Video Projects: Pitfalls Awareness

Naval invasions. Your ships are well-armored and ready to clinch a glorious victory. Ships are protecting their home port and sinking damaged by enemy fire or by colliding with land. No retreat since you are engaged in this battle and you agree on a counterattack despite the disparity of forces. Fleets may be disbanded and re-assembled while in the home port, but feeling the sweet taste of victory. And now, when you think that the battle is over, you are still expected to protect your flank.

Sounds like a beginning of some nautical novel, but that’s how information developer’s work on some projects looks like. Frankly speaking, that’s how it looks like despite thorough rigorous planning. So consider planning as the most vital part of your project constituting 60 % of the whole work, but be ready to meet some challenges.

So when does all the fun begin?

You are quite used to a daily routine of preparing documentation being a crackerjack in the field. This time you were addressed to produce a simulation for a brand-new application which shouldn’t cause much trouble or take a lot of time. Sounds really easy, but be ready for some unexpected bumps and bruises.

The pitfall of irresponsible planning

The stage of drawing an initial idea, which seems pretty easy, in fact, constitutes the lion’s share of the whole video production process and that is where sunken rocks are hidden.

All your further planning will be based on your idea. Changing the essence or even a small bit of it will cause substantial rewriting of the whole script. As the famous saying goes: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

No matter what output is planned, be it a training, demo, eLearning, or a prodigal marketing video, take your time to prepare a storyboard, a graphic representation of each shot of your masterpiece. Use whatever tool that comes in handy: be it Articulate Storyline or old good Microsoft PowerPoint. If you are the one to boast of a drawing talent, create a hand-drawn storyboard.

I would advise considering the following points when choosing the tool for storyboarding:

  • Which tool can save you time due to handy import features?

For example, some video production applications allow you to import PowerPoint slides, as a result, substantially decreasing the time spent on adding sources to the video timeline. So, why not to choose PowerPoint for your storyboard?

  • How to provide a favorable storyboard to share?

You’ll definitely have your workflow reviewed by the person who asked you to produce it (hereinafter – person concerned). Think if it’s very professional to show it on the clumsy sheets of paper with the stains of morning coffee and buttery croissants so dearly loved by your colleagues. Ditch paper—there is plenty of digital fish in the sea.

  • Which tool can give means for the most precise representation of your idea?

A good storyboarding tool should give you a choice of functions to illustrate the visual elements, text elements, audio elements, interactions, and branching, as well as provide a separate pane for comments and narration.

But if you get the idea that storyboarding is a useless waste of time and effort, think of a better way to share your vision of the video with others and be the exception that proves the rule.

The pitfall of vague requirements

Remember the initial task? You were asked to create a simulation for advertising some super James-Bond-style gadget. Now when your planning stage is way over, the person concerned is not satisfied and lets you know they want to start all over again and make it look more like a video, not a simulation. So now you are facing naval invasions.

To avoid this, have all the requirements clarified and your idea approved by the person concerned at the initial stage of your work. You may think, it’s your idea and making changes deprives you from stating your rights and authorship. Come down to earth with a bump and remember that showing it will make your idea acknowledged and bring it to the stage of actual video production.

The pitfall of choosing the right tool

So, here’s where you face the unexpected step of choosing a tool for video creation instead of initially planned simulation. Knowledge that feels long forgotten should be refreshed and reassured. Don’t feel like an expert in video creating tools? Ask an expert or check numerous tutorials available online.

That’s where most experts will boil over: “It should have been done long before starting planning!” And that’s where they might be wrong. Only by having the precise vision of animations you need for the project in your mind, will you be able to choose a tool for bringing them to life.

The pitfall of filming it right

The stage of video filming should bring you much fun and a sense of personal accomplishment if the previous stages were done with proper diligence. Stick to your storyboard, make minor changes to polish your idea without procrastinating to some other less urgent tasks your job involves.

Check if your footage has good quality and appropriate resolutions, plug-ins to your main tool work the way they should, and try adding animations you’ve planned.

A good practice would be to check the bug fixes and known issues to the version you are using and, in case you are to use some plug-ins, check the plug-ins compatibility: most plug-ins need to be updated to the application version you are using.

The illusion of expecting a perfect result

Don’t expect to have a final result straight away and don’t you ever dare to show it to a final user or a person concerned when having a first draft video. Find people who know a trick or two in the sphere and people who don’t know all the angles, show them your work and ask for reviews, comments, praise, or criticism. All things considered, brush your video up and start a final countdown.

Finally, render, export, publish, or whatever final steps you take, face it with the head up, because that’s when real pitfalls come up to the surface: the video is too big, it’s not running smoothly, animation is too fast, images have poor quality, and the last, but not the least—none of the formats are supported by YouTube. How could it have happen with such a good planning? The answer is pretty obvious: tools may need some special settings applied, check boxes selected, and file formats changed or even additional file format converters downloaded. Don’t be afraid to do go into the depth. Remember the golden rule? Always protect your flanks!

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