Online video quality vs. quantity

Mindy McAdams asks some questions of video online, prompted by comments on another post. A knee jerk response below but I will come back to question six in a later post.

1. Should print reporters shoot video?

(A qualified) yes.. If video is right for the story and the print publication has an online presence and they don’t have committed online staff.

2. Can journalists accept the low video quality produced by ultra-cheap ($129) video cameras?

Yes. I would always advocate acquiring footage at the highest quality. We have to be aware of the upward mobility of our content as well as the obvious outputs. If we get great footage of an event that our local cable or news outlet misses, what’s wrong with selling the footage on?

3. Should the video be edited, or posted “raw”?

Edited – even if that’s just to top and tail the piece and add a graphic at the start and end to identify the source.

4. Does the popularity of YouTube video (most of it very low quality) indicate that the content is more important than the poor image and sound quality?

In the UK the technical quality threshold on news content has always been lower. The idea that the impact and importance of the content in news terms outweighs any technical gripes.

In years gone by studies where done to see if people where put off by the sound delay from satellite pictures. Result – no. They understood that this stuff was being beamed from space. Now we have, subjectively, awful looking pictures from sat phones. Do people mind? Generally no. They realise the limitations of the medium and value the content.

5. Does the popularity of YouTube video indicate anything at all about journalistic online video?

Only that the good stuff appears on you tube.

6. What should be the content of reporter-shot video? E.g., is a talking head okay?

This, to me, is the real question. Everything up until this point has been debate about how we staff, manage or breakdown the process of making video on a new distribution platform. As a distribution platform it puts technical and practical limitation sin our way that mean we have to think about what it is we are working with and how we develop it along with the other forms of storytelling at our disposal.

7. Is doing it, and doing lots of it, more important right now? That is, will we learn more about what works best if we produce a large quantity of video (vs. tinkering away to make it sound and look better)?

We need to make lots of it. Bad and good. I am definitely a fan of the “learn more about what works best if we produce a large quantity of video”

Broadcasters have had years to get it right. Let’s learn from them but lets also give ourselves enough time to develop it.

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