11.25.13

5 Common Web Video Production Mistakes

BY KATHERINE ROBERTS

It seems like if you don't have a video on your website these days, you're lagging behind the times. A dynamic homepage might not be enough. You need sound, pictures, and a great story. This is where video content comes in.

But there are some common web video production mistakes that are easy to make when you’re putting together your videos. Some traps to avoid:

1. No Story

It’s the basics of storytelling, more of which I covered in a previous blog post, “Using Effective Storytelling to Sell Your Brand”. Infuse personality. Create characters the audience will root for. I like to think of a homepage video like a movie trailer. It should sell the very best of what you’re offering. Don’t get too caught up in “not revealing your secret sauce.” Look at it this way: no one ever decides to NOT see a movie because the very best stuff is in in the trailer, right? So tell a story that will sell. Most importantly, have a beginning, middle, and end. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many traps you’ll find yourself in when you start with a great idea… and nothing else. Flesh it out, in every conceivable way. But the flip side of that is…

2. Too Much Story

Have a point. I can’t stress this enough. A simple video introducing or explaining a product or service should be about two minutes long (give or take 30 seconds). Please don’t try to cram every single thought you’ve ever had about the topic at hand into your piece. It’s not necessary. And, worse, it’s boring to the viewer. If you truly have that much information to impart to your audience, break up your video into a series (highlighting different products, different functions, etc.) Know when to roll the credits, or you’ll lose credibility.

3. Doing It Yourself

This may sound self-serving, as Carbon8’s resident Video Account Manager. But it’s the truth. I was in the television production business for a long time. And I’ve seen a lot of amateur work. It’s not pretty. Hire professionals to produce your piece. Lighting, camera work and editing aren’t as easy as Apple’s suite of products would like you to believe. And if you want to do your company justice, shooting on an iPhone doesn’t cut it. This doesn’t mean Martin Scorsese has to be on your speed-dial (or within your budget). There are many trained freelancers on the market. Shop around; find a person whose price quote and style suit your needs. Just don’t go it alone.

4. Not Allowing Yourself Enough Time

We run into this frequently. There’s a myth that a crew can show up with a camera one day, and you’ll have a rocking video the next. A good video, like a good website, takes time. You have to write a script, hire a crew, including voice talent in some cases, draw a storyboard, have a shoot, select music where appropriate and edit the finished product together. And I haven’t even mentioned revisions. Once you factor in rounds of changing your mind during each part of this process, it’s generally a six-week production minimum from start to finish. Plan accordingly.

5. No Call To Action

Where are your viewers supposed to go? Your website? “Sure,” you’re thinking, “but the video is already ON my website.” Not so fast. Once it goes to YouTube, will watchers know where to click next? Are you selling something? Directing people to call a phone number? Whatever it is, the basics of SEO should still apply to your video. Providing viewers with a clear, concise call-to-action is a must for your final frame.

So that’s it! Now you know the five biggest things to avoid before you begin your next web video production project. All that’s left is Lights, Camera, Action!

Katherine Roberts
written by KATHERINE ROBERTS

Katherine Roberts is a Director of Video Production at Carbon8. An Emmy-nominated born storyteller, she loves translating Clients’ needs into effective marketing narratives.

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