6 Common Filmmaker Mistakes Made in Video Production

Posted on Mar 24 2017   |   Guides

When you are planning and/or producing video content for the first time (or even if you have done it several times before), it can be quite difficult to spot some of the common pitfalls that you may be in danger of falling into. 

Nobody wants to invest their money and time into a video production that is likely to be fraught with rookie mistakes. The good thing, however, is that once you are aware of the biggest mistakes when it comes to video production, all you need is a little forethought to avoid them. Therefore, to help you out, here are 6 common filmmaker mistakes that are made in video production as follows...

1. Below Par Audio Mix

One of the most glaringly obvious video editing errors is the urge to fix your audio mix. Most edits have two primary audio components i.e. music and voice, both of which play vital roles in your productions. Music drives the pace of the edit as well as setting the mood while voices communicate content (tells the story and imparts information). But in the event that your music mix is too hot, instrumentals are likely to overpower vocals which means viewers may miss the message. Remember, when in doubt, ride music levels lower than they ought to be, only bumping them up in gaps between dialogues.

2. Inadequate Pricing

As intimated above, music drives production pace which means that the soundtrack has to match how you time your edits. Fast-paced, upbeat music works best with quick shots, cuts, and whip pans while slow-paced tracks lend themselves to slower camera moves, long shots, and soft transitions e.g. dissolve. When super-fast edits are mismatched with plodding, slow music or vice versa, the pace is unlikely to play properly. It is thus advisable to choose a soundtrack that sets the ideal pace for the piece, and to edit your visuals so that they are in sync with the pace of the music.

3. Flash Frames

While wayward flash frames may not be obvious (if you blink at the wrong time you are unlikely to see them), they, nonetheless, create a subtle sense of uneasiness and leave viewers with a feeling that something is amiss. Flash frames are usually introduced when re-sequencing clips during revision or when working fast so be on the lookout for them. If you do not have eyes that can catch them on the fly, it is a good idea to zoom in on your timelines and quickly review individual cuts to ensure that they are clean. 

4. Ghost Frames

When outbound shots used in a dissolve go into another shot before transition is complete, what remains is what is commonly referred to as ghost frames. Cuts within the dissolve are only seen at partial opacity, so viewers are never really able to process what the shot is or if it was meant to be there to begin with. A related issue occurs when one cuts to a shot then begins a dissolve before viewers have time to not only see, but receive’ the shot.

The unwritten editing rules stipulate that one must only dissolve between two established shots (inbound and outbound), and that embedded units within transitions should not be introduced.

5. Graphic Violations

Suffice to say, there are enough graphic violations out there that could merit an entire article but for now we will just mention the most common mistakes. These include text that is too large, too small, or too swirly to read; low contrast of background and text; hard-to-read colours; using multiple fonts in a single graphic; shadows that fall in multiple directions; obnoxiously large drop shadows; titles that are on and off so quickly that they cannot be read or those that linger for too long; and the ever-popular grammar or typo error. 

6. Awkward Out / Stagger Stop

This mistake has been deliberately set at the end of this article because it is typically experienced at the end of productions. It occurs when the varying elements on a graphic slide fade out at different times rather than together as they are supposed to. Because most graphics are comprised of elements on different layers of the timeline, it can be quite easy to inadvertently stagger out these points in a way that results in one or more of the graphics ending before the others, resulting in part of the graphic going away too soon. To prevent this, ensure that all elements have the same out points on the timeline or, alternatively, try fading out by dropping black clips on superior tracks on the timeline.


The most important step to professionalizing video productions is prioritizing the purging of the above 6 common filmmaker mistakes. And now that you are aware of these common errors, you should do everything you can to eradicate them from your edits.