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The Media

Why Video Blogs Will Suck 234

Ohreally_factor writes "Web Usability Guru Jakob Nielson has recently written a piece for his Alertbox Blog that does not bode well for video bloggers: Static, talking heads are even more boring on the internet than they are on TV. Nielson backs up his ideas with data from a study done on eyetracking while watching web video. One of Nielson's caveats: 'keep distracting elements out of the frame of your shots. If there's a road sign in the video, for example, users will try to read it and will thus miss some of the main content.'"
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Why Video Blogs Will Suck

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  • Faith in numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:44PM (#14352381) Homepage Journal
    It is completely wrong to go out and say something like this without looking at the realities of any given creative market: the more people producing content, the more likely we are to find a few diamonds in the rough.

    If 100,000 teens make vidblogs, they'll probably be terrible. Many will publish one, maybe 3 vidcasts and then stop. Yet I still believe that 1 out of 100,000 could make something worth viewing, and once we find it, we'll let others know.

    I've been working with video since my Junior High School days. I started a video/film production house when I was 20 and sold it when I was 23: video was not ready for prime time then, because distribution was in the hands of the cartels, as it still is today.

    BitTorrent and blogs have changed everything. I can seed a torrent and post it to my blog. RSS encapsulating these two devices will really make distribution easier for the layman.

    The video editing capabilities of most new PCs surpasses what I had just 10 years ago! The easier it is to make, the more garbage we'll see, but the more likely it is that good content will be created by some rare creator.

    I don't see vidcasting as a talking head-only style broadcast. I see documentary-style vidblogs (with a cameraman) and even numerous theatre-group concoctions to get recognition for their talent. I can even see the possibility of decent stories being videocast by student actors and geeks with free time. Give it time and the content will get better. Hell, most blogs are terrible, but if a writer wants to get better, we now have dozens of good "how to blog" blogs that ARE making a difference. Why would videocasting be any different?

    The step from blogging to podcasting is big and takes time and talent to do properly. The step from podcasting to vidcasting is even bigger and takes even more time and more talent, but you can't dismiss it just because you're afraid that 1 million kids with videophones will clutter up your browser. They won't. You don't like it, you don't access it. There are millions of blogs I don't read, but the 10 or 15 that are well produced I read daily. I listen to 2 or 3 podcasts with regularity (that get better every day). I'll watch vidcasts as well, and the more people that are willing to try it, the more likely we are to see quality productions.
    • by yog ( 19073 ) * on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:00PM (#14352517) Homepage Journal
      This study really is just "proving" the obvious.

      Talking heads? I would hope for a lot more than that, in an age of video camera phones and video digital cameras heading south of $100. People can now video all sorts of newsworthy and not-so-newsworthy events and post them on their blogs. That's actually a rather exciting development.

      I have found some of these audio "podcasts" to be utterly boring and tedious to wade through; unlike with text, it's rather difficult to scan down to the end to see if there's an interesting point in there somewhere, and I have yet to find an audio player that accelerates the sound on the fly (why can't Real and WMP do these simple tasks yet?). Listening to some guy stuttering and umming and ah-ing, no thanks; would rather read a well-written piece than waste my time like that.

      But video will be more fun and informative because a video is worth a thousand words, and the patter becomes almost irrelevant. Maybe I'm different, but I find video on the web still to be fresh and exciting while more static presentations are getting to be old hat. Of course there's the inevitable commercials you have to sit through to get to the substance of a video in many cases, and once again the video player won't let you fast forward but I suppose it's a small price for an essentially free service.

      Bring on the video podcasts!
    • by the_tsi ( 19767 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:03PM (#14352539)
      "To me the great hope is that now these little video recorders are around and people who normally wouldn't make movies are going to be making them. And suddenly, one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father's camcorder and for once, the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed, forever, and it will really become an art form." -- Francis Ford Coppola, "Hearts of Darkness"

      Sounds like you're saying the same thing.
      • I recall seeing an interview with George Lucas back during the heyday (shudder) of America's Funniest Home Videos. He held that show up as a perfect example of how control was becoming more decentralized and that we would soon see artists arise from this new world of home video cameras.

