Please stop streaming stuff that sucks. No one cares. No one's watching. And, just because you can do it doesn't mean you should. And, as hard as it may be to imagine, just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting to us. You're constantly cluttering up the channels with your crap. And it seems like the spread of cheap video tools and technology isn't helping the situation--it's actually making it worse, because now every clown with a camera can be a digital media publisher. Technology used without talent is less than a tool--it's a tragedy.
And even new innovations like Hyperlapse compression video, which can speed up and smooth out the video viewing (without the shakes and constant jumping around), can't fix the presentation problem. Because when you're watching a video of someone speaking (as opposed to watching, say, a road trip), there's no way to accelerate the accompanying audio without the person sounding like Mickey Mouse. Media (or technology) that gets in the way of communication is less than useless.
UGC used to mean User Generated Content which contained--at least occasionally--some useful, meaningful and authentic material. Now, because of the glut of webcasts which companies are indiscriminately spewing out in massive amounts (and, frankly, podcasts aren't typically much better), it pretty much means Unwatchable Gratuitous Claptrap.
But it doesn't have to be that way. If the makers of these videos would only take a few minutes to put themselves in the viewer's shoes, this problem could be easily fixed. If we need help sleeping or want to be bored to death, there's always C-SPAN. And, as trite as it seems, we really do prefer quality over quantity--especially when you're asking us to commit our scarce time and--even more importantly--our attention to your offerings. It's not a volume game; it's all about choice and value. So next time you're getting ready to stream a talk or a panel or any other event, do us all a big favor and do these four critical things:
1. Get a producer/director
A video stream is NOT a show. Get a real producer/director (not a camera man--or, worse yet, a tripod) who actually knows that not everything that everyone does or says during a program is worth capturing for posterity, and who also knows the difference and can make intelligent choices. While you're at it, get a second camera and a switcher, and also (if there are slides or other presentation materials) get clean, legible digital copies of those materials as well. Incorporate the audience into the shoot. Make the visuals interesting and not static. And use the zoom so we don't feel throughout the show that we got some of the worst seats in the house.
2. Get an editor
The real value of these kinds of video-captured events isn't the few people who watch for a few minutes simultaneously online. They will generally get bored (or go blind) fairly quickly and bail out. If there's any lasting and archival value, it's in what use you make of the content after the fact. And to create intelligent, informative and useful content that someone will be willing to watch, you need an editor who knows the material, understands the goals, and can turn out the kind of product that you and your organization can be proud of. Vary the camera angles, intercut the slides, add some audience reactions, etc. It's not hard--it just takes some time and some thought. And it's a real talent also--not just something that people learn how to do. As Liz Taylor's seventh husband said: "I know what to do, but the challenge is to make it interesting."
3. Give us the good stuff
Let the editor do his or her job. Cherry picking has gotten a bad name somehow, but we don't care to watch introductions that we can read, administrative announcements for the room (and we don't have to silence our cell phones), sponsor acknowledgments, or coming events calendars. Do you see where I'm going with this? Cut the crap and give us the beef--the good stuff--the 10 percent of the conversation that matters and from which we can learn something new. Content ultimately is cheap; wisdom is invaluable and worth watching.
4. Give us a break
Fifteen minutes of anything today is a lifetime. We're starting to see seven second commercials for a reason. So decide early on what the outside time limit of your piece is going to be, and then hold your editor to delivering the best material he can within those constraints. The best people will tell you that constraints encourage more creativity rather than the opposite. Think highlights and high value rather than heavy lifting. And respect the target audience's time, above all.
When the dust settles, you'll be sending out something that people will want to see. Don't let your media get in the way of your message.