This video is about as amateur as can be.
I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and sitting on my couch. I don’t know what I’m supposed to use for the brightness, contrast, gamma, hue, saturation, or sharpness. I shot it in one take on my laptop’s built-in webcam, while I was in a hurry to go spend some time outside. The sound skips in a few places, and to top it all off, the audio becomes desynchronized from the video halfway through. I truly hope this stands the test of time as the worst video I ever did.
And yet, it’s probably still better than any video you’ve done. Because while anyone could create a better video if they tried, only a small percentage of all bloggers have ever recorded a single video.
There are many reasons why most bloggers haven’t taken the plunge into video yet. Not having a webcam is a pretty good reason, and I only did this video because my new laptop happened to come with one. Not wanting to face the camera is another good reason. Not wanting to take the time is another. Not wanting to use a less accessible medium is another.
But is not being good at video a good reason?
“Although some people pull it off, the majority of those who do video updates and posts just come off sounding unprepared or boring. Broadcasters and TV personalities go to school and learn how to come off with ease on camera, just as writers learn to deliver the written word with some flair.”
I certainly agree that on-camera professionals have developed a level of skill far beyond most video bloggers. But fortunately, I don’t think video bloggers are in competition with them.
Think about your favorite bloggers, and see how many of them are professional writers. Probably not many. (And if they are, their blog is likely to be specifically about writing.)
People don’t go to ProBlogger to read Dickens. These people are beginner and intermediate level bloggers, looking for practical and understandable information about how to make money blogging. That’s what Darren Rowse needs to deliver.
If he started sounding like something you had to read in 12th grade English class, he’d alienate his audience. They’d think “This guy is talking way over my head. I’m just looking for some good information, but I can barely understand him. Do I need to write like this to be a blogger? Maybe this isn’t for me.”
Most bloggers don’t need to be professional writers, because that’s not what most people are looking for online. For much more on this, read Skellie’s post Why Great Writing Doesn’t Matter Online and the very important follow-up, On Writing and You.
Likewise, a video blogger doesn’t need to be great at video if that isn’t what their audience wants. Nobody is ever going to struggle with deciding whether to watch Tom Brokaw or a video blogger, because these people are serving completely different purposes. Yes, Brokaw is good at what he does, but the video blogger can be good at different things.
You don’t read bloggers because you think they’re better writers than Ernest Hemingway, and you won’t watch them because you think they’re better on camera than Katie Couric. You’ll have other reasons.
Scott goes on to say:
“But, with all mediums, I think it will start to step up in quality. Instead of using a built in webcam, maybe add some production value. Solid editing, maybe even a nice DV camera for these kinds of posts.
Webcam video posts, while some are good, remind me of a low-fi Blogspot blog, where if people can add some production value to them, they will be like having your own domain/wordpress blog.”
Yes, bloggers should create quality videos when possible. Even if greatness isn’t required, there’s no reason you can’t aim a little higher than you have to. This is particularly important for blogs based entirely on video.
For me, I’ve only done two videos so far. I don’t know what my plans for video are, so for now I’m not inclined to get a better camera, learn how to edit videos, set up a production studio, take acting classes, get a teleprompter, etc. (Still, I’d like to figure out why the sound skips on my videos. Any ideas? I’m using the webcam on a Toshiba Satellite L355D.)
There was a time when Blogspot blogs were ahead of the curve, and we’re at that point now with amateur video. Just having video at all makes you stand out. But while the bar is pretty low, you can expect it to be raised over time.
“This is truly amazing, a portable television studio. No wonder your president has to be an actor, he’s gotta look good on television.”
- Doc Brown in Back to the Future, after learning in 1955 that actor Ronald Reagan would become president in the 1980s, ostensibly because of the invention of the camcorder