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Video Tip: The Power of the Opening Shot

Posted on: January 19th, 2016 by Tom McDonald

I was reminded recently by someone I highly respect (my wife) on the importance of the opening shot in a video.  An opening shot is the very first scene you see in the piece.  Not only is it a chance to display creativity but in today’s world, it’s essential to enticing your viewer to watch the entire piece.  As an advocate for the fundamentals of the craft, I’d like to identify a few strategies for capturing a successful opening shot.

Positive Action

Positve Action









One strategy that makes a lot of sense is capturing a shot with positive action.  Having your subject moving toward the camera is an often-used method for opening a video.  Using negative action can be just as effective for your closing shot.

Establishing Shot












The establishing shot is often one of the most used – though, I think there’s a lot of room for creativity with this approach.  It’s effective in immediately letting your viewers know where the video takes place.  You can pep up the establishing shot with a time-lapse or something artsy to make the shot more visually compelling.

Attention Getter

Natural Sound









This is one of my favorite ways to open a video as I am a big fan of natural sound.  I often use a captivating clip of natural sound to grab the attention of the viewer and say, HEY LOOK HERE!  It’s leading with the ears.










Give the viewer a hint of what is to come but don’t entirely give it away.  This foreshadowing compels the viewer to continue watching to find out where that opening shot will lead.

Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of the opening shot.  Sometimes, it’s not even necessarily one shot – but a sequence that creates a mood, idea or question that hopefully, will be answered later on.  However you open your video, just make sure it is compelling enough for viewers to get on-board.  What are some of your strategies for a memorable opening shot?

by Webolutions Digital Marketing Agency