Law firm destroys lawyer video by focusing on background and not attorney

I watch a lot of attorney video.

Probably way too much.

Anyway, the other day I was watching a new set of videos created by a competitor here in New York. I am not posting the video since I really don’t want to embarrass the firm or the attorneys…although it is in the public domain…nah.

The video starts with a close-up of the attorney. Nothing wrong with that.

He’s looking off-camera. I have a big problem with that.

He’s talking to the wall. It’s a ‘fake’ interview.

He doesn’t introduce himself. He must think ‘everybody knows his name’ like the theme song from the TV show Cheers.

As I watch for a few seconds I thought my vision was going bad. It’s true I wear eyeglasses, but my vision is very good with my eyeglasses, and yes, I was wearing them.

Then I realized that the attorney’s face was out of focus.

Instead, as I shifted my gaze to the left a little, the bookcase he’s sitting in front of is in perfect focus. I can make out the title of the law books. Black letter law books. Black bound law books.

I then realized that their video guy made a cardinal mistake…

He was shooting in low level lighting. Looks like he was using only one or maybe two external lights for some shadowy effect.

In low level lighting conditions, a video camera has a very difficult time identifying which part of the frame to keep in focus. Unlike in a DSLR where you can point to part of the screen to keep in focus or maybe you have ‘follow focus’, this camera seemed to deployed none of those options.

The video camera operator didn’t ‘see’ it when shooting. That’s bad.

Then, the guy who edited their videos didn’t catch it either. That’s even worse.

Then, they posted the video with this unfixable problem for all the world to see. That’s bad.

Bad for business. Bad for a viewer looking for great information. Bad for production values.

It makes me wonder what they were doing while shooting video. Didn’t they play it back to see how it looked?

Didn’t they pre-focus on the attorney before pressing the record button?

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been there. I’ve done the same thing. But the difference is that I recognized it when it happened.

I recognized it when I played it back. I was frustrated with myself that I let that happen and frustrated that I just wasted my time shooting a great educational video that was now unusable.

What did I do?

I deleted the video and re-did it. Shot it over again.

You never want to put crappy looking video online, unless it’s intentional. That’s a strategy discussion for another day.

Here, it wasn’t intentional.

Their video guy screwed up.

Their video editor screwed up.

The attorneys clearly never saw the video before it went live. If they did, they would not have been happy and would have pulled the video. Guaranteed.

So now, they have a poor quality looking video online showcasing their knowledge. Remember, our consumers who are watching our videos judge our competence by the quality of our videos.

That’s a fact.

What does that say about you if you’ve got poorly produced and poor quality video?

A lot.

Res Ipsa my friends.

In English, that phrase means ‘the thing speaks for itself’. Here, it refers to the video speaking volumes.

Need help creating great educational video?

Call me and let’s see if we’re the right fit for your video marketing needs.

Best regards,



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I found Gerry’s approach to be a common sense approach to… what people are looking for. It’s not necessarily what we think our video should be, it’s really what people are searching for. Gerry’s made a study of how people search the web and what they need from lawyers and then he’s able to communicate that on video. That’s what I really found intriguing: the methodology by which we shoot the videos and the way that he communicates that methodology.

Joe Hanyon
MHK Attorneys