Tag Archives: TV

Hey TV. I’m gone. For good.

Fun fact first: I bought a TV this week. Without having a connection to any television program. And I’m not planning on changing this.

About a year ago I wrote a blog post about my way from TV to web video. After starting my MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, I became less interested in television, where I had worked in before, and fell more and more in love with web video. Pretty soon it was obvious that I wouldn’t want to go back producing videos for television.

When I studied in “Brum”, I didn’t have a TV set – and to be honest, I didn’t miss it at all. This year in June I moved to Düsseldorf to work for a company that’s all about web video, giving me the opportunity to learn more about this medium. And it became even more fascinating to me. I decided not to get any TV connection in my flat, realizing I hadn’t really watched TV for quite a while anyway. And if I was, I was only complaining about it.

Television doesn’t have a lot of significance to me anymore. Instead, I think traditional, linear television is dying – or at least its relevance. And if you don’t want to hear the word “dying”, let’s at least say it’s really not feeling well.

First of all: Sitting in front of a TV set, watching the program that was chosen to be presented to me at a certain time, is not what I want anymore. And I’m certainly not the only one.

(my) tv is dead

Another reason: There’s not a lot of good stuff to watch. At least in Germany. Yes, I do still watch television shows. But seldom German ones. And if I do, I often get the strong desire to hit my head against a wall. Due to health-reasons it’s quite a good choice not to install a television set in my flat then. Sure, there are some great productions that I’d watch. However, in my opinion, there’s not enough of that, so I mostly stick to my favorite US shows – and, of course, web videos.

I don’t want to watch scripted reality shows or such, where people who don’t really know what’s happening to them are being made a fool of themselves. I also don’t want to watch the 5043rd version of a music chart show, neither a used-to-be-entertaining primetime show where Tom Hanks is being forced wearing a cat hat, some pathetic sitcoms that desperately try to find a punch line or a talkshow featuring an uninteresting topic or even more uninteresting attendees, being questioned by tedious talkmasters. And, going back to the linear thing:

I want to create my own program – and I mostly include stuff I find on the web in it. People who think that web videos are all about dancing cats and cuddling babies (or the other way round) didn’t explore the world of web video more than for a minute or so. There’s so much awesome stuff on the web – yes, also a lot of crap, but name on thing in live that’s just full of awesomeness and without any crappy parts. There’s not only YouTube, there’s Vimeo and other platforms, there is some great journalistic video stuff, although unfortunately not that much and widespread yet, and there’s short videos on Instagram and, my personal favorite, Vine (I. LOVE. Vine).

Apart from the time limit of the latter, there’s no limitation in web video. Sure, by now there are some things you should know if you want to be successful as a creator of web videos. But what I actually mean here is that it’s still the opposite of what you’ll find on TV, all the things Charlie Brooker is talking about in his video. Don’t do this, do that, you have to place your interviewee here, you have to include this in your report, don’t make it longer than this because it won’t fit in our program. Nothing too fancy. Nothing that varies too much from what we’re used to watch on TV. And: nothing that’s giving me a reason to tune in anymore.

What I love about web video: the diversity, the wealth of videos, it’s strong social element and the non-existence of limits. There’s no „You can’t do this“, neither regarding the video itself nor its producer. Apart from: Just don’t be like television. 

Thanks web video. Bye TV. For good.

So what about you guys? Still watching linear television? TV at all? What about web videos? Let me know!


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My journey from TV to online video

It’s really easy to produce an online video:

No, of course it’s not that easy. Not at all. But apart from that great tutorial above I’ve learned a lot about online video over the last few weeks. First of all that I need to “say goodbye” to a few things – as I’ve got a background in TV journalism. Where you often see stuff like that:

I love this video and it made me realize that I’ll need to approach things differently. So did the articles and posts I read over the last view weeks.

One thing: Stop telling people not to look into the camera during an interview.

That’s totally different from what I was taught to. And I admit I will still need to get used to doing it differently and I think it may also depend on the situation. But in general: online is not TV and scrapping that policy online makes sense. Michael Rosenblum points out that

“Online video is a much more intimate experience. After all, it’s really just you and the video. You and the subject. So the subject should look at the camera. Because by looking at the camera, they’re also looking at the viewer. And after all, that’s who you’re making the video for, no?”

Another thing: When I worked at the TV station all we did was video. Of course. What else? But now I have to think about what’s the right medium to tell the story. Is video the right one? Or may a text be enough? Or audio be a better way to tell the story?
What I’ve learned: You shouldn’t shoot video for the sake of it. Not every story is made for video. Back at the TV station I shot reports about council meetings etc. For online, a video about that wouldn’t really be of interest. All you’d need and want to know could be written in a text. No one needs to see the meeting, unless they start hitting each other…

A very common thing on TV is also including some vox pops, asking people on the street what they think about a certain topic. Online, you can easily get the opinion of people by asking them to comment. Which is much better and much more effective I think.

I also used cutaways quite often when I had a cut in an interview. I thought it wouldn’t look good if people would see the cut. So I used cutaways to hide it. However I did better than in this example:

Both Adam Westbrook (who recently posted some great tips how to shoot better video) and David Dunkley Gyimah  give the advice not to fool the audience and instead show them when you edited it. They will probably realize it anyway. So if I should have a cut in a statement, I will use flashes instead of cutaways in the future. And the reason for that totally makes sense to me.

I knew that it was important to have a good beginning of the video. Starting boring is a big mistake (well, going on boring, too, actually). But I think this is even more important online. There are so many other impressions and possible choices for the viewer and he’s just a click away from stopping to watch your video and doing something else. Of course, if you’re watching TV you can also zapp to another program. But I think it’s going to happen faster online. So a good beginning is even more important than it is anyway.

Finally, what I also heard/read quite a few times is: There are no certain rules. It’s up to us now to make those rules regarding online video. And I think that’s quite exiting. Online video is also NOT TV because it’s free of all those conventions that come with it. There’s a lot of space to experiment. I really love that.

Do have a look at this video about the former car seller Vinny. You would probably never see such a piece on TV.

There’s so much cool stuff online, shot with different techniques and approaches. Online video is definitely different. But that’s not a bad thing at all.

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