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The Digital Director Experience: Video Editing Fundamentals

Get the best from feedback (and accept the negatives)

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Sooner or later you'll get a negative critique. Unless you hide your work away, someone will have something negative to say about your work. And it will hurt. How dare they? After all, everyone else gives you nothing but love.

Asking for a critique can be painful, particularly on forums where diplomacy and tact are rarely in abundance. But the tough love of a video review will help expose unseen weaknesses in your technique, technical ability and other skills. Receiving feedback is critical to your development, so it's essential to get the most out if it.

Before asking for feedback, consider why you're asking for it. It's important to frame your request to ensure the reviewer knows your level of expertise, your intended audience and how you intend to develop. This will help avoid any misunderstanding and an unhelpful critique. People will be investing their time watching, studying and reviewing your work, so it's only fair to be clear about what you want from the review. Being clear about what you've created (and why) is also a great way of understanding how others perceive your work. If you have no idea about your intended audience or your own skill level, be prepared for a negative review.

Once you're clear on what you're looking for, find a forum to request your critique. At videoforums, we can be blunt. We're also a western orientated English language site, which means we may not understand a specific cultural reference in your video. Before asking for a video critique, read a few other video reviews. Is that the kind of feedback you want? Do you feel like the comments are justified? If so, go ahead and post a link to your video and detail a bit of background.

So now your work is out there, ready for a critique. Brace yourself, you're in for a bumpy ride. How do you deal with a negative review? Well, that entirely depends on how you react. Firstly, understand that it's inevitable that someone will give you a bad review. If the critique doesn't explain why it's negative, ask for more details. Otherwise move on. Watch your video again after every review and look out for the features highlighted by the comments. I guarantee the reviewer has seen something you missed. And that's the second point, understand you're too close to the video and need an outside opinion.

Getting a critique can be painful, but massively helpful as long as you don't just post a link to YouTube. We all react differently to feedback on our videos, but knowing what to do with feedback is key to success. And I guarantee you'll improve. With this in mind, you'll understand that negatives are just a positive waiting to happen. Or you can just ignore them. After all, it's your video (or the clients, of course).

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Updated 04-29-2013 at 06:36 PM by Marc Peters

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  1. Stripe's Avatar
    On a parallel with this is the non existent feedback. Time and again I come across groups at all levels (including the very top) where nothing negative is ever said. It's the old 'nothing nice to say, say nothing' philosophy.

    And that sucks big knobs, it's not only useless, but it also allows people to get carried away with themselves thinking they are the elite, because no one has brought them down to reality. It's the reason you see shoddy production even at high level.

    Personally, I know where my stage of development is, and I know which particular step I am trying to achieve with a certain project. If you take everything one step at a time, and explain which step you are taking, people will lower their expectations and focus on that for you. There is no need to get defensive over anything else because it's not part of your aim.

    It's when people try to jump the ladder in one leap that they come unstuck, because then everything gets attacked as a whole, and that just leaves you in a mess. For me, having an entire production accepted as a whole is a long term mission.
    Updated 04-30-2013 at 05:26 AM by Stripe
  2. enc's Avatar
    Good blog Marc, I missed this one first time around.