Call me a snob but I hate web video

If this turns into an argument, it started innocently enough.


A few days ago I posted a bit about how print news outlets are adapting to the web, I mentioned that I’d been told it takes two hours to produce a minute of highly edited video — a “factoid” that, intentionally or not, demeaned moving pictures.


That remark zinged through the cloud where it must have annoyed news guy and media blogger Howard Owens, who fired back this comment to that original post:


“Your friend is smoking beans. It all depends on the video and the goal of video. We’ve produced some worthwhile video with less than an hour production time, including shooting. There are all kinds of useful video that journalists can use to supplement story coverage, or replace written coverage that need not take two hours. Also, video is where the revenue growth is. Whatever it takes, it’s well worth the effort.”

I was, of course, pleased at the attention and began to respond politely:


“Thanks for the response, (Howard) and I’ll check the air around this source’s desk for a whiff of bean-smoke. I’m ready to admit that as a print guy I take a rather snooty view toward video, perhaps in part because of my ineptitude at framing stories in moving pictures. And with practice the time-to-edit will improve. And yes me and the other print dinosaurs must learn to use the talking picture medium because the audience demands it.”

But I can only be reasonable for so long and my contrarian nature asserted itself:


“That being said, I gotta tell you about this press release that I recall reading back in the roughly ‘97 time frame. I *think* it was from Toshiba but I more clearly remember that it talked about some storage technology that could handle 15 minutes of full motion video or 10 copies of the complete works of Shakespeare.

“And that was the thought that has long stuck with me and why I look down my nose at this bandwidth-hogging medium that caters to the discriminating tastes of the lips-that-move-when-they-read cohort.

“Video is like the freeloader who arrives at the party with an entire posse of lowbrow buddies who elbow their way to the head of the line and load their plate with network resources that lay there, unappreciated, to attract flies and make it so much harder for all the serious people who staged the party and must clean up the mess.

“Not that I’m bitter, Howard, but let me ask: were you cast adrift on a desert island with the choice between 15 minutes of the best video you could imagine or 10 copies of Shakespeare (or better yet, one copy of Bill’s opus plus some other selected books, like say the historical series of Will and Ariel Durant, etc.) which would you choose?”

And at that point I decided to see if I could deliberately pick a fight, which I would guess that Mr. Owens, who is undoubtedly aheck of a lot more reasonable than, will disdain. (After all, when the idiot at the mall says: Hey, buddy, you’re in my space, you don’t argue; you just find another spot.)


But at least I got this off my chest. That’s what I love blogging. It’s so cathartic.