Rather like do-it-yourself hair cutting or amateur surgery, DIY video should be approached with caution. It’s a truth that one never sets out to make a bad movie, but thousands of them are made and never find an audience. But bad promotional and corporate videos don’t stay hidden or forgotten – they end up on the company website and YouTube for everyone to see. Here are the hallmarks of corporate video gone wrong, and how to make sure you avoid them:

  1. Green Screen That Makes You See Red:
    Chromakey, where you film an actor or actors in front of a green or blue background, so you can later edit in another background, is everywhere in TV and film- from your local weatherman, to the Harry Potter movies to high production-value TV series like Game of Thrones. But unless you’re working with an experienced team that knows how to light for Chromakey, it’s very tough to do well. It also demands a properly shot background and an editor who can key in backgrounds convincingly. It’s expensive to do, but when done badly, it looks cheap (and awful).

    Here are examples of how a green screen can go terribly wrong courtesy of and Backdrop Express Photography:

    Bad Green ScreenSo the first question to ask yourself: why do we need to take out the background at all? Unless you have a great reason for creating an alternate reality environment, why not just throw the background out of focus or use a simple fabric background? You’ll save time and money in production and post-production, and your video will look more polished.

  2. Bad Sound:
    Because image is so powerful, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of good sound recording . It’s so easy to get bad sound: you’ll lose your message and instead send the subliminal one of poor production values. Using the microphone on the camera so it picks up all the camera noise, placing the microphone far from the subject, keeping air conditioners or other noisy machines on in the room, using an omnidirectional microphone when you need a unidirectional one – all are the key markers of poor quality work.

    To hear what a difference good sound recording makes, check out this video by musician Chris Bailey demonstrating both bad and good sound. If any of your videos sound like the ‘don’t’, it’s time for a make-over.

  3. Overly Busy Graphics:
    Just because a video editing program can do 212 fonts and effects, doesn’t mean they all should appear in one video. Yes, there are effects that explode, shrink, expand, make them scroll up, down and everywhere. Resist the temptation to use them. Like a Coco Chanel suit, simple and classic usually sends the most polished message about your brand.
  4. Bad Acting:
    Bad acting is another way to ruin a corporate video. Unless you’re an experienced actor, trying to be or sound like someone else nearly always sounds fake. Be yourself and phrase things in your own way – an experienced director can help you. And if it’s really not working, a professional spokesperson might be the answer.
  5. Improper Use Of A Teleprompter:
    Using a teleprompter isn’t a bad idea, in and of itself – it can help tremendously when there is a lot of text to relay. Problems arise when someone tries to do it cold turkey, without a director. The result can be wooden, with the person obviously reading. The solution: take the time to practice, getting to know the script and the equipment, and have a director coach you through it.

Does this list of don’ts sound suspiciously like we’re describing your business’s last video? Contact us and we’ll make sure you make the “Best of” list, this year.

  1. Sorry Backdrop Express Photography. We gave credit to because we found the image there. We added a credit for you as well though! Thank you for the great examples.

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