Advertisers and film directors use a number of skillful production techniques to appeal to male and female viewing audiences.
Like it or not, gender stereotypes are definitely reinforced in filming, but most of these techniques are used subtly, and they work at a subconscious level. They are not consciously recognized by the viewer unless you know what to look for. If you watch TV look for these techniques in TV commercials tonight to see if you recognize the following patterns:
Most of these production techniques are used subtly and they work at a subconscious level.
How to get the Guys
TV commercials targeting male audiences tend to contain a high number of fast “cuts” – which are abrupt, instantaneous changes in the scene. Male commercials have more noise and sound effects. If there is background music, it will tend to be loud. Masculine offerings are conveyed through a high rate of action, aggression, and quick shifts from one scene to another, sometimes accompanied by a pumped-up soundtrack.
An obvious example would be TV commercials for cars that target a male buyer. It might only be a basic family sedan, but invariably the car will be shown speeding, sliding and braking with a series of fast cuts to each new scene. If there is music, it will be hard sounding music. A deep-voiced narrator will talk up the car’s features like it was the movie trailer for the latest Hollywood blockbuster!
What a Girl Wants
On the other hand, TV commercials targeting female audiences tend to contain more “fades” and “dissolves” – which are slower, smoother transitions to new scenes. Female commercials feature background music more frequently than male commercials, but it tends to be characterized by softer, quieter notes which form a background to the dialogue. Feminine offerings use fades and background music to convey images of softness, gentleness, predictability, and slow gradual change.
For example, a TV commercial for cars that target a female buyer will typically have fewer cuts, and have fun, lively music playing throughout. Each scene will fade into the other, and the narrator will likely be telling a story about how this car compliments her life and expresses various aspects of her personality.
Car commercials are blunt, obvious examples, but these production techniques are used in all types of filming. They are generally not that noticeable unless the viewer is specifically looking for them, but now that you are consciously aware of them, you will start to see them everywhere!
Can you see how important it is to clearly define your target audience? Whether you are focusing on a male or female audience makes a big difference to your video production technique.