Show the passage of time.
A montage is a great way to give viewers the general sense of story progression over time, without skipping ahead entirely or slowing down to show each moment. With a montage, you can show the passage of time without actually taking up all the time. While you can see this technique in many of your favorite films, you can also use it yourself to tell stories, like a fitness transformation or a child growing up.
Set the scene.
When you switch the setting or date of a scene, you need to orient your viewers in the new scene, or they will be lost without context. One way to do this is to use a montage. Whether you show a series of clips of a cityscape or spring foliage in bloom, a montage is a great way to immerse viewers in your world and convey more than a traditional transition. A montage also makes a great YouTube video intro.
Recap a special event.
Travel videos, weddings, and any events you want to remember or showcase in the future are perfect for a montage. This form of video can help tell the story of the day, trip, or event in a natural way that doesn’t feel overly produced.
Showcase a product or brand.
To effectively use a montage for marketing, highlight the audience’s problem and present a solution to it with your brand, product, or service. “Identify or highlight a conflict in the beginning and provide a resolution at the end,” says Park. “The middle of your montage should complement these and tell people why they should purchase from you or take interest in your solutions.”
Best practices for video montages.
Set expectations in the first frame.
The establishing shot (or first frame) of your video will set the scene, tone, and feel for the rest of the montage. Just like a good book starts out with a hook to draw you in immediately, a montage should kick off with a shot that makes the viewer want to keep watching.
Use your first seconds wisely.
“In the 21st century, we have an attention span shorter than a goldfish — nine seconds. So engage the audience as much as possible as quickly as possible,” says Park. Don’t wait to get into the good stuff. Lead with strong shots and you’ll have a much better chance of retaining viewers’ interest from beginning to end.