        It never happened, of course. About the closest thing to it was "Blair Witch Project", and while I happened to think that was a pretty fun movie, it certainly was NOT Stanley Kubrick/David Lynch/insert your favorite arthous

        • by Mad Ogre ( 564694 )
          You are forgetting about Robert Rodriguez of Trouble Maker Studios fame. You might have seen some of his movies. Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids. He started out with a seriously small indy film called "El Mariachi". This was a full movie that cost only 7,000 to make. He didn't have any Hollywood support. He just did it himself - like how anyone who really wanted could do. The only difference was that RR had/has massive amounts of talent. His talent has earned him a small movie making
          • Re:Faith in numbers (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Crizp ( 216129 )
            ...and what about Peter Jackson? With "only" cult splatters like Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles et al behind him (and the pun that was Forgotten Silver), he was chosen(?) to direct LOTR.

            I see Peter Jackson as the new Lucas - Indie star starts with nothing, gets noticed, build advanced film studio, makes big movies.

            BTW, anyone noticed the "ketchup splurt" sound in LOTR2 when the orc loses its head (when the two hobbits are captured)? Definite Jackson meta-homage by the sound crew :) LOTR is full of "bad taste"
          • by admactanium ( 670209 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @05:07PM (#14353983) Homepage
            You are forgetting about Robert Rodriguez of Trouble Maker Studios fame. You might have seen some of his movies. Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids. He started out with a seriously small indy film called "El Mariachi". This was a full movie that cost only 7,000 to make. He didn't have any Hollywood support. He just did it himself.
            let's not throw around the $7000 figure in his case. all of his equipment and post work was done at the university of texas' film department while he was a student there. i was in the communication department as well around the same time. the movie that he did produce for $7000 is not at all what you see when you rent "el mariachi" from your local video store. the version that was distributed had MANY dollars (i've heard over $100,000) spent in post to fix all the weird glitches in his cheap version.

            i agree that he has really done a great job moving forward, but the myth that you can create a movie like el mariachi for $7000 all by yourself has bankrupted many an indy filmmaker since then. haha.

    • by Sierpinski ( 266120 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:23PM (#14352670)
      If 100,000 teens make vidblogs, they'll probably be terrible. Many will publish one, maybe 3 vidcasts and then stop. Yet I still believe that 1 out of 100,000 could make something worth viewing, and once we find it, we'll let others know.

      We don't need blogs for this to happen. This already happens. Some cool, funny, or interesting video on the web has its URL emailed around the globe several times before it dies out. Mirrors/copies of the video spring up everywhere.

      I'm sure you've probably seen the video of the Christmas lights blinking on and off to music. Well that guy apparently was one of the "1 in 100,000", since I saw that video on a beer commerical on network TV last night. He didn't need a blog. He needed a video that was worth telling your friends and family about. Blogs aren't going to change the world, or the internet. Its just a new word for people posting things on their website, which has been going on for decades now.

      Its not the blog that makes something popular, it is its content. If someone produced a really good video and put it on their blog (that I've never heard of before), someone would still have to point me to that blog to see the video, which again is exactly what has been happening for a long time now. You just use the word 'blog' instead of 'site'.
      • You're right -- but most common people differentiate between a website and a blog even though a blog IS a website and many personal/commentary websites ARE blogs.

        The difference, I guess, is that popular blogs offer consistent updates, consistent viewpoints and consistent quality (whether good or bad). I know the people who come to my gold blog regularly are the ones who want to hear my opinion of gold for the day. The fact that return user numbers are growing (even though my blog is barely a month old) me
    • Agreed on content == good. Especially if hot girls are involved ;)

      But, videos are going to be a problem in terms of search engines. Unless we get tagging properly implemented at the same time, vidcasts will be essentially lost.

