Observations on video blogs (vlogs)

Frank from Strategic Digital Outreach had some good questions to my post a few days ago (check the comments). I'm planning to respond to those questions soon but want to give it some more thought so I'll follow up soon. I had some immediate responses to his questions but the more I thought about it the more questions I had for my answers...and thus I'm still chewing on it. As my friend Voddie would say, I'm going to let it marinate for a while.

Onto video blogs...
I've been a fascinated observer of the goings on at HotAir.com for the last two days. As I posted last night my friends at realVerse.com were the guest hosts for the last two days so I was curious to see what kind of response the HotAir regulars gave. The comments were overwhelmingly positive but today as I looked through the comments I noticed something new. These people pay attention...close attention...to the smallest details.

There were two particular things the commenters noticed from the episode: in an early scene in the kitchen there's a dripping faucet in the background and at the end of the episode Bethany cuts up one of her credit cards...at least we think she does. Upon closer examination she pulls out what appears to be a fake credit card or at the very least a card different from the few she just showed. So what does all this mean for you? Well, nothing if you're not a current or future video blogger...but a whole lot if you are.

Here's what I deduced from this: When you want to look like the pros, you'll be held to their standard.

The realVerse team works very hard on all they do and it's paying off. What seems to be the hard part is that they're not professional videographers, editors, or on-air personalities yet they have to look the part as much as possible. Video blog viewers bring all of their expectations of what they define as "good video." So when they see someone taking a stab at a professional looking broadcast (or vcast as the case is) they will naturally hold you to a professional standard regardless of the fact that you're just an upstart video blog. When you go this route you're competing with the mainstream media...albeit not in video delivery, but in video presentation. If, on the other hand, the video blog is just a guy staring into a camera, then all bets are off. There's not much in the mainstream to compare it to so it can be defined on its own.

It seems like it all boils down to the type of video blog you want to be. If you're going to look and feel like a newscast of some type then there's a lot of existing news from television you'll be compared to so prepare accordingly. If your video blog is going to be personal in nature (or at least look that way) or its very appearance doesn't look like something you would find on television, then there will be more forgiveness for dripping faucets in the background...but still don't expect it to go unnoticed.

On a related note, I read that Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas is going to start live video streaming of their chapel services as well as archive and podcast them. The story seems focused on the streaming aspect more than the archive and podcasting side of it. I hope that was just a misguided reporter's take on the best use of technology because the seminary will certainly get more views through the archives and podcasts. If they are willing to take it one step further they should do a quick interview with the speaker each time and they could have a nice broadcast...I mean podcast.


chuckk gerwig said...

helpful thoughts, thanks tons - I've been experiementing with some Video POdcasts too Our plan has been to try to have great quality in production but to keep the verbal communication un-slick un hollywood and honest.


Hey I'm a friend of Frank Johnson's too, great guy! He has helped greatly in the launch of my Tattoo gospel site, Sacred Ink. - hceers to Frank J!

Smittie said...

Hey Bill,

Interesting observations on the video podcasting. I believe that video podcasting -- or more likely some more advanced variation -- is going to radically change the way we 'watch TV'. So much so that I started a company to produce video podcasts. The company is Tako Productions and we produce the Sacred Digital video podcast that chuckk mentions in the previous comment.

I would be very interested talking more about where it's going and how to be a part of that. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

Tako Productions