Video feedback can be hard. Whether discussions on feedback are between just you and your client, or you have a whole team and multiple stakeholders, there are so many elements which will challenge your technical skills and your people skills.
This article will tell you the steps you need to know about managing a smoother video feedback process that will be more efficient and less stressful for you, your team, and your clients. Plus, once you’ve mastered these skills, you’ll probably notice that the final project looks even better as a result, too.
Part 1: What to Know Before Giving Video Feedback
Think from your audience’s perspective
Remember who your video is for in the first place. When your client or any project member is watching a cut of the video back, remind everyone that they need to imagine they are seeing it with the perspective of the demographic you’re targeting. What will they like and respond positively or negatively to?
Miscommunication is what is likely to hold your project back the most at any given stage. Luckily you can reduce the chances of this happening by making sure that everyone’s feedback is specific. What is it that the person does or doesn’t like about the frame? What timecode is it at? Specific doesn’t mean unnecessarily blunt. Encourage constructive criticism to recognize the hard work done so far and keep the discussion conducive to a productive team environment.
Keeping one person in charge of communication will also avoid miscommunication. You don’t want piles of emails arriving at different times in the revisions stage. You should have one person in your team responsible for communication, and one person on the client’s side with the same role. This will make communication much more efficient.
Provide Objective-Based Feedback
As part of making feedback more specific, keep in mind that vague, stylistic comments are likely to mean different things to different people. Plus, they probably aren’t the best way to express what you or your client is thinking. It helps to think of the changes that need to be made to your project in terms of the initial goals and objectives listed on your creative brief. What specific feedback can be given to communicate better with your target audience and reach those goals?
You’ll also find specific feedback easier and less overwhelming if you’ve split your editing phase into different stages. It’s easier to focus on macro decisions first. After that’s been addressed you can add technical details ready for feedback in the next stage. For example, make sure your video’s storyline is on track. Then you can focus on color grading or the sound mix.
Don’t Over-Do Revisions
The number of rounds of revisions, and what counts as a round of revisions, should be clearly communicated before you start your project. You can then remind your client of this as you work through their feedback. Unless your project is a particularly complex one with multiple stakeholders, you should be able to keep the rounds of revisions on each stage to just a few.
Part 2: Main Steps for Best Video Feedback
Video feedback can be a pain. There’s a lot to consider in an audio-visual project, that’s what makes it so engaging! Plus there is the issue of organizing multiple cuts, and teaching the client to be specific with timecodes. It may be easy for your client to write a bunch of feedback, but a lot more difficult for you to navigate through it if it’s poorly written. This is why some of these tips, and in particular a video feedback tool, are so useful.
Manage Feedback with Video Feedback Tools
Video feedback tools are by far the best way to speed up your revisions and make feedback more efficient. These tools allow you and your client to watch back your video and leave comments at specific timecodes.
If you’re using a tool like Motion Array’s Review, then you also have the option of adding a marker on the video frame itself, to be even clearer about where your comment refers to. Motion Array’s Review also lets you upload multiple versions of one project, and makes it easy for the team to navigate to the latest one. Your client will thank you for not having to juggle the multiple files on their computer. Plus, any feedback comments can be replied to or ticked off as you or your editor work through them.
Communicate at Every Stage of the Project
Many production teams split the editing phase into multiple stages. This allows the team to stay focused and provide feedback on macro decisions, such as the storyline structure, before delving into the more detailed parts. This would include things like the sound effects, graphic elements, or other technical parts of post-production.
Make sure you’re giving your stakeholders an opportunity for feedback at each of these stages. It will allow you to remain more focused on the task at hand through each part and will avoid time and money being lost if you have to backtrack on an important decision later on.
Organize and Analyze Feedback
Whoever has been nominated as being in charge of communication should address any advice that is repeated or contradictory with your stakeholders before the team starts work on applying the changes. At the same, it’s important to make sure that feedback explicitly covers all of the points that you expect to sign off on for this stage of editing. Even if it’s just to give you the green light, make sure it’s stated explicitly by your client, and preferably in writing.
Break Feedback into Tasks and Finalize Video Edits
Once your feedback has been broken down into tasks, it’s time to follow up once more with your client and/or stakeholders. This is the time to overcome any objections or reach an understanding of why it will be dealt with in a certain way. Again, it may help to refer back to your creative brief here and think about the overall goals of the project.
Once you’ve taken into account these new tips on video feedback, you’ll be much better at giving and receiving it. Most importantly, you should enter into your next project feeling more confident about directing your client on how to give better feedback and mediating any disagreements along the way.