"Is your video really necessary?
Now this is not a universal truth, but it is overwhelmingly the case, that many wargamers' videos shared on YouTube, shouldn't be.
Yes, I know, I'm an old curmudgeon, but bear with me on this one. How often have you gone to look at a supposedly interesting video, and found:
1. Monotone delivery, in a voice that cures insomnia, or alternatively is at a constant fever pitch of enthusiasm that makes you reach for the mute button?
2. Constant umming and ahhhing, repetition or irrelevancy. One video I watched purporting to be an instructional, ran for nearly twenty minutes before even starting on actual content.
3. Presenters who think themselves raconteurs and hugely entertaining, who aren't. Let's face of it, there are very few of us who can make a living as stand-ups.
4. Camera work that would shame a 4 year old after a two day diet of red cordial, including insufficient lighting, lack of focus, camera on presenter rather than subject, cut-aways to family pets, a passing sparrow etc..
5. Veering wildly between overestimation and underestimation of subject familiarity.
6. Sound quality. There are certain accents I have great trouble in following even at the best sound quality. Poor sound quality is a switch-off offence.
So before you go sending us video links, or having dreams of being a world-famous YouTube star, here are some things you might consider.
- Is it something that needs video? Would it be better explained in text and/or pictures? (Remember, many of us read a lot faster than you can mumble and stammer, so I can consume content at least seven times faster than you can speak it.) Video wastes my time when it could equally be communicated by text.
- Do you know who your audience is? I mean, do you need to explain that the guys in Red are the British army, and the guys in Blue are French, and if so, why are you going into lace details at the start of the 45 minute mark? Know your audience, and consider that message.
- Now you know your message - script it! Yes, extempore is a lot easier for you, but for us it can be tedious, unfocused and a waste of time. It doesn't need to be word for word, but just what are you trying to communicate, a beginning, middle and end, with the critical detail or facts you need to include. Go read a guide about giving a presentation.
- Do a dry run with the camera setup, get the lighting right. If your camera isn't good enough, get hints and tips on improving the setup, or get a different camera. Ditto with sound.
- And I can't say this loudly enough... go back and edit it.. even better, show it to someone else who is prepared to be critical. Listen to them! Then go back and edit it.
Harsh? Perhaps. But I'm much more inclined to click that link, or share it, when it's worth my while.