this, we discovered that the video review showing the physical product is much more appealing and convincing than the one with just pictures found over the Internet. As the reviewer gets to physically try out the product, his personal experience of using the product makes his stand stronger and more dependable. Apart from that, viewers also get a better sense of what the product is really like, compared to over-enhanced photographs or brand advertisements that are only designed to sell.

Sketch #3: Is on-screen text necessary?

Certain information can be hard to catch sometimes, especially when lengthy or abundant in numerical and informational aspects. Having that said, it is usually important to include on-screen text so that viewers can easily remember or pick up essential information without having to replay parts of the video. It certainly makes watching video reviews a little easier – to have all the information nicely broken down, rather than to have paragraphs and sentences of text to digest.

In general, a lot of reliance is put on both the audio and visual components of a video. When a person is introduced to figures or statistics, it would definitely be easier to have it processed when they can both listen and see the facts on screen. This point is also made evident in several animated infographics where brands, campaigns or societies gain support and viewership by paying people to make them informational videos in an attractive manner.

Apart from easing the struggle to remember, the presence of on-screen text also makes a video review a little less mundane. You can expect more pop and clarity when the text comes hand-in-hand with the voice-over. Not all reviewers would take the time to edit text into the video, but based on what we have watched, there are quite a handful who would go through the trouble of doing so.

Sketch #2: The role of cinematic aspects

Cinematic techniques play an important role in the production of a video review. There are a lot of video reviews on the Internet; however, we would like to investigate the kind of video reviews that viewers would be more likely to click on.

Referencing to our case study, the cinematic aspects are pretty well done, when compared to the others found on YouTube. For example, the lighting is top-notch and helps the product stand out. Also, the framing of the iPhone 6 in the video helps indicate the points that the reviewer is going to discuss. These cinematic techniques help the audiences such that decoding the information is made easier and faster.

For our sketch, we wanted to see how two different video reviews would play out, if they contained the exact same content but were shot in different conditions. If a snippet were to be taken from each video and used as YouTube thumbnails, which video would a person be more likely to click on?

The clip to the left is the one with good cinematic techniques – such as good lighting and proper framing – whereas the other is shot with bad lighting and is out of focus most of the time. We decided to put them side-by-side in our sketch, accompanied by a short descriptive voice-over. By doing so, we were able to compare the attractiveness of both clips and to explore what a typical viewer would prefer.

Sketch #1: Backgrounds and angles

When it comes to a video review, different backgrounds affect the visuals such that it makes watching more enjoyable for the viewers. If a video review only showcases the product on a single background, it would become dull as time goes by, and would possibly lose the attention of some viewers. With the aid of different backgrounds in a video review, it would certainly be much more appealing.

Apart from that, camera angles such as a full shots, mid shots, close-ups and extreme close-ups can be used when reviewing a product. Usually the long shots and close-up shots are prioritised, as long shots contain a complete view of the product, demonstrating its characteristics, whereas the close-up shots contain an angle or specific part of the product that would help showcase the product a little better.

As people get a better view of the product on different backgrounds and from multiple angles, they would be more likely to have a better idea of what it really looks like, as compared to seeing a picture found online or on a physical brochure. They would be able to tell what it looks like under different conditions and brightnesses, and can even gauge its size and how big it might be in the hand.

Concept statement

Our group has chosen the online video example, Marques Brownlee’s iPhone 6 review. If we contextualise this work/project in relation to the studio activities so far (the mind-mapping and personal case studies) it would be placed in the genre informational video of online video practice. By focusing on the narrative/non-narrative structure of Marques Brownlee’s video review on the iPhone 6, we hope to achieve a better understanding of how video reviews are moulded and constructed. Each of these sketches will focus on different aspects of the work/project as a way to understand how it has been made and how relations have been formed between shots to create a narrative/non-narrative structure.

Reflective thinking

Over the week, Jia Jia and I met up twice to get some filming for our sketches done. It’s great that we’ve been constantly working as team, coming up with ideas and making mutual decisions. We managed to refine the ideas for our sketches:

We want to explore how an informational video is made both interesting and appealing to watch. By focusing on the narrative/non-narrative structure of Marques Brownlee’s video review on the iPhone 6, we hope to achieve a better understanding of how video reviews are moulded and constructed.

