telling a story through video

Video is one of the best ways to communicate with a large audience, however, there are a few simple mistakes many people make that can detract from your message. Today We’re going to break down the most common mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

Lack of Clarity

As a former news reporter I stress to clients the value of clarity to the lowest common denominator of an audience. Using Theory of Mind, we have to apply our audiences’ interpretation of visuals, music, and information-not our own. Simplicity is valuable and choosing one message thread to dive deeper into can help keep audiences along for the 3-4 minute video message. This means a video should have a very clear, niche, and specific audience.

Many videos that fail to be clear have conflicting visuals and audio. The old rule “See it, say it” is to ensure clarity and reinforcement for the audience.

Avoid acronyms in your video unless they are commonly accepted such as FBI or NASA. Industry specific terminology can make your audience feel the video isn’t created with them in mind. If your product is abbreviated FBI, understand that most viewers are going to associate that with the Federal agency and not your product which creates confusion while consuming content.

Lastly, don’t try to be all things, to all people, on all platforms. Your video plan should be specific and focused to achieve maximum clarity.

Poor Audio Quality

People are far more forgiving about poor video quality these days, but they are not so forgiving for poor audio quality. When a smoke detector battery alerts in the background, it always distracts the audience, so imagine the negative impact of an ongoing buzz from electrical interference.

Clients should ensure the video production team has access for a site survey, has ample time to set up and test, and has enough team members on hand to properly execute the shoot without audio suffering.

Often, audio techs and engineers are the first position cut to meet budget and it can be a detrimental decision.

Audio is a tricky and sensitive part of a video shoot and should be addressed and discussed early on to avoid pitfalls.

Bad Lighting

There are two ways clients should consider lighting: quality and message. Site surveys can help the video production crew prepare adequately with the tools they need for proper lighting. Some locations require more help than others. Clients should also allow for proper time to set lighting and test.

In the planning stage, clients should discuss with the production team the lighting message. A cool white balance, bright light is synonymous with a medicinal, clinical feel. A warm white balance, glow is common with feel good stories. Lighting decisions should be incorporated so your video production goals are in sync with the lighting of the video and interviews.

Too Much or Too Little Movement

Move with purpose. Move with intention and purpose so your audience isn’t overwhelmed with information.

Ken Burns invented the still photograph slow movement effect with a purpose of moving along time in the video. With slow and easy movement, a still photo became more interesting and held the audience’s attention a bit longer.

Movement with a video camera communicates a message. Jarring movements communicate chaos, frenzy, maybe fear as we saw in the Blair Witch Project. The intention of those movements was decided and executed perfectly. The same movement on an HR video would be mayhem.

Many times, you can imagine the camera is a person’s set of eyes, where are the eyes looking and when would they naturally scan.


Consider the value of who is interviewed. The CEO isn’t always the best voice, perhaps a service provider on the frontlines is far more impactful to the audience. Always address representation before your shoot day. Lack of representation is inexcusable and lazy. Part of our video project management addresses who is represented in the company and in the audience and how we show them all in the video.

Being intentional and thoughtful can help you avoid being one-voiced in your video and truly create depth and impact with your video production. If your organization doesn’t have that depth, that’s a bigger conversation for you to take up the pipeline.

If you’re ready to take your on camera presence to the next level, Sunshine Media is here to help. If you’re looking to support your next video production, or want to learn more about corporate communications, we are here to help . Contact us at Sunshine Media Network to get started!