In the Beginning
We loaded in on a Sunday night, and as is usual with these large meetings (700 people) we were in a large ballroom and had a day to set up a complicated control room and set.
I provided all the video for the IMAG and recording of the live event, which later became the on demand versions of the presentations. In the world of live event video production, you get a chance to do several things that are challenging, rewarding, and cool to pull together.
This particulare show was for Akamai, and as is often the case, the job is great to get not only because we get to produce some great video and use interesting technology to solve communication needs - but also because we get to listen to content that is relevant to our industry. Akamai has grown from just a bunch of servers around the world trying to speed up the web, into a security company, a cloud company, and one of the best video CDN's in the world. So having a chance to hear and see the current offerings of this leading edge company, as well as some of the future plans was great.
Live Event Video Production Strategy
Live event video production involves setting up sophisticated equipment in small places, and coordinating with dozens of other professionals. For this job I was hanging one of my AW-HE 120 Panasonic robotic cameras on some lighting truss, so the first thing I did was rig and cable for that. My HE 120 needs power, HD-SDI cable and ethernet for remote control. We set the camera upside down on the truss, then secured and ran the cable.
In the control room, our side consisted of the switcher for 6 cameras and one computer source. This source could be slides, video or screen demos. My switcher was responsible for recording a live switch of the event. I was technical director and camera director for the show, so it was my and the executive producer's call for camera placement. Next to me resided a webcast switcher, which took the same video and computer source material and cut for live webcasts. On the other side of our control room was the in room screen switcher. This switcher fed the projectors in the house, the screens for which spanned 90 feet.
Large events like this have become very theatrical. Live event video production is typically not just for one part of a show... the video is shared and placed on screens and projected and webcast... so the pixels are sliced and diced in many different directions. But this is one of the cool things about video now. When you create a show or event, it makes sense to IMAG the speakers, record all presenters, and now webcast to all kinds of devices so people can see what they want when they want to. The live experience is enhanced by video, and the remote experience is possible because of the video we shoot.
We spent 4 days recording and IMAGing and webcasting presentations. For this group, the size of our footprint was necessary. But for some groups and meeting a smaller package is necessary and possible. If you look at this page on our site you can see what other solutions there are for live event video production. Small meetings can benefit from video for recording and webcasting. Medium size events may need some IMAG and recording and webcasting. It's becoming more and more common not to want to lose an event, because after it is over the event is gone and can't be replayed. So video for live events makes sense....that's why we do it.
A friend and colleague, Paul Dalpé of Pointsource Media, wrote a blog and posted an interesting article last week: "U.S. Technology Consumers Are Devoted Web, Video, and Mobile Users". The report states that video viewing drives purchase behavior. "64% of consumers have researched a product as a result of watching a tech-related video in recent months and close to half of them then looked for a product in a retail store (45%), visited a vendor website or contacted a vendor for information (45%), or purchased a product (44%)."
These are powerful statistics. "(Tech) Consumers find it hard to resist tech-related videos as 93% said they watched them and 72% reported they have forwarded, shared, or posted a video."
There are 3 things going on here.
1. Consumers watch video, in fact they are drawn to it.
"Consumers find it hard to resist tech-related videos as 93% said they watched them…"
2. And then consumers share these videos, they make them social.
"...and 72% reported they have forwarded, shared, or posted a video."
3. This video experience has an impact.
"64% of consumers have researched a product as a result of watching a tech-related video... close to half of them then looked for a product in a retail store (45%), visited a vendor website or contacted a vendor for information (45%), or purchased a product (44%)."
What Does It Mean?
This is powerful data, and it lays out the buying progression as a result of video: information is gained, then information is shared (which amplifies impact) and then that information drives an action. The report highlights "the reliance on video to make purchase decisions".
This research is interesting, but not all that surprising. There is more and more anecdotal evidence that video is becoming an important part of the purchase process. Think back to your last purchase decision, and if there was a video on the web about the product you were considering, you probably watched it, and that video had an impact. So if this packaging of information in the form of video is becoming so powerful, what does that mean?
I think reports and statistics like this make it obvious that businesses need to consider how video will help them in the sales cycle. Not all products need a video, but there are certain things video does very well that help in the selling of your product or service.
• Video demonstrates: It is very easy to show how something works, to demonstrate in a step by step visual progression HOW a product does what it does. This can put the viewer in the driver's seat, and let them see how to use what you sell.
