Three Critical Mistakes That Will KILL Your Video

I believe that ANYONE is capable of producing kick-ass quality video content. Unfortunately, most people fall short of hitting the mark and unknowingly end up producing mediocre, boring or cheap looking videos that lessens their credibility, reach and power.

Awesome and memorable videos don’t need to be expensive and elaborate pieces of art but they do need to achieve one daunting goal: connecting with other humans at a level that goes beyond the intellect.

By paying attention to a few free, basic, and actionable concepts you can immediately and dramatically enhance your performance on video and better yet, communicate in a more profound, honest and direct way with your audience.

Failure to pay attention to these basic principles can backfire and cause your videos to achieve the complete opposite effect than originally intended.

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Bernardo Mendez

Bernardo Mendez is a talented vlogger who was born and raised in Mexico City and now lives and works in the US. His videos always pop with energy and his dedication to sharing ideas that make sense is unstoppable. Check out his other work at YourGreatLifeTv

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  • Erica Allison

    Bernardo, great video! Dino knows that I’m a huge video fan and have a weekly series going. I always struggle with time of my videos and making sure my energy level is UP when I shoot. I have reviewed some of my earlier ones and I can definitely see when I’m dragging or tired. Good point to remember as I continue! Thanks again!

    • Bernardo

      Hi Erica, look forward to checkin out your videos! Turning yourself “on” is a great habit to develop since it may just take a couple of minutes for you to get there but it will last for as long as your video is around. Regarding time, this is something I continuously focus on. When I started my videos were 17 minutes long but I quickly realized my viewers wanted great info in soundbites not full length movies hehe. Thank you so much for commenting and look forward to getting to know you better πŸ™‚ -Bernardo

  • Paul Flanigan


    Definitely resonates with me. I do videos every now and then, and your suggestions are spot on. I think you nailed it when you said, “Be engaging.”

    The reason that all the good video-makers out there (Brogan, Dogan, you) make it look so easy is because you’re simply having an engaging conversation. That’s all. That’s why Conan and Oprah are so good. They treat the camera as a person, not a channel.

    • Bernardo

      Paul, Thank you so much for your comment and I’m glad you liked it. The way I feel about it is: If you have fun when you shoot a video 1) You enjoy the process of making videos, 2) People who watch you will probably enjoy it too. 3) It is easier to be engaging.
      If you have time, let me know what have you found out that works well for when you do videos? -Have an awesome day! Bernardo

      • Paul Flanigan

        Funny you should mention that. I actually have a post up today, reviewing a book, where I use video.

        I have also used video as an interactive CV:

        And, I have a post in the works about easy ways to get video done. Coming soon. I’ll drop back here and let you know. Should be in the next week or so. But, I’d love your thoughts on my videos. I value input on this stuff, as it makes me better!

        • Bernardo Mendez

          Hi Paul,
          I will take a look at your videos this week and give you my honest feedback. Thank you for sharing! -Bernardo

        • Dino Dogan

          Awesome video Paul. Have you checked out Ressimo? Its a video platform that brings employers and job seekers together in a video format. Brought to you by the venerable Dan Cristo of the Triberr fame πŸ™‚

          • Paul Flanigan

            Ressimo. I see it’s a variant of Fluttrs. Will check it out.

  • John Thiessen

    Bernardo, Plain and simple all of this is subjective. What is white to one viewer, is black to another. The biggest issue I have with your 3 points is #2 “One cut Video’s” You have thrown ALL videos into the same bowl. All are not created equal and some are cut in a creative way with a couple of camera angles that give IMHO a better representation of the message. Personally, I thought a lot of you body language was wasted in the video you posted and I thought you were too in my face… Almost like you were bullying your viewer. I would have preferred a couple cuts with a second camera that softened the “in my face” approach. AGAIN, as I started off… this is ALL subjective.

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi John,

      Thank you for you feedback. I agree with you so let me expand on this point. Yes, if you have an artistic reason to cut several times I think it is definitely a good thing to do it. I was talking more about cutting video simply for the sake of messing up in your 3 minute speech. I also agree that my video was a bit too much “In your Face” this time it had a definite purpose for being that way although (to wake up people) I definitely did not intend to “bully” anyone, so please accept my apologies if you felt that way πŸ™‚

      Why I too would like to shoot with 2 cameras it is a bit unrealistic to do so everyday due to the amount of editing it would require. But Yes, if I were doing a professional video I would consider using not 2 but 3 cameras. I always appreciate differing points of view and hope that some of it was useful to you. Please feel free to share some of your videos w/me

      Have an awesome day! Bernardo

  • hanelly

    When I used to play in a band, we’d be back stage before the show jumping up and down, making a ton of noise, chest-bumping and banging the walls with our fists (venue owners loved us). Why? Because we wanted to get in the right emotional state before we took the stage. We couldn’t afford to slowly warm up as the show went on, we had to start it at a high and have our audience catch up to us.

