10 Mistakes Companies Make When Shooting Business Videos

“Your job is to get your audience to care about your obsessions."
— Martin Scorsese

A business video is a very effective marketing tool.

However, producing a great business video is no small task.

It’s a big job, and in the wrong hands, it can lead to big mistakes.

Many of these mistakes come with big price tags.

These are mistakes that waste time, money, and other valuable resources that business owners don’t like to waste.

Often, this waste can be prevented.

Avoid these 10 common mistakes made by business owners when shooting their marketing videos...

1. Their video doesn’t tell a story

 Photo of Typewriter. Storytelling in business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PAThe reason why video is such a powerful medium is that it is able to strike an emotional chord with its audience.

Great videos convey messages that resonate with their viewers.

They do this by telling stories and introducing characters and situations that feel familiar to their target audience members.

If your video doesn’t tell a meaningful story – even a simple one – that provokes an emotional response with its audience, you’re basically missing out on the biggest advantage promotional video has to offer.

Tell a story and depict people or characters that mean something to your audience.

Work really hard on the script for your business video before you even think about shooting a single frame of video.

Without a good story, you have nothing.

Nothing can save a video with a weak story – not the best equipment, the best cast and crew, the best special effects… nothing.

If you can’t identify what these stories or characters are, then it’s entirely possible you don’t have a thorough understanding of your audience — in which case, you need to seriously consider revisiting your brand.

2. They skip rehearsals

 Rehearsal at the Mercury Theatre, Orson Welles. Rehearsal for Business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PAYour business video may call for the services of professional actors.

Or, depending on the situation, you may be working with real people who either work for your company or have been clients or colleagues of yours.

Whatever the case, you need to rehearse.

Do not waste precious time when your cast, crew, equipment, studio, and other rentals are all on the clock.

Wasted time is wasted money.

Even if you are hoping to capture “real” moments with non-actors, you need to prepare these people before they appear on camera.

If they are going to be giving on-camera testimonials, for instance, make sure they have a clear idea of what they are going to say and that they say it in a compelling and succinct fashion.

Have a script for them. Have them tell a story that resonates with the audience.

Make sure they practice making “eye-contact” with the camera lens.

Make sure they hold a relaxed posture and speak clearly.

Ensure that their wardrobe and makeup choices are appropriate. Make sure any jewelry they wear won’t cause distracting reflections or noises.

Remember, if something looks good off-camera, it might not necessarily look great on-camera.

3. They don’t location scout

 location scouting for business videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PADo not underestimate the importance of location scouting.

Before your shoot, make sure that the space where you want to shoot is not only available when you need it, but that it will be cleaned and prepped as well.

If any permits or permission are required to shoot in this space, make sure these issues are resolved.

Be mindful of reflective surfaces that might interfere with your shoot.

Double-check that noise levels and natural lighting will not be obstructive – keep in mind that these vary at different times!

4. It’s all about you

Selfies.Don't talk about yourself in business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PAPossibly, the worst thing you can do is make a marketing video that is all about you and your company.

This might seem counter-intuitive at first.

But the fact is, no one is going to be transfixed by your ability to talk about yourself.

The only thing that matters to your audience is what you can do for them.

How can you help them?

How can you inspire them?

How can you make their lives better and easier?

Make sure your business video adds value to your intended audience. This should be your priority.

5. They think they can “fix it in post”

Video Editing. Post production in business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PADuring a stressful shoot where time, resources, and patience is running out, it can be very tempting to quit prematurely and tell yourself that you’ll “fix the issue in post-production.”

Trying to patchwork a video in post-production when it’s too late or too expensive to go back and re-shoot is a nightmare.

Ask any video editor who has been there (and they have all been there).

Avoid this scenario at all costs.

Post-production isn’t where you save your video production, it’s where everything comes together. It’s where the magic happens.

It’s also the last phase of putting together your video, so it’s also the most stressful phase, because it’s the final mile, and now time and money and other resources are running out.

