Video is a tremendously powerful way of communicating. An engaging video can provide a human, emotional connection with an organisation. A video can explain services that are difficult to bring alive in text. Video can cross language boundaries. It is a superb way of communicating, but it is not the only way and needs friends.
Looking at Video Connected. This is a fledgling offering which provides short videos to promote local businesses. I’m trying to understand why this is a good idea. It’s interesting that they see an opportunity to promote businesses using video but I’m not sure about a promotional site that ONLY does video; how is it different from YouTube?
To be fair I think Video Connected is good because it has clear geographical areas, the videos have links for further information, and there are social media buttons. But a big challenge for them will be to get a high volume of locally relevant videos.
The whole point about different forms of media is that they have particular strengths and no one form provides a universal answer.
Readers need a mix of approaches presented in the same space. Magazine layouts consist of headlines, graphics, paragraphs, photos. The eye is drawn into the page and around its content. We are seduced to look at adverts or intrigued by ingenious headlines. The difficulty with a video page is that you can’t actually see the videos until you play them. So text plays a vital role in drawing the audience in. Video is less immediate thank text.
Video is great at showing you things that are difficult to explain in words or still images. A video that shows actions and sequences can be really valuable for a product demonstration. A video testimonial works well because you can see body language and the sparkle in the eye as a customer recommends a product.
So let’s think about it.
- Text: Good for hard facts and data. Stories in which good writing is sufficient to conjure up an image. Provocative headlines.
- Graphics: Great for arresting attention and delivering key messages.
- Stills: Good for identifying people, locations, products. Adding colour and variety to a web page.
- Video: Good where movement is part of the story, or for understanding sequences. Watching people as they speak to assess non verbal communication. Where English is a second language.
- Audio: The audio element of a video is perhaps the most important and often underrated aspect. The interplay between movement and musical rhythm can provide a powerful emotional connection.
I am yet to be convinced by a video only offering. I love multimedia page layouts where stories are told and supported by different kinds of media in the same space. You feel that there is a richness of possibilities. One message supported by a range of approaches.
Of course there is a place for video as a stand alone item, but only where is promotes links to other media. A viral video which catches the attention in a dramatic or intriguing way, and then links to a web page is an effective strategy. But this strategy only works by sharing the movies across sites.
I admire Video Connected for promoting the use of video. However, I think video’s dynamic relationship with other forms is essential if it is to have the power it undoubtedly has. By taking a multimedia approach to layouts it becomes possible to simplify the video and focus on its strengths; movement and sequences of action, interplay between sound and pictures.