The video thing

This week on USQ 23 Things our thing is video and the post begins with the claim that video is worth a thousand words. It cites Forrester Research(?) as having shown that 1 minute of video is equivalent to 1000 words. That’s arguable. If a picture is worth a 1000 words (cliche) and video delivers 25 frames per second is a second of video worth 25 000 words? In that case a minute would be worth 1 500 000 words. I think it depends.

The claim being made for video is that it allows us to convey more emotion and passion and that it is more visually appealing (than words, I guess). That may be true for well crafted video but how much of the video being uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and other sites each day would rate as well crafted? Much of it is anything but well crafted. Much of it is not crafted at all and possibly is worthless for conveying any message except about the lack of craft and poor taste of the producer. Video reminds me of the “little girl, who had a little curl”. When it is good it is very, very good but when it is bad it is horrid.

My first exposure to creating video was in the late 70s while a teacher at Dalby SHS. That was using black and white video on an open reel recorder. Colour television had only just arrived in Queensland and video cassettes appeared a year or two later. Our tutor was the music teacher who had some years of experience with making movies using 8 mm equipment. What we learned was that the process was complex and not just because of the primitive (though we thought it sophisticated) equipment. Composing, shooting, and editing video required skills beyond what we had learned using still cameras.

The equipment has come a long way. I can shoot video on my iPhone or camera and bring those clips together for editing on my iPhone, iPad or Macintosh along with stills and audio from various sources. I can add transition effects and titles. If I’m any good at that I can craft a short but powerful message. If I’m ignorant of the basic grammar of video or of basic technicalities or simply have bad taste then I can make an awful mess. In doing so I can do any cause I am promoting more harm than good.

I agree with our blogger that keeping video short is important. It’s hard to cut the seconds that I’ve sweated over but it has to be done in the interests of keeping the video focused on the message and not boring viewers to the point of switching off. That lesson applies to words too. This might be a good place to stop except that we were challenged to share a favourite video. I’ve chosen to share this video that I put together earlier this year while on vacation in New Zealand. It combines video from my camera with photographs from my camera and iPhone, photographs from the bungy operators, and some CC licensed music. It was pulled together in iMovie and uploaded to Facebook and, now, Flickr. The edit required more effort deciding what to discard than what to keep.