How To Give Effective Feedback on a Video.
Art is subjective, and because of that, it can often be difficult to give effective feedback on creative projects such as videos—especially if you don’t work on video projects often. It should never be intimidating for clients to provide feedback. Creating video content is a collaborative process, and feedback is a necessary part of that process.
Whether you’re preparing for your first video project or diving into your 20th, here is a helpful guide for clients to give effective feedback.
Review the right pieces at the right time.
There’s a certain workflow to video production, and while not all projects will follow exactly the same order, building and then expanding on a foundation is typically the most efficient way to edit videos.
For example, it isn’t logical to fine-tune audio or spend hours on color grade if the video content is not approved. This workflow protects your investment by decreasing the duplication of efforts—i.e. if editors spend time color grading a section of footage only for it to be swapped out with a new clip, that process has to be re-done and that time was wasted.
To start, review the video from 30,000 feet. Focus on project objectives while watching the video. Look for story flow, communication objectives, and call to action. Note how the video made you feel, and evaluate that against your expectations. Make sure the tone, pace, and style match what was described in the creative brief.
It’s important to get these elements locked down (also known as a “content lock”) in the first revision before moving on to the smaller details.
Dig deep for detailed feedback.
Receiving vague notes that say things such as “this feels off” or “make it pop” is difficult for editors because the solution is subjective. Incorporating your thinking into feedback gives the video team a better idea of the root problem and guides them to the best solution. For example, saying, “This font doesn’t work,” is vague. Instead, offering, “The graphic doesn’t use a weighty enough font to communicate our strength,” is much more specific and helpful. Of course, an experienced producer is skilled at asking questions to interpret vague feedback and can help you determine what feels “off” about certain aspects, but having a better sense of what you’re looking for will help get you to the final product sooner—saving time and money.
It may also help to note the aspects you like as well as the items you feel need to be changed so the production team understands the full spectrum of your thoughts on the video. This information can give direction to the team’s suggestions and help reach solutions more quickly.
Even though you’ve moved on to the details, don’t forget to maintain your broader perspective. Review the video through the lens of your target audience, and not from your personal preference.
Ensure your team is on the same page.
To manage expectations with stakeholders and leadership, regardless of how hands-on they are with the project, remember to share the video along with a summary of project and communication objectives, target audience, and distribution plan. That simple step can remind stakeholders of the context for the review and increase the chance the feedback will be relevant and valuable.
Communication is key to help everyone understand where the project currently stands and what still needs to be done. This will help avoid confusion and potential frustration if the video is not close to its final form or if there have been strategic changes made during the production process.
Be direct and honest.
At the end of the day, being direct and honest will get your video completed efficiently. A professional creative team hears feedback daily and doesn’t get hurt feelings or let ego get in the way of getting to the best final product for their clients. However, trust creative experts to give gentle pushback if your requested revisions will take the project away from the objective or project scope.
Most importantly, ask questions.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “There are no stupid questions,” and it’s true! You don’t know what you don’t know until you ask.
Clients aren’t expected to know the ins and outs of video production. Asking questions helps to find the best solutions to the requested revisions. You should not be judged for asking questions about the process or talking through your ideas. However, keep in mind it’s better to ask questions early in the process because, as time goes on, things get more difficult to change. For example, it’s much easier to change the location of an interview before filming than it would be to either edit in a new background or re-shoot the same interview.
A solid creative brief and pre-production process should limit the number of revisions, but adjustments will always be an inevitable part of the process. Timing, details, and transparency ensure the smoothest timeline and reduce scope creep. If there’s ever a question about the review process, your video production team will be happy to help. Working with the right video production partner means your valuable feedback is heard and implemented in the best way possible so you can realize the most return on your investment.