Show don’t tell: Video production tips

On Friday I participated in a Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association (MFWBA) professional development workshop focusing on video production. Shirley Muir and Wendy Buelow with The Media Bank in Selkirk, Man. provided us with great video production information. We also viewed and critiqued a video The Media Bank recently produced, as well as a few videos made by workshop participants.

Here are 10 tips for good video stories provided by The Media Bank (

  1. Gear. Always check your video gear the day before your shoot, check for charged batteries & extra tapes.
  2. Script. Have a plan for your shoot – develop a script, storyboard or written notes.
  3. Steady. Use a tripod when possible, for web video especially, it helps with compression.
  4. Show don’t tell. Tape visual evidence for what is being talked about. A video is a story told with pictures.
  5. High Rez. Shoot on the highest quality that your camera is capable of. You can always downsize but upsizing to High Def does not look that good.
  6. Listen. Use a headset to monitor your audio, especially for interviews. Record audio always, even if it is just background noise. A good video is actually made up of two equally important parts – the pictures and the sound.
  7. Do it on the set. Get the very best audio and video you can at the scene before you leave. Fixing things up in post always takes longer, can be expensive, and you can’t always “fix it in post.”
  8. Be nimble. When shooting video, be on the lookout for spontaneous situations. Be ready for the unexpected gift to help you tell your story.
  9. Look around. Pay attention to your background while setting up your interview. Is it distracting or will it help create more atmosphere for the video message.
  10. Extra’s okay. Shoot more cover video than you think you need, more than what you may have scripted, those extra shots may come in very handy while editing.

Here are some editing tips provided by The Media Bank:

  1. KISS. Keep It Simple. Make shorter rather than longer videos. Know when to stop. You can’t show all your favorite video, you could bore the viewer. Be ruthless.
  2. Don’t be cute. Use effects for a good reason, not just because they are a fad.
  3. Sound up. Use sound bites in your story to liven things up. This allows breaks between the narration and the interview clips to help get the viewer ready for the next bit of information.
  4. Sound down. Do not let the music overpower the video.
  5. Order. Your story does not have to follow chronological events, but it does need to make sense and tell the audience something new they didn’t know before.
  6. Stop. Do not repeat yourself, know when to end the video. One ending is enough.
  7. Test drive. Show your video edit to someone not involved in the production, before it heads out into the world. Listen to the comments and don’t be afraid to make changes. See if your purpose for the video is being met.

Do you have any video production tips you’d like to share?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: