15 Tips for Filming and Editing Marketing Videos


Lately, I haven’t been blogging as much here at WordStream. I haven’t been on an extended road trip (sob), nor have I spent the last eight weeks or so in quiet contemplation in a monastery atop a mountain in the Himalayas (though I could definitely use it).

The reason I’ve been blogging a lot less than usual is because I’ve been working on some exciting side projects here at WordStream, namely shooting and editing a lot of video (stay tuned in the coming weeks for more info).

 Editing marketing videos professional video shoot

Many marketers want to get into video, but to say it can be intimidating would be an understatement. With so much to think about – from camera equipment and editing software to lighting a shot and optimizing audio – the barriers to entry can be high. Fortunately, the price of decent gear and post-production software has dropped significantly during the past 10 years, making now the ideal time to start producing your own marketing videos.

In today’s post, I’m going to share 15 tips for editing and producing marketing videos, so grab a cup of coffee and get ready for a crash course in marketing video production.

Marketing Videos: Pre-Production

1. Create a Storyboard and/or Shooting Script

The best marketing videos don’t just happen – they’re a result of meticulous planning and preparation.

Before you even think about getting your camera equipment ready, consider putting a storyboard and shooting script together. Storyboarding helps you figure out exactly what shots you need before you start filming, and a shooting script is like a screenplay for your video.

 Editing marketing videos Harry Potter storyboard

Storyboard panels for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’

You don’t have to draw a stunning masterpiece for your storyboard. In fact, you don’t need to draw it at all. You can use a series of still photographs as a storyboard, or even rough sketches or stick figures – whatever is easiest. Just make sure you know what shots you need before you start filming.

Remember – the more time you spend planning your marketing video, the less likely you are to find yourself missing footage later on.

2. Prep Your Presenters or Interview Subjects

Make sure all your presenters or subjects know what’s expected of them beforehand to minimize mistakes or wasted time on the day of the shoot. You should have a good idea of what the finished product is going to look like long before you arrive at your location, and your presenters should know exactly what they’re doing.

Also, try to avoid having your presenters memorize pages upon pages of script – they’re probably not actors, and asking this of them is likely to cause more anxiety (and mistakes) than allowing them a little freedom.

3. Know What B-Roll Footage You Need

Planning to intersperse shots of your team hard at work into your video, or cut away from your presenter to other footage? Then you need what videography professionals call B-roll footage.

B-roll is essentially any footage that isn’t of your primary subject. If you’re filming an explainer video showcasing your software product, B-roll footage might include shots of satisfied customers using your product, or an external shot of your offices, for example.

Whatever footage you need, figure it out during the pre-production phase to avoid situations in which you need footage you don’t have. Remember – there’s no such thing as too much B-roll.

TIP: If you need a shot of something that would be difficult or impossible to film yourself, such as aerial shots or footage from exotic locales, you can always use stock B-roll footage. I’ve used footage from Beachfront B-Roll several times in the past, and the quality and diversity of the footage is excellent.

Marketing Videos: Production

Whether you’re shooting a video or taking a photograph, composition is crucial to the finished product. Composition is so important it deserves a post in and of itself. However, since this is a crash course, we’ll just cover the basics for now.

Composition is the proper term for how a shot is framed and staged, or “composed.” This refers to how your subject – whatever it is you’re filming – is arranged and positioned within the shot.

4. Use the Rule of Thirds

Whenever you’re filming anything (or taking photos), remember the “Rule of Thirds.”

Imagine your shot is divided into nine equal sectors by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, like so:

 Editing marketing videos Rule of Thirds principle

Notice how the primary subject in the image is positioned where two of the four points (which are known as the “anchor points”) intersect? This technique is used to draw the eye toward the main points of interest in the shot. The viewer’s eye will naturally gravitate towards the top-left anchor point, and many people will spend longer dwelling on this area than other parts of the shot, making it a logical point at which to position the main area of interest in your shot – in this example, the face of the subject.

This is a pretty standard composition using the Rule of Thirds, and although it might not seem that remarkable, composing your shot in this way makes it easier for the eye to “read” and results in a much more aesthetically pleasing shot overall. Your audience probably won’t even notice the composition of the shot, because it just “works.”

