How long should online video be?

Two great responses to the question ‘How long should online video be?’ from the Newspaper Video list.

Davin McHenry from says:

The only limits we have here in Bakersfield are: If your video is over two minutes you have to have another editor watch the video and suggest possible cuts.

I think blanket limits are silly. There are video stories that can’t
be told in two minutes. We’ve had stuff that ran 6-7 minutes.

The trick is to allow freedom of length without people abusing it.
It’s very easy to fall in love with your own footage and let videos go on and on. You have to be self disciplined and, frankly, be brutal with your footage.

His first point is a great idea and his last point is one of the toughest lessons to learn in video (online or broadcast)

Another Bakersfield bod, Jennifer Baldwin, notes:

I actually made a two-parter because my video would have been 12 minutes if I hadn’t!

It’s worth remembering that we can break content in to blocks and show it on the same page. Look at Yolanda’s Crossing over at the Dallas News as an example

7 Replies to “How long should online video be?”

  1. Objective editing is the same in any news medium.

    In local news, basic reports shouldn’t last longer than 1 minute 30. Once a deeper, stronger narrative becomes apparent, then time shouldn’t be a constrictive factor.

    Quality should always take precedence over quantity in any medium where there is strong competition for the audience’s attention.

  2. Hi Richard

    Objective editing should set the standard but which standard of editing are we using. Doco/feature standards would dictate pretty sweeping cuts but in the context of a 24/55 minute spread. That’s less about time and more about the narrative. In news, yes, 1:30 is a luxurious amount of time to tell a story and for the most part I would advocate staying within that window.

    But the gneral discussions seems to be that the convention can be challenged online and quality and quantity are not mutually exclusive.

  3. As a very new newcomer,through work, to online video, I feel that the viewing time should ‘feel right’ for the subject. A news item need not be more than a minute or two, but more feature stuff can go longer. Our clips are not part of a news bulletin on tv, but viewed in isolation.When I view sites I sometimes feel a short clip is a waste of time, there just because they can do video.Longer clips feel more like a ‘real film’ if the subject is worthwhile.

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