• Video is easy to consume: Desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, you can view video on each. And in some ways video is easier to use on all these devices. With narration and close ups, viewing video on a phone is much easier than reading fine print.
• Video engages: I recently bought a snowblower, and seeing a video of it spew snow on the left or right, seeing a closeup of the blades, and being shown the modern easy-to-use features made me feel confident that I could master it and accomplish everything I wanted to with the product.
• Video is social: People like to share videos... it's easy to say, "You should see this!"
"Viewers are turning to video for product reviews, information to inform buying decisions, and to learn how to use a new product/service." If your company is trying to connect with customers on any of these levels, video is right for you. Call us, we can help.
A live event webcast is a powerful way to distribute meetings around the globe. Customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders can participate in your event from hundreds and even thousands of miles away. There are several benefits to using this technology.
Live Event Webcasting Cuts Travel Costs
Video webcasting your event reduces travel costs. Of course, this includes the money spent on airfare and hotels, but also the cost of time away from the office. Everyone in your audience can attend the webcast and then return to their other important activities. Webcasts can be viewed on tablets and other mobile devices, so your audience can be almost anywhere, and this can be a tremendously convenient and cost effective form of communication. Plus, live event webcasting can turn immediately to on-demand event webcasting, so people who cannot attend the live event can watch the event at their convenience at a later moment in time.
Live Event Webcasting Is Inclusive
Your live event audience can interact with others attending the live event, but what about the online viewers? More and more, the online experience is becoming interactive. Virtual meeting spaces are becoming more common, where the live event video webcast is embedded in a virtual world for the online audience. Some virtual spaces, such as Avaya Live have viewing areas for the main video webcast, and breakout spaces for audience members to engage in interactive meetings. The MIT Sloan Executive Education Program is using this technology to deliver high level content to senior level business executives. Interactive exercises are an important part of the MIT model. In this virtual space, participants get to watch the live video presentations by MIT professors, and then interact with fellow students in the virtual space. The virtual content is then integrated into the live event space for an inclusive online and live experience.
But even if you’re not ready for this level of sophistication, there are other well used technologies that can make a live event webcast inclusive. An email address can be place below the video player for remote viewers to submit questions or comments. Chat rooms can be made available. Twitter feeds can be placed next to the video player, and Skype and other video chat applications can be combined with the live event, and then broadcast through the webcast.
Live Event Video Webcasting Has Reach
More and more organizations are using live event video webcasts to connect with employees. Many organizations are staffed globally, and simple webinars with pictures and slides lack one of the most important characteristics of good communication: human intimacy. We become more engaged when we see a face, engage more when it's a face we know, and engage more still when that person is speaking about something that is interesting to us. So well created live video presentations can connect on intellectual, emotional and psychological levels, thus deepening the impact and understanding.
Your Meeting Doesn't End With Live Event Video Webcasting
And finally, one of the great benefits of live event video webcasting is the recording of the event. With current DVR-like video webcasting, viewers can join a meeting in progress and watch it from the beginning. And once the event is complete, it can become immediately available for on-demand viewing. So your event is never lost, it doesn’t disappear after it is over, your viewers and stakeholders can watch it anytime.
Live event video webcasts are new tools for communication professionals, and with the rapid pace of change it’s not always easy to decide how these tools fit into the professional communication tool kit. The cost benefits may the most significant reason to use this technology for some. Others may find the inclusive nature of the technology both innovative, exciting and enhancing the possibilities of connection. And the ability to connect anywhere in the world can be the most compelling aspect of live event video webcasting. If this technology can make your business work and perform better, then it has it’s place in your communication plan.
Live Telecasts, Webcasts and Webinars...all these terms are relatively new - their meanings sometimes overlap - and they have become confusing. This post will look at what these terms really mean and what you can expect from a Live Telecast, Webcast and Webinar provider.
In many ways video on the web is much like video on cable or broadcast television. Many of the same tools are used, many of the same production techniques are required, and the final content is similar on all platforms. But the web offers a few more options. The web is interactive. The web is mobile. And the web is everywhere: so someone in China can see a webcast from the US... LIVE!
We then need to try to define the differences between what is delivered on the web, and how it is delivered.
A Live Telecast
A live telecast is the same as a live webcast. It is the telecast of a live event, with video and audio. Some people use the term live telecast because it looks so much like television... and in fact it is very similar. For a live telecast we use one, two or multiple cameras to telecast a live event. This event may be a meeting, speech, talk show, company event, analyst event, fashion show... the list goes on and on. If we were broadcasting this on TV it would look exactly the same, but a live telecast is now broadcast on the web.
