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5 Reasons Your Video Sucks

May 7, 2014

The best laid plans of mice, men and marketers often go awry and when it comes to video, or motion content as we prefer to call it, this is especially true.  But why so?  The original Cinématographe was patented by Léon Guillaume Bouly in 1892 and we’ve been capturing moving images ever since so why is it still such a gamble for brands and corporates commissioning motion content?  Below is a list of five mistakes we see repeated time and again (though there are surely more) so hopefully you can avoid them and, if not, at least we can point and laugh and say we told you so!

1. You Hired A Cameraman

Many marketing and communications types are under the mistaken impression that cameramen (and indeed women) make motion content.  This is not the case.  No one person makes motion content, many people do and you need to work with a good proportion of them if you want to make something worth watching.  So who are they exactly?  Well, there’s the Producer who will often come up with the concepts, the Writer who spins those concepts into words, the Director who turns those words into visuals (which may or may not require sets, costumes, actors or locations to bring to life) and THEN there’s the Camera Operator (to be politically correct) who captures those visuals on a memory card for the Editor who converts, colour-corrects and cuts them before the Dubbing Mixer adds music, effects and general audio shininess.  (Deep breath!)  All of this is supervised by a Production Manager and/or Co-coordinator who ensures everything is delivered on time and in budget and THAT’S how you make motion content.  Well who do you think all those people in the movie credits are?!

2. You Didn’t Hire A Cameraman

You figured that with all the wonderful advances in technology you could surely shoot something yourself.  But it’s not that easy is it?  You know what you want to see through the viewfinder but you can’t quite make it happen.  I get it, I shouldn’t say this but I am just as bad.  In fact, I’m not actually allowed to touch the cameras at Click2View because the footage I capture makes the editors physically sick!  Then you realise that perhaps you should have used some lights or at least a microphone and then of course someone’s going to have to edit it, etc, etc, ad nauseum.  Look, I know User Generated Content is a thing but the truth is those that are succeeding at it have invested a lot of time, talent and money in learning their craft and producing the best content they can.  If you’re not willing to do the same, best leave it to the professionals.

3. Where’s The Story?

It happens all the time, clients are so obsessed with having a video they forget that is has to be about something and if they’re not satisfied with the final result it’s often more to do with the the lack of content than the lack of creativity or production values.  In fact, a video without content requires a whole lot more creativity and sparkly things, as the professionals say, to cover its lack of substance.

4. The Talent Has No Talent

I feel sorry for CEOs of large organisations.  No, bear with me here, it’s true.  Sure, they’ve got more money than you or I can dream of, get driven to work in a limo and flown to meetings in a private jet AND they get exclusive use of the executive toilet but these days they’re expected to be TV stars too!  It’s not fair I tell you, so do them a favour and invest in some media training (with Click2View if you must!).  The fact is, the best person to lead your company or department, may not be the best person to put on camera.  There are ways of improving their performance such as positioning them as an interviewee rather than a presenter but sometimes a presenter really  is the best option.

5. Too Many Cooks

This is a classic complaint but nonetheless remains true.  Unlike accounting there is no right or wrong answer to a creative brief, just subjective opinions and the more subjects (read: stakeholders) involved the more opinions you have to take on board and the more you take on board the more generic the outcome will be.  Fact.  At the end of the day there are really only three opinions that count: yours, your Producer or Director’s and, most importantly, your customers’.  Would they like what you’re doing?  If not, change it.  No excuses.