How to Create an Opening Sequence for your Video

The first few seconds of your video has to be good. You need to hook your audience's attention and get them ready for the rest of your message. But how do you go about creating a great opening sequence?

Here's how I worked with Blair Academy to create a stunning opening sequence for an athletics video.

Step 1: Figure out the Tone

The first part of the process is to have a conversation about the desired tone of the video. For this project we wanted to get the audience fired up. We weren't trying to explain anything... the goal was excitement! So far... so easy... but how to make the audience immediately excited? Music is how!

Step 2: Pick the Music

I typically select the music for a video before I start editing. This lets me make sure I'm getting the tone right. In fact sometimes I'll even work with the client to select the song before we start filming. In this case I found a track that had a strong opening with a rapid fire sequence early on. That's pretty sweet. That's a perfect opportunity to cut to the music.

Step 3: Cut to the Music

It's easy to cut to the music if you have a good track. The idea is to cut between two clips at the same time there is a cue in the music. Strong downbeat? Cut between two clips right there! I liked that quick section at around 10 seconds followed by the more mellow section. Cool - that's a good spot for a rapid series of shots. On this project I cut that section first. Then I knew I had to find 10 seconds of something to get me to the rapid sequence. What shot to put first?

Step 4: Put Your Best Shot First

While filming I got this awesome shot of a tennis swing and a hit. It was so awesome I almost got clocked in the nose. I got the shot with the DJI Osmo so I was also able to review it with the client on the spot. I was pretty sure that was going to be the opening shot. When I slowed it down to 50% it looked super dramatic. An aerial, a couple of other shots, a little bit of black screen and that gave me the tension I wanted heading into the montage. Awesome... but I really wanted to sell it.

Step 5: If you SEE it then you have to HEAR it

Audio is a great way to sell excitement. First I went through and added sound effects to match things I was seeing on screen: the hit of a ball, the crash of athletes. All of these sounds were stock audio from my video editor. I didn't get good enough sound from the camera to use. Sometimes I'll use freesound.org but for this project I had everything I needed on hand.

Step 6: Layer the Audio

I kept layering the audio and layering the audio... static, zings, whooshes, countdown, crashes... I kept going until I thought it was exciting enough. It was ready for the final touches.

Step 7: Titles

I love the titles from MotionVFX and I had been looking for a project to use them on. When the football players crash toward camera I thought it would be cool to glitch the titles away.

What do you think? Have questions? How do you capture your audience's attention in the opening seconds of your videos? Let us know in the comments and check out the whole video here!