Common mistakes when making business videos

The power of using video to boost business amazing. Many businesses are jumping on board to make videos. I’ve been making corporate videos for nearly 25 years and I’m seeing a lot of people making some avoidable mistakes in their rush and excitement of becoming YouTube stars.

Waste thousands

One of the common mistakes for people who are making videos is they rush out and buy expensive video equipment. They fork out thousands for a camera they don’t know how to use. It doesn’t have the functionality they need and they use it once and then leave it sitting it in the corner staring at them – making them feel guilty for the unrequited attention.

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I recommend you hire the equipment you need if want to go down that path. Try it first. It will only cost a few hundred dollars for broadcast quality equipment. See what works for you. Learn what you need and what you don’t need. Then if you find yourself using it often you could look into buying something suitable. By this time you will have a better idea of what you need.

If you want to use your own equipment, then start out with your phone. The quality of the cameras on the phones these days are remarkable. With some decent lighting, you can create some useful videos.

Alternatively work with a camera operator who already owns his or her own equipment. They know how to use it, they know about white balance and depth of field and framing and lighting. Ask yourself do you want to be a video business or do you want to add value by doing what you do well?

Look stupid

It’s never been easier to make video content. It’s also never been easier to make videos that do damage to your brand. My advice is don’t release videos that make you look dodgy.

The first mistake people make is poor audio. We can tolerate poor quality vision, but we won’t tolerate poor sound. If you do make one purchase, make sure it is for a microphone. If you choose to dabble with your phone as a camera plug in a lapel microphone. You can pick up a decent one for $50.

When framing your image keep the head at the top of the frame. I often see people centring the subject’s face in the frame. They leave all this empty space above the head. Look at the entire contents of the frame and be aware of what is in it and how it should look.

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Be aware of the lighting. You want to make sure the light is in front of the person being filmed and not behind. If you have it lit well, it look can great. If you have the light in the wrong spot, you can look silhouetted like you are on the witness protection scheme – not a great way to build credibility.

Wobbly shots are also not a good look. It is easy to get a tripod or even a little stand for your phone to ensure your shot is steady.

And if you are using your phone please, please hold it in landscape mode. If you hold it vertically you will end up with a thin video and big black bars on either side. That screams amateur to me. It might look good on your mobile phone Facebook feed, but that’s the only time.

Other common mistakes

When thinking of what to talk about, I see businesses wanting to focus on what they do. When meeting with my video clients I explain some harsh realities of business – your audience doesn’t care about you and what you do. They care about how that makes their life better.

You need to quickly relate your service or product to a better outcome for them. Keep asking yourself why does this matter to my viewer. Amateur business video makers can become bogged down explaining their processes and systems. They talk about themselves. In this transitory viewing world, you need to quickly engage your audience and let them know why they should be excited about your offering.

Another common issue is videos that are too long. For promotional videos they need to be under 90 seconds. If you have more to say then make a series of short videos.

So slow down, take a breath and ask for some professional help so that you don’t waste your money or damage your credibility.

What mistakes do you see business owners making with videos?


Geoff Anderson
is owner of Sonic Sight, a corporate video production company. He presents on using video in business and is the author the Amazon Bestseller “Shoot Me Now – Making videos to boost business”. To find out more about Geoff and to learn about the 5 Mistakes to avoid when making videos, visit or visit