Video Rolls Online

Sorry, bad pun in the headline … but the New York Times‘ Brian Stetler has taken a look at how online advertising is booming – at least, those that are attached to online video.

He brings up that video is expensive, but doesn’t go into much detail on why, so let me hit a few points here:

  • Gear is expensive. It’s not as pricey as pro-level still photo gear, but it’s still up there. You can’t do great video with a point-and-shoot style camcorder. You have to be able to control the audio, exposure and focus at a high level.
  • Software and hardware is expensive. iMovie is great, but it won’t work for much more than basic editing. And that $500 laptop you’re tempted to buy your visual staff? Don’t. Unless you’re printing your newspaper on the inkjet printer you got for free with your home computer, you need real hardware. Can you run Final Cut Pro or Avid on an iMac? Yep. Would you want to? I don’t know – waiting two hours for a breaking news video to render so you can then upload it and wait for it to transcode seems, well, like a breaking point.
  • Hosting is expensive. Video sucks up a lot of bandwidth and bandwidth costs money – lots of money.
  • Time is expensive. Shooting and editing takes a lot of time. More than you’d ever imagine. An expert video editor needs, I am told, a minimum of one hour to edit one minute’s worth of video output. And that assumes the video was shot by an expert – meaning all the pieces are there, sequences are there, matched action was shot correctly and the audio works. Drop the ball on any one of those pieces and that editing time balloons.

Should video be done? Yes. Should it be done on the cheap? No. Can you make money at it? Yep, as long as you understand what it costs.

Mark E. Johnson

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