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Why you probably shouldn't do a "video response".
Tips for doing a "video response"
Before you film
If you still want to do it,
[edited by: jatar_k at 12:14 pm (utc) on Sep. 21, 2008]
I have been wondering whether video is a better way to present some types of content
Yes - but only some types of content.
There is currently a fashion for gratuitous video where it would be better to present the information as text, which can be indexed by the search engine and scanned by the visitor in seconds (rather than having to wait two minutes for the point to be conveyed).
I've always been daunted by the preparation involved
Don't be put off - it is perfectly possible to make good web videos with a laptop and a webcam as long as you follow the excellent tips given above by httpwebwitch (particularly the ones that come under "all that cinematographer crap").
Once you get used to setting up your shot it is all about performance (which can be rehearsed), and as most people will only be using one camera there will usually be very little editing involved.
The only thing I would add to "If you still want to do it" is "don't waste a second of screentime".
But for most web content sites, it's a TERRIBLE idea and these sites that think it's trendy to try to turn themselves into little wannabe news networks are just disappearing from my Favorites list VERY quickly of late.
Tom's Hardware is (was as far as I'm concerned now) one of the worst offenders. They link to what look like regular stories (don't even label them as videos) from their homepage... then when you click on an interesting headline, you get the ubiquitous Flash player... and if you grit your teeth and put up with the rubbish graphics and amateur 'presenters' trying to be funny, you lose 10 mins of time (and 100MB of bandwidth) to absorb some info that would have occupied two paragraphs and 30 seconds of time. Plus you missed the damn picture that was the interesting bit anyway.
People visiting websites expect to find written information. This is the nature of computers and the internet and will be for a long time. It is one of the reasons of the success of the internet (and libraries hmmn? think about it). To all these nuts with cheap HD handycams, Premiere Lite, too much time, and NOT ENOUGH TV training: hey, guess what, I can read 10x faster than you can talk - learn how to write!
Personally I like to believe that everyone should have the freedom to express themselves and no one has a right to tell them not to. The only right we have is not to watch it. Plus tastes of one should not dictate the tastes of others. We are so over the era when a few told the rest what to do.
Besides, all publishers (including the YouTube talking web-heads) respond to perceived demand. You can affect that perception, and perhaps the demand itself, with criticism and commentary. Media is a conversation.
My one piece of advice: keep it short at the start. 1:00 max.
Youtube is what it is, and most of the fun (such as it is) is seeing what "normal" people, who aren't cinematographers come up with.
If I wanted professional, rehearsed "news" I'd go to a well-established news site or even TV station for that.
That said, I don't get into the whole "video response" thing. However, my sister really enjoys it. She puts one up every other night regarding some soap opera or nighttime drama that she watches.
I don't personally care for it, but she gets a lot of viewers, who then follow her to her site where they discuss even further. It's not something I could ever do (I hate being on video or even photos of myself!) but it really works for her. I have to admit I'm impressed.
She doesn't rehearse, and yeah sometimes the lighting is hosed, and sometimes her face is shiny, and there's a whole lotta junk sometimes in the background, and she screws up the pacing (she's a fast talker), but people subscribe to them and ask for more.
I wouldn't want her or all the people having fun with this to ever change her process to fit someone else's view of how a video "should" look. What a bunch of sterile, boring videos that would be.
I've certainly been guilty of feeling condescending toward the whole youtube crowd. But really, it doesn't do me any harm at all, so let others have their fun with it.
If anything, I'm way more upset with the trend that badbadmonkey was describing. All these "video tutorials" and what not wasting my time when they could have wrote it up into 2 pages with far less preparation. Plus the fact that I read far quicker than most of these people talk, it's a huge waste of time.
HOWEVER, I DO watch streaming video of good to high quality that interests me from more professional sources, so I guess that makes me a youtubephobe. :)
I post a lot of well-thought-out comments on YT and still the few times I've tried the audio preview it makes me seem like exactly like what YT is trying to prevent: me looking like a total moron! :)
As with so many voice systems the words all run together. There's no pause between the end of one word and the start of the next. Combine that with the amateurish Microsoft Sam voice and I just don't see how this feature is useful to anyone, except perhaps a visually disabled person.
The audio preview feature was sort of added as a joke. The guy who draws the wildly popular web comic, "xkcd", published a strip a week or so before this feature was unveiled about how forcing an audio preview would help people seem less "moronic" than they normally do. It was really quite funny. :)