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How to Make A Compelling Soundless Video

The history of video finds humble beginnings in the early 1900s. The Lumière Brothers introduced the silent film, and video evolved from there. Eventually, silent film was edged out as “talkies” were developed. Video evolved from there into the world of impressive CGI, extensive fight sequences, and impeccable sound design.


Yet, trends are reverting back to video’s earlier times. Mobile videos are being published with auto-play, but not auto-sound. This feature runs on apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many users find it preferable. Approximately 85 percent of mobile videos are played without sound, specifically branded content. Sound is an important aspect in video, but the silent film era may prove that videos can be just as powerful without it.


How can you make a soundless video that works for you? Here are a few tips how to make your video understandable without sound!


Use Large, Bold Text or Subtitles

The visual-only approach doesn’t work for every message. If your video does have some sound in it, or you need some form of dialogue to make your message as clear as possible, use bold text or subtitles. You can use sparse text to highlight the key points to your viewers.


You can also use captions on your videos. Facebook has been automating captions on video uploads, but adding captions yourself guarantees your audience sees the text. The silent Facebook ads are great examples of caption usage.


Both of the ads have captions at the bottom so you don’t need to listen to the ads to get the message. The copy is entertaining as well as the imagery, specifically the costumes. However, the sound does add a fun quality if a viewer chooses to listen to it. While the sound is fun, it still isn’t necessary- based on how well the other components work without it.


Utilize Gripping Images

Use compelling visuals to lure in your audience. As the old adage goes, “Show, don’t tell.” You can share your message with your audience without saying a single word. For example, Ben & Jerry’s Facebook ad shows you what you need to know without any sound.


Introducing Save Our Swirled, our newest Limited Batch flavor with a climate change message. Raspberry ice cream with marshmallow & raspberry swirls & dark & white fudge ice cream cones.

Posted by Ben & Jerry’s on Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The visuals can be considered narrative components. They convey a simple and clear message to the viewer. Though the ad had no dialogue, you — as the audience — knew exactly what Ben & Jerry’s was trying to say.


Consider Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs are a meld of video and still image, similar to a GIF. The videos are silent by nature, and seen as less intrusive and disruptive than other types of ads. Cinemagraphs are a great way to think creatively and make something that draws the audience’s attention.


Bulmer’s Cider developed a captivating video that doesn’t require sound. The video is interesting and entertaining to watch, which grabs viewers’ attention. The video is short as well, which means that it’s easy for the viewer to watch it on auto-play more than once.


Most Importantly… Engage Your Viewers Quickly

Sound can be a great way of pulling your viewers into your video before they scroll past. This is already a difficult task, which becomes even harder without sound. The easiest way to do this is by following the three-second rule.


According to the three-second rule, you should be able to grab your audience’s attention in three seconds for them to watch the entirety of the video. You can do this by employing the rules above: using compelling captions and images to engage your viewer. Viewers are drawn to what interests them, so in addition to making your imagery intriguing, make sure your content is relevant to their interests in your product as well. If you take these tips into consideration, then you are on your way to creating a successful soundless video.

katie murray marketing and video production internKatie Murray is a Marketing Intern for Green Buzz Agency. She reports on the latest trends in Video Production and Video Marketing. She watches almost everything with captions.

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