      And what about linking? Will vidcasts refer to other vidcasts? What happens then? Will search engines be able to find out how many vidcasts talk about the one, very cool vidcast? Probably not.

      So, why not, I wonder? Is it because we can't embed links in videos? Nope. But

    • The step from blogging to podcasting is big and takes time and talent to do properly. The step from podcasting to vidcasting is even bigger and takes even more time and more talent, but you can't dismiss it just because you're afraid that 1 million kids with videophones will clutter up your browser

      Exactly. For every Jackass kid doing something stupid and recording it with a cell phone [vobbo.com], there's a dozen legitimate uses like recording a new baby for family across the country [vobbo.com] or sending videos to loved ones in [vobbo.com]
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) * on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:45PM (#14352389)
    What did you expect from a webcam?
  • News flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:45PM (#14352393) Homepage Journal
    Blogs are just authoritative statements from non-authorities who want their narcisistic rush. I find the majority of them to be boring to begin with, why would video be any different?
    • Re:News flash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:02PM (#14352534)

      Blogs are just authoritative statements from non-authorities who want their narcisistic rush.

      Nonsense. All a blog is is a website that has a series of articles published in reverse-chronological order, optionally with comments. Nothing in that means they must contain authoratitive statements, and nothing in that means that they must be published by non-authorities.

      Tim Berners-Lee has a blog - would you consider him to be an authority? Blogs that are nothing more than links to other sources are popular - do you consider them to be making authorative statements?

      The word "blog" is almost as general as the word "website". Why are you making such sweeping generalisations?

    • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:06PM (#14352560) Journal
      I can see the old joke resurrected now: "He has a face made for HTML".
  • Video blogging (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:45PM (#14352394) Homepage Journal
    Trust me, I am a vision scientist. People are pretty visually oriented and the vast majority of them when presented with images on the Internet, generally do not pay much attention to text content. (I've done a few experiments with content on my blog here [utah.edu].) When presented with a task however, or when looking for information, people will read through text to find out what bit of information they are looking for. And generally, people can decide pretty quickly if the information they are looking for is present. The problems with video blogging are manifold: First, people will not sit through a video blogging episode when they are looking for a specific piece of information. Next, video is not yet conveniently "searchable" or indexable. Next, as opposed to information configured for audio interpretation, usually materials presented for video are poorly prepared for acoustic interpretation and are poorly organized and fragmented. A simple example of this is trying to extract the days news by exclusively listening to the following content and not watching it on television 1) NPR 2) BBC news on television 3) CBS news on television and 4) Fox news on television. You will find that generally, NPR presents the information the best for acoustic followed by BBC, CBS with Fox on the bottom.

    • Bingo. And another point is...people don't want to just be able to sift through information smoothly, they want to absorb it at THEIR own pace...not the pace of some monolithicly slow talking head who keeps stuttering, despite how interesting their content may be.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@@@tpno-co...org> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:45PM (#14352395) Homepage
    Seriously, I don't get what the rage is about blogs. Why would I? Why would someone else's boring day suddenly be interesting because they wrote about it.

    Add video to that. Wow, now I get to see, hear AND read about someone else's boring day. Because you just *know* they'd still write about what you are seeing.
    • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:01PM (#14352529)
      Seriously, I don't get what the rage is about blogs. Why would I? Why would someone else's boring day suddenly be interesting because they wrote about it.

      Because in the blogs I read that someone else is a girl, has larger tits than you, and they post pictures of them...
    • by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:14PM (#14352618) Homepage
      You seem to confuse two distinct types of blogs here - or maybe you're not aware of the distinction at all, so let me recap that:

      The first kind of blog is the one you talk about and that you find boring - personal blogs detailing personal experiences, kind of like a public diary. The second kind is blogs dedicated to certain subjects etc.; these are more akin to professional journalistic media such as newspapers etc.

