9 Video Production Faux Pas to Avoid

Whether you’re new to video or a seasoned pro, these are some video production faux pas you’ll want to avoid.

Trevor Holmes


At Wistia, we firmly believe that anyone can create a good video. And when you combine a solid idea, some pre-production planning, and an eye for the little details, you’ll be well on your way to making high-quality videos. Well, that is, if you can stay away from these common production faux pas.

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1. Cross-dissolves

As you’re editing, you’ll want to avoid using cross dissolves (or any other stock editing transitions, really). While you might be tempted to use cross-dissolves to show the passing of time, we strongly recommend you steer clear of it. This treatment tends to look unprofessional and doesn’t add anything to your edit. Instead of cross-dissolves, you should simply just use a hard cut. Not only does it work really well, but it helps you build your video edit without any cringe-worthy transitions.

2. Green screens

If you’re looking to set the scene — before you use a green screen — see if you can set up the physical setting in your office. While the green screen effect can work in a lot of production scenarios, it’s a good idea to try and pull off your video without it. So, before you commit to this method, ask yourself:

  • Do you really need it?
  • Can you pull off your concept with in-camera effects?
  • Could you adjust the lighting to get the mood you want?

When it comes down to it, using green screens can be super time consuming, and the less time you need to spend in post-production, the better! We recommend only resorting to using one if you really have to.

3. Jump cuts

Ah, the classic jump cut. While this might be a popular editing technique, it doesn’t work in every scenario. If you’re having a hard time getting out of an edit, try not to rely on jump cuts. It might seem like a no-brainer, but you should always try to plan your shots before your shoot so you don’t get yourself into an editing-pickle. Oh, and don’t forget to account for any B-roll you may need! A little bit of preparation can go a long way in helping you avoid using this type of cut during post-production.

4. Backing track fade-outs

We sure do love it when a backing track ends right when a video does, don’t you? We thought so, which is why you should avoid having your music fade at the end of your video. It may be convenient — and easy — but it’s stronger to end the video and the music together. To pull this off, take your time when you’re looking for songs and find a track that works (and ends) when your video ends. If it doesn’t quite line up, edit and blend your music track for a seamless finish.

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5. Overexposed footage

Before you start to record, you’ll want to take an extra second to make sure your shot is properly exposed. Generally speaking, an overexposed shot is harder to fix in post-production than an underexposed shot. Because if a shot ends up being way too bright, there’s not a whole lot you can do to fix it. (Sorry!) But, if a shot is a bit too dark, you can often reclaim a lot of the detail and bring it back to life through editing. So, if you’re just starting out and aren’t sure if you have the best settings, it’s better to be a little underexposed because it can always be brightened up.

6. Forced acting

If you’re currently working for a company, then you’re surrounded by real, live humans! (Well, unless you make robots or something. But, that’s beside the point.) When it comes to casting people in your videos, many of your coworkers may not be natural actors. We’re here to say that that’s totally okay! All you need to do is embrace the fact that you’re working with real people, which means you shouldn’t make non-actor-type humans act. Instead, try to get the most authentic, real-life performance out of folks on screen. To achieve this, when you write your script, avoid having the talent play a character; script your video with the talent’s real, true voice in mind.

7. Not reading the script

It’s important to double, triple, and even quadruple check your script before you head into your shoot. To make sure your script is locked and ready to go, do a table read of the script with your talent and help fix any tricky word combinations. Once you’ve done that (go you!), share it with any stakeholders to make sure the messaging it good to go; then stop making changes. The last thing you want is to be changing things on the fly on the day of the shoot. Capeesh?

8. Relying too much on post-production

Saying on set that “you’ll fix it in post," while doable in most scenarios, is not something you should rely on. You should always strive to get the best cuts possible during a shoot. This way, rather than fixing, you’ll be elevating your audio and video work in post. To help ensure you’re getting everything you need throughout the shoot, mark up the parts of the script that require B-roll footage, and then create a shot list to keep things on track.

9. Under-booking time

The last thing you want to happen on a shoot is to run out of time with the talent you have scheduled. So, when you’re planning your shoot, make sure you book plenty of time. This means planning for things like:

  • The setup of all the gear
  • Adjusting the lighting
  • Getting the right camera angle
  • Prepping the talent
  • Shooting the scene
  • Breaking it down
  • Doing it all over again for any additional scenes

The moral of the story with this one is to overbook, overbook, overbook! Literary puns aside, even if you don’t end up using the time allotted, it’s better to have leftover time than not enough.

So the next time you’re shooting a video, be sure to watch out for these sneaky production faux pas. By doing so, you’ll avoid putting yourself into any tricky production scenarios you can’t edit your way out of. Have you experienced any of these faux pas? Share your wins and losses with us in the comments section below!

Trevor Holmes


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