web video content

11 Sep 2009 - 3:03pm
7 years ago
10 replies
733 reads

Working on a project which has a video explaining a new product. The video, as it stands now, is about 5 minutes and has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is a (rather boring and technical) introduction: "Hi, I'm so-and-so, I invented this product and this is why." Then it gets into how to use the product. The video editor (who comes from a television background) feels strongly that we need the introduction first, for the flow/narrative. I feel strongly that the intro will lose viewers' interest and we should jump right into how to use the product, with only a title card as introduction, and use the intro later in the piece.

My thinking is that web video is not like a TV show: if you don't have your viewer's interest in the first 30 (??) seconds, they aren't going to watch. But I can't find any research to back up my position. Does anyone know of
any research or have any thoughts on this?

By the way, for budget reasons, we cannot do any reshooting or voice work, we can only edit what we have.



11 Sep 2009 - 3:47pm
Nitesh Bhatia

You can chop off the intro part i.e. "Hi, I'm so-and-so, I invented this product and this is why." and directly start introducing the product. In the you can show Name, Inventor-Product in text over Video.
I would recommend you to refer the way Apple publicizes its products. Macbook Unibody introduction is still in my mind !!
(Ref: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/, click on )

11 Sep 2009 - 5:04pm

Few TV shows start with the title and credits. They start with a touch
of action or a joke, and then do the opening titles.

But for some shows, that would disrupt the narrative or otherwise not
work with the style of the show.

The style you want to project should dictate the format.

-- Jim

11 Sep 2009 - 6:55pm
Lynn Marentette

I agree with you, if there is a narrator at the beginning of the clip,
viewers will leave. You could include the information about the
inventor and the technical back story in text on the web page. (It
should not be written in a boring and technical manner, otherwise few
people would read it.)

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Posted from the new ixda.org

11 Sep 2009 - 3:29pm
Evan Levy

Unless the product is being introduced by a famous inventor, celebrity
or one of the characters from Family Guy, no one cares who that is or
why they invented it. If it isn't fairly obvious why it was invented
just by nature of demonstrating how it works, then the invention's in
trouble anyway.

If you think it's boring, then it is. Go with your gut.

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Posted from the new ixda.org

11 Sep 2009 - 3:29pm
Steven Hubert

Why can't you just divide the video into 3 sections, so users can
play the playlist in order, or skip past the introduction?

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Posted from the new ixda.org

11 Sep 2009 - 3:53pm
Anthony Hepp


I agree with your thinking about Web video needing to capture
attention very quickly. I do think it's important for the narrator
to introduce him or herself and introduce what the video is going to
be about but it should be brief. 30 seconds can be an eternity,
especially in a 5 minute video. Is it possible to chunk the material
in such as way as to allow folks to "get on with it" by navigating
to a next "chapter" via a simple interface? Flash could
accommodate such a thing, and there could be other strategies as
well. This is great for repeat visitors who just need that super
quick refresher on that one feature but don't want to sit through
the whole vid, too.

I am a multimedia designer who has worked a lot with online video
(from every aspect of production and implementation), and while I
don't have concrete evidence or official stats to share, I can tell
you from simple focus group sessions that in general, the tolerance
for non-essential info is very low... I would say folks likely are
looking for how to click after less than twenty seconds of
introductory talk. It's probably closer to about ten. Is the intro
essential to the way the product works? It may be a nice bit of
trivia, but is it ESSENTIAL to making the product work? If not, then
let me move past it and get to what I need to know to do my job.

I'd be interested to see how others feel about this, too!

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Posted from the new ixda.org

12 Sep 2009 - 9:40am

Playlist option will work. This gives viewer to decide on his time.

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Posted from the new ixda.org

12 Sep 2009 - 4:45pm
Josh Ellinger

If the viewer is not hooked within the first 10 seconds (or less) the
chances of them staying to watch is much lower.

The introductions and why of the product may be better off as an
additional accompanying video depending on the content. But the
primary focus of a given video (in my opinion) should be getting to
what the customers care about as soon as possible.

So get to your value proposition as soon as you can, and with video
you want to make sure that it is a full video attention grabber. Not
just audio, not just visual. If a boring looking product demo is not
as exciting as the founder talking, the founder might do a better job
at conveying this value.

I think looking at this as a generic "this is always better then
that" way would be wrong. You should really look at how convincing
the content is and make your decision based on that.

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Posted from the new ixda.org

13 Sep 2009 - 10:04am

Because it's web video, you have the luxury of explaining what someone is going to watch, before they actually watch it. Unlike television, which is a passive medium.

The Web is an active medium, where someone may have found your video through search, was sent a link by a friend or colleague, or the viewer saw messaging in the marketplace signaling why it is important to watch the video. Generally, we state context around the video, which is how the viewer got there in the first place.

Why have an intro at all, when you've already introduced relevance and context through the text and images that live on the page? It's just redundant and unnecessary to have an introduction, and somewhat egocentric in that the introduction contains an unnecessary focus on the person or brand sponsoring the presentation. A lower third could accomplish this just as nicely: "Joe Smith - Researcher, University of Washington."

Instead of this: "Hi, I'm Joe Smith, and I'm a researcher at the University of Washington. For the past nine-years, I have been working with 27 other researchers to build this product, X, that is the best product in the world to solve all kinds of problems that we never thought possible."

What about this: "Product X, when applied like this, can be used to take the rust of any bicycle (roll b-roll of application of product onto bicycle). Just get a cloth and pour 5 small drops of this product on the cloth and then rub on the spokes..."

You can imagine the difference. In the second example, we get right to the work, without the fluff, while still mentioning product name for branding purposes.

Editors should try their best not to be so tied to traditional storytelling methods with web video. If I turn on the Discovery Channel, say at 8 pm, to watch some show on some topic, I do expect a story. If I'm going to the Discovery Channel Web site, don't give me the show intro, tell me about the video by using text and a thumbnail image. When I click, I expect to get to get right to the topic, without the intro. If someone chooses to watch the entire video, then you can add a little about the presenter at the end, or have the presenters bio as a link placed alongside the video window, or above or below it.

This has always been the issue with television, which is now, hopefully being solved by iTV technology. But even with iTV (I used to work in iTV at Cablevision) producers still have these unnecessary intros. When I log into the Golf iTV application, for instance. I know where I am, so why give me an intro for each golf tip. I just want the tip, man. GIVE ME THE TIP MAN! LOL. It's frustrating to have to sit through an intro for each golf tip. Makes you not want to

The storytelling, starting with who what and why, is all explained in the text and images before you start the video. Why we keep these intros today is beyond me, but branding is still important. How important is a good question.

The same, I believe, will be applicable to mobile video as well, which is going to the the shortest of all video delivery channels. At least in the near term. The issue there would be less ability to offer context around a video, because you have less space.

I've been working in and around video for the new media for about 10-years now, and that's how I see things. As others have said, I haven't run across any specific research, but I would be willing to bet that there is some out there, especially with the cable companies. Hulu.com may have done some research as well. I would think they have studied some of this by now. If there's an iTV association Web site (I should be looking and offering suggestions, but it's Sunday morning and I'm being lazy), you may find some info there as well.

Notice I ended with my credentials, instead of being ego-centric and leading with them. I got right to the meat, without wasting anyone's time about who I am or what I do.


Anthony Zeoli | ZAAH.COM VP Product & Business Development

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