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Is this the kind of stuff we will need to be doing for the Web?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by cgsports12, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. cgsports12

    cgsports12 New Member


    It's the Minor League Legend video halfway down the page.

    My paper put together this 16-minute documentary, the first thing like this we've ever tried and one of the first I've seen of this scope on any newspaper Web site.
    It's on the most popular minor league baseball player our town has had during the team's first 10 seasons, an outfielder named Adam Hyzdu, and represents an unusual story in the minors.
    Yes, 16 minutes is very long. But it is a documentary on a subject we've written about over and over who just came back to town for a night honoring him. I'll sit down and watch an hour-long documentary on TV, and with the way people use the Internet nowadays and how they will use it even more in a few years, I can see people watching something that long if it's a good subject. In our town, this guy is a very good subject.
    If you have a few minutes, give it a look and see what you think about the production. Myself and two other guys put this whole thing together in two days with a camcorder and basic editing software. It may not be a masterpiece, but there's more here than most video I've seen on newspaper sites.
    The first few minutes will seem a little slow, but get into a bit and see the transitions, audio play-by-play, the end credits, etc. That's the stuff we're most proud of.
    Newspapers can do these kinds of things if they're thinking about different ways to grow on the Web. I'm 34 and have been in this business 15 years, and I strongly believe we need to think outside the box with the Web and concentrate on video product to attract younger people. I know some of you disagree.
    I'd love to see your feedback.

    Cory Giger
    Altoona (Pa.) Mirror
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I think you're on the right track with video, but you need to keep it short. 16 minutes is too long for a video story on the Web.

    As for the technical aspects, I'm the video guy at my shop by default. I liked the fact that a lapel mic was used for some interviews. It makes the difference between a good video and something that you drag through. Don't use the mic on the camera.

    Talk to the guys who develop the site to build a Flash player. A .wmv file isn't a good choice since it uses so much bandwidth.
  3. Notepad

    Notepad Member

    It is about 15 minutes too long. I'm kidding.
    But, in all seriousness, this is much too long to hold readers' attention.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I think the length is fine; if people want to stop watching or watch the rest later, they have those options, but if you give them 90 seconds, what are they getting? It's not like it's TV where a 16-minute clip and some commercials are going to eat almost the entire broadcast. Was there a way to make the screen larger? I right-clicked and couldn't do it.

    That former Curve owner has to have one of the worst comb-overs in history.
  5. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    I like the explainer video clips CNN does, but video stories I can do without. I'd rather read a story at my own pace than sit through even a short clip.
  6. From what I can tell analyzing our video traffic, people will want to watch videos of stuff they can't wholly comprehend by reading it. Shorter is better, but people will watch longer if it's compelling and has its own value.

    I'm roughly two minutes into it, and there's nothing text and a photo wouldn't capture. People talking in front of a wall and some stock footage isn't going to do it.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Readers are on the website to read stories... video is a plus, but you have to hold their attention.
    Cut it down or, spread it out... five three minute installments or a variation (three 5-minute) is better.
  8. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I'll all but guarantee that you can tell me everything that's in that video in story form and it won't take me 16 minutes to read it. Put it this way: I haven't watched the video, because I know I won't sit through it.

    Slappy's right. If you really have 16 minutes worth of story to tell, break it up. Find the natural breaks, and use them. You could even spread em out over a few days, keep em coming back for more. (Well...maybe.)
  9. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    Having bailed from the newspaper business and dived into the Web, I can tell you viewers spend at most 3 minutes viewing a page -- the average is about a minute. I don't care how you want to sell your documentary, but nobody's going to sit and watch 16 minutes of video on the internet unless it's porn.
  10. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    16-minute videos on the career of Adam Hyzdu will not save newspapers.
  11. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    The question of length is relative. Users will in fact hang in there for something compelling, even if it runs half an hour. But I suspect that there could have been a way to chop the 16-minute piece into two or three segments, with each focused on a different phase of his life/career.

    From the department of "Definitely Not How To Do It," there's a site out there that has its film critic preview all of the movies that are opening this weekend in the form of a video that typically runs 12-20 minutes.

    That is sooooooo misguided. By the time the video is placed on the site Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, a large percentage of the potential audience has already been exposed to trailers, commercials, magazine ads, etc., and has a pretty good idea about the one or two movies they might want to see this weekend. They don't want to have to sit through 10 minutes of the vodcast to finally get the critic's take on the movies of interest.

    The paper needs to do one short video (2-3 minutes) for each of the movies.
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    It doesn't matter. One view for 15 seconds generates the same ad revenue as one click for 16 minutes does.
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