A great post-production phase is the result of a carefully planned pre-production phase, and a diligently executed production phase.

Don’t get lazy and undisciplined during pre-production and production.

Have a proper script, and shoot for the edit.

In fact, do yourself a favor and shoot extra footage and b-roll in case you’ll need it when editing during the post-production phase.

6. They can’t “kill their darlings”

Photo of Film. Editing your business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PA“Killing your darlings” is a phrase that is often used in the editing room, when a particular shot ends up on the cutting room floor, despite the fact that it took a lot of investment to create.

Perhaps it was a very expensive or time-consuming shot to produce, but once it was edited into the final video, it felt out of context or superfluous.

Deleting a shot or scene can be a very difficult decision to make because it’s natural to get attached to something after you’ve put so much effort into it.

But, at the end of the day, the integrity of the story you want to tell takes precedence over anything else, so if the expensive shot has to go, it has to go.

7. They don’t consider where their video will be seen

Multiple screens on desk. Consider where business video will be seen. Josh Birt Video Production, PASpeaking of context, always keep in mind where and how your business video will be presented, because that will affect many of the decisions you make during the creation of your video.

Will your business video be shown on television? On social media? On a jumbo screen?

It’s important to know in what context your video will be shown because that will determine its length, pace, resolution, content, and a myriad of other factors.

Sometimes, your video will need to be accompanied by certain deliverables (separate soundtracks, or subtitle files, for example) depending on the circumstances.

You will need to anticipate and be able to accommodate these requirements when they come up.

8. Too many chefs in the kitchen

Many editors. Need single vision in business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PAPutting together a business video is a big job, and it often requires lots of people.

As with any project that involves a large team, you run the risk of having “too many chefs in the kitchen.”

In other words, everyone is in charge, and no one is running the show.

During every phase of video production, it is imperative that the roles of each person are clearly defined and everyone knows what is expected of them.

This can be tricky when a company hires a video production company, and they (rightfully so) want to have a say in the production of their marketing video.

However, at some point, the hiring company is going to have to let go and trust the video production company they hired, as they are more qualified in the area of video production.

A good professional video production company will know how to communicate well with their client, and tell the story their client wants to tell.

9. They hire the wrong video production company

Video cassettes.Dont' hire the wrong production company for your business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PAMake sure you hire a video production company that is right for you.

Make sure they specialize in a niche that is relevant to the business video you want to produce.

Don’t just go with the lowest bidder or hire the first company that crosses your path. Get at least 3-4 quotes and then compare what you’d be getting in each case.

Check out demo reels, but also pay close attention to their completed work and how well they work with others.

10. They don’t think big picture

Man sliding down tunnel. Keep big picutre in mind when making business Videos. Josh Birt Video Production, PAYour business video, once completed, does not exist in a vacuum.

It is a part of your video marketing campaign, which is a part of your company’s overall marketing strategy, which contributes to your business brand.

Make sure your business video fits in with all these other parts.

Don’t just produce one video and then forget about it. Could it be part of a series of videos so that it could have more of an ongoing impact?

Will it fit in with your marketing strategy in the near future?

Just the Facts

Producing a business video is a big job, but it could yield great return on investment if executed properly. Take care to avoid some common, costly mistakes.

  • Make sure your marketing video tells a story and resonates emotionally with your audience.
  • Have a strong script that focuses on solving your audience’s problems, and rehearse your players before you begin shooting.
  • Don’t forget to location scout.
  • Plan your production down to the last detail, and don’t succumb to the “we’ll fix it in post” mentality.
  • Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings in the edit room.
  • Always be mindful of where the final product will be screened and in what context.
  • Make sure that everyone involved in the production knows what their role is.
  • Take great care when hiring a video production company – make sure you work with a crew that is right for you and your production.
  • And, never lose sight of the big picture, or how your business video will fit in with your overall marketing and branding efforts.


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