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15 factors for creating great videos (Part 2)

by Randall Craig on December 12, 2014

Filed in: Blog, Content, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , ,

Last week’s Tipsheet focused on the top eight factors in creating a great video.  This week’s Tipsheet takes it home, with practical advice gleaned from hosting 180 hours of Professionally Speaking TV, being interviewed hundreds of times in media, and filming 100s of short promo videos for clients.  I only wish I knew then what I know now!

9) Make-up:  High definition video shows every pore on your face and every hair on your head, so heavy TV make-up is no longer advisable.  Instead, aim to have a natural look: imagine someone is standing immediately in front of your face, having a conversation with you.  Men:  if you feel uncomfortable wearing make-up, then do just two things: make sure that you are freshly shaved prior to the video, perhaps even shaving a second time if you are taping in the afternoon or evening.  And lightly apply some skin-colored powder to your forehead (and your “extended” forehead) to reduce the shine/reflection from the lighting.

10) AudioAn important maxim in today’s YouTube-video-consuming world:  people are just fine with so-so video, but are NOT fine with less-than-perfect audio.  The sound must be pristine.  This means high quality lapel (“lavaliere”) mics, and a sound check to set levels appropriately.  Hint:  stay away from hand-held mics. While the sound quality with handhelds is actually better, when the person holding the mic turns their head, or they change the distance from the mic to their mouth, the audio level will also vary, sometimes quite dramatically.

11) Cameras:  Always use high-definition video cameras, and always use tripods.  Beyond this though, how many cameras should you use?  One camera to capture the entire set?  Two cameras, one filming close-up, the other from a wider angle?  Three cameras, one on the host, one on the guest, and a third capturing the entire set?  If you watch any drama show on TV, note that they switch camera angles every 5-10 seconds: more cameras give the video momentum and improve engagement.  But more cameras also sharply increase editing time/costs.

12) Editing:  Beyond removing bloopers and splicing camera angles, there are two other important editing tasks: adding intro/outro segments to the video, and adding lower thirds (eg text overlays).  Doing these additional tasks adds polish and professionalism.

13) Posting:  You may have always posted your video on YouTube, Blip, or one of the many other video sharing sites. And you still should do this to widen your video’s distribution.  But recognize that the video landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years, and you should NOT embed these YouTube videos into your website.   Here’s why:  YouTube (and others) now embed pre-roll advertisements that play before your video does.  And when the video has finished, they stream “related” videos that may be from your competitors… or a detractor.  So in addition to hosting your videos on YouTube so that they can be found there, also, host them on a private cloud (Amazon, for example) that you pay for and control, and embed the videos from there.

14) Promotion: Build it and they will come is not a promotion strategy, and neither is prayer.  Developing a plan for how people will find the video is just as important as the video production itself.  The promotion strategy should include online (eg Robust Video metadata, Pay-per-click ads, Social shares, etc), as well as offline.

15) Evaluation:  Review the video’s analytics (from within YouTube and also Google analytics.) Determining the success (or not) of the video is the only way to learn and improve for next time.

This week’s action plan:  If you’ve experimented with video, now is the time to up your game.  And if you haven’t, now is the time to start.  This week, choose the factor that will make the biggest difference for you, and then add making a better video to your to-do list.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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