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Let me start this mini-rant by saying I like videos, I shoot and edit videos, I make screencast videos. Videos are great. But they shouldn’t completely take the place of words on a web page. I find it so frustrating when I just want to look up a specific piece of information online, but the web page I go to from my search forces me to sit through a full video to find what I’m looking for.
Here’s an example: Today I was trying to get some information on a recently released virtual instrument. I went to the software developer’s web page to find out what effects are included with the instrument. On the main page labeled “Overview” (“underview” might have been a better word for it) I see a sub-heading “Effects,” and scroll down to it, only to discover a tiny paragraph that says that an effects section is included with the instrument. No other text, just a video link.
So I open the video, and it’s not even narrated, just a screencast showing the instrument playing with its effects screen open, while various effects are being applied. It doesn’t say what they are, and while I can certainly deduce what some of them are from listening, there are some that I'm not sure of. Even if I could figure them all out, it would still annoy me that I’m being forced to play Sherlock Holmes just to get some basic product information.
Mind you, this was an extreme example, and usually the info you’re looking for is contained in the video, but you still have to take the time to watch it in order to find out.
Video is great for showing a product in action, and for letting you hear what an instrument or product sounds like or how it operates, but it's not a substitute for information that should be listed in text form in a specifications section.
If I want to learn how program a complex Max for Live patch or how to correctly play a Theremin or how guitars are made (like our “Inside the Taylor Guitars Factory” video we posted this week — pardon the shameless plug), yeah, video is the perfect medium. But not for everything. In many cases, text is the most efficient way to disseminate information.
Is it just me? Am I being a Luddite, or do you sometimes feel the same way? Let’s discuss it.
Have a great week.
U.S. Editor, Audiofanzine
I too have run into supposed "tutorial" videos where there's zero narration and they come across more like, "Hey, look what cool things I can do with this amazing app!"
Exactly. Both marketing and customer support are vital tasks for a manufacturer, but when they intertwine them, it's not a good thing.
I will say that I've been working with Voicejam Studio by TC Helicon in the past few days and give them props for having a manual guide with supporting videos that other app developers could really use as a model for their instructional support.
Good to hear that. Many manufacturers do "get it," it's just the ones that don't who drive you crazy.
[ Post last edited on 11/15/2014 at 11:23:48 ]
And, how about in a promo video the manufacturer at least gives the "suggested retail price" of whatever it is they are hawking? How difficult would that be?
Plugin Guru does great instructional videos.
[ Post last edited on 11/15/2014 at 18:18:17 ]
Whether it's video games or music or news, if there is a video, I just skip it. I can't sit though a long video to get one piece of information. What if I'm lying in bed and my wife is sleeping and I don't have headphones?
Same thing here. And I just read last week how Zuckerberg predicts "In five years, most of [facebook] will be video" (https://www.pcworld.com/article/2844852/facebook-will-be-mostly-video-in-5-years-zuckerberg-says.html).
For various reasons, I follow many music software and hardware companies on FB; I can see how they'll just develop a video to explain the product, and not worry about the rest of us who don't want to view product information on someone else's schedule.
Give me a way to read about your product on my own schedule, and I'm that much closer to considering buying it.
I too have run into supposed "tutorial" videos where there's zero narration and they come across more like, "Hey, look what cool things I can do with this amazing app!" and I still don't get the answer I was looking for in many cases. It can be frustrating for sure and I think some developers really need to work on making more informative how-to videos AND written guides with step-by-step instructions and not just a list of FAQ's that also are frequently non-helpful.
That's when I agree about the videos. When it's about a product or app, I don't want to be force fed all of the features in one 10 minute video when all I'm trying to find out is if it's compatible with mac, for example.
I find videos very helpful when they're instructional and focused entirely on my topic of interest. For example, I once saw this video on the forums explaining compression, and while the audio they used was boring, it taught me exactly what I needed to know to understand compressor parameters. Nothing more, nothing less, and no shameless plugs.
But even so, I think having complementary text could do nothing but help maximize the effectiveness of the video as it helps you get the information you want about their products (which is what they want anyway), but at your own pace.
And I just read last week how Zuckerberg predicts "In five years, most of [facebook] will be video" (https://www.pcworld.com/article/2844852/facebook-will-be-mostly-video-in-5-years-zuckerberg-says.html).
That's not encouraging. Again, nothing against video, it's great way to disseminate a lot of types of information, but not for everything. Also, the nature of how video must be viewed, in a linear fashion, is very different from how we consume text, where we can search for specific items, and jump around to whatever part of the document we want to in whatever order we want to. Yes, you can skim or fast forward a video, but you don't know what's there until you check the whole thing. It's not directly searchable like text is.