Timelessness and Accessibility: Keys to Enduring Materials

In the seven years I’ve worked for Avant Healthcare leading the Motion Picture Production initiatives, the words “enduring materials” have been thrown around in more meetings and brainstorms than I’d like to count. And for good reason—it’s an easy, tried and true solution that’s prevalent throughout our society. We are living in the “Age of YouTube,” after all. But I fear that “enduring materials” sometimes becomes a kind of buzz word, right up there with “service-oriented solutions” and “disruptive technology.”

But what makes a material “enduring” with regard to creative deliverables such as short films, exactly? Two attributes: timelessness and accessibility.

Timelessness means not dating your film. For some perspective on this, think about the last time you watched a training video from a corporate video vendor. Though the content is timeless, orienting around topics like teamwork or emotional intelligence, the productions themselves are not. The last one I saw featured that sort of VHS-like grainy look, had muffled 90s audio, and even had the actors using a flip-style cell phone. While this doesn’t necessarily affect the content being delivered, the dated feel of the production does no favors toward the credibility.

My first recommendation for your video or motion graphic is to refresh your content with the newest trends as often as possible. A good estimate for the shelf life of your videos should be every four years or so.

Secondly, good enduring materials have to be accessible. You could make the most relevant, up-to-date, big-budget production your company has ever seen, but if you are delivering this content on a dated Web server, it will fall flat due to jumpy video (or server lag). Additionally, if your enduring materials are delivered via a Web platform that looks like a love letter to a 2000s Xanga page (remember those?), you’re going to lose your audience.

It’s 2015. Companies have to deliver content via the Web using HTML5/CSS3, with current responsive Web standards and platform agnosticism. As a viewer, my experience has to be exactly the same whether I’m viewing your enduring material via the Web, on my tablet, or even on my smartphone. If your audience has to work hard to get to your enduring material, then nothing about your material will be “enduring.”

A great example of some enduring materials we have produced in Motion Picture Production is for a recent client Web site. We filmed a roundtable discussion on the latest high-definition cameras using current microphones and exceptional quality standards. It’s delivered in a custom player and even features a transcript that allows you to navigate to the content most relevant to you! The biggest testimony to our success isn’t in the content itself: we exceeded our learner numbers by several thousand participants.

Whatever your enduring materials are, be they a training, a Web conference, or my favorite, short films, just be sure you keep them timeless and accessible. When you exceed expectations of yourself, your customer, and even your competition, you’ll be thankful you did!