Don’t Make These Rookie Video Mistakes

Videotaping an event has taken on new life as a marketing tool. It’s the hot new way to promote your event/message in social media, websites, advertising, and inserted into any email message or newsletter. Therefore, the video must not only be well done, but branded and cultivated as a marketing voice for your organization. Getting it right the first time is tricky. Sure, you could just take the footage and post it on You Tube or Facebook, but thus may not be enough to achieve your goals. And of course, you only have one chance to record the event and get it right. So make the most of it. Don’t make these rookie mistakes….

Plan Before Shooting: Don’t wing it! This is how the pros do it: Whatever message or story you’re trying to convey, it should be documented on a storyboard. First write down your story in text. Then go back and indicate what type of footage will be needed to convey each story point. The result is your Shot List. Once your shot list is complete, any extra footage is gravy. It can be added/deleted as you’d like.

Poor Sound: It’s been said that sound is over 50% – 75% of the story. One of the biggest rookie moves is bad sound. It can be as simple as not using a quality microphone, improper mic placement, loud background/ambient sound, maybe some RF interference – any of these can torpedo an otherwise perfect visual performance. It’s easily overlooked if you aren’t paying attention (or monitoring the audio) and makes many video shoots unusable. There are few remedies for truly bad audio as an event only happens once and it can’t be re-recorded.

Bad Lighting: The overall mood of a video can be set or shifted solely by lighting. Imagine the star of the show in the shadows? No one notices them, or is confused by what they are seeing. Make sure the lighting in the room emphasizes camera shots and certain angles to make subjects look their best. This is where a dress rehearsal comes in handy. Check the lighting before the event – you can’t bring in trusses for overhead lights once the event begins.

Background Clutter: Your video camera is focused on the main speaker, but the shot has the “EXIT” sign at the top of the screen. Or there are people walking in the back of the stage. Or the servers are clearing tables in the background. Keep clutter from ruining your shot by always observing what is going on in the entire frame. The TV show 60 Minutes always has a carefully decorated interview space. The background is clutter-free with just a table, lamp and/or plant in the background to provide a perspective of depth. They keep it simple and you should too.

Copyright Infringement: There’s a myriad of legal issues about who/what/when/why/where you can shoot and post video, and if you don’t know what you are doing, you can easily get sued. There are also liability-related issues. For example, do you know what would happen if you get hurt while shooting a company video ‘on location’? And then there’s trademarked logos which is a completely open field.

Optimize for Internet Use: Video needs to be optimized with meta-tags, potentially encoded, distributed and archived in various formats, etc. These are just some of the issues that can take some pretty advanced technical understanding and experience. There are high definition, standard definition, PAL, NTSC, MPEG 2 or MPEG 4 formats, and more. If you don’t know how to format your video, then use a professional.

Contact Information: Obtain contact names to receive the video footage, in designated format(s) and delivery method(s). A video file is very large, so emailing it is usually out of the question. You can use an upload site, which was created for this very purpose. If the organization doesn’t have one of their own, there are free or low cost upload sites available on the Internet such as Mongo Files.

If you’ve addressed all the issues discussed here, you’re technical problems should be over. Now you can concentrate on the subjects themselves. Now that’s an entirely different blog!


Find out more about how to visually connect your audiences with this six page How to Guide on Video Projection.


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