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No Video? No Problem: How to Use Photos to Make Your Video

A picture is worth a thousand bucks. (maybe)

The word “video” is a bit misleading. In fact, video is just a series of photos. The frame rate of video determines how many photos per second (FPS). Video does seem to move but in fact it’s all smoke & mirrors.

That’s actually good news for you, I got a little video hack for you that might come in real handy (even if you don’t have budget, time or other means to shoot video footage). You can actually use only still photos as video. Throw in some scripted voice over, music and some graphics and you can make a compelling video presentation without any actual video!

To give you a taste, here’s an example of how we recently used photos to tell the story of a French wine growing region that’s on the rise:

The first step in this type of process is to identify what you have to work with. Perhaps you have a bunch of product shots or images of a location.

Once you have a handle on the photos you may have, next comes the script. Focus on nailing down the shortest and most engaging way to communicate the core messaging that will set you up for success.

Part of the trick is to find images that support whats said in the script and well as reinforce your main points in a way that inspires the appropriate emotions.

With a solid script it can be helpful to just read a version and record a ‘scratch track ‘ to edit together with the photos that you select that seem like a possible good fit. This will help shake out anything that’s not working before you get too far into the process (and budget!).

After you have recorded the final voice over, you’ll want to place music with the voice and get the timing of your edit right. The sound drives the pace and you’ll next need to make images work to support the sound.

With photos placed to the right tempo, you can then working on enhancing how they appear and embellish with any motion, graphics or text that are needed to engage, reinforce or clarify key messaging.

With enough time to tweak and play a bit, this type of treatment can be just as effective as live action video, perhaps even more so. This Ken Burns Effect is tried and true cinematic convention of storytelling:

There’s a stillness to this technique that can work well for dramatic effect. It has a certain gravity to it that can undoubtedly be effective in communicating both facts and feelings Plus, if you already have the photos, it can be cheap!

Give it a try, you might be surprised how far it can go.

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