These videos are "Meet the Press" style on purpose. They exist to let you see some of the people behind the software, stories, and hardware they (or their companies) make. Steven, for instance, is one of the world's more popular tech journalists. Next time you see his byline, you can mentally call up his image. You may not want to do that, but others obviously do; thousands of people watch /. videos.
I agree with you about charts and graphs, up to a point. And people who have some sort of device or whatever should have a working model to show off. Otherwise, it's like my favorite PR pet peeve: Sending out a press release about a google glass look-sort-of-alike thing that is only a display and saying, "...I would love to schedule an interview for you with a Vufine team member." Instead of a review unit? Come on!
This is not a hypothetical situation. It's a press release I got today from this company: http://www.vufine.com/
Obviously, a hands-on test of an eyeglass-mount projector would be more informative than either a video or text interview -- and more fun for me, too. Why didn't they offer a test unit? Not to keep, of course. Just for a few days. Hmm?
Back to the talking head syndrome. I've made a lot of screencap videos, TV news shorts, online ad videos, TV spots, and a few music videos. So yeah, I can do fairly complex video work. 30 cuts in a 60 second piece? Sure. I've done that. BUT here we're sharing information, and a lot of it is pretty dry. We have no budget for motion video or animation, either. I could have included some shots of Steven's articles and pics of TV antennas, cableco logos, and other pieces of "visual interest." If you and a bunch of others feel the extra work/time/money is worthwhile, I'm happy to do that in future videos.
There's a whole other reason for videos of people talking: You know they're not being misquoted. Raw source material protects you against reporters changing meanings or opinions. I've been the misquoted person more than once, and I didn't like it. Even in a case like today's, where we ran a 4 minute video and 20 minutes' worth of text transcript, you can reasonably (and correctly) assume that I have the rest of the interview on a hard drive somewhere. Accuracy insurance.
Audio only? Be my guest! Listen to this video's audio on your smartphone while driving if you like. 100% up to you. But if it was sound only, you wouldn't have the option of watching the video. I was talking with someone else today about video vs. audio podcasts. His company did audio casts for a while, but he says they got a lot more response when they switched to video. And they do *not* provide transcripts.
A lot of this discussion falls into the "can't please everyone" category. Some people prefer watching people talk to reading what they say. (I'm a reader, myself.) But some people prefer visual information intake. Not you, obviously -- which is okay. Read the transcripts, don't watch or listen to the videos.
Last note: You said, "(I need to point out that anyone can grab a camera and record someone talking for ten minutes. What makes Slashdot better than all the YouTube teenagers who do this for their HS project? You have the intent, time, and money to do this. Do it right, then learn to do it well.)"
Geez! You're big on catching flies with vinegar, aren't you? :)
BUT if making simple videos is all that easy, why have we only gotten *one* usable video actually submitted by a Slashdot reader - ever? And it was over an hour long, and our management now wants our videos to be under 5 minutes. So we ran an excerpt of the guy's video and provided a link to the full-length version at his (non-commercial) site.
I have a guy who offered himself up for an interview because he though his product was better than one we did a video about. He does some interesting stuff I'm sure at least some /. readers will enjoy learning about. I'm going to try to schedule him in for next week, and see if he has any raw product demo footage around that I can use to make the video more interesting.
Do you have a video you want to run on Slashdot? Or a topic suggestion? Happy to check them out. Use the usual submission bin or email robin at roblimo dot com.