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You can see all five players skating towards the net, the puck being passed and maneuvered between the defensive players, the center raising his stick, the lights glowing red, and the fans rising to their feet in excitement. You can see the sweat dripping, the sticks hitting the ice and the team cheering. But what you’re seeing is only half the story.
There’s nothing quite like spending a Saturday night watching the hockey game. It seems like all of the information you need to enjoy the game is right there in front of you. The number of the player who scored, the teams playing, the score, the period – everything. Still, something is missing: verbal commentary.
Hockey games need colour commentary and play-by-play announcements. In fact, Don Cherry would bet his career on it. Officially, the play-by-play commentator is there to describe the action verbally during plays. The colour commentator is there to provide background information, statistics and light humour.
What online video producers know, however, is that commentary is much more important than a joke here and play description there. Commentary is where visual meets auditory. Just imagine the Stanley Cup Finals without a play-by-play of the game-winning goal or background information about the competing teams’ seasons so far. It just wouldn’t be the same!
Much like the Stanley Cup Finals, videos must stimulate both the visual and auditory senses for best results. But why? Aren’t most people visually-focused? Then why are hockey commenters and voiceover actors so important? It’s the brain science behind it.
Let’s face it, the Stanley Cup Finals comes down to who wins and who loses. It’s not likely that anyone will forget who won and who lost in six days, six weeks or even six months. But ask someone who watched the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals (and is not a die-hard hockey fan) who won and who lost. Chances are, they might not even remember which two teams were facing off.
Without commentary, brain science suggests that the percent of viewers who could recall that information would be even lower. When both visual and auditory senses are stimulated, the human brain retains 58% more information. As long as the auditory stimulation supports the visual stimulation, viewers will better understand and better remember the content.
Turn on a sitcom and put the television on mute. Sure, you could get by and more or less understand what’s happening. Your brain gathers the major visual events and attempts to fill in the gaps to some degree of success. Still, you’re missing the context behind the visual. You can see that Ross is mad at Chandler, but you’re not sure why.
Now turn on a sports game and keep the television on mute. You likely understand a bit more of what’s going on than you did with the sitcom, but some context is still missing. You see that Crosby is skating slower than usual, but you don’t know that it’s because of an injury from the game you missed last week. You see that Luongo has been pulled, but you don’t know that it’s because he lost his temper in the locker-room.
Without the context that verbal commentary and voiceover provide, you’re missing half the story. The information isn’t fully sinking in, the small details are missing and the message isn’t consistent.
According to Michigan State University, 65% of the population learns visually. That means information reaches them best in visual formats; they learn by watching. 30% of the population learns from auditory stimulation; they learn by listening or talking about an idea. That leaves only 5% of the population, who learn by doing.
In other words, by combining visual and auditory stimulants, you’re reaching 95% of the population. Statistically, the Stanley Cup Finals without commentary could potentially reach 65% of the population. But adding commentary pushes that number to 95%. Likewise, adding voiceover to a video means your content could potentially resonate with 95% of the population.
Would you watch the Stanley Cup Finals without commentary? Would the viral Google Glass video have been as effective without voiceover? You tell us.