      The "rage" about blogs is mostly about the second kind; and FWIW, the second kind are the only ones that are meant to attract readers not otherwise acquainted with the writer, too.

      Nobody expects you to find the personal diary of Joe Average to be interesting; but then, the *purpose* of blogs of the first kind is not to attract you (or others), anyway, but rather to allow the writer to keep their own circle of friends informed about the going-ons in their life. Think of it as some kind of multicast communication - instead of telling the same stories over and over again to everyone who asks "how was your day?" (be it in an email, IM, on the phone, in person, or whatever), Joe Average just writes these things down in a central place *once* for everyone to read.

      There's advantages for the reader, too: they typically will be able to read the blogs of many of their friends in an aggregate fashion, by means of an RSS aggregator or on a social networking site such as MySpace or Livejournal or so; and what's more, they can also decide when to catch up, and - when they do catch up - what to read in depth, what to gloss over, and what to skip completely.

      So, yes, most blogs of the first kind *are* boring, but complaining about that just shows that you misunderstood their purpose: they're not *meant* to be interesting or to attract readers. That's the second kind you're thinking of there.

      As for video blogs, those don't seem to make much sense to me with either kind - it seems that it's more of a combination of buzzwords, a marketing ploy or PR gag without any real value. Not that there aren't situations where video feeds could be interesting, of course, but I do predict that text-based blogs will remain in the majority for now - and probably for quite a long time, too, simply because they distract the reader/viewer less and do not force them to focus their attention as much as video does.
    • Why would someone else's boring day suddenly be interesting because they wrote about it.

      I dunno. Why would you assume that all blogs are just boring people writing about their boring days?

      In fact, why would you read, hear, or watch ANY media of any kind? It's just people talking about or doing stuff. Boring.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously, I don't get what the rage is about blogs. Why would I?

      A random selection of things I've learned from blogs this month:

      • Final standardisation of a file format I use.
      • An important, widespread bug in software support for that standard.
      • Last call for specifications that I will use in the future.
      • Really useful technique to perform cross-domain lookups without XMLHttpRequest.
      • Technique to display graphs derived from HTML tables.
      • Features of upcoming browsers that I can plan on using.
      • Loads of oth
    • Seriously, I don't get what the rage is about these new-fangled telegraphs. Why would I use one? Why would someone else's boring day suddenly be interesting because they could send some dots and dashes to me and very slowly talk to me about MY day?

      Add voice to that. Wow, now I get to HEAR about someone else's boring day. Because you just *know* they'd still send a telegram.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:46PM (#14352400)
    In fact, everything on the Internet pretty much sucks. That doesn't keep it from growing at about 8000% per year.

    On the bright side of course we can expect some pretty creative and funny videos being passed about. I can't wait until the product-placement folks start getting involved. This is gonna rock.

  • Um not exactly (Score:5, Informative)

    by jockm ( 233372 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:47PM (#14352406) Homepage
    The article is about why talking head webvideo will suck. Not all video podcasts. There aren't that many out there, but there are some gems such as RocketBoom [rocketboom.com] and the risque KitKast [kitkast.com]
    • This was about blogs, not podcasts.
      • Is there any difference?

        Let's go to the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: A vlog is a weblog which uses video as its primary presentation format. It is primarily a medium for distributing video content. Vlog posts are usually accompanied by text, image, and additional meta data to provide a context or overview for the video.

        You can easily interchange the obnoxious word "vlog" with "video podcast", and they both seem to come out as pretty much the same thing.
  • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:47PM (#14352409) Journal
    Sorry, but MTV proved to me that shooting a bunch of ugly young kids blabbing about crap in a still frame shot works... Either that or MTV is just a big money laundering operation, cuz after 20 years they're still on the air...
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:48PM (#14352411)
    Because Catherine Zeta Jones isn't making them.
  • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:48PM (#14352412) Homepage Journal
    Just like 90% of the text blogs suck now.
    • by clintp ( 5169 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:52PM (#14352447)
      90% of everything sucks.

