Wednesday, September 13, 2006

9 video observations

(1) A videocaster is a person who provides fresh video content to a platform that enables an audience to view it. Video content is generally distributed via emailing the file to friends and family, or uploading it to your own blog or web site, or to a video sharing service like YouTube, Revver, Google Video, BlipTV, OurMedia, Yahoo Video, AOL Video.

(2) Be sure that the video you share or distribute has good sound, lighting, background, props, audio volume level, and personal appearance.

(3) Playback each video, and judge it harshly.

Is that the best you could do? Re-do the video if you're not satisfied. Don't feel like what is done is perfect "just as it is". Learn from the trial, then strive for a more perfect version. If it's possible to re-stage and re-shoot it, try an alternate version of your video, then pick the best version to upload or distribute.

(4) Experiment with visual variety.

Viewers will tire of seeing a talking head over and over again. Your words are not that important. What matters is your delivery of the words. When the words are well composed and your presentation is polished or at least eccentric and memorable, your video should have more impact.

(5) Be yourself. Don't act. Don't use scripts.

Video artists/content providers who decide to "act" as a scripted persona are not as effective as those who are being natural and authentic.

Exception is when the acting is really good and the scripting is great, but then you're watching a movie, not a video blog.

The idea of video blog is similar to regular text blog: be passionate, sincere, honest, candid, altruistic.

(6) Use tags and search function to find video.

When you see a video you like, click on the uploader's name link and check out other videos by that person. Or click on a tag associated with the video. Or type in a search term in the search text entry box.

Don't expect other users to have good taste in ranking videos on a sharing service like YouTube. While the idea of user ranking is good, you'll be amazed at what is most popular.

Most Viewed, Most Discussed, Most Subscribed, Most Favorited, Most Linked, and other categories, based on user behavior data, can be disappointing. Some of the stupidest videos, wastes of time, can end up with high traffic and top ratings.

"There is no accounting for public taste." -- somebody once said.

(7) Keep videos short.

Brevity is key. While I've seen 25 minute and longer videos on YouTube, even a 3 hour one if I recall correctly, what could these possibly be? Do they think they can really hold a viewer's attention that long? It better be very entertaining and full of action or things to look at.

(8) Use a provocative title.

Intrigue users, cause them to wonder what your video contains.

Avoid difficult to recall and type titles like "Who who who who...are you...REALLY???? Who, who, who?"

A title similar to that got a lot of responses, but the silly wording made it difficult to type. The reason it succeeded in spite of an awkward title is that it was an appeal for YouTubers to drop their contrived persona, and reveal who they really are.

Once again, transparency is valued in the videosphere as much, or more, than in the blogosphere. Typed words in text blogs can be easily ignored. But seeing a person speak his or her thoughts and opinions is far more likely to connect emotionally with a user.

This was brought to light when YouTubers discovered that Lonelygirl15 was a scripted show, and not the true intimate feelings and events of a real teenager. Many of Bree's fans felt used, toyed with, manipulated, exploited...for an unknown agenda. They had sympathized with Bree, worried about her, obsessed over the false details of an imaginary life.

(8) Videocasting is not film making, but can be soap opera.

Viewers are unlikely to watch a 25 minute video, but are very likely to become addicted to a series of short videos.

The business model of a video blog soap opera, that can translate into merchandising, paid subscription channels, and feature length films should be based on a persona that users can relate to and care about.

(9) Video blogs make your message more human.

If you really want to connect with a specific audience, or the general public, you are better served by video blogging than typed text blogging. Video emails and video chat are also more intimate than the text versions.

Videocasts should be human, even if you're a CEO. A stiff, perfect, power point presentation is not going to succeed in the videosphere. If you have an amazing new product to demonstrate, demonstrate it.

As CEO you should desire to fully communicate your company and its offerings to consumers. A candid, relaxed, bloggy style of video presentation is recommended.

Human means spontaneous, fallible, flawed, rough, "in the moment", authentic, candid, confessional, and enthusiastic.

One reason why people are reacting negatively to Lonelygirl15 being a fraud, a scripted act, is that they want to connect with and care about real people. Many users still have compassion and concern for strangers. When that emotionally tie is exposed as unreal, when the person they cared about is unveiled to be just a fictional character, those generous altruistic feelings are wounded. Anger and resentment occur.


MARYBETH said...

Hi Steven,
Is it possible to upload video on a dial up connection?
I have always assumed not; however, thought I would ask you, the all knowledgable Blog Guru.
I cannot view them without endless loading time and then stops and breaks every DAM single second.
GRRRRR..... i so dislike being out in left field with my finger up my nose.

steven edward streight said...

Yes, and I will explain how you can view a video on dial up.

What you do is download the .avi file, or whatever format the video is in, and get it on your hard drive.

Then you can use your Windows Media or whatever video player you have on your computer.

I'll give you the .avi file code for some of my better videos, so you can do this. Give me a day or two and I'll get them to you.