Sunday, June 26, 2016

Video Projects - Good News, Bad News

I haven't been posting any blog posts lately other than the video transcripts. This is pretty unfortunate, as I have a list of things I've been meaning to write about, and the best way to get out of the habit of writing is to not write for a while.

The video projects have been taking up a good deal of my time. That, in addition to my recent trip, has kept me from writing daily as usual. I'm determined to return to this blog, though. And, after spending the past couple of weeks getting my sea legs as far as these video go, I think I have a plan that will allow me to get back to writing regularly.

That plan involves good news and bad news for my video projects.

The bad news is that I will not be putting out videos nearly as regularly as I was hoping. My original plan was to put out two videos every week: an episode of On the Issues and an episode of Something Else (currently the Hamilton the History series).

However, I'm writing, recording, and editing these videos on my own, which turns out to be pretty time consuming. I could theoretically continue to put out videos like the three I've released so far, with me talking to the camera and jumping around from line to line, and still keep my two-per-week schedule, but that presents two problems:

1) That would take up almost all of my free time, so I wouldn't be able to write or do most anything else very much outside of work.

2) The videos are, frankly, not that interesting to watch.

So, I'm going to be switching to a schedule in which I release videos when I'm done and more or less happy with them. I'm hoping to be able to keep up with one per week, since if I don't have any schedule it will be very easy for me to put videos off indefinitely.

The good news, though, is that by taking my time with each video I'll be able to make them much more watchable.

Currently, I have a few problems with my videos, and I'm hoping to address them as I continue making them, starting with one I'll be releasing tomorrow. In short, I feel like I need to work on basically everything. Some problems are particularly glaring, though:

1) Poor video quality.

I believe I've fixed this with the video I'll be posting tomorrow. I've been getting more familiar with the export settings, and I think I've got it figured out. The good news is that the video quality will be much, much better. The bad news (for me) is that rendering the video takes hours, so I have to be sure I'm happy with the final product before I export it.

2) Too much of my face/jumping around.

Another thing I've fixed with the next video: less teleportation! Also, less of my face. Basically, for the next Hamilton the History video, I've taken advantage of the images available at the Library of Congress to make the video more dynamic and interesting to watch.

3) My diction. 

Currently, I make the videos by attempting to memorize a sentence and then speaking it into the camera several times in different ways, hoping at least one take is usable. As a result, most of my effort goes into actually reciting the line successfully, rather than making sure it all sounds good together. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

I have a teleprompter system coming in soon that will help with this somewhat, since I won't have to memorize my lines. The teleprompter will also reduce the number of cuts I need to make, since I'll be able to read as I go rather than recording one line at a time. That will help in many ways: better flow, less teleportation, and less editing.

Also, hopefully, with time I'll start to relax more so that I sound more natural.

4) The writing.

Currently, I don't think the episodes flow very well. This is going to be the most difficult aspect to fix, as it just involves me getting better at writing for video and, perhaps, just getting better at writing in general. It'll bear some experimentation, but at the moment I just want to make sure that I'm actually making a point with these videos or, at least, am being entertaining. Preferably both.

Long story short, I'm going to start aiming for quality, not quantity. Or, at least, sliding the scale in that direction.

If any of you readers have any suggestions for improvements beyond what I've mentioned, I'm all ears!

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