      However, audio blogs somehow defy Sturgeon's Law and 98% of those are crap. I expect video blogs to be even worse.

      Audio blogs are such a jarring disturbance to the way I work in front of a computer, I can't listen to them at all. I pretty much have to stop everything else I'm doing and listen. That blows up multitasking for me. And there is no-one online interesting enough to have 100% of my undivided attention for the length of a blog entry.
    • Of course there's the +/-10% margin of error.
  • Vlogs are ok... (Score:5, Informative)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:50PM (#14352423)
    MN Stories [mnstories.com] is a local blog that has received some attention when it was named a finalist in the 2005 Weblog Awards [weblogawards.org] for best video blog.

    Then there is Chasing Windmills [blogspot.com], another Minneapolis based "vlog" which IMHO is really more of a running series than a "blog".

    I don't particuarly care for them (or videocasts) right now, but they are a fledgling arena. I'm sure they will improve with time though. We'll see.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:50PM (#14352430)
    So a video blog at 15fps is worth 900,000 words a minute.
    • But if it's just a talking head, it's only worth the same 1000 words, 900 times a minute. Somehow, I don't think I want to watch something with only 0.02% new content after the first 70 milliseconds.
  • no way (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:51PM (#14352433)
    It would be much more fun to poke and laugh at a bad video blog than just reading an bad text-based one.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:51PM (#14352437)
    > Static, talking heads are even more boring on the internet than they are on TV. Nielson backs up his ideas with data from a study done on eyetracking while watching web video. One of Nielson's caveats: 'keep distracting elements out of the frame of your shots. If there's a road sign in the video, for example, users will try to read it and will thus miss some of the main content.'"

    ...and that goes double for a pair of tits. Unless, of course, the tits are the content. There's such a thing as taking this approach too far -- our studies found that in contrast to heads, static talking tits were even more distracting than bouncing (but otherwise silent) ones.

    • in keeping w/ talking tits:

      I need breasts with brains. I don't mean individual brains, obviously... I mean, not a brain each. You know, I like intelligent women, but you've got to draw the line somewhere... I think breast brains would be over-egging the woman pudding. Besides, you give breasts the power of independent thought and the next thing that happens they don't get on.

      --Jeff, from Coupling, "The Girl with Two Breasts"

  • by vectorian798 ( 792613 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:54PM (#14352465)
    There are MANY trends in tech/internet which are not good. Videos are one of them. A lot of sites now are making videos almost a mandatory part of their experience. Gamespot for example, did not have a text version of its top games of the year. Instead, you could only see the nominees and to see the actual winner you have to go see a boring video instead of just seeing who the damn winner is! Furthermore, it is one of those videos where you can't click around towards the end, even if the video has been downloaded grr! People use the internet because it has such a massive amount of information. While entertainment is certainly part of the Internet (EBaumsWorld or Timekiller for example), quick access to salient information is likely more useful.

    I think that everyone needs to get off their respective bandwagons and think from a perspective of actual utility to end-users. This goes for videos, people on MySpace with MP3's playing in the background, sites that seemingly all want to throw in AJAX even where it is 100% unnecessary, and so forth.
    • Dead right. There are about 5 blogs that I keep an eye on (mostly technology ones). And they have really good content, and could probably make them into an interesting video. But I only take an interest in about 1/5 of the posts. Text and images are great because you can skim read them at very fast speeds, ignoring anything you're not interested in.

      Sure, most people could still make time for a video, but if everyone started to make video blogs, people would simply track less blogs. I suspect that many vid

  • Counter Opinion (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian.mcgroarty@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:55PM (#14352481) Homepage
    Why video blogs rock: Mobuzz TV [mobuzz.com], TikiBar TV [tikibartv.com], RocketBoom [rocketboom.com]... I've got about 20 videoblogs I love that range from daily to monthly updating.

