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Why Put Bad Video On Your Site?

I’m continually amazed by the poor quality of video that many otherwise professional companies are willing to showcase on their websites. The same companies that demand high-end web graphics think any fool with a dv camera can capture good images.
Take the home page of 4:AM Group. This Vancouver-based design firm has delivered some really nice creative for some good clients. I respect their work. So I’m completely stymied by their use of home video on the Web site.

It’s a party, there’s food involved, there are some name keys for people I guess I’m supposed to know… but at the end of the day both the camera work and the editing are weak. (Sorry guys) I should add that previous versions of the home page video have included customer testimonials where an inexperienced camera op left subjects looking shifty and un-trustworthy.
_*TIP:* If you are taping an interview subject, make sure they present as believable and trustworthy by ensuring they speak directly to the camera and *not* to some faceless interviewer standing off camera and to the side._
Contrast the 4:AM Group home page with that of Toronto email marketing firm N5R. Their home page features a rich media presentation by company founder Roman Bodnarchuk. The presentation has a beginning, a middle and an end. The production values are solid. You understand why the presentation is there, whether you have sound turned on or not. N5R has taken the time to polish their presentation so that it enriches the visitor experience.
Let’s face it, television and video production have been around a few years longer than the Internet. If our industry has already matured to the point where experience matters, how dare we assume that simply picking up a camera will make us TV pros? Producing good video is more expensive, but as we tell our clients every day – experience and expertise is worth paying for!

One Comment

  1. neilio
    neilio June 17, 2005

    I have two major issues with the use of video here:
    1. No context. Why did the site producers feel this was so important that it be posted to the site? Who are these people, and why do I care that they seem to be having a good time? Are they employees? Is this some kind of launch party?
    Some kind of heading or text explaining what this is and why I’m waiting for a 19.3mb (!) flash file to load would probably help.
    2. I’m going to go bold here because this is a big one: It’s embedded on the home page. I don’t know this company, so clicking through the link in the entry is the first time I’ve ever visited the site before. Putting an embedded video on your home page without context and with what seems to be a pretty inconsequential subject seems foolhardy at best.
    I personally didn’t think the camera work or quality was horrific (I’ve seen much, much worst from bigger companies) but without context and the fact that I’m forced to watch this as soon as I land on the home page doesn’t seem very well thought out.

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