Introduction to Microvideo

wall of monitors showing a variety of different videos

Table of contents

Josh Cavalier headshotToday’s post was written by Josh Cavalier, the CEO of Lodestone.    

For over 20 years, Lodestone has provided organizations education technology services including: public and private classes, video production, eLearning development and consulting. Lodestone is proud to be a preferred TechSmith training partner.

You can learn more about Lodestone by visiting their website:  

Josh Cavalier is an author, speaker, and microvideo expert, who empowers educators to use technology and media. In this post, Josh gives an introduction to  microvideo to help us understand the benefits, as well as how to effectively use them.

You can follow him on Twitter at @JoshCav

What is a Microvideo?

A microvideo, or short form video, is optimal regarding length and meets the desired outcome such as knowledge transfer or a call to action. You can take a single instance of time–a micromoment, which is a single thought, image or idea, and string them together to create a microvideo. Multiple microvideos come together to form a larger macrovideo presentation.

I consider video lengths between six and sixty seconds to be a microvideo segment. These values are my benchmarks based on reviewing hundreds of video content patterns.

figure representing elements of a microvideo

Today, human editors create long-form videos by piecing together content. Eventually, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will take your microvideos and dynamically create a larger, macrovideo specific to target audience members. Precursors to the use of artificial intelligence include template-based video creation websites like Animoto. This prediction is one reason why it’s practical to create optimal, short form video-based content in anticipation of dynamically generated content.

Cognitive Load

For a microvideo to be effective, there must be a reduction in cognitive load for the learner, which is the amount of information being processed by the brain.

Dr. Richard Mayer outlined the process our brains process images and sounds with his theory of multimedia learning. We receive pictures and sound in sensory memory as we consume video. These representations remain for only a few seconds. The interpreted information transfers from sensory memory to working memory. Images and sounds hold in working memory for roughly twenty seconds. After enough repetition by reviewing the microvideo or applying the new skill, information is then stored in long-term memory.

image showing process of information moving from sensory memory to working memory to long term memory

To reduce cognitive load, images and sound consumed through the eyes and ears contain no incidental media. What is incidental media? An example would be background music that does not enhance a training video, or text displayed on the screen away from the action in a marketing video. Incidental media is a distraction–anything that doesn’t aid in the consumer’s understanding.

Other examples of cognitive load reduction include the following:

  • Using symbols instead of photographs
  • Using simple text on the screen
  • Adding sound effects to support on-screen animation
  • Using a voice‐over instead of text
  • Framing video using the rule of thirds

image of an actual camera next to an camera icon illustrating complex vs. simple

Using symbols reducing processing time, and eliminates viewer bias.

Microvideo Structure

There are two primary formulas for microvideos, depending on whether they are for education or marketing. Although the methods are very similar in structure, they remain distinct regarding the goals of the particular microvideo.

Educational videos must maintain a low cognitive load while using emotion strategically. Marketing videos have a higher amount of emotional content, but must be clear in messaging and call to action.

Let’s review the structure of educational and marketing microvideos–as was mentioned earlier, microvideos are between thirty and sixty seconds.

Education Microvideo Formula

This formula represents a balance between the use of emotion and easily consumed content.

flowchart illustrating balance between emotion and easily consumed content

  • Emotional Pull – Gain viewer’s attention with emotion
  • Priming – Ready the viewer with topic background information
  • Content – Instructional content
  • Reflection – Review what was covered
  • Emotional Push – Leave with an emotional moment and/or next learning steps

Marketing Microvideo Formula

The phases of a marketing microvideo are similar to an education microvideo. Marketing videos rely more on emotion and may include music throughout the video.

flowchart illustrating balance of emotion and content in marketing

  • Attention ‐ Gain viewer’s attention
  • Need – Review need for product/service or knowledge
  • Satisfaction – Review why product/service or knowledge will benefit viewer
  • Visualization – Describe to the viewer a new reality
  • Action – What are the next steps to make the new reality happen

Using Camtasia for Microvideo Creation

How can Camtasia expedite the creation of microvideo content?

  • Simplified Interface – Easy to use | New Interface
  • Access to Media – Microvideo structures can easily be implemented with Camtasia’s Library of Assets, which include icons and music tracks, among other options.
  • Add Animation Behaviors – Quickly combine icons and Behaviors to tell the story.
  • Make Quick Edits – It’s the easiest video timeline to use!
  • Visit the Camtasia tutorial page to learn more.

Have you used microvideo before? Do you see yourself using microvideo as an effective way to deliver a message in your current role? Tell us about your past experience or your future plans in the comments below.