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When You Have Limited Footage and Photos, There’s Still a Way To Create Visual Content.

How can you create creative, eyecatching visual content when there’s no time to shoot? Or when you have limited footage? Or even no footage at all?

Quick answer: video templates.

What are video templates, you ask? They’re pre-built, customizable files for Final Cut, Premiere Pro or After Effects.

You can find hundreds of them with a simple Google search, or on sites like Storyblocks or Envato Market. They’re available in different categories, like motion graphics, animated type, logos, slideshows and more.

Alfred Hitchcock practically invented the rules of visual storytelling

HBCU League Pass

A recent project for HBCU League Pass was a perfect opportunity to use a video template.

It’s a new streaming channel that offers sports from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, along with “Hip Hollywood” and other black entertainment programs.

Just one problem—it’s new.

There’s no library of footage from past sporting events. Just a few random clips and sports photos.

So existing assets were extremely limited, and they needed promo commercials ASAP to start building awareness and getting people to download the free app.

So after searching through dozens of video templates, I found a Premiere Pro template called “Multiframe Media Opener Slideshow.”

Stunning Visual Content

This slideshow is perfect for streaming channel promos—lots of motion and lighting and grunge effects. And it works with photos or video clips.

Incorporating the template seemed simple enough.

I just opened the slideshow in After Effects, and replaced all the image files with photos and video clips supplied by HBCU League Pass.

One of Hitch's rules of visual storytelling was to not direct the actors, direct the audience

I did run into two minor issues. First was the randomness of the image placement. I started swapping out images to control which ones appear onscreen together.

The other issue was render time. Every change in the image files meant the entire template had to render from scratch. Every revision was taking hours.

I ended up outputting a high-res file, then editing that as B Roll in Premiere Pro.

That way I was able to control pacing, add typography, and change music.

Unique Visual Style

I’m really happy with how these spots turned out. The template animation provides a unique visual style, with the lighting and film scratch effects.

Thanks again to my friends at Propellant Media for working with me on this project.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Harry Hayes is the owner and executive producer at Content Puppy Productions. Before starting his business, he spent 20+ years as an advertising writer and creative director.

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