While I’ve been quite keen in recent weeks to discuss the themes and issues that affect the success of a video, sometimes it’s really important to break down triumph and failure into one key area that will, regardless of vision and creativity, truly decide the reach of your company’s production. Let’s get stuck in:
Lighting is everything
Ever been in that situation where you take a photo and while you’re shooting it, it looks great on the screen – and then the finished shot looks so terrible that you have to process it with the rudimentary tools provided by Apple, Samsung et al (or, god forbid, a filter from Instagram)? Video’s exactly the same. Lighting is a truly under-considered asset that will make or break a video. Sure, post-editing is a standard process in place for most videos, but don’t rely on that.
Remember WordArt? Ensure it’s a distant memory
We all laugh at Comic Sans, Jokerman, Bradley Hand, Papyrus, Mistral and so on (before I make the actual point, if you use any of those listed fonts, I will find you). However, font choices have a massive impact on perception of a company in all aspects – but especially video, when you match a typeface to a visual representation or your message. Choose wisely, and keep it simple. Be different, but not too dissimilar from what’s acceptable – clean, clear and not too pretentious (seriously consider going all lowercase. As a writer, though, I personally abhor it. It may just be me).
Beware of dodgy visual effects
A lot of corporate video works well without any visual effects, but when they’re used well, they REALLY work. However…they can be used poorly. Stay away from cheesy effects that will actually age your video, not modernise it.
As such, don’t bother with star fades or screen wipes (I know Star Wars used them and yes, it’s a wonderful film series, but you’re not filming Stormtroopers, and it was 1977, so leave it alone). Keep it simple. Inset video clips or, at a push, a closing call-to-action montage of other videos can be fine.
Try for HD, though – seriously
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – at least try to get a high-definition output. It doesn’t have to be true HD (though it’s worth it if you do), but it’s incredible if you can do this. It’s incredibly cheap to pull off, too – but there’s quite a simple reason it’s important.
To put it in simple terms: a few years ago, I tried to find a high(er)-definition video of the Forest Xylophone video; the original uploaded to YouTube (by the company themselves!) was terrible quality and because I couldn’t seem to spot a HD version anywhere in the space of one minute’s worth of searching YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion, I didn’t share it with friends.
It was fantastic, and while you know roughly what’s going on at 240p, it’s not the intended experience (I’ve found it since – check it out, it’s brilliant). Either way, poor quality stopped it getting the deserved reach at the time. Don’t let your video fall foul of this situation.
…and whoever’s making your video, go by credentials and not hobbies
As a writer, I get this a lot – people will trust me to produce the copy they require and (at least most of the time) will trust me to do it well, as I’ve told them I’m a writer. Said trust is the backbone of business, but it’s differentiating between a skill that is a job and one that’s a hobby.
While I’m a professional writer, my amateur photography is something I’m proud of – but I’ve turned down the opportunity to do wedding photography twice (for good money, no less) because it’s something I could have a crack at, but not be an expert in. In fact, I’d probably be terrible at it. As such, if you’ve got someone on board that wants to do video as they’ve put together a YouTube video a couple of times, great – but that (lack of) experience will demonstrate itself pretty quickly.