You may not have noticed, but we’re living in a New Golden era of silent film. On social media, that is. Recently, more and more films on mobile and social media feeds are being designed to be watched and understood without sound.
The reason for this trend is simple: as social media has grown to dominate our digital lives, we’re constantly bombarded by videos, advertising and other messages from brands that compete for our attention. So when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram decided that their users should be able to scroll their feeds in silence, they created a new set of challenges for content creators.
To get around these limitations, viral video makers are turning to techniques developed in media 100 years ago: Silent Films. They’re telling their stories without sound and grabbing people’s attention by focusing on spectacles, shocking images or unexpected scenarios in familiar settings.
Similar to the way vintage silent films featured circus performers and magicians, video makers are using magic tricks and clever editing to produce modern sleight-of-hand films, watched by millions on YouTube. They also embrace the use of subtitles, graphics and instrumental soundtracks to tell their story.
The results have a decidedly contemporary look but are still reminiscent of the silent film era, right down to the exaggerated facial expressions of the hosts. The style has been adopted by major online sites like Mashable, Insider and other video creators around the world. So the next time you watch a video on your mobile, give a silent nod to the pioneering film directors of the 1900s for paving the way.