The Opposite of Viral Video

I wanted some bad video.

Not to watch, at least not all the way through, but to use as an example of how not to do things for my book.  Some inspiration from a video that was truly awful.

Turns out it’s very, very difficult to find bad video on YouTube.  I scrolled through 40 pages of “recitals” and none had less than 1600 view– still way too good for my purposes.  I searched for “dance recital”, then ranked by views.  YouTube cut me off on page 50– 1000 videos down out of 8,560– and the view count was … Read the rest

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What in the Hell is Unity? (p. 114)

From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 114:

Aristotle was the first to note that great drama has three unities—of time, of place, or of action. Unity is another way to suggest a pure focus on one thing. A play might take place over one day (unity of time), or in single house (unity of place), or around a single event (unity of action). Unities keep the audience (and the writer/director) clear on what story they’re telling, making those stories more focused and powerful.

You may think we’re getting a little highbrow in our analysis here, … Read the rest

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Genre Mashups: Musical Admissions Video (p. 61)

From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 61:

Videos have genres, although you may not be used to thinking of them that way. Instructional videos, “punked” videos, music videos, webcam rants, sketch comedy, stop-motion animation—the definitions are still evolving, but they’re there. Video genres both communicate what your video is about and lock you into expectations. Fail to deliver on the genre expectations, and the audience is disappointed.

A sketch comedy video had better be funny. A music video needs to show the band and the entire song. A wedding video needs the “I do” moment. A … Read the rest

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Set the Shot and Hold It: Beyonce (p. 111)

From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 111:

If you watch professionally shot film, you’ll be surprised how often the camera stays still. Practice keeping the camera locked.  That way the action in the frame becomes the most important thing.

A static camera doesn’t mean a boring video.  Most of this recent Beyonce video consists of static camera shots of Beyoncé and two other women dancing. What camera moves there are are infrequent and deliberate– and lead to another static framing.  Most simply keep the women in frame as they dance. Yet the video, like the … Read the rest

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Short Shots Add Up (p. 106)

From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 106:

Cutting makes us pay attention. Each cut to a new shot forces our brains to figure out what we’re looking at and what it means. We’re more engaged in what we’re watching because we have to work to understand it. Short shots make us participants instead of passive viewers.

Strong, focused shots actually convey more information to the viewer. Little parts add up to a deeper, richer whole. Check out this famous milk commercial that made director Michael Bay’s career: Each short shot gives us another hilarious detail … Read the rest

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The static camera: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene (p. 111)

From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 111:

You gotta walk before you run, and in video, you gotta learn how to compose a shot before you start waving the camera around.

Film is motion, but motion doesn’t always mean a moving camera. Moving objects in the frame, a static camera and film cuts convey enough motion and emotion to be authoritatively exciting in ways that a vaguely meandering camera won’t.

Until you’re a pro, you’ll shoot better video if you don’t move the camera.  But don’t worry—a static camera doesn’t mean a boring video.

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College and Job Application Videos: Singing Math (p. 171)

From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 171:

Application videos need to cover interesting topics, presented in unique ways. Doing a bad video is like misspelling the company name on your cover letter.  First, Do no harm.

Don’t duplicate what’s already on your resume.  The woman who applied to Tufts by videotaping dances she choreographed for her favorite math functions was both odd and funny.  I hear she got in:

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