Action stations! Top tips for creating visual content

We’ve created a guide to help you keep your cool while navigating the minefield of technical jargon and potential pitfalls that go along with creating top-quality visual content. We’ve already looked at lightingcamera and sound issues, now we’re talking (and taking) action.


You won’t be popular if you spend a day filming vox pops and the content ends up being thrown out because it’s ‘off-brand’ or sub-par. That’s why it really is all in the execution.

Tell a good tale

Know the story you want to tell and prepare, prepare, prepare. What is the purpose of your content? Who is it intended for? What is it saying? Even if you think you know everything about your brand’s history, search the archives and talk to staff for interesting angles relevant to your audience.

Team briefing

Check all the people who will be performing in front of the camera know your aims and key messages. Provide scripted sound bites just in case. If you can sketch, draw up a storyboard. Watch other online clips to see what works – and what doesn’t. Note the URLs and use to brief your team.

Energise me

Lack of energy translates visually as lack of enthusiasm, so make sure your subject has energy – if it’s a senior manager make sure they are lively – don’t do the filming in the afternoon or at the end of a long week. If it all starts to feel a bit stilted, stop everything, stand up, walk around the room, tell a few jokes and have a coffee – don’t risk an alcoholic beverage though.

Q&A crime time

It’s obvious, but don’t ask ‘closed’ questions that can be answered with ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘kind of’. Rehearse your Q&A and make a note of interesting sound bites – people never remember their own quotable quotes! If you think the microphone might’ve missed something, don’t be afraid to ask your subject to repeat what they’ve said if clarification of meaning or audibility is needed.

Flare ups

Make sure you know what your on-camera talent will be wearing. Make sure it suits the content (business-like for corporate content; brand clothing for testimonials, obviously). If it’s a team thing, check that not everyone will be in dark colours. And avoid houndstooth (not just for the fashion police), small checks and stripes that may blur on camera (the dreaded dancing moiré effect).

Shiny happy people

Have a small pencil case of make-up, pan stick and blotting paper on hand just in case your subjects sweat and start to look seedy on camera. And if you are filming all day, find out your subject’s shirt size and take along a few spares (you can return if unopened).

I’d like to thank the Academy

When it’s all over and you can relax, don’t forget to thank everyone. Hold an in-house ‘premiere’ to preview the footage with your teams, including sales, call centres and receptionists, before you go ‘live’ – apart from hearing their valuable feedback on any clangers, you will gain their buy-in for promoting the content to your customers.

Previously: Lights, Camera, Sound

Author: bethkeehn

Writer, editor, photographer and drummer. Loves working with talented teams, like the nice people at Speak Media.

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