    I love how you’ve drawn the same conclusion about doing video. Don’t make me feel like I’m slowly waking up, punch me in the face (figuratively) with your emotion and I’ll stick around.

    Great stuff, Bernardo.

    • Bernardo Mendez

      That is so cool that you were in a band and even cooler that you did not wait to get inspired in order to “kick some figurative ass” on stage. While certain videos may need to be lower key, I frankly think that if the emotion is genuine the world could use more high energy stuff on video (and in real life too). I appreciate your passion as it shines through your words. Thank you for commenting -Bernardo

      • hanelly

        I think video is a hot medium, just like radio. You’ve got to be able to feel the emotion pouring out of the person or else it will put you to sleep (a la Ben Stein). I think you’ve done a great job in your video here in pulling that off. Our boy Dino always does, too.

        • Bernardo Mendez

          Thanks man, again appreciate your words.

    • Dino Dogan

      You were in a band? I didnt know that about you…what do you play?

      • hanelly

        I was indeed, sir. I played guitar and sang. Neither well enough to *still* be in a band. Though we did play some decent venues over a 3-4 year period. Sadly, never got as big as Rebecca Black.

  • VIVAssistants

    This was great! Love the energy, the feeling that we were face to face and, of course the great tips. Although I’ve produced/hosted community television programs I’m hesitant when it comes to vlogging. Concerned with the quality of the visual versus focusing on my content. You may have inspired me to try it anyway!

    The only thing I found distracting (no, not the talking with your hands…I’m Latina and can’t speak unless I use my hands :)) was the music at the end. It may need to come in a bit softer?

    Β‘Bien hecho!

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi There Latin friend,

      Thank you for your comment and so glad you enjoyed it. If yo are hesitant on going for it my recommendation is practice a few times in front of the camera and then just go for it. Part of my message is that you don’t need perfect delivery, what people expect is engagement and human-ness. Please send me an email or tweet me sometime and I will gladly take a look at your videos πŸ™‚ Thank you for your feedback on the music – Un abrazote, Bernardo

  • cris

    thanks for the great tips, Bernardo. i actually think they translate very nicely into “off -video” exchanges…so even though i don’t video, i plan to practice them in my interactions. Ie: tip 1: not glancing at email or cell phone while starting a conversation, tip 2: being concise in communicating, tip 3: fully engaging with folks i’m interacting with…i’ll keep you posted πŸ™‚

  • Bernardo Mendez

    Hi Cris,

    Love it, Video as a metaphor for life, that should be another post in my future πŸ™‚
    Could not agree with you more. Presence “in” or “off” video is tangible quality that will yield amazing results not just in terms of actual achievement but in terms of joy and fulfillment.

    Thank you very much for sharing this insightful co-relation between this message and a direct, real life application.


  • Elaine Ferrie

    Overall found the video helpful. You talked alittle too fast however; although it did help convey your excitement for what you are doing. Any comments on how you would handle a video “resume” @MktgWithFire

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you, talking too fast has always been an issue for me πŸ™‚ It must be my latin blood (trust me it’s even worse in Spanish). My recommendation on a video resume would be more on the humanization of you than on telling your entire life story via it. In other words, I think it is a great complement to an awesome and impeccable piece of writing where you can in your own words describe what you are about and through HOW you say it more than what you say. Your goal should be to let people who view it know you are competent and likeable. People tend to hire competent people who they like.

      These are my thoughts on it. I would wear business casual clothing (nothing extremely formal to avoid looking like a sales person) and make it no longer than 3 minutes. I would definitely err on the side of more energy rather than less.


  • Jenny @ exconsumer

    Hi Bernardo – I found this advice to be really helpful! I need to record a video in the next week, and some of your pointers are things I wouldn’t have thought of, but will definitely help me make the video better.

    Your vlogs always brighten my day and your enthusiasm always comes across in your videos!

