Have you decided to start including video as part of your business plan? Fantastic! From introducing your brand, services and/or products to onboarding new employees, there are so many diverse ways you can use this tool to your advantage. As Chris Savage explains in this Wistia article, “Video offers amazing opportunities to catch people’s interest while making something creative, educational, and even artistic.” A top-notch video is memorable and creates a positive experience that lasts.
Before you press record on your camera, you should know there are a few common mistakes that can hinder the success of your video. Keep reading to find out what they are and how to avoid them.
Common Video Mistakes to Avoid
1. Not having plan
While being spontaneous and “winging it” has its time and place, video is not one of them; foregoing a plan is a surefire way to fumble in your video. A good plan will guide you through the process, define your goal and can even help determine which type of video is going to meet your needs.
The Solution: The solution is simple but takes time – write out a plan! This is the first step in avoiding all the other video mistakes. Establish a goal for your video that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Decide what your call to action will be to help you reach your goal and direct your audience to take an action. Based on your goals and call to action, which type of video would best fit your needs?
2. It doesn’t tell a story
It’s no secret, people love a good story. We have used stories for centuries to pass along information and share knowledge. It’s ingrained in our nature to look for them as a way to explain new ideas and material.
According to the Wistia article mentioned above, “One of the best things about video is that it gives people the chance to tell stories about their products or ideas without losing any of the information that they want to get across… If you make a video, keep in mind the best way to explain something is to tell a story about it.”
Creating a video that doesn’t tell a story, and that is filled with a bunch of random mumbo-jumbo, is a sure fire way to lose your audience.
The Solution: Determine what your main message will be and craft a video that portrays it in a fun and interesting way. If your video is going to be more complex and includes more than just a person sitting in front of a camera, create a storyboard and script that outlines how your story will be told.
3. Not considering your audience
While you may be tempted to shout from the mountaintops about how great your business is to anyone who will listen, this spells disaster for videos.
Joshua Sleigh notes in his article on Business2Community that if you don’t consider whom your video is for, “You’ll struggle to communicate calls to action to your audience, and you’ll have a difficult time measuring the true success of a campaign.”
If you have a wide range of people your business serves, Michael Mogill of Business Collective takes this point further, “Your video will be more effective if you focus on one point and don’t cast too wide a net. Different people have different [needs]. You have to decide which ones you want to address. Remember, when you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
The Solution: It’s better to take a more structured approach. Think about your audience and speak to the specific features and benefits they want to know about your business, products or services.
4. It’s too long
Let’s face it, consumers lead busy lives and have little time to spend on things that don’t quickly provide them with some form value.
Take a minute to think about your own video watching habits. How long do you typically spend watching a single video before you click out? Have you ever started watching a video only to realize it was longer than you thought and gave up watching it? How many videos are you willing to watch that are longer than two minutes? What about five minutes?
The truth is, people like videos that are less than two minutes. A long video, especially when not truly necessary, is guaranteed to lose your audience’s interest, leading them to click out of the video you worked so hard to create before they’ve finished watching it.
The Solution: While there are a couple of exceptions to the rule, in general you need to keep your videos less than two minutes long. To achieve this, there are a few things to keep in mind:
a. Have a purpose for your video. You should have established the purpose of your video as part of the plan created to avoid the first mistake. Have a purpose will also aid in writing your script (see the next point).
b. Write a script. A script will help you focus on the purpose of your video so you don’t ramble off on tangents that don’t support your goals.
c. Practice. Test the length of your script by practicing it in front of friends, family, coworkers or even a mirror. Take a deep breath and remember to slow down; people tend to rush through practicing, giving an inaccurate timeframe for the length of your video. Another benefit of practicing? When you finally get in front of the camera you’ll come off as more comfortable and confident, which is much more engaging to watch!
5. Poor lighting and angles
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on lighting and cameras to create a video worth sharing with your audience. You do, however, need to be aware of how angles and light play a role in your filming.
A few lighting and angle factors that can destroy your efforts and distract your audience from your message include:
- A cluttered background
- Random poles that look like additional limbs
- Unnatural angles that are too low or high
- Bright overhead lighting
- Weird shadows
The Solution: Let’s take each of these bullet points one at a time.
- A cluttered background. When you choose a place or places to film, take a look around. What’s in the area? Is it bustling with people? Are there a lot of items that could distract viewers from your message and the subject you’re filming?
A cluttered background doesn’t have to only be busy to the eye; think of the sounds in the area as well. Is it noisy with traffic or machinery? This is especially important if you’re using the microphone on the recording device (such as an iPhone). You don’t want a background conversation, a passing truck or even wind to steal the focus of your viewer.
Choose an angle that hides the distractions around you. If you want to include elements of your business in the background, it would be worth investing in a microphone that can cancel out the noise around the video’s main subject and choose an area with minimal movement.
- Poles and other items that look like additional limbs. As you set up to film, take a critical look at what is behind your subject. Is there anything that could look like the person you’re filming has an appendage that doesn’t belong to them? Repositioning them slightly in one direction is an easy fix to this issue.
- Unnatural angles that are too high or too low. While different angles can add interest to your video, be careful how you execute it. Looking up someone’s nose is not pleasant, and neither is looking down the top of one’s head. When filming a person, it is generally best to keep level with their face to avoid these mistakes.
- Bright overhead lighting. If you can, avoid lighting that is directly above the subject, such as the sun at noon or with the above lights in an office space. Videomaker explains, “The sun directly overhead on a cloudless day presents some of the worst, most unflattering lighting conditions. People's eyes, recessed in their sockets, get lost in shadow which become great black pools.” The same effect happens in an office with overhead lighting.
To fight this, when you’re outside, use the shade to your advantage and place your subject in a shadow, or choose a different time of day that is more favorable for filming at your chosen location – an hour or two after sunrise or before sunset is ideal. If you’re in an office, turn off the overhead lights and use the windows to provide you with natural light directly on the subject’s face.
- Weird shadows. While you don’t want lighting that is directly above your subject, you also don’t want to shoot into the light. According to the Videomaker article mentioned above, “Backlighting a subject without lots of artificial light on your side of them will lead either to an extremely blown out (too bright) background, or to your subject being silhouetted.” To avoid this from happening, film your video with the light behind your camera.
As you can see, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to create quality videos for your business. Avoiding these simple mistakes can make a world of difference and they won’t cost you more than your time and effort.
Are you ready to take the plunge in creating a video for your business, but want a little guidance? Contact me today to learn how Tabrizi Productions can help