So Many Bad Videos

It is amazing how many bad videos are made by brands and business professionals.

It’s scary.  Horrifying, in fact.

Here are just a few random examples from corporate/business videos I’ve seen recently (names left off to protect the extremely guilty):

  • A video of two social media consultants talking about the importance of content filmed on a balcony overlooking a busy street.  At one point you can’t hear their exchange because a large tractor-trailer rumbles by, gears grinding, exhaust puffing.
  • A corporate interview done in split screen.  The interviewer is sitting in his bedroom with various items of clothing hanging off of the bedroom door in the background.  After asking his second question, he reaches for a bottle of water, pops of the cap, and takes a deep drink of the water.  An audible “ah” can be heard as the interviewee answers the question.
  • A corporate case study video filmed in a messy cubicle.  The interviewer is actually filming the interviewee on his iPhone (or another device) while his subject lounges back in an office chair with his legs cross and his back socks showing.  The interviewee keeps leaning forward and adjusting himself on the seat – going in and out of the frame.  You can hear background conversation from nearby co-workers.

What’s going on here?  Why do brands insist on publishing videos of such poor quality?  Most brands spend weeks fine-tuning news announcements and getting ad copy just right – yet have no problem pushing out unedited and unscripted videos that look as if a bunch of amateurs in their basement cobbled them together.

Here’s a fact: People don’t watch bad videos.

Life is too short to watch an awkward Q&A exchange between an unprofessional interviewer with a handheld camera and an unprepared subject winging it.

If you want to use video in your communications – and you should want to – then you need to start thinking like a storyteller.  A video storyteller.

Planning is key.  Here are some tips:


Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is the target audience for the video?
  • What are the main points of the video?
  • What will be the storyline of the video?
  • Who will star in the video?
  • What equipment and props will you be using?
  • Where will the video be syndicated?

What you need at accomplished in pre-production is a storyboard or script (these can be detailed or simple, but you need a plan.  Winging it just doesn’t work).

You also need a distribution plan.  Who will see the video?  How will they get it?  Will they share it (and are their incentives to do so?).  Will media and bloggers be interested in the video?  Is there a paid advertising play for the video, especially on Facebook or Twitter?


Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a real camera man (understands the equipment, knows setting, shots and lighting and camera angles)?
  • Do I have a producer managing the process?
  • Are we following the storyboard plan?

Production is always the most expensive part of any video shoot.  So a tight plan will keep it on schedule.


Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have an experienced editor to put together the video?
  • Does the video need a music track?
  • What is the chain of command to get final approvals on the video?
  • Is my syndication plan in place?
  • Do I have a measurement plan in place to judge success?

Editing in the key in pre-production.  Edit out the unimportant parts.  Add camera angles or music.  Editing is like proofreading and crucial to making a successful video.

There is little doubt it pays to invest in quality video, but even brands that can’t afford to hire experts should avoid the “winging it” mentality that often comes hand-in-hand with video.

Video is content and brands should strive for quality content.  And the least you can do for your audiences is to edit out the mistakes!


7 Reasons Why Corporate Videos Stink

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