How to spice up your videos with pattern interrupts

If you don’t spice up your videos with pattern interrupts, you’ll have an audience like these unfortunate teenagers listening to Ben Stein on economics:

In a previous article, I showed you how to create a compelling opener, which is essentially a pattern interrupt to keep your viewers’ attention past 10 seconds.

If your viewer is still with you, then you’ve won half the battle in the eternal struggle to keep people’s attention on social media. However, the buck doesn’t stop there.

You have to keep your audience watching!

If you post on YouTube, then you should be mindful of how their algorithm works. They reward videos with higher rankings on their search engine (which results in more organic views) if you play by their rules.

According to Hootsuite, two key metrics on YouTube are view duration and session time. View duration is how long a viewer spends on your video, session time is how much time spent on the platform overall.

Now, as a content creator, you might have a EUREKA moment!

The key to winning on YouTube is to make longer videos!

The logic goes something like this:

If a viewer watches 15 minute video versus a 5 minute video, then your video must be really, really cool.

However, this is only true if you can keep your viewer watching for the entire 15 minutes (or at least greater than 5 minutes). There’s no point in making longer videos if you can’t keep them watching the entire video.

This is why pattern interrupts are so important when you’re making videos.

By strategically sprinkling pattern interrupts throughout your video, you increase the chances of your viewer sticking around for the entire video.

What is a pattern interrupt?

The term “pattern interrupt” self defines itself. You are interrupting some pattern (whether it’s you or someone else) by doing something unexpected (that’s not part of the usual pattern).

According to, it is a technique of “changing a person’s mental, emotional or behavioral state.

In today’s digital age, a typical social media user has a clear pattern of behavior. You’ve probably seen them in pubs, restaurants and other public places.

They are staring at their mobile phone swiping away at their feed at an incredible pace. Most of the time they spend less than half a second to decide if a particular post or ad is worth perusing.

This is why having a good thumbnail and a strong opening 10 seconds are crucial to video marketing success on the Internet.

You have to interrupt their usual pattern of just swiping away on their phones.

And once you’ve succeeded in hooking them past the 10 seconds, you’ll need to keep them on your video or that itch to click away from your video will overwhelm them.

So if you’re talking about a topic or your business like Ben Stein lectures in the video above, then you have no chance in keeping your viewer on your video.

You need to spice things up.

You need to sprinkle pattern interrupts throughout your video.

Different types of pattern interrupts to use in your videos

As a general rule, you’ll want to have a pattern interrupt every 30 seconds. But this is not a hard fast rule. You can sprinkle them based on the flow of your script and discussion.

Here are various types of pattern interrupts you can use to spice up your video:

Different camera angles

I shoot with at least 2 cameras for my video marketing clients. One camera will be directly in front of the talent. The second camera will take a side angle or side profile (often close up so shoulders and head only).

Here’s an example from my personal YouTube channel:

At around 33 seconds, you’ll notice I switch from a close up of my face to a wider view from waist up. 

This change of perspective is a form of pattern interrupt. If I kept my discussion in just one angle, it would be very easy to be bored with this video.

You probably seen this technique often in many documentaries. Indeed, when my team shoots a documentary, we often shoot with 2 cameras to provide a professional feel to the interview.

The only drawback with this technique is you need 2 cameras.You can get a low cost (yet highly efficient) Sony DSLR which costs only $1,000. Then you can invest in 2 good Rokinon lenses which are priced affordably for beginner filmmakers.

 For most people who shoot videos in the comfort of their office or home, they might not have 2 cameras. And the setup can be tiresome to many.

Here’s another option which only requires 1 good DSLR that can 👇👇👇

Shoot in 4K

Most of the time your videos will be in HD, which are viewed as 1920×1080. In fact, most videos are HD because smartphones only play HD. You can play 4K on your phone but due to the screen size – it’s really not 4K.

If HD is filmed at 1920×1080, then what’s true 4K? 4K is filmed at 3840×2160.

Furthermore, 4K is shot at a higher bit rate which results in crisper quality.

So the trick is to shoot in 4K (get the quality) and then export your video as HD format.

This allows you do what’s called “cropping in”. Here’s a tutorial on the editing process:

The power of 4K is the ability to resize and reposition the image during the editing process. You can’t really do this with HD video.

If you zoom into an HD video, the video starts to lose its crispiness and sharp image. It’s because HD video is meant to be viewed at 1080 or lower.

But if you take 4K footage, then you have video footage that can be viewed at 2160 or less.

This means you can zoom into the footage and NOT lose quality. With 4K footage, you can constantly zoom in and zoom out and mimic the effect of having 2 cameras.

Although it won’t be documentary style (switching from front profile to side profile), you can still mimic the wide angle and close up angle as if you had 2 cameras.