The Rule of Thirds can be applied to just about any type of shot, including landscapes. Using the horizontal lines is a great guide for where the horizon line of your exterior shots should be, and where your subject should be positioned:

 Editing marketing videos Rule of Thirds applied to landscape

In the example above, the upper of the two horizontal lines is the logical horizon point for this shot, as using the lower of the two would result in the shot containing way too much empty sky. Of course, this might be precisely the effect you’re trying to achieve, so think of this as a guideline rather than a hard-and-fast “rule.”

Many cameras enable you to overlay this grid onto your viewfinder, making it easy to compose your shot before and during filming.

However you choose to frame your shot, make sure that you keep composition in mind, especially when setting up your camera. To read more about shot composition, check out this great guide to line, shape, negative space, and other composition techniques.

Marketing Videos: Lighting

Few things will ruin a marketing video faster than a shot that is either too light or too dark. Yes, you can correct image brightness and contrast in post-production to some extent (more on this later), but it’s better to get the shot right on the day of the shoot than relying on “fixing it in post” later on.

5. Avoid Conflicts Between Natural and Artificial Light

When it comes to lighting in video, different kinds of light have different temperatures. These color temperatures are measured in degrees Kelvin (°K):

 Editing marketing videos color temperature chart

Again, this is a complex topic and could easily warrant its own post, but for our purposes, all you need to know is that mixing two light sources with different color temperatures will make for an unevenly lit shot.

Let’s say you’re shooting an explainer video featuring a member of your team. You’ve chosen an indoor room with good acoustics (more on this later), and you’re ready to start filming. The room is lit primarily by fluorescent lights, but there’s a problem – a large window that lets in plenty of natural daylight.

If you position your subject too close to the window, you could run into a potential contrast in light sources – the fluorescent overhead light with a temperature of around 4500° K, and the daylight, which has a temperature of around 5600° K. This kind of conflict can be difficult to compensate for, and it’s a headache you really don’t need.

Wherever you’re shooting, ensure that your primary light source is even and consistent. If you shoot indoors, avoid rooms with windows. If this isn’t possible, position your subject sufficiently far from the windows to avoid the daylight interfering with your shot.

6. Manually Set Your Camera’s White Balance

Now we know that different light sources have different temperatures, we need to account for these temperature ranges by manually setting the camera’s white balance – a process that basically tells the camera what “true white” looks like in an environment to avoid color casting.

 Editing marketing videos white balance example

In the image above, the shot on the left has a blue color cast caused by the natural temperature of the daylight in the shot. The white balance of the shot on the right has been set correctly, capturing the true colors of the image.

Many cameras have an auto-white balance feature, but I strongly recommend learning how to set it manually. This avoids relying on your camera to achieve a correctly color balanced shot. You can learn how to do this by referring to the instruction manual of your camera.

Even if the color casting in the example above is the effect you’re trying to achieve, film the shot using the correct white balance and adjust the color in post-production – don’t rely on lazy camerawork to achieve a particular effect.

7. Avoid ‘Spotlighting’ Your Subject

Unless you’re filming a Broadway musical, you should probably avoid placing your subject in bright pools of direct light. Intense primary light sources can blow out the brightness and contrast of your shot and cause unflattering reflections on your subject. There are many different lighting techniques, each of which can be used to achieve a certain effect.

 Editing marketing videos lighting setup examples

If you’re lucky enough to have a professional light rig, don’t just point it at your subject – make sure your shot is lit evenly, and use a reflector and/or a diffuser to minimize harsh spotlighting or shadows (such as the “mustache” in the far-left example above).

To learn more about lighting for video, check out the awesome videos at the Vimeo Video School.

8. Check the Acoustics of Your Filming Location

Before you start filming, check the acoustics of the location in which you’re shooting. Is there an echo? If so, try and find somewhere else to shoot. You can fix a lot of audio problems in post-production, but even a faint echo can be a nightmare to get rid of completely.

You don’t need to soundproof a conference room in your office (but hey, if you can, go for it), but be sure to bear the acoustics of your location in mind when you’re scouting for possible places to film. It could save you a lot of headaches later.

9. Shoot Multiple Takes

Even experienced presenters make mistakes, and the last thing you want is a situation in which you only have a single take of a crucial part of your marketing video.

 Editing marketing videos Avengers blooper gif

Even Norse gods mess up sometimes.

On the day of the shoot, make sure to run through multiple takes. This provides you with a safety net in case you notice something wrong with one of the takes, and allows you to edit together your final sequence from several clips of the same sequence rather than relying on just one.

