A good video serves as a powerful and effective means of communication that’s worth investing your resources into.
Like it or not, most audiences are used to seeing high-quality videos on a regular basis. Nowadays, people are watching videos all the time on free video streaming platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, to paid streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.
While most people don’t work in the film industry, the standard for videos has increased to the point where the average viewer can tell when a video has been poorly produced - which makes you (or what your video is representing) come across as amateurish and unqualified.
Money doesn’t solve everything, but a good video production does require a healthy budget (and a qualified video production company). In this article, we’ll be going through some key indicators that distinguish cheap video productions from expensive ones.
Pre-production is the first (and arguably, the most important) step in the video production process. Coming up with an original video concept can be quite the challenge - which is good video production companies hire writers to do this job.
A good concept doesn’t need to be big and flashy - the main goal is to tell a story in an engaging way that clearly conveys your message and transitions smoothly into a clear call to action (CTA) for your viewers (making a booking, purchasing an item, etc).
Coming up with a concept is not just about having good ideas; it’s also about being realistic. No matter how good your concept is, if a concept is poorly executed due to timeline/budget/resources constraints, then your video production is doomed to fail. In such cases, it’s best to move on and quickly work on creating a new concept.
Without a good concept, you risk losing your audience’s interest in your video. Check out this corporate training video titled “Selling is Service, Service is Selling”, which features an “over-the-top corny” concept that’s made worse by a confusing message.
For a better example of the slapstick-style video concept, check out this video by Dissolve, a stock video/image licensing company, titled “This Is a Generic Brand Video”.
Another aspect of video production that separates the wheat from the chaff is lighting. It can be costly to rent lights and hire a gaffer for your shoot, however, lighting serves an important role in video production, namely:
Even without any lighting knowledge, audiences can tell when something is off when watching a video with poor lighting. Check out this video that showcases some examples of improper lighting techniques:
Audio is often overlooked, but vital to the success of your video production. Even a video shot with the best camera/lighting equipment will come across as unprofessional if the audio quality is not up to standard.
Check out this video that contrasts bad picture quality with bad audio quality:
Once your video has bad sound quality, most viewers will stop watching your video and miss the key message you’re trying to convey.
Most video cameras come fitted with an inbuilt microphone, but they aren’t designed to capture high quality audio. In professional video productions, the location sound engineer will use an external microphone (such as a boom mic or lapel microphone) to capture dialogue and ambient sounds during the shoot.
Once the shoot is over, your post-production team will also need to sync the recorded audio to your video. Some videos productions require background music and voiceover (VO) dialogue, which all play a part in setting the overall tone/atmosphere and enhancing the overall viewing experience of your video. Once all the audio tracks are ready, they need to be synced, mixed and adjusted so the overall volume of your video is at the appropriate level for broadcast.
Nothing screams “amateur” more than sloppy camera work. Generally, there are 2 areas of cinematography that distinguish a professional director of photography (DP/DoP) from an amateur one: the creative aspect (framing/composition) and the technical aspect (camera settings).
Framing/composition refers to how a DP positions subjects within a frame. The role of the DP is to essentially package and deliver visual information in a meaningful way to the viewer. There are many ways to frame/compose a scene; ranging from wide to medium to close-up shots, each of which is more suited for different types of videos.
For camera settings, the 3 most commonly used ones are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. There’s lots to discuss here, but broadly speaking; ISO affects your camera’s sensitivity to light, aperture controls the depth of field and shutter speed affects the amount of motion blur. Getting your camera settings correct is essential for the success of your video - contrary to popular belief, not everything can be “fixed in post” (more on this later).
In short, a good video production should feature camera work that delivers good visual interest/impact that compliments the story of the video.
A good video edit should be seamless and not draw too much attention to itself. According to veteran editor Billy Fox, the hallmark of a good edit is when “the audience is totally in the moment and totally in the story, and never notices your work at all”.
Here’s an example of a corporate video where things went a little overboard in the editing room:
“You get what you pay for”, as the saying goes, which certainly applies to the realm of video production.
Fortunately, we here at Big 3 Media have capitalised on advancements in video production technologies and lean crew methodologies to offer practical solutions for making affordable videos (and by affordable, we mean REALLY affordable - starting from only $800).
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