Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pressure on the Videographer

Videographers and video editors in today’s society have a lot of pressure put on them, and not just professionals, but amateur videographers as well.  Professional videographers and editors are pressured by their companies to put out a good product that people will enjoy.  Amateur videographers who post on sites like YouTube want to have videos that will receive a high number of views because often times they can be paid for ads on their videos based on the number of times the video is viewed.

I’m going to have you do a little self-conducted experiment.  I’m going to have you view two different videos, then answer a few questions about them after.

Which of those videos was more informative?
Which did you learn more from? 
Which was more entertaining? 
Which would you watch again?  Wait… there are some people out there who love politics, so let me reword that…. Which would you show to your friends if looking to entertain them? 
Finally, which of these videos would get more views on a site like YouTube?

Since most of those questions are opinions, I can only give you the correct answer to the final one: At the time of this blog post, President Obama’s rendition of “Call Me Maybe” has 30,436,286 views and his Homeland Security Address has 944.  That’s .01% the amount of views the “Call Me Maybe video has.  Now, you might be thinking, “oh, he picked the Homeland Security Address because it doesn’t have many views!  I actually picked it because it was put onto YouTube just 13 days after the “Call Me Maybe” video.

When it comes to the informative aspect of the videos, the Homeland Address is extremely factual. It isn’t intended to be entertaining, but instead informative.  The “Call Me Maybe” rendition has nothing informational in it, and is instead intended to be entertaining.  This is because often times the majority of the population is more interested in being entertained than they are in being well informed citizens.  This is why we often find ourselves watching ABC, Disney, MTV or USA rather than CSPAN or even CSPAN-2. 

This is adding to the polarization problem in the USA.  Since people care more about entertainment than learning the facts, not only are they watching more of the spoof/comedy videos, but it’s also likely that those videos (mixed with a little bit of polarized news such as MSNBC or FOX News) are their only source of information on the candidates.  Since they aren’t getting very much unbiased, informative information on the candidates, they tend to become biased toward whatever candidate their news source is biased toward.

There have been lots of situations where videos have been taken out of context or reedited to seem like something they’re not.  As Aaron Hess said in our interview, the editing process allows for a sense of credibility.  The author can make it seem like they were right there, so everything happening in the video must be taken the way it appears. 

Hess also suggested that the only real solution for this problem is to get people to read their news instead of watching it.  Since there are also polarized news readings, Hess also suggests that people seek out news sources that counter their beliefs.  (If they are a regular New York Times reader, they should try reading the Wall Street Journal.)

Since it is unlikely that all video-based news will simply cease to exist, it’s likely that we will never find a solution.  While it is very tempting to work towards a moderate political state, I too benefit from ads based on views on YouTube, so with most of the population, I’ll continue to go for entertaining.

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