I’ve never been one for online video for the same reason I’ve never really been one for traditional TV: no matter how many times I click the mouse or click the remote control, nothing of interest is ever on. Sure, there were/are some exceptions. I try to never miss the Daily Show and the Bill Moyers’ Show. But nothing else can convince me to sit through all those dreadful commercial breaks.
The same is true of online video sites like YouTube, Google Video, Blip.tv, and DailyMotion. Occasionally I’d look at their ‘most popular’ and ‘recommended’ pages. And I’d sit through minute after minute of grainy shaky video. But nothing ever grabbed my attention. Well, there is that Kruger Park video … that’s some crazy shit! And there are also the creative movie trailer remixes. But when you only have so much time to spend online, I’d much rather be reading and looking at photographs on Flickr. I figured I was just a text and image kinda guy.
Now I’m rethinking my position. Part of it has to do with the fact that now I’m making video myself so I’m interested to learn more about the techniques that others use. When do they use transitions? What sounds levels do they use for their audio? How do they conclude their narratives?
For example, the content of Nathan’s video on how to make a torta was less interesting to me (I already know how to make a torta) than how he produced it. Like when he shows the burner lighting under the pan – that was dope … it really makes you feel like you’re there in the kitchen with him. And I never would have thought adding that to the video.
Another reason I find myself watching much more video these days than I ever had in the past is the sense of community which is starting to develop at Semanal, a social network of videobloggers who have committed to publishing one video a week. That is, 52 videos throughout the year. Some old friends are there like Georgia, Nathan, Jay, and Pepa. But I’m also getting to know many more people who were complete strangers just two weeks ago. I have a feeling that by the end of the year at least a few of those strangers will become real-life friends.
Finally, one last reason I’m now watching more online video than ever before is thanks to the excellent work of friend, HiperBarrio project leader, and, now, Global Voices Video Editor Juliana Rincon. It turns out that one of the reasons I wasn’t able to find anything of interest on YouTube is because I was too lazy to really look around. Now Juliana does that job for me. For example, her latest article, which includes three videos showing the post-election situation in Kenya, (where I was just a few months ago) brings the current reality there closer to me than it was before. Over the past two years I’ve learned just how capable Juliana is in everything that she does and I know that she’s going to take Global Voices Video far.
On a related note: Will Online Video Make the World a Better Place?