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Dear Jenny,

      Very glad to hear you found this info useful. My goal is to help out (in any way I can) to share some light, emotion, a spark of fun into my viewer’s lives. Video does not have to be perfect but if it’s fun then it will get your point across more clearly. By all means feel free to send me your link if you are interested in getting my feedback before you post your video. Big Hug, -Bernardo

  • Elena Patrice

    Really nice video! What a happy, nice person with a super great smile! I appreciate your video as I begin to launch a video series on my blog – you ease my mind a bit for sure. Definitely do more videos because you are infectious! Have a wonderful day! With kindness, Elena

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi Elena,
      I am glad you found it useful and thank you for the nice words here. I am glad you are contemplating a video series on your blog. I will be looking forward to viewing it once it launches, please do let me know (ping me on tweeter). And yes smiling from within makes video more fun for both you and your viewers. Have an awesome weekend! -Bernardo

  • Jens P. Berget

    Hi Bernardo,

    That’s an awesome video. You are very professional. Your tips are understandable and probably not that hard to manage, but I find creating videos fairly hard. That’s because I don’t have much experience doing it, and I don’t like to watch myself on video (and especially listen to my own voice).

    I have created a few videos starring other people, and I have already managed to use your #1 tip, and cut the beginning and the end, and it made the videos a lot better. I’ll try to make the videos in to one take as well, although that’s going to be really hard πŸ™‚

    Great tips.

    – Jens

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi Jens, thank you for your kind words. I don’t know about professional but I have fun while I do this. I used to hate watching myself on video so I understand where you are coming from. My only actionable advice there would be to just go for it and do it often. If you record yourself five times a week while someone else does it once a month you will have a year’s advantage in less than 3 months πŸ™‚ The more you can record yourself and laugh about it, the easier it will be not just to get used to seeing yourself on video, but to become better at it too. It is just like exercising, the more you do it the stronger you become. I would not worry too much about recording it on the first shot, but if you know that if you mess up you have to start from the beginning it forces you to focus more. Thanks again for commenting and look forward to seeing some of your videos soon! -Bernardo

  • Mark Harai

    Hey Bernardo, a very effective video message here my friend.

    The on tip that really stuck out to me is preparation and being in a high state of emotion before you push the record button. You’re energy and passion comes through beautifully on your videos. That’s what people connect with and are moved by.

    It’s a great way to approach everything you do in life, be it writing, podcasting, or vlogging – passion is infectious.

    Thanks for the awesomeness today Bernardo : )

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi Mark,
      I am very glad that you liked the video and that the “turning yourself on” prior to recording, resonated with you. It is a good metaphor for life too as you mention. I really like your blog and look forward to learning more from you my friend. ThankYOU for sharing your enthusiasm here.


  • Anna

    Hi. Thank you for those tips. I have a question: how did you make the background the way you did (white)? I have a criticism: I really liked the way you engaged the audience at the very end, but I thought the music was too loud and abrasive and therefore obscured your message. I have a request for input: how would you apply what you said to short videos demonstrating yoga poses? For sure you cannot spend your whole time looking into the camera because that would distort the poses, but I also know that the way a lot of yoga videos are filmed is kind of disengaging. Thank you for putting your message into practice so we could see (and hear) what you were talking about.

    • Bernardo Mendez

      HI Anna, I had just finished a long reply to your questions and for some reason it did not save so here I go again πŸ™‚

      Answers Below:

      Q:how did you make the background the way you did (white)?
      A: I use a white paper backdrop with 4 lights, two 100% directed at the paper and two soft boxes (with 4 bulbs each) that light me up directly and indirectly light up the paper too. I calibrate the custom white balance setting on my video camera every time I record so that the camera captures my paper as 100% pure white. I then make final tweaks (white changes to other colors sometimes when you change video formats) in IMOVIE11. You can see an actual image of my setup here:

      C: Thought the music was too loud and abrasive and therefore obscured your message.
      A: Thank you for sharing this, I used a different video “event” on my video editing software and the music was set higher than it should have been I will set it lower next time I use this setting.

      Q: how would you apply what you said to short videos demonstrating yoga poses?
      A: I agree with you, looking at the camera the whole time would not just be impossible but weird too πŸ™‚ my suggestion is to leave 20-30 seconds at the beginning of the video to directly connect one on one with your audience and if you have a few seconds at the end, that would probably be wise too. There is no “one size fits all” recommendation so do what feels good to you taking into account that people have a need to connect with you.

      Thank you for your kind words and your encouraging comments. Feel free to reach out to me here or via tweeter if you would like some more specific feedback on a video you are working on. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment. I will be posting another guest video post here in the near future so stay tuned, you might like it. A big hug to you Anna. -Bernardo

      • Kavya Hari

        From here, you given a wonderful explanation about videos. Its really great :). I would like to say thanks for sharing excellent videos on here πŸ™‚

        • Bernardo Mendez

          Thanks Kavya, so glad you enjoyed this video. Look forward to sharing even more videos in the future πŸ™‚ -Bernardo

  • Julieanne van Zyl

    Loved watching you on Video Bernardo. Quite often when I “watch” a video online, I do something else, and just listen. However, I couldn’t help but watch you because of your energy and your enthusiasm! Thanks so much for your tips, next time I take a video of myself, I’ll get more into the zone! I like taking video down the beach and hearing the ocean in the background, however sometimes the wind gets a bit loud!

