Watch Your Steps

June 5, 2019
Proofreading your way to success

This "story" (I'm using the term rather loosely here) tells of eight boxes you need to check on your way to producing a successful video for a brand, an event or an idea. The article is slightly self-serving, neither especially entertaining nor well written, and is mostly re-hashing commonly accepted media production standards in the digital era. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to identify a single of those bullet points that is not applicable to any media production -- be it text, video, audio, images, or any other digital product.

  • Tell a story
  • Use Social Media
  • Proofread
  • Test your idea
  • Target your audience
  • Mind the devices
  • Use analytics
  • Learn from others

Wait... isn't proofreading something that only journalists and writers do? It's true that the word's etymology suggests that it only applies to written words. However, since no one simply reads anymore, barely anyone -- so-called writers or otherwise -- just writes anymore. Though it has the word "read" in it, in many cases the process of proofreading may not even involve reading words. Nowadays it refers to the last stage of the production cycle.  

Proofreading is the name of a process in the publishing cycle. It typically involves technical editors reviewing the edited media from an audience perspective and marking up the media for final fixes and corrections.  

Although you could technically proofread your own work -- whether that work is a blog, a video or an image -- it is not recommended to do so. The reason is that efficient proofreading requires a degree of policing, as well as a psychological,  emotional and/or informational distance from the object placed under the magnifier. So as much as possible, you should leave proofreading to someone else.

I'll reserve going over the planning and process of proofreading videos in a future technical article. In the mean time, here's a summary of the process, in bullet points:

  • Review the printed words carefully. Since there are fewer words involved, and because the ones that do show up are set on a linear timeline, the smallest error would at the very least leave a bad (visual) taste.
  • Timing is critical, and probably the most difficult bit to get right in a digital video. The impact of your media depends almost entirely on timing the shots and sequences.
  • Ensure that the message is clear, will be remembered and can be acted on.


Yannick is a service provided by Codecide, a company located in Chicago, IL USA.
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