  1. In the case of Brownlee’s video review, one product is filmed against many different backgrounds, and from multiple angles.
  2. Cinematics in the production stage play a role from post-production to promotion of the video on YouTube. Here we explore a viewer’s natural response to the attractiveness of a thumbnail on YouTube.
  3. Video reviews have certainly evolved over the years. There are many differences between reviewing it using pictures found online, as compared to physically possessing the product.
  4. From how we see it, personal opinions play an important role to ensuring a good video review. But what if it were done without it? What if the video only contained a whole lot of facts and information?
  5. Conversely, what if there were ONLY personal opinions?
  6. How is a video review constructed (from start to finish)? There should be a template. Eg. Physical aspects, internal specs, demonstration, comparisons and personal opinions.
  7. The product being reviewed can be compared against a different brand in the market.
  8. How does this work in terms of a viewer’s loyalty towards a certain brand, and in guiding a buyer’s decision-making process?
  9. There is the inclusion of on-screen text to clarify certain information.
  10. How far should the terminology used go? We can explore the types of people who would watch videos such as this.

As we were refining these sketches, a problem we encountered was coming up with more ideas to fit the list-of-ten criteria. We watched Brownlee’s review on the iPhone 6 a couple of times more, scanning through parts of the video that would be able to give us more ideas. I’d say that there is a lot to online video; that there is a more complex aspect to it rather than it just being a file uploaded to the Internet for others to watch. Despite that, it can be difficult to break things down when we are not naturally inclined to inspect all the little elements each time we see an online video – all we do, at least most of the time, is just sit back and watch.

It is interesting, however, to consider understanding how an online video works. What makes it what it is, and what makes it appealing to watch? I have personally worked on a few videos back in college, and I have been at points where my group mates and I would be dry on ideas. The conditions were different, however. Back in college, I had to come up with brand new ideas to promote projects I was working on; here, we unpack a specific video and explore its hybrid narrative/non-narrative forms. We take a step back and begin to really understand it as a whole.

Jia Jia and I began to broaden the ideas we already had, expanding them by looking at each one from different perspectives. We tried to source ideas from the world around us, reminding ourselves of things that had happened in the past. We also watched a couple of other videos just to freshen up, and even looked at a couple of other video reviews. By doing so, we were actually able to come up with ideas 3, 5, 8 and 10.


After seeing Seth’s post on the template for our concept statement and sketches, I’d say that Jia Jia and I are slowly getting on the right track. We began first with these few statements:

We want to explore how an informational video is made both interesting and appealing to watch. By focusing on the narrative/non-narrative structure of Marques Brownlee’s video review on the iPhone 6, we hope to achieve a better understanding of how video reviews are moulded and constructed.

  1. Visual focus is on the product, and not the person.
  2. Inclusion of on-screen text to clarify certain information.
  3. Close-ups are important!
  4. Choose an environment that is relatively easy on the eyes.
  5. Research beforehand to know what you’re talking about.
  6. Include personal opinions.
  7. Good lighting makes the product more attractive.
  8. Test out the product to show how it works.
  9. Regular cuts from one scene to another makes it less boring.
  10. Have a clear talking voice.

From there, we decided that we would further refine it in the days to come. We have a few days before our next class in the studio, so hopefully we’ll be able to get some sketches done over the week!

Feedback Friday

Yesterday, my group mate and I had a discussion for our second project. We took a look at the videos used for our case studies, and began to analyse it in terms of how it connected with its audiences. We then came up with a concept statement to guide the sketches for our second project:

Based on our case studies, we took a look at the feedback and comments received and found several aspects that make watching a video more memorable. Upon gaining a better idea of our audiences, we have noticed that people are more likely to participate when it comes to something that attracts or entertains. Hence, taking the elements of facts and humour to guide our concept, we plan to give viewers a fresh perspective on something that is not actively thought about.

However, after today’s consultation, we realised that we were too caught up with a video’s content, rather than the elements that make it unique. We now have a better idea of what to do in terms of our concept statement and sketches, and we will be re-discussing our ideas tomorrow. Hoping that all goes well!

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