Video mistakes that make you look dumb

By Chloé Gee on November 3, 2021

By Chloé Gee on November 3, 2021

A good, professional video takes a good professional to make. Seems obvious, right? I know, I know, but there’s a time and place for videos you’ve shot on your smartphone. One of the side effects of coronavirus is that we all became much more accepting of amateur videos.

But, there’s a difference between amateur videos and unprofessional videos—videos that make you look dumb.

Over the last few years, I realized that not everyone knows when a video looks unprofessional. That’s fine if not everyone in your target market notices. The problem is when you don’t realize your videos look unprofessional, but some of your target market does. That means your video is making you look dumb, and you don’t even know it!

Let’s take a look at seven video mistakes that make you look dumb. Then, we’ll cover some tips for making a good online video.


Video editing software doesn’t work like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other word processors. It can be a bit of a challenge to see when you’ve misspelled words in software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, and most other video editing software.

Make sure you check the spelling of everything carefully. Pay special attention to people’s names, the names of businesses and nonprofits, phone numbers, and addresses. A call to action with a phone number that’s one digit off is even worse than a misspelled word!

Focus and lighting issues 

Typically, videos on your phone focus automatically, so if you don’t have much experience shooting professional videos, you can end up with the wrong thing in focus, even if it’s just for a moment in your video. You may have the subject of the video looking out-of-focus against an in-focus background.

Similarly, it’s easy to have lighting issues if you don’t have experience shooting videos. You can end up with lighter-skinned people looking washed out or darker-skinned people being difficult to see.

In the worst case, it’s super subtle and makes the person in your video look sickly. You don’t want your potential customers worrying about whether your team is sick or not!

Bad design practices

If you’re not a professional graphic designer and your videographer doesn’t have a design background, it’s all too easy for bad design practices to creep into your videos. Good design is just as important in your videos as it is everywhere else you’re marketing your organization.

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Space around lower thirds (i.e. those graphics toward the bottom of the screen that tell you someone’s name and maybe where they work)
  • Plenty of space around all graphics
  • Make sure your font choices are easy to read and match your organization’s branding
  • Be consistent in your font choices, sizes, and colors
  • Don’t try to cram too many graphics or text on the screen at once
  • Don’t put graphics or text too close to a person or object

Inconsistent intro or outro

If your intro and outro look different from video to video, or you use different versions of your logo in one video, that can definitely look dumb.

A professional will know when exceptions make sense, but generally, your videos should have the same logo, same animation, and same sounds or music for consistency. If your intro and outro look inconsistent, what will your target market assume about the consistency of your services and products?

The audio quality stinks 

Audio is a huge component of your videos! If the audio isn’t good quality, it can really make your video look (and sound) bad.

Here are some tips to avoid bad audio:

  • Invest in decent audio equipment.
  • Don’t record your video somewhere that has tile or wood floors.
  • Practice ahead of time.
  • After you’ve recorded the video, listen to it on quality speakers, not cheap speakers built into your laptop, tablet, or phone.
  • Have other people listen to the audio as well.

If your original audio recording is terrible, it’s often impossible to fix after the fact.

Not renaming your final file

This one really gets me. I was actually at a work-related dinner just a week or two after joining the team here at T&S, and we watched a video that another marketing company here in Oklahoma City had produced. I won’t tell you what company it was because we could clearly see on the screen that the video file name was something like this:


You may assume people won’t see what your video file is named, but that would be a flawed assumption to make. Obviously, people see it if it’s ever played at an event like the dinner I was at, but many places you upload a video online will show it as well. Sometimes, it will be the default title of the video. Other times, you won’t even realize that people can see it later.

The point is, name your video something you’re okay with people seeing—and make it make sense.

Your marketing company’s info is on it 

Ever seen a video on someone’s website that has their marketing company’s logo or company name on there? I can tell you exactly how this happens. Here’s the process:

  1. The marketing company uploaded the video to their YouTube account to show their client.
  2. The client watched the video, loved it, and added it to their website.
  3. The marketing company never bothered to follow up with their client, so the video is now on their website with the marketing company’s YouTube profile photo.

There are tons of variants of that process, and I wouldn’t expect the client to know that would happen. However, the marketing company should have known. This one is all about a lack of following up or experience on the part of the marketing company.

There are multiple ways to get a video on your website without your marketing company’s branding on it. In general, we recommend that people use Vimeo to host videos they will put on their website. With a paid Vimeo account, you have tons of control over what, if any, branding is on your video player.

How do you make a good online video?

So, what can you do to ensure your video looks good, whether it’s on your website, social media, or somewhere else? Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t try to do it yourself or even have your niece, who is good with an iPhone, do it. Hire a professional, ideally a team.
  2. Have multiple people check the video before it’s made public.
  3. Carefully read all the text on your video, paying particular attention to phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses.
  4. If you’re shooting videos yourself, invest in good lighting and audio equipment.
  5. Make sure you have a clear CTA—call to action. What should viewers do after they watch your video?

Video is a must for your digital marketing. If you’re worried about looking dumb because your videos might look dumb, we’d be happy to talk. We regularly help clients with their online videos, including everything from full production in our studio to simply editing footage clients send us.

If you want help, feel free to reach out and see if we’re a good fit for you and your project.

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