Critical Section

the inverted pyramid for video

Friday,  09/11/09  10:11 PM

Do you ever watch videos?  You know the random YouTube -type stuff?  Yeah, me neither.  And do you know why?  Because videographers have not mastered the inverted pyramid.

the inverted pyramid in writingWhen I was in high school I took journalism, and worked on the school paper, and it was pounded into your head from day one that newspaper stories had to grab the reader from the first line and had to be organized as an inverted pyramid, with the most important best stuff up front.

This was a good rule because people start reading at the start, and they read until they get bored, and then they stop.  That's just how it works.  You don't hook 'em, they're gone.

So the same is true with video.  People start watching at the start, and they watch until they get bored, and then they stop.  It isn't like a movie, where you have a captive audience for an hour, or even like a TV show.  You have zero time to get your audience's attention and hold it.

I find most YouTube -type video is organized like a mini movie.  No good.  Grab me immediately on startup, or I'm gone.  A great example is the video I posted of l'Hydroptère the other day.  From the first second, it grabs your attention; no titles no setup no nothing, off we go, with the boat sailing full blast at 50 knots.  I have been looking for a cool video of Moths sailing, and they are all badly broken.  They start with music, they start with titles, they start with someone talking.  Bsssst!  I am gone and all the great content further down in the video remains unwatched.

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