One of the reasons we, as a civilisation, are so obsessed with and enthralled by technology is due to the fact that it is always moving. Twenty years ago, nobody would have imagined that in the pockets of almost the entire population would sit a small device, connecting us to all the information in the world, every film ever made, every song ever recorded, every book ever written. The pace at which technology is moving forwards is as exciting as it is fascinating, and every year, new advances are made which change the game for the year to come.
High speed internet changed what websites were able to do, more or less overnight. Suddenly, we could expand the size of our websites. We could add more information than ever before, make fast and effective links to other related sites. We could push our message across with every colour in the rainbow, and additional extras like sound and music began to be bolted on to words and pictures, creating a more immersive, personalised and interesting browsing experience.
Moving into the future
The newest widespread step in website design has been the addition of video and animation – not just as a insert or a link, but as a fundamental part of the image of a site. More and more companies and website owners are beginning to implement video backgrounds to their websites, creating something truly effective and involving where before there might have been just a static, blank canvas on which to post information.
This has been carried out with great effect, particularly in the creative industry. Successful examples include:
- The websites of various bands. These have had moving images of atmospheric scenes floating across the screen on their sites backgrounds, adding the drama and linking images with sounds taken from forthcoming records and tours, etc.
- Promotional websites for movies. These have added an extra layer of intrigue to their teasing, by running slow-motion clips of key scenes behind cast lists and reviews. It’s a brilliantly subtle way of ramping up the ‘image’ of a film, and demonstrating cinematographic skills and heightened dramatism.
- Industry giants such as Spotify. Many large music websites have used video backgrounds highly effectively, creating a sense of calm and a positive vibe for everyone who browses their site.
How to make the most of video backgrounds
The thing that seems to work best, when it comes to video backgrounds, is subtlety. Video backgrounds seem to be at their most effective when they are not blasting you with information or distraction, but are instead heightening the atmosphere and ambience of the browsing experience. Think peaceful woodland scenes, leaves blowing in the wind and lovers strolling hand in hand in the distance – this has a subtle, psychological effect, which can encourage casual browsers to spend more time on the site, and feel comfortable doing so.
As websites have become more sophisticated, web users have become more discerning and perhaps more influenced by the appearance of the site – nowadays, the difference between an attractive, modern site with video backgrounds, and more old fashioned, clunky, static site is enormous. As such, increasing the impact of your site in those crucial first few seconds that somebody clicks on your link has never been more important.
Video backgrounds are also a great way of increasing the effectiveness of your brand. Once upon a time, branding meant little more than sticking to company colours and placing a big company logo on the corner of the screen. Today, branding is all about identity and association with specific lifestyle choices. Bringing video backgrounds and well-chosen music onto your site is an easy and highly effective way of reaching out to your customers and letting them know what you’re really about.
Imagine you’re inviting a date over for dinner. You want to make a powerful first impression, and give your prospective partner a taste of what to expect for the future. Are you going to leave your home exactly as it normally is, or are you going to pull out a few stops, change the lighting, put on some mood music and wear your most expensive perfume? In a similar way, video backgrounds are seductive, they’re dynamic, they’re another tool to demonstrate that you care about your company’s image and you’re willing to go the extra mile to make the customer’s visit to your virtual home and a pleasant and memorable one.
No need to cast doubt
There is always going to be a certain amount of scepticism when it comes to things like video background. After all, the internet is full of fads and passing trends – things which catch on for a short while, then go the way of the virtual dinosaur. However, because of the way the internet’s usability, speed and general performance is going (up and up and up, it seems) we can expect video backgrounds and more dynamic visual appearances to become the norm, relatively quickly. Unlike other fads, video backgrounds seem to have a genuine positive effect, as long as they have a level of subtlety which does not interrupt or disturb the overall browsing experience, and as long as the video itself is well chosen to fit the brand as a whole. As such, this is a bandwagon it really could be time to jump onto.
Furthermore, you don’t need to be a film maker or creative artist to make video backgrounds work for you. Thankfully, stock video can be purchased and used in much the same way as stock photography. As such, there is a staggering wealth of video out there to browse through and choose from, so you needn’t sweat about creating or finding one with any difficulty.