It’s been a truly amazing journey. I’ve been in the video and multimedia production business since 1981 and in my 30+ years in the business, I’ve seen some absolutely incredible leaps in the industry. To put video in historical perspective, it was only 22 years before I took the plunge into professional video that Sony, Matsushita, Toshiba, and JVC introduced helical-scan recording, which is the method used since to record on video tape recorders. It took almost the entire subsequent 22-year span to bring these helical scan recorders into the home.
When I started in video production in 1981, consumer video recording was in its infancy. Most American homes did not have a VCR. VHS was still battling Betamax (what’s that?!) for supremacy in the home video format wars. Tape (huh?) was the staple of industrial and advertising video production and 2″ “Quad” machines (what??) were what the “real” broadcast studios used for their best quality editing and studio work. Field cameras capable of producing production company the best broadcast-quality pictures cost more than most houses at the time. (And now these have been surpassed in quality by today’s consumer camcorders.) The CD-Rom had not yet come on the scene, and internet use was years away. Compressed video and streaming on web sites were barely the proverbial “figment” of someone’s imagination. DVDs? HDTV? You’re kidding!
Yet despite the incredible technological advances over the decades, many things have remained constant. The need to capture and retain audience interest, tell a story, and accomplish one’s objectives were all critical to effectively communicating then, and remain so today.
And as technological advances have brought affordable high-quality video and multimedia into the hands of the neophyte, the need to use them “correctly” has remained. Just because you’ve got a paint brush, that doesn’t make you Rembrandt!
Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes still made in workplace corporate video and multimedia programs:
The 8 Mistakes Guaranteed to DOOM Your Corporate Video or Multimedia Project:
MISTAKE 1. DON’T BOTHER TO IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE (OR TO CONSTANTLY KEEP IT IN MIND)
This is the first and foremost rule of creating any kind of communications program, yet it is amazing how often it gets violated. This rule is certainly not unique to video or multimedia programming. In all forms of audio and visual communication, it is imperative to develop a precise definition of the target audience – and remember it.
Market research firms and departments spend billions of dollars annually to determine who will receive a message so that proper product placement, advertising and promotions can be done. And it is money well spent.
Yet we often see companies approaching their video and/or multimedia projects with a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach. They use a shotgun when a rifle is called for. They try to appeal to several audiences with the hope that the program will serve multiple purposes. Remember, when you try to appeal to everybody, you appeal to nobody