    The ones that fail as talking heads are the same ones that fail as audio-only material. The secret is to be brief and get to the content straight away. I'm betting I'm not alone in having dropped otherwise-good podcasts and video podcasts just because they had a 10 second intro I had to sit through every episode, or because they ran more than a few minutes and padded things out with too much personal noise. One of the worst is when an otherwise great podcast or video blog has crap audio that keeps getting louder and quieter like the speaker couldn't stay close to the microphone. It hurts to drop those, but it also hurts to listen.

  • by Alpha_Traveller ( 685367 ) * on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:55PM (#14352484) Homepage Journal
    Sesame Street in the beginning of the show's history -- used to focus the camera directly on the puppet speaking. Adults and Children alike would drift into a mental state, brainwaves and such that would pick up less of the content, much the same way this study indicates. Sesame Street eventually began to film their characters off to the left or the right of center, and constantly changed viewpoint and moved the camera enough to maintain interest. Is it any wonder why that same lesson needs to be learned again and again, regardless of it being vblogs or some other video presentation?

    I am often suprised that the Sesame Street experiments aren't mentioned more often when people talk about Video on the web, and even more suprised when people begin to compromise those lessons learned because they intend to save bandwidth by reducing movement. It comes as no suprise to me that the focus was on a sign (which provided something to read in an active field of view) and the other technology in use around it. The Web is an active and interactive medium that people want to be constantly DOING something with. Multitasking is a requirement in a multimedia environment like that.

    What's more is, why expect someone will spend 24 seconds watching the same screen when the audio is there and they can listen instead because the activity isn't crucial to watch? No movement, it's just not that important. Toss a burning building in the background, a few people screaming.. now that you'll watch. Sad but true.
    • Sesame Street in the beginning of the show's history -- used to focus the camera directly on the puppet speaking. Adults and Children alike would drift into a mental state, brainwaves and such that would pick up less of the content, much the same way this study indicates. Sesame Street eventually began to film their characters off to the left or the right of center, and constantly changed viewpoint and moved the camera enough to maintain interest.

      Care to cite a reference for this claim?

      When I was watch

  • by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:57PM (#14352501)

    Of course the vast majority of video blogs will suck. The vast majority of standard blogs suck, the vast majority of podcasts suck and the vast majority of web pages suck. When anyone can create content, the majority of said content won't be very good. Some minority, however, like Rocket Boom [rocketboom.com] will be pretty good to great. As far as I'm concerend the more content available the better. The real issue will be sorting through alll of the crap to find video blogs with content you're interested in. iTunes is doing a respectible and Google ... are you paying attention?

  • by pedestrian crossing ( 802349 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:03PM (#14352542) Homepage Journal

    It all comes back to the content. That is, the writing.

    If the writing is bad, it doesn't make any difference if there is video or not. All too often the temptation is to do video because you can. I have been involved in distance learning, and the -first- thing that most professors want to do is video. And yes, talking heads (mostly) make for boring video.

    No matter what, it comes back to the fact that it is all about the message and not at all about the medium. Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't make it any prettier...

  • by writermike ( 57327 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:03PM (#14352545)
    Seriously, you can just put different elements in this article and it'll sound the same:

    [Affordable Desktop Publishing] will lead to mostly sucky [newsletters].
    [Affordable DVD production] will lead to mostly sucky [DVDs].
    [Affordable video production] etc...

    Having said that, his point about talking heads is worthy. Some of my favorite podcasts have a video component, but they don't try to make the visuals interesting enough to make it worth the download. Diggnation is a perfect example of this. On audio, it's funny, funny. But when you download the video, it's two guys looking mostly at their computer screens and reading with the occasional graphic to show something they reference. I appreciate the effort, but it doesn't make the video a worthwhile download.

    Seasoned (or even lightly-seasoned) television producers know this type of video would not go over well today. Can you imagine an entire news broadcast with one announcer, reading a teleprompter out of the shot and away from the camera with no breaks for stories? Even regular news broadcasts get their announcers to swivel the chair from time-to-time.
    • Can you imagine an entire news broadcast with one announcer, reading a teleprompter out of the shot and away from the camera with no breaks for stories?

