1st Apr 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins of Videography

Video Rocks. There is no other way to say it. Placing a short video on your web page, email campaign or social media will impress the search engines bots, attract your audience and impart a huge amount of information in a very short space of time. It’s a win/win all the way round, but it seems few marketers have realised it. To be ahead of the curve all you need to do is produce is a video worth watching. To make sure you don’t make rookie mistakes, here is a list of the seven most common mistakes that make your video draw attention to the video, rather than the message behind it.


There is something born in every one of us that places a person’s face fairly and squarely in front of us, center stage when we interact with them. It works in real life, so it works in video – right? Erm… no. Wrong – in fact, very wrong. Placing every subject in the center of your frame makes a very monotonous video that means your viewers don’t scan the whole frame. You want to draw the viewer in to the scene making them a part of it, so you need them to digest the information that the images have to give. By moving the focal point round the screen you make the viewer’s work for the information and get them involved in every inch of the screen. Just remember you’re making a video, not riding a merry go round. Give enough variety to make it interesting, not too much to make their heads spin.


Most cameras have a zoom – and we all know a real cameraman uses them. So if one is zoom at a time is good, seven zooms are better? Once again – No. In fact a big no. The overuse of on-screen zooms is a common but irritating mistake. Couple it with head hunting and you have a recipe for vomit vision supreme that will make you remembered for all the wrong reasons. It’s good for you to use zoom, you can even use it frequently, but plan your shots and watch what speed you use to zoom in and out.


Rooting is death to the expression of style. Avoiding it gives you the chance to stand out and make your video enticing and watchable, inexperienced videographers take video by staying in one position instead of looking for interesting angles. Everything can be viewed from another angle, and finding the angle that fits the shot is the mark of a watchable video. Think outside the box and put some thought into where you can shoot from, even down to where people sit, stand or lean – or you sit stand and lean.


You’ve seen how a fireman uses a hose, waving it all around the place in broad wide sweeps covering as much ground as he possibly can. In videography terms, less is definitely more. Panning all over the scene is never necessary and doesn’t give the viewer time to take in all the details and information in the scene as things are just going by way too fast and the changing scenery makes it very busy. When you pan, be steady and slow and once again, plan where and when you pan, and where you start and stop for maximum effect.


So we all view our lives at eye level, that doesn’t mean your video has to. The chances are you’ll be standing to shoot the video, so nothing is more monotonous that shooting everything from standing eye-level. You can do that in real life – why do you need a video of it too? The key to good videography is, and always will be, planning. Mix the levels you shoot at, something as simple as going up a few stairs for a shot, or kneeling down freshens up a scene and makes it more watchable. Make a list of all the simple ways you can vary heights and experiment with them.


Snapshotting is another rookie mistake that can add to the vomit vision feeling. It comes by capturing only two or three seconds per shot. It takes the brains a few seconds to digest all that is in a shot, and each section needs an introduction and cut away that gives the viewer time to recognise the beginning and the end of the scene and filter out the message between them. Look for images you can open and close on that are engaging but so not over power the message and give the time needed to prepare the minds of the viewers as you blow them away.


We all have albums full of photos where the auto flash has not been tripped and the subject is nothing more than a silhouette of shadow. The same thing will happen with video if you do not pay attention to making sure that there is enough light in each shot. Backlighting is when too much light falls on the background instead of on the subject. Your camera will create a 2d image of the subject you are shooting so the way light is played in 3d does not translate through the lens. You will need to plan extra light to shine on the front of the scenes even if you shoot outdoors. Moving the subjects by turning them round or to more even light may help, but it may also require lights or torches to make the focus of your shot stand out.

Plan, plan and plan again is the way to make a successful video that is watchable, attractive and affordable. With a little practise and a great story board to use as your map of shots, your company image will be making headlines