The review or feedback phase of a video project can be the longest and most ill-defined aspect of the video creation process. When your project team and the video marketing agency you’re collaborating with aren’t on the same page, your video can stumble before it’s even out of the gates. After 7+ years and over 500 review cycles under our belt, we’ve identified a few best practices that will make for more productive and rapid review cycles for everyone. Who couldn’t get behind that? Here are a few tips to help you facilitate a smooth and successful video review process.
#1: Editors Love Consolidated Feedback
Comes from one person — generally the person championing the project. This person solicits feedback from all other stakeholders (colleagues, executives, customers, third parties) and filters it to mitigate conflicting and ambiguous feedback. Progress can come to a halt when an editor can’t make heads or tails of whether to prioritize Katy’s feedback or Tom’s. The fewer cooks in the kitchen the better the broth, so always designate a head chef.
Incorporates feedback into as few emails as possible. Numerous emails in endless threads only makes it more difficult for your video editor to see and execute all requests in a timely fashion. Projects are sometimes passed back and forth depending on an editor’s workload, so it’s ideal to collect all feedback in a single email at the end of the day or week when possible. Be sure to also let your editor know if all feedback is “in” for a version or if there’s more to come, as this helps maintain version control of the video.
#2: Viewing Tips for Crafting Constructive Feedback
Watch Attentively. Focusing on different elements with each repeat viewing will maximize the effectiveness of the early rounds of feedback. This is important as most video agencies allow for two or three rounds of revisions at most, but when leveraged properly, that’s more than enough. First watch for the messaging, then the visual and graphic elements, and finally the overall tone/mood:
- Messaging – does the story and flow make sense? Does it deliver the key messages succinctly? Does it leave the viewer a clear understanding of the takeaway(s)?
- Shots – Do the visuals reasonably match what’s being said? Is there anything being shown that shouldn’t (e.g., sensitive information)?
- Graphics – do all textual GFX elements (intro/outro, lower thirds, etc.) contain your preferred final copy, and are they spelled correctly? More importantly, is the overall look and feel on-brand?
- Tone/mood – How does the video and choice of music make the viewer feel? Is it appropriate given the goals of the project?
Watch and listen through the lens of your audience. For instance, the music may not match your personal taste, but does it align with the tone and mood of the video? Chances are it does, as video editors work with emotion in mind when crafting the story — and the music bed helps amplify that.
#3: Include Important Stakeholders Early On
If final approval of the video will run through someone other than or in addition to yourself, involve him/her/them as early in the process as you’re comfortable with. We can relate to the desire to only show the higher-ups something you consider 99% finished, but they may have their own (very different) set of assumptions about what the video should accomplish. That needs to be heard as early as possible. Video marketing agencies carefully monitor and manage their team’s workload by project phase, so significant last minute rework can throw a wrench in things and possibly delay your final project. So consider sharing the polished V1 with anyone else whose opinion on the project will be significant, and/or have a thorough discussion with them during the ever-important pre-production/strategy phase.
Cultivating your ability to give clear, constructive feedback will go a long way towards building a strong relationship with your video vendor. And, will help keep your projects on time and under budget, with final pieces that exceed expectations.
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