You’ve been thinking about producing a video for a while. You know you need to do it, and you’re ready to bite the bullet and produce your first one. How hard can it be to press record and talk to the camera, or record some footage? Recording video itself isn’t hard. All you have to do is press that little button and have something in front of the camera. Right? Well, yes and no. Your first video production experience could be a nightmare if you don’t prepare for success.

5 Tips To Avoid A Video Production Disaster

Here are five tips that will help insure that your video project doesn’t become a pain in your side.

1. Think about your audience: As you’re planning to create a video, think about who will see it, how they will see it, what the viewer will learn, or how will it benefit them. Remember time is money, and people generally have short attention spans especially online. Any time you can create a visual hook, or make it funny and entertaining, you will increase the chances that viewers will watch.

2. Determine your production needs. People frequently talk about how easy it is to shoot video with a cell phone, or a pocket cam, or something “affordable.” While these cameras can certainly get it done, they also have limitations. They often have limited ability to capture quality audio, and don’t zoom very well. It’s important to consider what you’re shooting and what equipment you’ll need to achieve your goal. For a talking head vlog, a web cam will work, but if you’re recording a wedding, or speech, you’ll probably need a camera with an external mic input to make sure you capture the audio sufficiently, a tripod, and don’t forget about lights.

3. Consult with a professional. If you’re serious about creating strong videos, you should network with video and film professionals. There are so many things that can go wrong during a production, and Murphy’s Law is the rule, not the exception. If you can’t hire a pro, you should at least start building relationships with those who’ve been there and done that. Their advice and direction can be invaluable especially when you’re planning your project, and if you run into any hiccups along the way.

4. Know how you’re going to get your video edited. Unless you’re going to upload raw footage directly to the web, you’ll need to get your video polished up. It could be something simple as adding a lower third graphic, or photos, to more intensive work like fixing bad audio, or color correction. If you can’t afford to hire an editor, you will need to either find a volunteer, or step up your skills and get to chopping.

5. Practice. If you’re going to be on camera, you’ll need to practice. If you want to be a videographer, it takes practice. If you want to learn how to edit, you’ll have to practice. Video production is one of those learn-as-you-go trades. Every professional started out as a student or amateur, and the only way you’re going to get better is by doing it. You have to have the confidence that you’ll get better, because you will.