"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
February 21, 2010

No Video – Not Yet

Redesigning this blog has prompted a lot of questions from friends and regular readers. My previous layouts were text-oriented, but the new style places much more emphasis on photos. Some have wondered if that means I will add video content in the future. The short answer is no. I like shooting video and a few […]

Redesigning this blog has prompted a lot of questions from friends and regular readers. My previous layouts were text-oriented, but the new style places much more emphasis on photos. Some have wondered if that means I will add video content in the future.

The short answer is no.

I like shooting video and a few years back played with Final Cut. Moreover, I’m intrigued by the potential of using DSLR cameras to shoot moving as well as still images (the latest version of Aperture highlights one way forward with this).

Everyone Wants To Be On TV

Moreover, I realise that video is becoming more and more popular with a lot of bloggers. That makes sense, since the technology is becoming easier to use and the barriers to entry are virtually non-existent. Besides, everyone wants to be on “TV” right?

Well, actually, no. Growing up, I was always far more passionate about radio – both music and spoken, and print media. Sure, I enjoyed television, but mostly because I loved sports, films and documentaries. It is, perhaps, a point worth considering since so many of videos I see on blogs are more like reality TV than documentaries.

Of course, I don’t watch reality TV. I also don’t have any time for the whole “celebrity on a journey,” sub-genre either. Perhaps it is not surprising then, that the video-bloggers I find most compelling are the ones who use video to demonstrate what they are good at doing – be it cooking, making music or taking photos.

This was crystallised for me reading Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not A Gadget” yesterday, where he proposed,

“Post a Video once in a while that took you one hundred times more time to create than it takes to view.”

I don’t think Lanier is suggesting every video take that long – but some should, which implies that most videoblogs are underworked. Back when I used to preach, I worked on a ratio of one hour of preparation, research and drafting for every minute of speech. When I am composing, it is not unusual to spend a whole day on a couple of minutes of music.

The Time Thing

Good video demands time for conceptualisation, shooting, editing, and so on. Right now, I would have to change my schedule quite significantly just to incorporate one video a month (or collaborate with others). That doesn’t include the time required to actually crack the technological issues (or buy a video-ready DLSR).

Interestingly, Lanier’s suggestion for blogging is,

“Write a blog post that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that needed to come out.”

Again, the point is not that every blog post should reflect such an effort (not all mine do), but that some should. I’m in complete agreement with that. Not just because we should be thinking more about what we say, but because that kind of commitment can get us closer to the heart of our creativity and individuality.

Or, to put it another way – the road to real creativity is always paved with hard work.

Being Better

Too much of our “ouput” in this era of social media is weak and trite. We bloggers are prone to doing our format a disservice when we post content that is nowhere near close to best. Sure, it’s great to be able to fire off some quick ideas and observations from time to time. But, the world doesn’t need to see us saying umm into a shaky and poorly lit video camera.

That’s why I’m not posting video anytime soon – I just can’t do it well enough yet. But, I hope that one day the equation will be different and I can create some compelling video content that would really be worth your time and attention.

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Responses
Foxlore 13 years ago

Great read. I agree with your rationale 100% with regards to production input vs. output. I was taught a similar idea with regard to instructional design, which works outt to a ratio of 3 hours of research & prep for every hour of teaching. (One couse instructor actually advised 6 hours of prep time). Tools can be great to alleviate some aspects of production, but pre and post production aspects should never be ignored. One of thebig pet peeves I have with student productions (and even many local commercial films) is a lack of attention given to sound. For many it’s just the idea of hit the red button, then export to whatever format. Of course in some ways the tools themselves are responsible. I bought a FlipMino HD back in ’08 to use on a few projects. It has no external sound input, so you either use the internal mic or plan to do sync sound with another device. The Flip editing software is extremely limited, but alllows direct export and upload to YouTube. So even the newer devices are geared less for production value and more for ‘instant’ public access.

Fernando Gros 13 years ago

Having lectured, the 3-4 to 1 ratio seems about right. Of course it depends on delivery format, the completeness of the curriculum and whether you’ve taught the course before. But, the principle is still there.

You are right that sound is such a give-away – from podcasts to videoblogs it’s the first thing I notice as well (maybe no surprise there).

I love the immediacy of social media. But, when fast and easy delivery dominates, all we seem to end up with random people mumbling their half-thought through rants on youtube and vimeo. Hardly the great age of “new media” we had hoped for 15+ years ago!

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