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November 23, 2015

10 Video Production Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making (And How to Fix Them)

As video marketers, we’re expected to output flawless videos that incite emotion or action in the viewer. Throughout the production process, however, mistakes can be made due to tight deadlines or stakeholder demands. From the many videos I’ve seen, I’ve noticed a trend in that the same mistakes are made over and over again that compromise the integrity of the video. Some mistakes are small, but others can have a larger negative impact on the overall video quality and viewer perception.

Here are the 10 most common video production mistakes and how to fix them.

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1. Your Script is too Technical

Producing a video starts with producing a phenomenal script. For videos that explain a technical product or procedure, this scripting process can be difficult. The trick is finding the balance of words; you don’t want to confuse the viewer, but you don’t want to be condescending towards them either. A lot of times I see scripting that dives too deep. The viewer can become overwhelmed by your video, which leads them to click away from it.

How to Fix This:

Simplicity is key. You want to make sure that anyone who reads your script understands the concepts and tone and no one feels talked down to at any time.

2. You Have Too Many Topics in One Video

Many times, video producers want to stuff everything into one video. Not only does this confuse and overwhelm the audience, but it also ruins the overall flow. Though your product has three functionalities, that doesn’t mean you have time to explain them all in one video.

How to Fix This:

Sometimes it’s better to create a series of digestible videos rather than one big video that tries to encompass all concepts. Each subject matter can be tailored for a particular audience, which will help with the overall marketing strategy.

3. Your Audio is Low Quality

Combining music and audio is where many mistakes happen. Your music sets the emotion or mood of your video and the voice explains the content. Each has a role to play in the video, so you don’t want the music to overpower the audio or vice versa.

How to Fix This:

Keep your music levels lower than you think they should be and increase volume during gaps in the voiceover.

4. Your Audio is Out-of-Sync

Even a few seconds of out-of-sync audio is enough to get viewers annoyed with your video. If your voiceover is 2 seconds behind the graphics, it makes for a sloppy video.

How to Fix This:

Depending on the error and length, you’ll probably need to bump the frames to get the audio back in sync with graphics.

5. Your Graphics are Too Snazzy and Flashy

Having a CGI/Avatar style video may look cool, but it typically doesn’t tell the story in an effective way. Sometimes producers can be talked into adding in some flashy graphics, but this can overwhelm and even put off the viewer.

How to Fix This:

Simple design and animation gets the job done. Keep it entertaining and use graphics to help explain your message.

6. Your Cuts or Transitions are Poorly Executed

This is something that irks viewers and producers alike. An example of this is when one scene ends abruptly and the next scene pops out at the viewer. It can look as if the video has skipped or had a glitch.

How to Fix This:

Fixing this can mean extending the outbound clip and/or shortening the transition, depending on what type of transition you have in place.

7. Your Video Subject is Complicated

Most likely you’ll have the design team create a talking head, which can be a person, animal, or their own creation. What you don’t want to get approved is a very complicated or strange looking talking head that is off putting to viewers. You want them to relate to this person or shape, not click away from it.

How to Fix This:

Always think of your target market and put yourself in their shoes. What will they respond to? What will incite them to act? That is the talking head you want in the video.

8. Your Video is Poorly Paced

If there is a long, slow shot in the video, then the music should slow down to reflect this. If there are quick, snappy transitions, then you want the pace to quicken in the video, speeding the music up slowly. When this is mismatched, it’s a production nightmare, and it can compromise the integrity of the overall video.

How to Fix This:

You want to figure out the pace of the video and select the appropriate music that matches this before production is too far underway.

9. Your Video is Dragging

Most clients have a lot to say and want a lot included in their video, which means your 60-90 second video can change into a 4 minute video. Most videographers agree that your audience will not watch that long of a video, but it’s easy to let the video length get too long.

How to Fix This:

This can be fixed by breaking up the videos into a 2-3 part series or by cutting the fluffy parts that are sharing the core and root of your message.

10. Your Editing Seems Rushed

Tight timelines can cause video producers to rush the editing process, but a rushed process shows in the final product. When a video is edited quickly, mistakes happen and small issues get forgotten. Editing is a huge part of videography and must be done right.

How to Fix This:

Before production it’s important that all stakeholders understand what happens during the editing process and why editing needs a major amount of project time. Ensure that everyone understands before you start your project that it’s more important to have the video done right.

Now you can see how common some of these mistakes are. But with these simple tips you should be able to avoid them moving forward and get closer that flawless video we’re all seeking!

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Anish Patel

Anish Patel is the founder and head producer of Revolution Productions, a boutique video agency that specializes in animated marketing videos and explainer videos. The company boasts clients such as John Deere, Home Depot, and the World Bank. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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