Why dentists are better off shooting their patients

We got Callum Shone in to film the Breathe Retreat last week – you’ll see the results soon, they’re stunning.

Here he explains what online videos can do for businesses and reveals the ace card all good dentists can deploy to make their videos memorable.

Callum is director of Smart Exposure (http://www.smartexposureproductions.com), which makes online videos for dental practices and other businesses.

Callum Shone, director at Smart Exposure

Callum Shone, director at Smart Exposure

Why are dental practices making videos?

Video is a powerful way of getting across your brand in two minutes. It can be really emotional – you have music, you have imagery, perhaps of nature – a sunset or the ocean. You’re showing the viewer your personality and style. It’s a form of emotional shorthand. If a picture paints a thousand words, a video paints a million. And it’s much easier to watch a video than read everything on a website.

What’s the magical two minutes about?

Two minutes seems to be the drop off point when people start to lose interest and turn off. Most online videos are only played for around two minutes 30 seconds.

People can get rigid and come across as quite nervous on camera. It’s always good to catch the team having banter, and genuine patient-dentist interaction is priceless – anything that shows the human side of people who work there.

What are the best videos you’ve made for dentists?

Testimonial videos work really well. I’m always surprised at how many patients are eager to help. Teeth and dentistry are so personal and emotional so if as a dentist you really help that person, what they’re going to say, provided they’re not nervous, is going to be very strong. Compared to other industries the feedback from customers is striking in its sincerity and emotion. I filmed one lady who said she lived in Perth but visited her dentist every time she was in the UK because she trusted him so much.

Also videos can really help dentists overcome the impression of being scary and remote clinicians. Video lets their personality come through and gives them a great chance to explain why they became a dentist, which is hard to get across in words.

Do you always direct your videos?

We always decide on the format before filming starts, meet the team videos for example. I prepare a standard set of questions and depending on the answers I might prise a few more out. I direct people on their seating position and help them come across in the best possible light. A large part of it is making people feel at ease.

On the Breathe Retreat you weren’t just filming people talking, you took loads of footage of the surroundings from all sorts of angles. What’s that about?

The brief was to document the retreat and a make series of testimonials. But we hadn’t storyboarded any shots so I wanted to get plenty of on-the-fly material. You never know when that shot of someone’s hand writing in their journal or rubbing their forehead will come in handy. I shot someone’s glasses that were left on a notebook and pulled focus to the wood burner behind it. It said a lot: people are here to work at bettering themselves in a cosy rustic environment – all with a nice visual aesthetic.

What web video platforms should dentists use?

I leave web strategy to the marketing or PR person who is supporting the dentist. Most prefer YouTube because it’s free, universal and is integrated with Google. If we’re doing a promotional video that’s very slick with high production values they might go for Vimeo which is a bit smarter and can be customised. From a videographer’s point of view Wistia is the best because it accepts large files and plays them back how they were intended to be seen – they lose less quality than Vimeo and YouTube. Playback is always flawless too. It might take a few seconds to buffer but once it starts it stays crisp and flows without ever faltering. The tools for embedding videos are brilliant too – you can do things like change the colours to suit your website.

How are web videos changing?

There’s a lot more smartphone videos around these days and the volume of video content out there is exploding. That’s pushing creativity up but sometimes production values are neglected where delivering content is prioritised at all costs. There’s certainly a role for lower quality videos, especially on social media, but obviously a ‘meet the team’ video on your homepage has to be well made because it’s your shop window.

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