      Yes. If the broadcaster is a woman.

      And she's pretty.

      And parts are showing.

      I believe this has actually been done. Was "Naked News" successful?
  • by SydBarrett ( 65592 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:06PM (#14352558)
    Oh boy, another form of media to not give a shit about.

    No wait, it's just home movies with meta tags wow.
  • static talking heads boring them to death, just
    watch an episode of Battle Star Galactica.
    There you can get all the shakey-cam you like.

    Hey! That's an idea! I'm going to sell BSG Shakey-WEBcams(tm).
    Put a little lopsided motor in the base to shake the camera for you!
    This out to be a huge hit with the under 30 crowd!
  • The talking heads on TV have no other function than to look good while reading in a clear voice.
  • ... documentary filmmaking is impossible!
  • The nice thing about text is that you can speedread or skim over the boring parts, mentally pick out threads that interest you, and read more deeply into those. You can get more information in a shorter amount of time from reading text (and adding in a static picture here and there perhaps) than you can from video or audio.

    With video or audio blogs you either have to find out from other people the ones worth viewing/listening to, but you have to have extra time to watch or listen to them. Notice how books
    • My thoughts exactly. Video might make me less willing to read new blogs because I'd have to spend more time to see whether they might be interesting. Anonymity is another issue. I don't put my name or photos in my blog for safety reasons. In terms of stalker bait, videos seem even worse than photos.
  • Great, so your average college student, who's been told his or her whole life that THEY are a beautiful and unique snowflake, that protesting outside Starbucks BEFORE they go inside makes them virtuous, that everyone is special, that every child can learn, and that mommy and daddy can't wait to hear their next opinion, now are going to be out video blogging, spewing content into the ether in hopes that its picked up by someone. College girls already do this, but at least they show their hooters. Not while
  • Tabbed browsing, broadband pipes fetching multiple streams of data at any one point in time, RSS collating possibly hundreds of site updates,

    and I am supposed to stop all of that and more, so I can watch some person slowly pronounce some words?

    Why? I am literate, I can read. If I wanted to watch TV I would go and watch TV, I love the web because it is mostly a textual medium, the density of data on it is much higher.

    Occasionally Channel9 has SOME good video blogs, but even then that is only when I am very
    • He's so right.

      It's like watching other people's vacation videos, only worse.

      There's this place in San Francisco called Artists' Television Access, which has video gear and an editing suite so that artists can produce videos. Of course, they have video showings. The stuff they show is crap, and that's the better stuff. It's like watching auditions of garage bands.

      There really aren't that many people who can do good video. It's not a technology problem.

  • I know for a FACT that I manage to obtain all the vital information I need while ignoring distractions apleanty on nakednews dot com. I mean, I know they are supposed to talk and all, but it doesn't distract me at all. :)
  • See this guy's site. It's a site that looks freshly imported from 1995. I suppose Jakob follows his own guidelines and we can see the result..

    So I say: I know it's hard to find subjects to talk about Jakob, but it'll be better if you acknolwdged innovation for what it is from time to time and not hold us back in stone age because of vague usability issues.

    If people hate video blogs, they'll just not pick up. No study can beat the natural process of separating the winners from the losers here.
  • Many video blogs aren't talking heads, they are people recording video on the go and in nice locations. Others are more lecture style, with slides and voice.

    And as usual, Nielsen overinterprets the data. Eye tracking data mainly just tells you about what people don't look at at all; most other interpretations beyond that are handwaving.
  • Cuz his site's RIVETING http://www.useit.com/ [useit.com] Including "Permanent Content" that only goes back to November 7...

