Do It Right or Stop It!

We are very sophisticated consumers of video content. If you are reading this, it is almost certain that you have consumed video content since you were a child. With this exposure comes an intuitive ability to discern good video content from bad video content. In fact, even very expensively produced video content fails season after season for a variety of reasons.

If you accept this reality, it should bother you, as deeply as it bothers me, that training departments far and wide continue to create a distribute horrible video content. This content is so bad that it would never even make it through the evaluation process of any network, maybe even public access TV.

Can you do better? Sure, the first step is to stop producing bad content. Just stop! No more. In fact, pull down what you already have. Ever wonder why the view rates for your training content is so bad? Even if people start viewing it, ever wonder why they never complete it? It is bad. It is unwatchable.

Please, you are destroying your own personal brand and the brand of your training organization. No one celebrates bad video content except to poke fun of it in viral videos. As training professionals, we often lack the time and money to produce excellent content. You can help yourself and your organization by stopping any spending or wasted time by simply not producing the content.

Stopping is just the first step. What can you do to actually produce valuable video training content? If you want to start with the research basis for this critique, you might start with reading The Media Equation. It will give you insight into a depth of research that supports critique. If you want to start with the practical basis for this critique, there are a number of excellent books, videos, and even training courses. I would start with No Film School, and go from there. If you want specific recommendations, just message me directly.

But, in general, here are the things you can do.

  1. 50% of video is good sound. Do not use on-camera microphones. They are horrid. Get a high quality sound recorder (like a Zoom H2n, Zoom H4n, or Zoom H6) (Note: There are other recorders, but I like the Zoom’s for the price.) Also, get a lavalier microphone (or two or three). Turns out that based on evaluations, that just about any of these work well, regardless of cost (see No Film School’s evaluation of lavs.)
  2. Put your video cameras on tripods. Shaky video is horrible.
  3. Light your video subject. Dark video is horrible.
  4. Rehearse your video. Unrehearsed video is horrible.
  5. Audition your talent. Not every who is an excellent trainer is an excellent trainer on video. As well, you might find excellent video trainer talent that is not even a trainer. Videos are not interactive, as classrooms, and video requires a different set of talents. A keep part to making it work is rehearsals.
  6. Do not post raw video. Raw video is horrible. Edit your video to add effects, make cuts, mix in your excellent sound track, and otherwise improve your video.
  7. Avoid PowerPoints in your video. There are much better video resources, like titling and video effects, that are much more appropriate to video content.

This will get you started. But, the most important thing that you can do is to unleash your inner TV critic. Watch your video, and answer the question. Would you watch this video again? or for fun?

You will be surprised at how far the video world has come, and what you can produce for a minimal budget. But, a minimal budget is not a $0 budget. If you cannot afford to do it right, you are better off not doing it at all.

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