Which video link looks best ?

I don't think I am the only person who thinks that the still frame that the Lib Dems are currently using to entice people to click on the latest Lib Dem film is naff.

Why is it so bad ?

1) No party logo
2) Julia Goldsworthy's name is not shown.
3) Amateur background
4) No smile
5) Closed eyes.
6) Silly "puppeteer's" black jumper.

So why is it that in about 20 minutes I can create a mock up that looks much better.

Come on Cowley Street. If we want people to view these things then make them look professional !


Edward said...

I agree that the party videos could certainly be improved.

There are 2 issues here:
a) The content itself
b) Minor technical adjustments to improve the look of the videos

a) Improving the content is harder and requires more effort, although it doesn't take a genius to tell you that an MP blatantly reading a scripted statement (hence the closed eyes, no smile and bowed head) is not the most exciting video content in the world. Performing on camera and constantly coming up with new and innovative videos is tough, but as we get so little video coverage elsewhere it's vital Lib Dems become very adept at it and quickly.

b) The party has done some very high quality looking captions on some of Ming Campbell's videos (including the party logo). These require more effort, but clearly can be done.

Tom Papworth said...

Sometimes the efforts of Cowley Street make me cringe. I should add quickly that they often do an excellent job, especially considering the limited resources. It just seems that we are constantly playing catch up in the presentation game.

Meanwhile, Iain Dale and his friends at 18 Doughty Street are able to push out an incredibly polished project (which I currently have on in the background, btw, where Iain is joining two Tories in an policy-free hatchet job on the Lib Dems).

I hope that our new Chair of Campaigns and Communications is giving this whole issue a lot of thought and is planning to seriously address the "new media" question.

Norfolk Blogger said...

It wouldn't be so bad though if at least the starting frame, the "still" image was better. At least that would entice people more.

I guess someone at Cowley Street was just chuffed to be able to put a video out at all !

Will said...

Here's someone from Cowley Street to answer your questions...

The main problem is that both YouTube and Google Video choose the still frame for you - it's not customisable. They both pick the middle frame of the video. It is possible to trim little bits here and there to affect what that frame is, but it's by no means ideal and I hope it's something they change. If you look at previews for other party videos, you won't see captions for the same reason.

Julia's name is shown in a caption at the beginning of the YouTube version of the video. I remove it from the Google Video version in order that the subtitles (which say "I'm Julia Goldsworthy" at the same time as she says it herself) would be readable, and, given that she introduced herself, it wasn't necessary.

The aim of doing videos like this is to take up as little of the MP's time as possible and put the work (editing it, etc.) elsewhere. They aren't intended as PPBs so much as vidcasts. Consequently, it was filmed in Julia's office at the time she was available. That said, I blogged at the time the video was posted that I wasn't happy with the background, but being the first video I had made my attention was on ensuring the technical side was working OK.

Comparing to 18 Doughty Street is a little unfair since that's aiming to be a TV station rather than YouTube style video. Webcameron is a better comparison (and I don't think they tend to use captions for Dave's pieces to camera) although I'm not inviting one :-)

Julia, wasn't, incidentally reading a scripted statement. I pointed the camera at her and asked her to give me a short piece on the bill and that's precisely what she did, with no script.

None of which is to suggest that I don't plan the several new videos hopefully coming up in the next few weeks to be better in all of these areas.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Thanks Will for that clarification. It was not intended in any way to be a personal attack on your skills. I'm pleased that lessons are being learnt all the time and that we can look forward to more professional videos in future.

Duncan Borrowman said...

I think Will was on his first day in the job too - and was despatched to grab this, with a quick run through from me on the how the sound kit works (I was a broadcast Sound Supervisor and had also been a Vision Mixer, camera operator and Presentation Director at times) we have purchased a sound kit that allows maximum flexibility to a reasonable pro standard while not being too expensive, but it needs a quick lesson to the user.
Will on his return commented that he wasn't happy with the background, before he even viewed and edited the video (using software he had never seen before). But I know he went through a steep learning curve, and learnt tons in a very short period. As he he says, this isn't a PPB, but is a YouTube style clip. I think the boy done good under the circumstances.

James Cleverly said...

I won't have this! Local activists attacking the work of HQ, you wouldn't get this in the Conservative party.....

Oh wait a minute. ;-)