In around a decade of delivering videography in the North East and beyond, we’ve sort of seen it all when it comes to common mistakes made by those both undertaking a video project, and those delivering it. In the same way there’s an endless number of FAQs for videography, there’s also an endless number of potential mistakes to be made, which is why it’s crucial to have an experienced pair of hands on your side when kicking off a video project.
We’re ever the stickler for doing a job well and properly (otherwise, what’s the point?) and as such, have helped clients to understand the power of video for their brand, when done right.
So we thought we’d dive into some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen and shed a little light on how to avoid them, from our experience of delivering hundreds upon hundreds of high-quality, results-driven video projects in our time.
Mistakes and how to avoid them
Failing to establish a goal or outcome
If you’re looking at a video project, you need to have a clear idea of why you’re creating a video from the get-go. There’s little to no point in just making a series of pretty pictures – we need to know how the project fits in with wider goals.
Perhaps you’re applying for funding and need to showcase the value of your services, you might need to educate your audience or colleagues, or maybe you’re looking to promote the USPs of your product, place or service to increase sales.
How to avoid
- Identify the key reasons for conveying your message via video: We’re not trying to do ourselves out of a job here, but ask yourself: why video? Any video you put out there should have purpose and it’s important to ask yourself whether this is the best medium for whatever message you’re trying to convey. That said, we don’t think there’s much that video doesn’t work for, but it’s always best to consider this right at the beginning.
- Discuss optimal outcomes or results for the project: Easy peasy. It’s best to come up with desired outcomes/objectives so you can be clear on these things during the briefing stage. This is something we ask all clients at the beginning of a new project, even repeat clients looking to make something different, because all video is not created equally and the end goal needs to be considered at the very beginning if you’re going to make something of value.
We get it, it’s nerve-wracking to sit in a room full of cameras and lights and talk at length about a specific issue. What could make it a bit less scary? Writing down what you want to say!
Now that might sound like it makes perfect sense, but it nearly always ends up with the same result – you spend the interview getting more and more frustrated at the fact that you can’t remember the lines that you’d written on the page. This means that the film editor has to cut around all the little stumbles and the performance tends to come across a bit wooden and lacks any real flow.
How to avoid
- Make bullet points/prompts: In the same way you’d do if you were presenting something in person, it’s best to keep the notes to a minimum and simply jot down a few words that address the key points you want to make. This way, you’ll get into a natural flow on the topic from the prompts, rather than trying to narrate the exact words in your script. Less stress, less wooden, less hassle all round.
- Be yourself: Ok, potentially easier said than done, but the more natural you are, the better your delivery will be. Don’t try and talk in a “professional” or “corporate” voice if that’s not your normal voice unless you want to feature in the company blooper reel at the Christmas party, of course! 😉
- Put your trust in the videographer/video agency: Chances are, this whole exercise is new to you, but (depending on who you work with) the person who is conducting your interview has done hundreds if not thousands of interviews in the past. They will be patient and will help guide your delivery to make sure it is on brand and hits the key points of the brief.
Muddling the message
Trying to cram in too many interviewees, locations or topics into one film just dilutes the message. It might seem tempting to say it all (and then some!) and essentially “get your money’s worth”, but video just doesn’t work like that. The message needs to be focused and clear if it’s going to deliver your desired outcome.
For example, if you’re shooting a case study video, remember that your primary audience will be customers and potential customers, so you don’t want to add in messaging around recruitment in an effort to try and get further usage out of one production.
Instead of checking off both topics, you’ll be making your main message a lot less clear.
How to avoid
- Be concise in your messaging: If you have objectives to hit across a number of topics, e.g. customer messaging and recruitment, to use the example above, it’s worth discussing these with your videographer. It’d make sense to do two videos, but having this conversation at the beginning will mean we can factor this need in and it probably won’t cost as much as you think to do two, whilst everyone’s together. A great example of this is a project we recently delivered for Cameo Digital, which ended up with us providing two different videos.
- Don’t add interviewees for the sake of having an additional team member included: Whilst we totally appreciate it’s nice to have multiple perspectives, by adding too many people to the video you can risk dulling the overall message, making the video too long, too jumpy or just a little bit chaotic! Ideally, you want your most confident spokespeople within the business who are willing participants – it’s best not to force everyone to do it just for the sake of showing face because you can always see which staff members wanted to be there in the edit!
- Remember that production time is vital: Often, it’s better to secure 2 or 3 fantastic interviews and then spend the remaining time capturing representative imagery then trying to cram the day full of interviews and then quickly grabbing some alternatives imagery afterwards, if needed. Production time will bring the project together into a decipherable edit, so we can see whether there’s anything additional required.
Seeing video as a one-off thing
You’ve gone through the effort of creating a brief, planning a production with a video agency, carrying out the shoot, working through the editing process and then finally delivering the final product. That sounds like a lot but now that it’s done, that’s it right? It shouldn’t be! Video content, ideally, should be a regular thing.
Most of our clients incorporate video content into their wider marketing plan and tend to have several projects in development at once. This allows their output to be consistent and allows us to get a clear idea of their goals, audiences and branding.
With this level of understanding, it allows us to bring the client ideas instead of having to wait for a brief – if we can make a marketing person’s job a bit easier by coming to them with a fully fleshed out idea that is in line with their brand and goals, then why not?
How to avoid
- Discuss your wider business goals with the video agency: This will allow them to take a strategic approach to idea generation, make suggestions and – without a doubt – take a load off your busy to-do list. Part of the benefit of hiring external expertise is their wider experience and knowledge they can bring to the table, so no matter how whacky or big the idea, we’re always all ears!
- Consider your FAQs and how video can better explain: In our digital-centric world, people want information fast and they want it clear. A blog post or FAQs page doesn’t always deliver that, so it’s worth going through your most common FAQs and including a video series about those. It’ll always be money well-spent: in a recent survey from HubSpot, 54% of those asked said they want to see more video content from businesses.
Failing to consider your audience/platform
A video that’s sat on your website’s homepage can look and sound very different from video content for your social media pages.
Are you addressing potential customers or existing customers, employees, suppliers or stakeholders? All of these audiences will be addressed differently and could require different aesthetic approaches. Making a video filled with memes might work well for a Facebook advert but it might not go down so well at your next board meeting!
- Discuss the plan for the distribution of the video with your video production agency:
- Ensure your video content is stylistically appropriate:
“We need to film something tomorrow”
Thankfully, we don’t hear this one a lot, but we’d be lying if we said it hadn’t cropped up once or twice over the years!
Video can’t be rushed. There, we said it. Any videographer worth their salt will tell you this and probably turn down the work, but there are potentially some who’ll see pound signs and take the work, regardless of how achievable it is. We’re not one of those video agencies.
Make a plan, allow time for pre-production: An underprepared shoot might not be able to hit all of the key points in a brief if there wasn’t enough time to clarify goals and outcomes. If you’re dedicating some of your budget to produce a video or multiple videos, it’s crucial to get it right from the start and do it justice. After all, it’s an audio-visual representation of your brand and what you’re about!
There are no doubt some mistakes we’ve missed here, but this is a fairly comprehensive view of getting a video project underway. For further insight, you can check out our FAQs here, or simply get in touch for an informal chat about what you’re hoping to achieve from video.