    I stopped reading after this:

    Why This Site Has Almost No Graphics
    Download times rule the Web, and since most users have access speeds on the order of 28.8 kbps, Web pages can be no more than 3 KB if they are to download in one second which is the required response time for hypertext navigation. Users do not keep their attention on the page if downloading exceeds 10 seconds, corresponding to 30 KB
    • That's a good point though. A lot of people don't have broadband. Nothing annoys me more than waiting a few minutes for a page to load, because the designer decided to do the whole thing in Flash, when simple text would have worked perfectly.

      I would love to get broadband, but it just isn't available where I live at. There are an awful lot of people in the same situation as I am.

  • One of Nielson's caveats: 'keep distracting elements out of the frame of your shots.

    This can't be right...the major networks have elevated the element of distraction to an artform. If not a scrolling banner across the bottom, then all manner of "cute" little animated junk (some even with sound effects). If not that, and you can almost certainly sit and stare at a crappy station ID logo (except for commercials, when you're faced with another form of distraction entirely). All of this to "enhance" your viewin
  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:55PM (#14352869) Journal
    Static, talking heads are even more boring on the internet than they are on TV

    On the contrary. I rather think that if The Talking Heads had a video blog it would be quite interesting.
  • How unusual. So people busy themselves looking at other stuff when there's no action on the video - does that come as any surprise? No. Given the choice of an audio podcast or a talking head to keep me company on the train on the way to work, I'll take the talking head thanks.
  • Maybe it's about time someone did a usability study on Jakob Nielson. If I recall, he predicted the demise of Linux because it's gui was no good. These days, it's better than Windows XP.

    I guess any hints and tips are welcome, though for the truly talented such rules are also there to be broken. As for things like "keep it short" and "keep distracting elements out of the frame of your shots" these are old chestnuts that can be found in any how-to book on the subject and even, for all I know, on the back o
  • From what I've seen of animated video productions on the web involving the creators' own voices, it's a fair bet that any large number of live-action videos on the web are going to be almost universally embarassing.

    Remember, people blog because they don't have enough social skill to keep their lives full otherwise. I'm going to watch no video blogs. Not even Paris Hilton's.
  • If there's a road sign in the video, for example, users will try to read it and will thus miss some of the main content.

    Better yet, replace the road sign with advertising.

  • People already turn against quality video programming (the quality is in the production, mind you) on TV. They're not going to tune in to shoddy video programming on the internet when they could spend that time reading six web sites at once while listening to mp3s.

    This is an age of multitasking. Videos and sounds are extra and won't be mainstream on the internet for quite some time.
  • Check out Snackboy [thesync.com] for a good Vlog example!
  • Podcasts are like the opposite of children, they should be heard and not seen.
  • by doggo ( 34827 )
    I'd take anything that Jakob Nielsen says with a grain of salt. His usability guidelines are nearly impossible to implement without looking like his site [useit.com]. Which, while readable with lynx, well, I mean, look at it. Bleah.
  • What I think Jacob misses is that 45 seconds of video can communicate more than text that takes 5 minutes to read, if what you are trying to communicate needs visual motion and sound to get across. A good example is video that teaches how to use an audio editing program to get rid of background noise by applying signal processing. Easy to do with "show and tell" video, hard to do with text.
  • The eye-tracking result is interesting, but it says little about the properties of video on the Web compared to television. Nielsen always likes to tell us how different the Web is, how users are more active, get bored and so on; but where is the comparative eye-tracking study of watching the same clip on television? Surely looking behind the speaker to read a sign or a trash can would happen just as much on TV. And might a TV viewer not glance out of the window or stare at the remote control just as muc
  • video blogs will at least give no lifers like me the ability to post personal match videos from various 2d street fighter games. Who wouldn't wanna see that?
  • In Toronto, we have a form of video blogging already. A local tv station called CityTV has this telephone booth type sitting area where for $2 you get to sit inside and have a video camera film what you have to say. For about 3 minutes you can talk about whatever it is you want and it just basically films your head.

    The producers screen the tapes and eventually broadcast on a weekly basis. It's quite successful at what it does, and for the most part it is rather entertaining and informative (I suppose aft

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