As ambassadors of the video industry, we have a vested stake in preserving the integrity of our chosen profession. With all the amazing advancements we’ve enjoyed in technology and workflow efficiencies, one of the things we cannot compromise on is the fundamental foundation of our practice.

Our well-being as video purists has come under attack from all fronts, one soccer mom and millennial hipster at a time, who believes that pointing their smartphone vertically, pressing record, and then beaming their video across social channels for all the world to share is acceptable. We must align forces, work across the proverbial aisle, and take back our industry by sticking to the traditional video standards we’ve been taught. In doing so, we can save humanity from having to watch another viral video abomination.

We must align forces, work across the proverbial aisle, and take back our industry by sticking to the traditional video standards we’ve been taught. 

As video production aficionados, why are we not taking up arms against people who insist on breaking every basic production principle? It’s time we make a stand against video violators by enforcing these four basic steps:

  • Can you hear me now? Audio quality will make or break your videos, and too often, content creators are content to capture ambient audio when delivering their message. Invest in a quality microphone that will drown out the noise around you and allow your viewers to focus on your message.
  • According to the Consumer Technology Association, in 2016, 4K UHD TV sales were expected to hit over ten million units. Of those new television sales, zero were marketed as great for viewing vertical video. If a video is intended to only share on a social platform that leverages vertical aspect ratio, allow your fellow countryman to carry on. However, if there’s even the slightest chance that content will make it to a small – or, gasp, a big screen – remind the shooter to capture the landscape accordingly.
  • Ensure basic safe zone principles are being adhered to. Most, if not all, video editing software platforms allow users to overlay title and video safe zones to ensure proper display alignment. Graphics, logos, and even multiple layers of video can lose their luster if they fall outside their respective zones. Remember: “When in doubt, break the title and action zone overlays out.”
    Editing interface showing Safe Margins
  • Much the way misaligned graphics can sink your cinematic masterpiece, poor color quality can do the same. Ensuring color continuity throughout your video is key to keeping your viewer’s attention. Invest time into adjusting your waveform monitors and vectorscopes to seal the deal on painting your pretty pictures.

While I want to believe the video profession can weather the social storm of substandard production quality, the reality is that too many creators — and consumers — of real-time media are complacent in their quest to capture the next viral video. That, or, they simply don’t understand the importance of video integrity. It doesn’t take much to educate someone on the virtues of video. Together, our focus on upholding these production standards can ensure that the efforts of those who came before us in the video world will never be in vain.

Dave Sniadak is a self-proclaimed video purist who cringes at the sight of someone shooting a vertical video on their phone. He is also responsible for all communications initiatives for a Minneapolis-based airline.

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