4 Reasons Your Videos Maybe Suck

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Technology is amazing, isn’t it?  With your iPhone, you can shoot better-quality video than a lot of hand-held cameras. This ability has prompted many brands to start shooting their own marketing videos, whether in an attempt to share more about the company or to promote the products and services. The problem is these videos sometimes suck.

There are a lot of reasons your marketing videos may not attain perfection, or even “good enough.” They could run the gamut from bad writing to terrible camera work, but these areas can be improved with a little work. Four particular aspects of your video really need professional attention, though.

Shot with the wrong resolution

Because many use iPhones and other handheld cameras for non-professional shooting, the resolution is often set to 720p, unless otherwise specified. This format is usually fine for online viewing with distributors like YouTube, Vine, or other social media outlet, but even Vimeo is looking for higher resolution that this. What happens when you want to use that footage in a broadcast setting, or not just online? Once that video is shown on a larger screen, the imperfections will be obvious.

Determine where your video will be viewed most often and work backward from there. Or, to cover all your bases all the time, simply shoot in the highest possible resolution your camera allows, which is often 1080i or 1080p. If your intention is to show the video online, your images will look fantastic all the time. Should those videos be viewed on larger screens, you don’t need to worry as much that the quality of the images will suffer.  

If you’re editing the footage yourself, or exporting the project, always be sure to export at an appropriate resolution. It’s very easy to shoot in 1080 and accidentally export in 720.  Another important note, even if you export in 1080: if you shoot in a lower resolution, the video will still show obvious imperfections.

Bad sound quality

Phones and handheld cameras are great for capturing a moment, but they don’t really catch the sound very well. If you’re planning to use footage from your iPhone, you’ll need plenty of sound editing to eliminate any outside noises, such as traffic, wind, additional voices, and even the sound of the cameraman handling the camera.  

This may involve editing out all sounds and adding another audio track later. Realistically, without creating more issues, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of unwanted sounds. You may need some way to ensure the speaker or performer in your video is the only sound heard. A microphone is perfect, if you have one, or an external audio recorder setup to focus on your speaker or performer. Choose from handheld microphones, clip-ons (lavaliers), boom or zoom microphones, or any external recorder that will capture the quality of sound you desire.

External recording can get hairy, so you will want to use a watch, a phone, or other time keeping device to set at 0 in the beginning of a recording. This will help sync your video for editing.

Poor music choices

Have you considered the music you’ll use to tie together various scenes? Without music, the silence could be distracting. You’ll want something you have the rights to use, which can be expensive. Start first with royalty-free music, but be prepared to shell out the cash if none of the music fits just right.

Your music is more important than you might think. It must help you tell the story from beginning to end, support the emotions you hope to evoke, and maintain the mood throughout. “Good enough” is never actually good enough. Your viewers will notice if you don’t spend the necessary time with your video soundtrack.

The story is missing

A collection of images wired together with a cool soundtrack does not a story make. Your goal with every video is to take viewers on a journey. The story doesn’t have to be long or involved. You don’t need a big script or stage directions. All you need to do is tell your story. If your intention is to advertise, you can also tell the story over the course of many videos.

Without a story, buyers have nothing to connect to. Without that connection, you’ll fail to build relationships. Maybe you think one video won’t make a difference, but what if it’s the one video a potential buyer sees? You should make sure every video you release serves its purpose. Otherwise, it maybe sucks.

As always, we’re here to help. With years of experience with music videos, short films, and marketing videos, we understand the many components that make up videos that don’t suck. If you need help, give us a call.