Recently I posted some half-formed thoughts on types of video online –Note to self: Maybe a blog post isn’t the place to push out un-defined thoughts. Howard and Ryan kindly commented on a few aspects of it and gave me more food for thought.
So here is my ‘new and improved’ types of video content on the web post. With examples!
I figured that things needs to be considered in three areas. Where it comes from, the content we create and how we distribute it.
Where it comes from.
Video content is created or sourced by from several places:
- User-generated – this is content created by ‘the general public’ sent directly to us or uploaded to video sharing sites like Google video or youtube. The Mercury News has a section devoted to this kind of content
- Syndicated – This is content sourced from third-party (professional) content providers. There are plenty to pick from here including primary providers like Reuters and AP or secondary providers like Roo. There may be an increasingly interesting cross over here related to organizations who syndicate UG content. Have a look at Scoopt for an example of how this is starting to work
- Sourced – This is content that is generated by a story source. The content from the UK Ministry of Defense in this story from the Scotsman: Heroes ride helicopter wings in rescue bid. The video can be seen here. (thanks to Ed for the link). Another similar clip of a police raid from icnorthwales (link to wmv file)
- Journalist – This is new footage created by a journalist within the publishing organization.
What do we do with the content?
Regardless of where it comes from, we can divide the way we treat the video in to a few different types. What talking about here is not what is done to it technically. The focus here is the amount of editorial input.
- Raw/Write-through video – This video is not edited for editorial purposes. It may be cut for time, but the content is left untouched. Quick snippets of interviews, actuality of events such as cctv or eye-witness content would fall in to this category. Bobbie Johnson has an interesting take on this with his term ‘write through video’. I’m assuming by that he means video that just goes on-line without any editorial input.
- Packaged – the source video is edited, or goes through some form of post production process to restructure the content to produce a stand alone piece. The style, ‘quality and editorial approach may differ, from publication to publication and the package may contain a mixture of content from all of the sources identified above. The majority of video on news sites has gone through some form of packaging. I would recommend the list of sites by Cade White.
- Bulletin/vod cast – Usually shot in the newsroom, but often containing other content. This is a short presentation of the news similar to a TV news bulletin. Have a look at LEP TV for an example or The Santa Cruz Sentinel for a more Vlog styled approach.
Once the content has been processed, how do we present it?
- Associated/Call-out video – This is video that is presented as part of a story, on or linked on the story page. It’s a prime use of the unique capacity of the web to present multiple-media on one page and giving the user the control on when to consume it – read the story and then click the video etc.
Naming this one is tricky. Embedded video, I think, best describes what it is; video embedded in the story. But it does clash with the html tag used to place the video on the page. Other terms like in-line and related suffer similar problems, so I can see that there could be confusion. I though the concept of a print call-out worked well suggesting something relating to the story but not necessarily part of the editorial flow.The general feeling seems to be that raw video works best here. The text on the page sets the context for the video so there is no need for contextual script or other conventions that establish a story with the viewer. That doesn’t preclude the use of packaged material here though.
Here is an example (not great layout) of that from a Welsh newspaper, The Evening Leader, with a story about the theft of camping equipment caught on camera. The Arizona star has a better presentation (in fact its a nice multiple media story all round) in a story about the demolition of a local landmark – San Manuel smelter stacks toppled
- Channel Video – This is separated from the print based output of a site. Hence the Channel idea – following the link to video on the site is almost like switching channels from newspaper to TV. This content is often delivered in a purpose built player, pushing the analogy even further, with a main display section and a menu of stories down the side – like a TV screen and channel selector. Some players even have separate channels. These are generally flash based, to enable the interactivity for selection, but this is by no means a standard.
These channels can present any ‘kind’ of content – ug, j or syndicated – and they will usually have short paragraph intro to the clip. There may be some interesting parallels here with the practice of writing cues for broadcast.
- Multimedia Video – Multimedia video is generally contained within a broader flash presentation, either directly as embedded content within the flash file, or as stand-alone files. Again, the content can be of any kind of content and it can also be used to deliver different styles of video – eg the TimesCast is a multimedia bulletin.
The key is that the video is only accessible from links within a flash presentation.There are plenty of great examples of multimedia out there.
- Video sharing – As well as being a source for video content, video sharing sites are often an output channel for media organizations. For most this is a technical issue. Many people use youtube or other video sharing/management sites to store and convert video. Here I’m thinking about those organizations that are using blogs to show video content because of their publications cms limitations. But some are also advocating, quite rightly, the use of these services as a form of parallel publication. Taking advantage of the technology (tag’s etc) and the popularity of these sites to extend your audience.
- Other platforms – like the video sharing option a secondary output for many publications would be to make their content available for other platforms like Ipods and PSPs. Online conversion services like Hey!Watch make this possible on a no/low budget.
So there you go. I’m sure there is still some way to go on this.