How to Make Your Video Look Timeless

Even the most modern looking videos today may start to show their age a few years from now.  Over time, your video will begin to look outdated due to advances in resolution, color and dynamic range reproduction and more. Styles change, technology progresses, and the best we can hope for is a video that doesn’t come across as cheesy or under-produced when we watch it again in a year. Here are some tips to help you achieve that goal:

1. Stick to the fundamentals.

The basics of video production don’t change overtime. While styles may evolve and expectations around image quality may shift with technology, we will always prefer video that is well-composed, well-exposed and in focus. Therefore, the first step to producing timeless video is to focus on the fundamentals and always aim to produce the best looking video possible.

2. Keep cuts simple.

Staying on trend with flashy transitions may seem like good a creative choice at the time, but trends eventually fade or worse, they become overused, trite and tiresome. This is the number one reason we recommend against using transitions like star wipes and page peels. Rather than overloading your video with sensational transitions and effects, keep cuts simple. If you do use something fancier than a straight cut, have a reason for it. Remember, every decision you make should support the video’s story or message — that includes how you move from one shot to the next.

3. Use effective graphics.

The familiar rolling credits at the end of most movies are formatted that way for a reason: It’s an effective way to show a lot of names in a relatively short period of time. Have a purpose for every graphic you include and make sure each graphic effectively fulfills that purpose. Avoid choosing fonts and color schemes based purely on current trends or aesthetics. Instead, choose based on how the graphic fits into the video as a whole and what you want it to achieve. When in doubt, keep graphics clean and simple for maximum lifespan.

4. Choose music to suit the production.

Music is an important part of any production, but it can also be one of the most telling when it comes to dating a video. When choosing music, decide the tone or mood you are going for and then look for classic ways to express that. Stay away from trendy stock sound loops that attempt to sound like the latest chart toppers and select music that serves your production rather than the latest fad.

When choosing music, decide the tone or mood you are going for and then look for classic ways to express that.

5. Avoid props that age.

The technology that shows up on screen is a big indicator as to when a video was made. Unless the video is specifically focused on technological devices, avoid showing things like computers and cellphones either as props or in the background. Likewise, if you want your video to have a long shelf life, have your talent wear classic styles that won’t feel out of place a couple of years from now. Simple button down shirts and blouses are always a safe bet.

Instead of going overboard with trendy accessories, keep wardrobe simple and classic. Don’t be afraid to ask your talent to tone it down for the camera.

On the other hand, if your video is supposed to be set in a specific time period, go all in. Make your viewer feel like your video was actually produced in, say, the 1980s and it won’t matter when they watch it — the video will still effectively place them in that period. In either case, make sure everything your audience sees contributes to the story.

Trendy or Timeless?

Videos will start aging the moment they’re completed. It’s inevitable. However, there are certain steps we can take to delay that inevitability at least a little bit longer. In the end, it always comes back to supporting the message you’re trying to convey. Do that effectively and you can slow down that aging process significantly.

Nicole likes to laugh at old videos she’s made. She’s also Videomaker’s managing editor.

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