  • Julieanne van Zyl

    Loved watching you on Video Bernardo. Quite often when I “watch” a video online, I do something else, and just listen. However, I couldn’t help but watch you because of your energy and your enthusiasm! Thanks so much for your tips, next time I take a video of myself, I’ll get more into the zone! I like taking video down the beach and hearing the ocean in the background, however sometimes the wind gets a bit loud!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Julieanne,

      I really appreciate your comments and enthusiastic praise πŸ™‚

      I believe that anyone has the ability to shine more on video if they become present at the time of recording and “turn on” their excitement switch from a genuine place (fake excitement can easily be felt by most people). I have recorded outside a few times and agree that wind is a bit much sometimes. My recommendation would be to use a microphone connected to your video camera so that your voice can become the most important source of audio for your clip. Thanks again for commenting and for sharing this post with your Twitter peeps. Have an outstanding evening! -Bernardo

  • Julieanne van Zyl

    Loved watching you on Video Bernardo. Quite often when I “watch” a video online, I do something else, and just listen. However, I couldn’t help but watch you because of your energy and your enthusiasm! Thanks so much for your tips, next time I take a video of myself, I’ll get more into the zone! I like taking video down the beach and hearing the ocean in the background, however sometimes the wind gets a bit loud!

  • Constantin Gabor

    Love the tips! I have “on air” fear, and that’s partly because English is not my mother tongue. However I’d like to do more personal videos just like yours here.


    • Anonymous

      Hi Constantin,
      Thanks for watching! I understand your fears well, English is not my first language either and the first few videos I did kind of sucked πŸ™‚
      My only recommendation is to do videos often, there is no better cure to fear than doing what scares you most. Also the more you do videos, the better and more flowing, your videos will get.
      Have a great day!

  • Rebecca

    These are all great tips! although I have not done video yet I have a few comments about the ones that are not quite up to par. Yes not looking in the camera is one of them, I’m saying hello my eyes are over here! Here are just a few more… rubbing your nose or face or ear, playing with your hair, clearing your throat, um’s and losing your train of thought.

    Have a great day! & Thanks for the video.

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi Rebecca,
      Sorry for the late reply just saw this today πŸ™‚
      I agree, there are so many little things we can do that take away from the message but in the end presence can get you closer to being engaging.
      I am glad you liked the post and appreciate you taking some time to comment!

  • Emily

    Thanks! Interesting enough to capture my attention for the full duration and informative enough for me to take something practical away to use.

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Thanks Emily,Β 
      I appreciate you taking some time to watch and really glad you took something of value with you.
      Un Abrazo,


  • totallyzen

    Β Funny, I made a vblog earlier today.. Thinking back to analyze it. Gr8 tips, energy! KeeP UP the AWESOMENESS!!!

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi There!
      I will visit your site in search for that vlog, I really appreciate you stopping by. I like your energy and your message my friend.

  • Anonymous

    LOVE your energy Bernardo! You made some great points about small things that people can do to make doing videos for their businesses and blogs a lot better. I do short vlogs each week on my blog and being concise is something I used to struggle with when I first started. I looked back at some of my older YouTube videos and there was one that was actually 17 minutes long!! LOL!

    I also love your point about keeping the energy level up – even if you force it a bit and it feels like it’s over the top the effects on video are far better than if you don’t show any personality.

    Thanks for a great video primer! πŸ™‚

    • Bernardo Mendez

      Hi Tisha,

      Glad you enjoyed the post and found it useful. My first videos were 20+ minutes so I totally relate haha πŸ™‚
      Energy is perhaps the most important point, it does not have to be happy or excited like I used in this video as long as it is present and purposeful energy.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and look forward to checking out your videos.
      A big hug to you.


  • James Porter Ginther

    Great video. Could’ve been shorter.

  • Rachaelfox

    I’m just about to make some videos for our business and I’m glad I just watched yours.Β  I liked all of it, but the part about not reading while you speak to the camera really spoke to me, especially as thats what I was going to do.Β  I also watched one of my videos back and my eyes are everywhere but looking at the camera.Β  Ive watched your video and now im leaving a comment and then I’m going to look at more of your blogs, so I think I’ll take your advice, it obviously works.