Monday, October 16, 2006


Test your video before it's too late!

Before a film studio finishes a film, they do a series of test screenings, inviting specially selected attendees to watch the film and then to fill out a questionaire detailing their feelings about the film. Questions asked include, "Was this film too long or too short?", "Would you tell your friend about this film?", and "How did you feel about the ending? Please explain." The questionaire might ask, "Would you bring children to see this film?" and "Who is the perfect audience for this film?"

Studios are in the business of making a profit, and they will do what they can to improve their product, to better target their advertising dollars, and to increase their profits. Studios have been known to reshoot the ending of a film in the attempt to raise audience ratings.

Similarly, you, as a corporate producer, should test your video before you finish it to be sure the video is achieving the goals you desire.

When conducting test screenings, here are a few hints:
1) Gather together a group of people similar to your target audience.
2) Reproduce a viewing experience similar to how your final video will be viewed. For example, if there will be a speaker presenting at a banquet setting before the video, attempt to have someone introduce the video in the same way.
3) Write up a series of SHORT and CLEAR questions that will help your audience give you the feedback you need.

After the questionaires are turned in, spend time having a discussion with your test audience. Now is the time to get honest feedback about what is right and what is wrong with the video. Is the main message getting across? Is the audience bored? Are there any sections which are particularly confusing?

Having a friendly and open attitude which encourages honesty will get you the best results. Your job is to get the audience to open up and give honest feedback, without the fear of reprisal.

As the discussion progresses, you may be curious about a particular section of the video that no one yet mentioned. Save all leading questions about a particular moment in the video for the end of your discussion.

So often my clients don't do this final step which I feel is crucial for success of their video. Get feedback! Sometimes a comment from one person can save you from making an embarrassing mistake!

Don't get too caught up in the details of the feedback and make changes for every comment! However, often the comments and discussion will give you invaluable ideas for vastly improving your video, bringing better results, improving your bottom line, and increasing your job security.

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