How YouTube video is different: production tips to keep in mind


YouTube What do you think the differences are between making videos for the web versus other venues like film festivals or TV? (posted on their Facebook Channel)

YouTube posed this question on Facebook today.  I think there are many differences that are important to keep in mind as you produce YouTube video.

This question was so important, I thought I would write a blog post about it, rather than respond to the comment on their Facebook Page (since most of the thousands of replies are SPAM, anyway!)

The project duration. YouTube videos that are only 30 seconds long still get an audience.  Anything over two minutes is pushing it, although you can go up to ten minutes.  Anything over five minutes has to be incredibly compelling.  Imagine watching a two-minute television program!  But that’s what works for the web.

The abandonment rate. Web video is sometimes called lean-in video and television is called lean-back video.  When you watch television, you are more relaxed and inclined to watch longer.  With YouTube — which might be watched on a mobile device — people are far more likely to click away after a few seconds.  So it’s very important to get your hook and message in the video early on, to try and capture the interests of those viewers.

The thumbnail. The all-important thumbnail image — the still image that people see in YouTube’s video preview.  That image has to be compelling enough to tempt the viewer to click through.

The interactive and sharing nature of YouTube. YouTube videos are more conversational.  Many producers create their YouTube videos with the idea in mind that people are going to comment, rate, and share them through email and in blogs.  So those calls to action are often built into the video (sometimes those appeals to subscribe and rate are taken to a cheesy degree, unfortunately).  Another difference is that the producers break the fourth wall and talk directly to the viewer, particularly for video blogs.  There is that sense of realism and interaction with the viewer.

Production quality. YouTube video is more forgiving than broadcast for production quality.  In fact, having an amateur quality can actually be more desirable on YouTube, because it is associated with authenticity.  If you have actors, unrealistic and overly scripted situations, over-promotional messages, and suspiciously slick production values, the results can sometimes be disastrous, as in this Microsoft video that was the joke of YouTube when it was released…from the casting to the fake laughter and phony camaraderie, nothing about this video was “authentic!” 🙂

And they disabled the comments…so of course, they were just asking for parodies and send-ups like this one


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.

Posted on October 28, 2010, in Social Media Tips, Video, YouTube Video Tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.


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