Monday, 7 November 2011

Dude, it’s a Time-Based Medium

This week I want to talk about running time.  The myths and the unwritten rules about video and film for the inter (& intra) net, visa-vis length.

“It’s got to be two minutes – otherwise no-one will watch it…”.

Boy. If I had a pound/dollar/euro/rash for every time I had that as part of a brief.  So I guess that wasn’t part of Peter Jackson’s brief when he started the LOTR trilogy.  

NO – your video is not too long. It’s just too dull / unstructured / pointless / irrelevant / mis-timed / badly made to be that long. Simples.

This is a great post about perceived time.

The thing is, if you can’t effectively tell your story within two-three minutes then maybe you are asking too much of a simple video.  Ask yourself, WHAT do you want from this thing?  Consider the objective.  Usually, you need to intrigue. You need to START a conversation, not finish it…give the prospect something to contribute, surely?

So.  Three things that add unnecessary running time:

Politics. We need to have the VP in it, and the product manager, the account manager, the client and the software developer. That gives them about 25 seconds each. Yeah…respect…

No focus.  “Our one principle benefit is that it is cheaper, saves you running costs, cleverer, smaller and comes in beige as well as grey…”  Make your mind up.  Let them come away with one concept to start the conversation. It’s great to find out about the mp3 server in the boot/trunk AFTER I’ve fallen in love with the car.

No plan. Lets shoot EVERYTHING and see what we need in the edit.  I bought all 3000 products in the shop – now what do you want for dinner? Not having a story plan wastes budget, adds confusion, takes longer, and frustrates you as you start to carve away at great content.

One more thing – what’s with the on screen graphics and text messaging?
Do NOT make me come over there…with your “perhaps we can sneak in some more facts and principles by superimposing words for them to read”. If you were lucky enough to have execs who didn’t send everyone to sleep, the last thing you need is a massive drain on your audiences computing power by asking them to read whilst someone is talking.  It’s tacky and it doesn’t work.  Leave it in the eighties where it belongs.

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