Even if the first take goes flawlessly, shoot another – just in case.

Marketing Videos: Post-Production

Before we dive into my post-production tips, you need to choose and familiarize yourself with your editing software.

I strongly recommend using Adobe Premiere Pro, which has been my go-to editing package for almost a decade. This remarkably robust editing program has everything you need to start producing professional-quality marketing videos, and the pricing plans are very reasonable (around $250 per year for an individual license), meaning that the barriers to entry have been lowered considerably, even for small businesses.

Despite being a comprehensive professional editing suite, Adobe Premiere Pro is also surprisingly user-friendly, and the learning resources and user community at the Adobe website are amazing.

If you’re working on a Mac, you might be tempted to opt for Apple’s Final Cut Pro. Although Final Cut Pro is a fine editing package, I still recommend using Premiere Pro. In my opinion, the ease with which you can seamlessly move between Premiere Pro and other Adobe programs such as After Effects and Photoshop alone makes it the stronger software program.

10. Tidy Up Your Clips Before You Start Assembling the Rough Cut

When importing your footage into your editing program, clean up your clips as you import them. Most editing packages allow you to set “in” and “out” points for each clip, reducing their length by trimming out pauses, giggles, and false starts.

Editing the final sequence together using trimmed clips is a lot easier than adjusting each individual clip on the fly.

11. Always Cut ‘On the Action’

When editing a shot of someone doing something, make sure to cut to the next shot during the action that your subject is performing.

For example, if you’re editing together a sequence of someone opening a door before walking through it, cut to the shot of the subject opening the door at the precise moment the person turns the door handle. Cutting away before or after the action can look jarring and distract the viewer. You may not even have to worry about this, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re working on a more ambitious video.

12. Assemble the Rough Cut Before Working Out Any Timing Issues

Once you’ve got all the clips you need imported into your editing program, it’s time to start actually putting the rough cut of your marketing video together.

 Editing marketing videos editing tips

Editing a sequence can get complicated quickly, so tidy up your clips as you work.

However, before you begin the painstaking process of frame-by-frame editing, get your clips roughly into place. There’s no point agonizing over precise timing issues until your video has already begun to take shape. It won’t look pretty, but it’ll give you a solid idea of which parts of your marketing video need the most work.

13. Don’t Overdo It with Transitions and Effects

Unless you’re making a Star Wars parody video (which would be kind of awesome in a marketing context), don’t use radial wipe transitions – or star wipes, or any of the other “zany” effect presets that come with your editing software. The more attention to draw to your transitions and editing, the cheaper and more amateurish your video will look (and yet we still forgive George Lucas for this).

If you have to, use simple cross-fades to transition from one shot to another. Let your content do the talking, not your editing software.

14. Choose Your Music Carefully

Not every video needs background music, but if you’ve decided that yours does, be careful about your choices. For example, you probably wouldn’t expect to hear Norwegian death metal in a promotional video for an animal shelter. Ensure your music is suitable for your project.

 Editing marketing videos music piracy

Also, pay close attention to the licensing requirements of the music you plan to use. Unless you use royalty-free music or compose your own, most music is subject to stringent copyright restrictions that could land you in some seriously hot legal water if you don’t play by the rules.

Remember – a record company won’t care if you’re “only” using copyrighted songs in a short marketing video. It’s copyright infringement, plain and simple, and it could result in a costly lawsuit, so tread carefully and err on the side of caution.

TIP: There are several sites that offer royalty-free music and sound effects, including:

You can also use certain songs and orchestral pieces if they are considered to be within the public domain. You can read more about public domain music at the Public Domain Information Project, and browse a selection of public domain artists and genres at Public Domain Music.

15. Don’t Assume You Can Fix Everything in Post-Production

Editing packages such as Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are extraordinarily powerful and enable you to accomplish a great deal with your videos, but they’re not magic.

Don’t assume that any and all problems with your video can be fixed in post-production. Sometimes, you simply won’t be able to correct the brightness or contrast of a shot as much as you need to, or manage to isolate a single person’s voice in a room crowded with hundreds of people. Yes, it might be possible given enough time and skill, but post-production should be seen as a process to add polish and finesse to your video, not an opportunity to go back and fix mistakes that could have been easily avoided during a properly planned shoot.

And … Cut!

Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas of pitfalls you can avoid when the time comes to start producing your own marketing videos.

