Checklist: 20 Questions to Make Your Video Great

Since everyone alive today has been watching film and video from birth, we all have some idea of what bad film and video look like.  It’s that stuff you click out of instantly on your browser or your remote, often within 15 seconds of starting it.

“I know bad video when I see it” works great when you’re the consumer, but not so well when you’re the creator. Creators not only need to know bad video when they see it, they need to know bad video before they see it.  Ideally even before they start shooting it.

How do you … Read the rest

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The Rock and Roll of Art

We finished shooting the 4th episode of our new Food Network series $24 in 24 Hours in Cleveland on Thursday.  Last stop:  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I spent 9 years of my life working in Rock radio, going to 3 or 4 concerts a week.  For me, Almost Famous is a documentary (if you haven’t seen this great Cameron Crowe film, you should).

I was prepared to be all “been there done that” cool about the whole thing.

Then I sat down in the Inductees Video Theater.

I sat through two of the almost 4 … Read the rest

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20% Of Online Video Viewers Give Up After 10 Seconds

“20% Of Online Video Viewers Give Up After 10 Seconds”

That was the headline on a “chart of the day’ from Businessinsider.com.

While this figure is shocking and undoubtedly true, a look at the “average” video en masse is not particularly useful.  Video quality distribution has to be some sort of bell curve.  The variables are a) Quality of the video and b) how well the video targets a given population.

There are some videos that people tune out of in 3 seconds, at the other end of the bell curve that they don’t tune out of at all.  … 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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