Well, as we said previously, a live telecast is very similar to a live webcast. Many people are using the word webcast now, because for a webcast and a telecast the delivery mechanism is the web. But the fact is, the way content is produced for both a telecast and webcast is just like how the content is produced for live tv. The big difference - for both live telecasts and live webcasts - is there are many interactive elements that are just not avaialble to a TV broadcast. Depending on the video player configuration you develop, a live telecast/webcast can have polling, live chat, resource links, and other highly interactive options...So live telecasts and Webcasts can be highly interactive, and the words can be interchangable.
We think of webinars as primarily slide presentations, with people talking via an audio feed, whether by phone or in the room where the webinar is originated. GoToMeeting and WebEx are 2 well know webinar providers. With these services, a few people on a webpage can present information, and ten, a hundred or several hundred people can watch from around the globe, all on the web. A webinar is a great tool for training, if slides are the main way you communicate your information. But webinars can be limiting in visual appeal, and the ability for audience engagement can be low.
Why Use a Live Telecast or Webcast?
Often, an organization has important information to communicate in a timely manner. The information may be financial quarterlies, product announcements, information that will engage customers deeply or other information of critical concern. Live telecasts are great for this. There is a certain heightened expectation from a live telecast and webcast. We recently did a company webcast of an employee company meeting. This organization has 8000 employees with offices all over the globe. The meeting was an important way to make announcements, update progress and talk about future goals and objectives. There were 400 people in the live audience and 3000 people tuned in to the live webcast. We used 3 cameras to shoot a close up of the presenters, a wide shot of the room, and a shot of the audience during Q&A. We integrated slides into the live telecast, so it was just like watching live tv. The results were outstanding, and many other employees watched the on-demand version of the event.
Live Telecast, Webcast or Webinar... all of these technologies are recent additions to professional communicator's tool sets...the web is delivering information in amazing ways.
Searching for Webcast Services - to video webcast live events - is becoming more and more common. Employee meetings, customer meetings, sales events, product announcements, training and education classes: all of these types of events, and more, have the potential for webcasting. The reasons to webcast are growing. We won't look at the question of whether or not you should webcast an event in this posting, we will instead look at:
What you should look for in a video webcast service provider.
If you do a search for webcast service providers, all kinds of results pop up. A video webcast of a live meeting or event is not the same as a webinar, which leads to some confusion. Webinars are usually one or two people showing slides, with a voice narration. Webinar providers like GoToMeeting and WebEx offer computer based technology to provide their service. A video webcast of a live event, on the other hand, is more than that. Video webcasts are better suited for webcasting live meetings to distant audiences. So if you are searching, you want to eliminate webinar providers, you want to look for a video webcast service provider or webcasting provider.
What makes a live webcast?
2 main things make up a live video webcast. A venue, or a place where the live meeting will be webcast from, and distribution - sending the video of the live event to computers, laptops and mobile devices.
Live Venue Elements:
A live event webcast is used to broadcast a meeting or event to a distant audience. To accomplish this, you will need:
- one or more cameras.
- slides integrated into the webcast.
- it will include video and sound from whoever is on the stage.
- it will also incorporate all the other media that's live in the room at the time, which could include videos produced for the event.
- There are usually multiple speakers/presenters.
A good webcast service company can blend all of these elements into your webcast. We use a live switcher to combine all of the media, technology and presentations, much like you would see on a broadcast TV show. We work closely with your in house AV, or provide all the projection and sound you need, and integrate that into the webcast. There are a lot of pieces to put together for webcasting a live event, but with an experienced webcast services provider it can all go together very smoothly.
Webcast distribution services
The second part to a live webcast is delivery - getting the program to computers and mobile devices.
There are 2 parts to distribution.
The first part of distribution is deciding how you want your screen to look.
It's possible to produce a webcast page that has at least 2 screens on it, one with the video of the presenter, and the other with a screen for the slides. We can also provide a web page that allows the viewer to move these screens around. You have probably seen these types of screens like the one on the right.
Or we provide a viewer screen that has the entire program integrated into one screen. The screen on the left is an example of this. These screens offer serveral advantages to the screen on the right. Please look at our Webcasting Services page here for more details.