If you have questions about any of the points raised or anything else video-related, let me know in the comments – I’ll do my best to answer them.

Happy shooting!


Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


Jan 05, 2015

Great article Dan. Awesome depth and explanation.

Dan Shewan
Jan 05, 2015

Thanks, Vishal - I'm glad you found it useful.

Mar 03, 2017

I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous
blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!

Greg Simerlink
Jan 08, 2015

Great article Dan! We've recently started doing videos and have learned quite a bit via trial and error. Your tips will help us out even more! BTW can't wait to see your videos

Dan Shewan
Jan 08, 2015

Thanks for the kind words, Greg. I'm glad my post helped you guys out. Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for some delicious video goodness from WordStream!

Jan 08, 2015

Dan, all true--but there is also a huge advantage to using a full service production company who specializes in niche markets/corporate communication/training/etc. We do this for a lot of major companies and keep it reasonably priced as well as take the guesswork/learning curve out of it. ; ) I loved making my own but I also love hiring great people to do things like manage my adwords...ha ha. Have a great day!

Jan 08, 2015

This is GREAT info! We looked for this type of info months ago but only found a few sources and had to piece it all together. Thanks for putting this out into the world. It was interesting, as we learned how to improve the production quality of our videos, a huge factor was where we positioned our camera and our lighting. The lighting had to be really close to us AND behind us in order for it to look right. And wow, what a difference it made when we moved the video closer to us rather than having it be further back and zooming in. It's fun but it takes a lot of tweaking to get it just right :)

Dan Shewan
Jan 09, 2015

Hey Nina, I'm glad you found this information useful. I only wish the timing could have been better for you!

Professional video production can be a fiendishly complicated topic, and while the lowered barrier to entry is generally a good thing for marketers, small businesses, and even enthusiasts and hobbyists, there's definitely an element of expectation management involved. Many people end up disappointed by their first forays into video, not because their gear isn't decent, but because they slowly realize that there's a lot more to production values than buying a fancy camera.

Still, I'm really glad you liked the post. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

Jan 09, 2015

Great end to end tips! Glad you mentioned the one seemingly small detail that can cause huge problems for so many video creators and that is insuring that the music you use is cleared. In addition to legal headaches, all your hard work can can be taken down or in the case of YouTube, you could have ads pop up in your marketing video. And if those ads are from your competition, that's really no fun!

Dan Shewan
Jan 12, 2015

Hey qb, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree - many people have no idea how much trouble they can get into by failing to comply with copyright law. Of course, regulatory bodies and industry associations (particularly the MPAA and RIAA) often exploit the law themselves by pursuing frivolous legal action against content producers, which doesn't help (or win any fans to their cause). Still, worthwhile treading carefully, for sure. Glad you liked the post!

Jan 12, 2015

Great article Dan. In terms of stock footage, I found some great clips for my projects at lotsoffootage.com/

Dan Shewan
Jan 13, 2015

Hey David, thanks for the link!

Derek Cruz
Mar 03, 2015

Nice post. Thanks. it looks really great and very informative.. Keep posting.

Mark Hartenau
Aug 04, 2015

This fantastic tips for Filming and Editing Marketing Videos. Thanks for sharing your experience and effective information. Thank you so much

Nov 02, 2015

Awesome information in your post! It's interesting because marketing videos are growing in popularity and relevance, but it can be hard to know what you're doing.

Alex Lane
Nov 17, 2015

Thank you so much for this resource. I have never filmed anything major, but would love to try it out. I know angles are important in video production. To get some of the harder angles do you have to use cranes and similar tools?

Ian Johanson
Nov 17, 2015

Thanks for your tip about using the rule of thirds. To be honest I had never heard of it before reading your post. I had just thought that having the subject of the picture or film centered was best. I know you say it isn't a hard rule, but since we read from left to right is it normally better to have the subject where the lines intersect on the left like in your first image?

Happy Luke
Mar 03, 2017

Greetings from Los angeles! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to
check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break.
I enjoy the information you present here and can't wait to take
a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how fast your blog loaded
on my phone .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G ..
Anyways, good site!

Patti Osterberg
Jan 08, 2016

I agree that "few things will ruin a marketing video faster than a shot that is either too light or too dark." I think that it is definitely best to perfect the lighting in-camera if possible so that you don't have to fix it in post-production. Would you say that a marketing video should generally go for pretty bright lighting? Or can a darker look catch attention as well?

