What is compelling?

How can we use images to raise expectations and questions in our viewer’s mind?

Most often, scenes open with establishing shots to let the audience know where and when the following scene takes place. These work, because our brains can take in a lot of information in a very short time.

What information can you glean from body language, facial expressions, and the setting? How long did it take?  Can you predict the tone of what follows? (From Elements of Cinema)
Photo credit: Rdikeman at the English language Wikipedia
Recognize this establishing shot? I can’t see this without hearing the theme song in my head. Photo credit: Rdikeman at the English language Wikipedia

But what can be gained by leaving the establishing shot to the end?

Beginning with the finer details can pique the viewer’s curiosity, drawing them in with questions and the desire for answers. That could make the difference between mere attraction and real engagement.

Here’s an example of such storytelling, from ABC. The final few seconds make a huge difference.

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