Trash the dress, explosions, demolition ... product testing. These are just a few of the descriptors for a special genre of video that event videographers understand so well. Destruction video - the kind of video that is designed to make audiences cringe or watch in awe, and if the work is especially effective, will be so strong a visual that viewers simply can't look away. There are many genres for which destruction video may fit, including music video, documentary, even educational. We'll look at some examples and help you get prepared to make a destruction video.
Once you find a few destruction videos, you'll notice that there are some conventions for doing these once in a lifetime videos. Since an event like "trash the dress" can only happen once, you'll need to get coverage, from many different angles and with many different cameras. With more and more affordable yet durable cameras available, there should be no excuse not to get shots that are closer than humanly possible. Check out the Brooklyn Space Program for a point of view from the camera - truly incredible and in no way, a typical method of product testing. With this territory comes the regular procedure of testing your equipment before pressing record. Every good video has an element of story, to build your audience up with preparation and anticipation. Trash the dress videos generally get a leg up by having a well-documented prequel. Beyond these, shooting product testing video gives you the unwritten rule of going all-out, over the top, no holds barred, and that means epic slow motion, fast motion setups, and maybe even reaction shots of onlookers. Grab shots from the main levels of coverage, closeup, medium and wide ... perhaps some of this is sounding familiar?
When it comes to editing together a destruction video, you'll be lucky to have usable natural sound, so music is often an excellent pairing and that means rhythm editing is in order. By inlcuding repeating clips of the destruction you can match the beats of music to make for a resonating video. This will also highlight multiple levels of destruction if you're testing the durability of a product. And speaking of testing, no one does it like the MythBusters. They inject fun, comedy and education in with their destruction of stuff.
All this stems from an event that may last mere seconds. If you milk your resources well, a polished trash the dress or product testing video can be a blast to shoot, excellent entertainment, a great teaching tool, and ultimately, visually stunning - no before and after images necessary.
Ironically, safety comes last in this article, but it is not to be forgotten, and remember that misuse during product testing will likely void any warranty you thought you'd take advantage of. You will do well to make a disclaimer warning people of the preparation that is required for such a shoot and follow appropriate legal precautions.