Optical Inteligence
Feb 03, 2016

Very well written as always Dan. You can say much more with images / video when the "unseen" aspects are done right. Same usually goes for audio. You might even get away with not-so-top quality video if your audio is on point. Thanks for the post. -Dennis Berkley

Feb 12, 2016

I have been considering doing videos for my blog but I am very intimated by the idea of it. I think besides beings elf-conscious on camera, I also don't know much about filming or editing. I am considering getting a small company that can help me make videos and at the same time teach me basics!

Rachel Finn
Feb 26, 2016

This article is extremely helpful for me because my husband and I are just starting a new company and need to make a few videos. I hadn't even considered any B-roll footage yet, so I'll need to start coming up with ideas for that right away. Also, I really like the idea of using anchor points!

fun88 asia
Feb 28, 2017

What's up, constantly i used to check webpage posts here early in the morning, because
i love to learn more and more.

Mar 17, 2016

Thanks for the video ,really helpful and informative.

Sarah Smith
May 13, 2016

I'm trying to make a promotional video for my company. I had no idea that making a video could be so intense and that so many things could be done to improve your video like the rule of thirds. I'll have to see if I can get some help in making my video so that I can make it the best video ever!

Narendra Wetkoli
May 27, 2016

Thanks sir for sharing the best strategy to all readers.
I will be use your strategy for corporate movie creation work.

Luke McMasters
Oct 05, 2016

Video production is definitely a big risk as a marketing medium, but a high-quality video also offers great rewards. A poorly shot video can embarrass your brand, so, unless you're incredibly confident, it's not always wise to do it yourself. Hiring a talented, artistic video production company is well worth the cost because you can count on getting a great product that promotes your business.

Mar 02, 2017

You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.

It seems too complex and very broad for me. I'm looking forward for
your next post, I'll try to get the hang of it!

Georgia B
Nov 15, 2016

Thanks for the tip on creating a storyboard! I'm definitely one of those that will get an idea and go straight for the camera equipment just because I'm excited to see it come together. However, I think things would end up fulfilling my vision a lot better if I was to take the time to plan it out, shot for shot, in a storyboard format.

Caleb Ochieng
Nov 21, 2016

thank you for the tips i am planing to open my recording studio very soon

Georgia B
Feb 08, 2017

I definitely think it's a good idea to figure out what footage you'll need so that you're prepared to get it during production. If you know ahead of time, you'll be able to plan to get the resources you need. For example, if you know you're going to need some aerial shots of a location, you'll be able to schedule an aerial videographer and get the footage quickly and easily.

ca cuoc bong da
Mar 03, 2017

I know this if off topic but I'm looking
into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup?

I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
I'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice
would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

Talking Tree Media
Feb 23, 2017

A very useful article on how to go about Filming and Editing Marketing Videos..

Satyam Raj
Mar 08, 2017

Thanks for sharing such helpful stuff.. Will help me in my production business..!!

May 15, 2017

You've done a wonderful job by writing this article with such amount of useful content. All your tips about the Video marketing services are helpful and easy to learn. Thanks for sharing

May 20, 2017

An incredible article. Glad I found it. Really looking forward to read more.

Amy Tang
May 25, 2017

Nice to read. So useful and informative tips. Many thanks for sharing them all.

Capitola Media
Jun 05, 2017

Great, comprehensive article. If every filmmaker read this, the quality of 90%+ of the content on YouTube would be dramatically improved.

Jun 07, 2017

Thank you for this awesome article! I finally got a chance to know how to set up background music for my social ads without getting into trouble and how to engage my audience. Very grateful.


Jun 08, 2017

Great Tips! Thanks!

Talking Tree Media
Jun 27, 2017

Good pointers on marketing video production....

Deb Pearl
Aug 29, 2017

My friend and I recently found a studio to record a small film that we have been wanting to do for a while, but we really wanted to look up some tips before we go in and shoot it! I never thought about making a storyboard for our little video! That would definitely help with remembering what we want done! Thanks for the tip!

Chandni Pandey
Dec 11, 2017

Thanks for sharing this useful post with us. I really like your wonderful post.

Aurelien Chemli
Jan 11, 2018

This really useful and informative blog, thanks for sharing

Jan 18, 2018

Thanks for making this article. Dan! Been reading the comments. Indeed, they are right. Very useful information you've given here.

Leave a comment