A video, like any form of content, typically requires peer review and stakeholder approval before it’s ready for distribution. Whether it’s for use on your website, in an email campaign, or for an advertisement on social media, getting video feedback will always make for a better and, ultimately more effective, final product.
Feedback is necessary, but not always fun—often, we take it personally…but we shouldn’t! The point of asking your peers to review your work is to help produce the best possible final video.
While Google Docs is a great option for writers to easily get the feedback they need—are there best practices in place for video feedback? I sat down with one of TechSmith’s Video Production Specialists, Andy Owen, in search of the answer.
Q: Before you can receive video feedback, you must first create the video. When you receive a video assignment, how do you approach getting started?
A: It depends on the project, but I almost always need context. Typically, I’ll have a meeting with the stakeholders, to discuss and brainstorm ideas. This helps guide me in the right general direction.
Prior to beginning the first draft, I’ll create an outline of sorts—essentially a rough script. I want to confirm that I am on the right track, and that what I’ve put together is what the stakeholders had in mind. Understanding the desired results from the video from the beginning is important. When you’re on the same page as your stakeholders from the get-go, it will save time later, and help make the process efficient.
Q: So after you’ve worked to put together a plan, you create your first draft. What does your typical video feedback workflow look like at that point in the process?
A: There are generally two main phases for video feedback—the first is the structural narrative phase.
You want people with a vested interest to make sure you have the story, or structural narrative, on the right track. I typically start with the primary stakeholders, making sure to provide the disclaimer that “this is not a finished product, but is this the story we want to tell?” I have them pay attention to high-level things like the overall theme and message. When you request this feedback, you may let your reviewers know “this is a rough edit, and I want to know if this is the right story to tell.”
I would request feedback about the story from two people, typically—not more than five (because you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen). Then, after receiving the video feedback on the first draft, I’d move forward with making any required adjustments, and begin working on the second draft.
Q: Ok. So on to the second draft. After you’ve incorporated the first round, or structural narrative video feedback—then what?
A: So once you’ve completed your second draft (at which point you are nearing completion), then comes the fine edit phase.
Here, you’re looking for the minor, more technical things, like audio glitches, words that got clipped, poorly balanced colors, etc. When you request this feedback, you may let your reviewers know “the story is complete; but how does it look and sound? Does anything in particular stand out, such as a technical error?” I’m looking for video feedback about details that I may have overlooked, or little mistakes that need correction.
In my experience providing video feedback, I’d receive the video draft, and would manually find the time-code, write that down, and then write out my comments; “could we cut this a little shorter?” or “do we have another angle for this?” It was very text-based.
It’s easy to get defensive when you receive feedback in this way—it feels very personal due to the amount of time and effort that [a video production specialist] puts in. But you must be able to put aside any emotions and check your ego at the door. It’s not about you as an editor, it’s about making the end result better.
A tool I’ve been using to make this process easier—TechSmith Video Review—allows reviewers to add comments throughout the actual video as they watch it, as opposed to in an email or document. While still text-based, it does provide additional context with the comments, since I’m receiving the feedback while watching the video. This allows me to quickly understand the meaning and motivation of the feedback.
If you think about how often people communicate with emojis—sometimes you’ll get an email, where emotion is not conveyed, and you aren’t sure exactly how to take it. When you get comments on a video via Video Review, the context of seeing them within the video really helps in feeling like the feedback is not about you as a creator—it’s about the video.
Q: So you mentioned earlier that you’d request feedback from two to five people. What if your reviewers don’t agree with each other? Who’s feedback do you accept?
A: Everything is subjective—it’s still art. There are different ways to approach the video creation. The two most important things to consider:
- Does it engage the audience?
- Does it tell a great story?
You want to find a balance, making sure that you’re hitting both those elements.
One way to help make decisions about the feedback to accept as you edit, is to consider the motivation behind the feedback.
With TechSmith Video Review, it’s helpful that the reviewers can have a conversation among themselves. They can discuss any discrepancies, meaning that the video creator isn’t stuck “picking a side”… although you will still have to do that sometimes—again, allow the desired result of the video to guide your decisions.
Q: Any last words of advice for anyone who may start creating videos for others?
A: Don’t pretend to know the subject. Talk to stakeholders, learn what they do, learn their goals for the process, involve them in as many iterations as it takes. And ask for video feedback!
Don’t emotionally tie yourself to the first edit draft. If you aren’t sure about whether or not to use some footage, it’s ok to keep it in there to see what your reviewers think. Sometimes, an outside perspective, a fresh set of eyes, may be helpful in determining whether there is value in something. This is especially true when creating a video about a topic that is unfamiliar—that’s when you really need to rely on your subject matter expert(s).
Well, there you have it!
We hope this advice has been helpful. Asking for video feedback doesn’t need to be scary! Following some of the best practices outlined here can help make a simple and effective video creation experience, both for stakeholders, and for the creator.
Visit the TechSmith website to learn more about TechSmith Video Review and get started with your free trial today!