The Making of a Square Video with Sue Bryce and Sally Sargood

Moira West


Few photography educators can match Sue Bryce when it comes to her spectacular vision. For instance, most photographers would be happy just to have a class with Sue, but she outdid herself this year, creating a series of free workshops in a beautiful Italian castle.

One segment in this workshop was co-hosted by Animoto’s Photography Customer Owner and Business Video Expert Sally Sargood, and she and Sue demonstrated how to create square marketing videos. You should definitely check out all of Sue’s Italian workshops, but before you do, take a look at why you should be using square video, and then check out a few of Sue and Sally’s tips for editing your square Animoto video in a way that’ll best show off your work.

Why square video?

Sue shared that square video appears 78% larger than landscape video on mobile devices. Taking up more screen space gives your video more opportunity to be seen by and connect with your potential clients. Maybe that’s why square videos outperformed landscape videos in a recent study by Buffer.

Tips for a more effective square video

If you’re planning to use square videos, Sue and Sally have some advice to help you get started:

  • Edit your video to fit the square format. Sue suggests photographers avoid adding a border to images in marketing videos. While it may show your whole image, it detracts from the overall look. “Try to make sure that your edit matches the composition that you chose. If it’s seamless, it looks more like a professionally edited video.”
    Marketing video tip: Adjust your images or video clips, moving them from side to side or enlarging them to get just the right look for your square video.
  • Focus on text, not audio. When it comes to social media, most of your audience has the sound off, especially if they’re viewing your video on mobile. So Sue pointed out, “If your video isn’t compelling visually, they’re not going to get your message because they’re not going to read your text [below the video].” Adding text in the video itself makes your message clearer
    Marketing video tip: Add customized text over video clips or images to get information across in a more dynamic way.

  • Create a good hook. You have about 5 seconds to draw your audience in and get them to stop scrolling, so your first shot should be particularly dynamic. One of Sue’s most popular videos started with a timelapse. “We asked why is this video getting so much traction? It was because it was frenetic and fast.”
    Marketing video tip: Match your marketing video style to the video you’re creating. Sue and Sally chose Glamour for their Mother’s Day video for its soft, feminine look.

  • Use photos if you’re not ready to shoot video clips. Though Sue often uses video clips in her marketing videos, you can get started with just still images. Sally said, “You don’t want to put off by your hesitation to use video. My opinion is just get started to get you out there.”
    Marketing video tip: Use collages to add interest. You can put 2, 3, 9 or even more images together on one block to change up your video’s look, even if you’re just using still images. (Sue recommends the look of a 9-up collage for Instagram.)

  • Find the Goldilocks length for video. Videos that are 30-60 seconds long are just right for mobile. Longer or shorter and you start to lose your audience.
    Marketing video tip: Match your marketing video style to the video you’re creating. Sue and Sally chose Glamour for their Mother’s Day video for its soft, feminine look.

    See how to easily create your own square marketing video, plus see the rest of Sue’s amazing workshops on Sue Bryce Education.