Here’s an example of a popular YouTuber who uses this technique a lot. Pay attention to 2:09 to 2:15 of the video:

You can see how Graham Stephan “crops in” to his videos.

Just like with a 2 camera setup, he’s creating a pattern interrupt in his video by changing the perspective or manipulating the footage. 

Furthermore, this is very easy to do in the editing process as you’re just zooming into the video.

The 4K option is very popular on YouTube because it’s highly accessible to anyone.

Even today’s smartphones shoot 8K!

Use B-Roll footage

First, let’s define b-roll. 

Wikipedia gets it right and to the point. B-roll, B roll, B-reel or B reel is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the A roll or primary footage.

If you’ve ever watched a documentary, you see the intercuts between A and B roll constantly. One moment you’re watching an interview (often intercutting between multiple cameras). Then the next moment you’re watching B roll with voice over (of the interview).

Take a look at this Netflix documentary of Bill gates:

You’ll see it starts off with an interview setting of Bill Gates. Then the interview is interrupted (pattern interrupt!) by b roll footage of Gates driving a car, reading a book and writing on a white board. While B roll is rolling, you can still hear Bill talk about his life.

This is how most documentaries are shot. They intercut between the interview and supplemental footage with voice over.

You can mimic this style in your videos. First shoot your front facing interview (use multi cam setup if you’re feeling like a pro). 

Then spend a day shooting B-roll or supplemental footage. This generic footage can include:

  • Day-to-day activities.
  • Favorite hobbies.
  • Your place of business.
  • Working in your office.
  • Your employees.

Anything can work really. Just make the supplemental footage as close to the subject of your talk as possible. 

The best part about shooting lots of b-roll is the ability to save the footage for later use.

Even if you don’t use the supplemental video coverage in your current video â€”

🛑 Don’t delete them! 🛑

You will find them useful in the future as you make more videos. 

Use Animation

Animation can come in two forms – the complex way and the simple way.

If you want to be really fancy and you’re good with Photoshop and/or Illustrator, create an animated cartoon to illustrate your point.

Cartoons or animations can really up the quality of your video. It’s because they are time consuming and expensive to make. But you’re the digital equivalent of a Monet or Picasso, then by all means create animations!

They will certainly strengthen the points you make in the video.

However, not everyone has the time, skill or budget to make animations. A simpler way to use animations to break up your footage (and keep your viewer from going to sleep) is to use text animations.

You can easily buy a pack of generic animations from Videohive or a similar site. You’ll need a basic understanding of After Effects.

You can then take those templates and just type in the text. You don’t even have to mess around with the motion side of the effects. It’s plug the text and export!

If you’re feeling like a savant, then you can design your own motion graphics. Use Adobe After Effects or Da Vinci Fusion to style your text animations.

With YouTube, you have a wealth of resources to design your own text animations.

Personally, I use a lot of text animations in my videos. They’re easy to make and do well as a pattern interrupt for a typical YouTube video.

Here’s an example at the 0:50 mark of this video on “how effective is video marketing:”

Use Popular Culture

This is what I call the Tarantino technique. If you’re into movies, then you’ve likely familiar with a director called Quentin Tarantino.

He has a unique approach to filmmaking. One of his signature techniques is his constant references to popular culture. Whether he dresses his characters or has dialogue, he often cites popular culture in his movies.

Many YouTubers, including myself, use this same technique by inserting clips of popular culture in videos.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. In this video (circa 1:20 minute mark):

I am completing a point where I come to a conclusion that videos can be converted to many pieces of content, like a blog post. Hence, a video is a scalable content medium. I then break up the footage with an insert from Seinfeld, a popular 1990s TV sitcom.

This style of popular culture inserts is a… popular technique with YouTubers. Since most of the clips used in this style are well known, it really helps to accentuate a point or increase the humor of the video.

If you are well versed in popular culture, this technique works very well for you. All you need to do is mine the Internet to get the specific clips you need. Then you’ll need a way to download that and place into your video.

Be careful not to use too much. You don’t want to violate copyright rules or infringe upon YouTube’s community guidelines.

Always refer to the copyright & fair use rules.

Final Word

In today’s digital world, people developed a bad habit of fast scrolling on their mobile devices. As a content creator, you’ll need to “disrupt” this pattern of behavior. This can be achieved in 3 ways:

  • A good thumbnail.
  • An excellent 10 second opening.
  • Pattern interrupts sprinkled every 30 seconds.

In fact, a thumbnail and a good 10-second opening are just examples of a pattern interrupt.

They are tools to make users to 🛑 STOP 🛑 …

… and focus on you.

Once they’ve clicked on your video, you’ll need spice up your videos with pattern interrupts so they keep watching. This is how the pros do it.

Your watch time and duration metrics will skyrocket, which will boost your video ranking… 

Which results in more views… 

Which ultimately results in leads and 👉 Protection Status