Video is the Best Method of Communication

OK, I promised a post on video 2.0 over a month ago, bad form on my part not to deliver, I was busy working on my Babson application and a bunch of other stuff. But after extending my personal excuses to getting caught up on my Yelp reviews, it’s time to defend my original assertion that Video 2.0 is here.

I understand the 2.0 meme is getting old. Fair enough, but whatever you want to call it, film has experienced a huge change over the past 15 years with the advent of digital video. I haven’t watched this unfold, as I grew up in the age of video. But I’m breaking onto the film scene (as a student) at what I feel is the tipping point. Now video is becoming of a high enough quality to warrant wide spread adoption in the commercial world. We see more and more films shooting digital footage and the cost barrier is allowing people to bring their ideas to life much more cost-effectively, just like in the web apps business.

I think we can all agree that meeting someone in person is vastly more informative than a phone call. You can’t ignore the amount of information we are able to process visually, we’re visual creatures. I mean “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so anytime you can incorporate a visual it’s beneficial to do so. Think about how helpful illustrations are in directions, think about why maps are so much more effective than directions, why graphs are easier to read then lists of stats. Historically the video world has been limited by creation difficulty and distribution problems. When it was costly and hard to create videos and the TV (whether broadcast or VCR) was the only place to view this information, it wasn’t easy. Now we all can make videos with web cams, inexpensive video cameras, our cell phones, etc. So creation is simplified, and distribution is not only opened up on the internet (which to be fair has been the case for awhile) but the adoption of broadband coupled with sites like YouTube solve the problems that historically existed and create an instant distribution channel to an established community. YouTube makes it easy to target other communities to with the embed feature. 80 percent of people that go to your website aren’t on YouTube? OK, embed it on your homepage.

The implications are powerful, and this post would be more aptly titled “Video 2.0 is here.” I don’t even think I have to defend that video’s a better way to inform people something because it involves both your auditory and visual senses. Most of my motivation behind going to film school was to learn how to effectively engage someone on both levels. How much information can you fit into a stream, and how much retention will people have? It’s a tough question, and one everyone creating video is at least semi-consciously thinking about.

The only drawback is the requirement from the user of actively engaging. Often video streams aren’t something you can digest well “in the background” as you may miss core parts of what’s going on. For example I’ll often watch YouTube while trying to do some form of Data Entry and invariably miss some of the visual keys. In some videos (a speech at a conference) it’s not too big a deal, in others (sporting tricks or plays) it’s absolutely essential to always be watching. Most videos fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. So for any content that doesn’t absorb your interest, video is less effective (although arguably still more effective than written word).

Now content producers know they have to capture your interest, but could we figure out is how to give some sort of indication or some kind of filter that lets you know when your entire attention is required? Would the public use that?

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