March 28, 2011

The debate rages on!

What is the difference between broadcast video and video for the web?
Adam Westbrook helps explain it a bit by detailing five things to avoid in web video that have become cliche’s in broadcast video.

It wasn’t long before Deborah Potter (not pictured above), a broadcast journalist, weighed in on the post.
She makes some good points.

I feel like both of them missed an important point: the delivery is the key.

Broadcast video has developed conventions like on camera reporters, narration, etc because it must put all of the information in that 2 minute report. When the 2 minute report is finished, — bang– end– next topic

Web video has the distinct advantage of being embedded on a page where it’s literally surrounded by a web of information: text that can describe, summarize and tease, still photos, links to more information or other points of view, graphs, charts, maps, etc, etc. Torn Apart is a great example from the San Jose Mercury News.

Web video doesn’t have to include everything in 2 minutes because there’s an hours worth of information on that page, if you decide to interact with it.

That means that web video can do what video does best: tell compelling, emotional, visual stories.

Back to Adam’s post, which I liked because the web allows you to try new things and not be forced into stale visual storytelling conventions (See Charlie Brooker reports the news.)

I especially like the discussion about the “eye line” or the direction of the gaze of interview subjects.Michael Rosenblum makes a great point that the online viewer can be engaged when the subject looks at the camera–and thus at the viewer– instead of looking off into the distance where the famous tv correspondent is sitting and nodding her head.

Case in point here in this interview from Fog of War, an amazing Academy Award winning documentary film by Errol Morris that breaks so many conventions that it made my head spin. (you can see the entire movie on google tv.) Let’s start by having a single subject onscreen for most of the movie. I still remember being blown away when I first saw this film and it remains one of my favorite documentary films.




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