10 Essential Steps for Effective Video Review
Reviewing your video is an important (often overlooked) step of the content creation process. At Hefti Media, we’ve seen time and time again, that skipping review or not giving it the time it truly deserves can lead to regret later down the line so it’s a good practice to devote at least an hour to video review of your content. This means checking your video for visual concerns, combing through the details, reviewing content for accuracy, and noting changes (with time codes) in an official document to your video editor.
Let’s say your video editor has just sent you a rough cut to review. “What should you be checking?” you might ask. For starters, here are ten points to consider for successful video review:
1. Catch Factual Errors
Start by asking yourself, “Is there anything about this video that’s technically inaccurate? Give facts, dates, titles, slogans, web addresses, lower thirds, proper names, or any on-screen titles a double-check. Listen carefully to interviewee soundbites to make sure they aren’t factually misleading. Make sure any scripted information is clearly stated and that you are communicating as needed to viewers.
2. Consider Spelling and Grammar
Get a company proofreader to review your content. You’ll thank us later. From experience, we’ve found that the majority of items missed at review are simple spelling mistakes. Make sure lower third titles are correct and that names with multiple spellings are accurate. When reviewing your video, it’s easy to overlook title graphics so pay close attention and review each graphic carefully.
3. Address Safety Concerns
Each business may have some unique safety issues to consider when showing their environment or subject matter on camera. Whether you’re a preschool provider, hospital, or industry manufacturer, it’s important to consider and reflect the proper safety requirements for your business. Double check to make sure your staff are giving proper supervision, abiding by your policies, wearing the appropriate clothing or protective gear, and manning heavily machinery safely.
4. Keep Content Evergreen
Ask yourself, “Is there anything in my video that will date it?” If so, consider cutting it unless it’s necessary to the storyline. Dates often become outdated and pricing information may change seasonally so when in doubt, keep it out! Give your video a long lifespan for the coming years.
5. Confront any Uncomfortable Issues
Ask yourself, “Is there anything unsightly or awkward that makes me uncomfortable about this video?" Hopefully not, but be upfront about issues with your video editor. They'll understand that it’s important to present your brand and your employees in the best possible light. Be it clutter, sweat stains, tight or transparent clothing, voices, mannerisms, or other unsightlies, you should feel confident that your editor wants to know about anything that bothers you. A good video editor is usually aware of the problem before you even bring it to their attention, but there’s always the chance of something standing out to you more sharply. If it can’t be corrected in post, then learn from the discussion.
6. Tackle Proprietary Concerns
Ask yourself, “Is there anything visually or audibly present that we can’t disclose?” Even when closely monitoring a shoot and cleaning workspaces, it’s easy for proprietary content to slip through the cracks and into a video. Do a double check and make sure background spaces, desk work, or screenshots don’t contain anything your company would later regret like employee salaries, contracts, password lists or customer information.
7. Listen Up . . . Really
Ask yourself, “Can I hear the video interviews, voiceover speakers and music appropriately?” Video editors often leave the final tweaks of sound editing for the review stage. This means that sometimes, they haven’t given the sound track their full attention so voice concerns. Pay attention to comp stock music. These tracks may contain audible reminders of the stock vendor name. Your video editor will likely know to replace them, but it’s always wise to remind them.
8. Tighten Up Soundbites
Call out any distracting interviewee pauses. Ask yourself, “Do I hear any, “hmm’s, ahhh’s, or um’s?” When possible, cut these and cover the edits with b-roll. Good editors will be looking for this.
9. Locate Model Releases One Last Time
Ask yourself for the last time, “Do I have the appropriate model releases for all of my on-camera subjects?” At Hefti Media, we ask our clients to consider model releases far in advance of the video shoot. However, doing one final confirmation and procuring all model releases for each on camera model is wise at this stage. Remember your video editor cannot change who they recorded so any major change requests could be costly mistakes to your project. Even so, it's better to be safe than sorry, so if you're missing a model release, notify your editor and they might be able to suggest some "next steps." In summary, NEVER leave this step for review stage. By review time, this should be your second or third check.
10. Note Clip Order and Match B-roll
Ask yourself, “Is there any clip that appears out of sequence that might confuse the audience?” This is especially important to consider with “step-by-step” or “how-to” videos. Make sure that clips appears in the proper sequence and that your b-roll and graphics match voiceover as appropriately as possible. Seek the input of your video editor and don’t be afraid to ask about their decisions for clip order. They may have some very logical explanations to consider before asking for a great many changes.
What Does Effective Video Review Look Like?
Video review is oftentimes a collaborative effort with different content experts critiquing the project. Product managers, marketers, copywriters, communication managers, staff copywriters, and sometimes upper executives might all take part in the discussion depending on each company's review process. When reviewing your content, we always suggest scheduling review on a large screen for best viewing. Select at least 1080p if viewing from a YouTube link. Remember you’ll need to reach group consensus with your list of changes so we suggest having all participants review the video in advance and note comments in a shared document to be addressed at the meeting.
With a great many opinions in one room, don't get discouraged at video review. There may be some things that you would have done differently during production. Review stage is a wonderful time to evaluate and learn from those issues that weren't addressed. We suggest logging your review notes. It'll help jog your memory later when you're trying to remember the project discussion.
As you work with your video editor, be efficient and prompt in sending your feedback. Your editor will usually request feedback within a slotted number of days so it’s important to consider the project deadline. Be specific with your changes, note time codes for each change, and remember to be thorough. Production companies may charge for additional review rounds, so its to your advantage to make all corrections in the first round.
Lastly, keep an open mind and listen to your video editor’s concerns. Remember that there are often limits to what can be changed at review stage. It’s reasonable to expect that some requested changes might not be possible (when staying within your budget or project scope). Your video editor will be able to address each change and may mention some obstacles.