Background Feedback on videotaped consultations is a useful way to enhance consultation skills among medical students. The method is becoming increasingly common, but is still not widely implemented in medical education. One obstacle might be that many students seem to consider this educational approach a stressful experience and are reluctant to participate. In order to improve the process and make it more acceptable to the participants, we wanted to identify possible problems experienced by students when making and receiving feedback on their video taped consultations. Methods Nineteen of 75 students at the University of Bergen, Norway, participating in a consultation course in their final term of medical school underwent focus group interviews immediately following a video-based feedback session. The material was audio-taped, transcribed, and analysed by phenomenological qualitative analysis. Results The study uncovered that some students experienced emotional distress before the start of the course. They were apprehensive and lacking in confidence, expressing fear about exposing lack of skills and competence in front of each other. The video evaluation session and feedback process were evaluated positively however, and they found that their worries had been exaggerated. The video evaluation process also seemed to help strengthen the students' self esteem and self-confidence, and they welcomed this. Conclusion Our study provides insight regarding the vulnerability of students receiving feedback from videotaped consultations and their need for reassurance and support in the process, and demonstrates the importance of carefully considering the design and execution of such educational programs.