So, when you are looking for webcast services, there are really 2 main competencies you want to look for:
- A webcasting provider who can make your venue work for you. Someone who can add cameras and encoding devices to your live event and make your live meeting translate to a TV show on the web.
- A webcast service provider who can discuss and deliver page delivery options: single screen or multiple screen. The provider also needs to work with the venue to make sure the internet connection can handle a video webcast, and work with the IT team before and during the event to make that happen.
As this technology progresses it is becoming more and more possible to extend your event beyond the four walls of your office. You should be able to get a webcast that fits your imagination and budget.
Your event is an intellectual asset, why would you throw it away? As every second ticks by, your property is vanishing into the past. It’s gone, and it’s forgotten.
Sure, your attendees will remember some of it. They will have networked and listened to presenters: that is when they weren’t calling customers, colleagues, sending texts or emails. They’ll recall a great presentation, that is until their minds start to wander and they miss a key feature of you VP’s presentation. And what about the ones who didn’t make it? Yes, those customers who couldn’t or wouldn’t attend. Yes, the customers who don’t know you very well yet, but if they somehow got to know you better would make a purchase. What about them?
One of the best ways to connect with and keep customers is to get them so hooked on your products and services that they can’t afford not to keep using you. And one of the best ways to hook them is to keep them educated. You need to help them build a knowledge investment. You need to make it easy for them to learn about your products and services. And access needs to be simple, on demand and location agnostic.
So why aren't you recording your events? Video is a great way to make your event assets available to anyone anytime. Desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile, your customers and future customers can learn about what you offer 24/7 anywhere.
Let’s face it: you probably have your best people presenting in breakout sessions. Your best technical people, your best sales people, your best customer users who love your products. Recording these sessions is an inexpensive way to archive and deliver relevant valuable content. If a multi-camera video recording package costs $2400/day per room, and you have 8 sessions in that room per day, that’s an average cost of $300/session. How many customer views would it take to make that investment worthwhile?
Not Just 1 Camera
A multi-camera video recording of a series of breakouts can be an extremely effective way of re-delivering presentations. Cutting between 2 or 3 cameras, and cutting in slides and other media will keep your online audience engaged, help them learn and help your presenter look interesting. And yes, we try to help your presenters look interesting. Your people may be great at what they do, but your best technical people may not like to give public presentation(that's usually an understatement). So to cut between different camera angles, to cut in Powerpoint when the speaker talks about a point, to follow the flow of information and guide the audience… this is the structure of good TV...and this is what we do.
So if you want to make your relationships with your customer’s deeper, if you want to give your customer’s valuable information, if you want to make your customer’s experience with your products or services more meaningful, if you want to make your customers need you… then you should record your event. After all, you spent months and hundreds of thousands of dollars on it - keeping it and using it again and agian only makes sense.
Live events used to just be a slide projector and microphone. No more. Computers, Powerpoint, Skype, video screens that wrap around the room, iPads aglow in everyone’s face… these are all part of the live event environment now… and video is a major part of the mix as well.
Why We Watch
We watch screens all the time, and motion on those screens tends to keep us watching. Video engages because we are wired to watch and decipher all the cues that images provide.
So how do you make this video that keeps people tuned in? If you are at an event, it’s almost expected that you can look at a screen to see close-ups. To stay focused on a stage and a little speck on that stage is prime for the mind wandering. So give your audience something to cut to in their own head.
Everyone is editing in their own heads. Focus on the stage. Focus on the screen. Focus on our thoughts. The mind wanders. A great presentation is one way to keep audience attention. A story within that presentation is the template to keep the mind with you. But it’s the job of the event producer to give the audience the images to focus on.
Event Video in the Room
There are 2 places video can be used effectively to keep your audience engaged: in the room and on the web.
In the room, video can be presented in multiple ways. IMAG, or Image Magnification, is video of a presenter projected on a screen. If you have 2 screens on either side of a stage, then you can have Powerpoint on these screens, but it is also possible to project the video of a presenter on the screens as well. In some live environments we use larger screens (sometimes these screens wrap around the entire room) and we then insert video of presenters in these screens. Close-ups of presenters is an effective way to give your audience another place to focus their attention.
In addition, in the room video can also be used to project produced videos. Marketing and advertising content can be projected and is a great way to emphasize key points. Well produced video with great soundtracks and well shot images can engage and transport viewers to your chosen destination.
We are also seeing a lot more use of video to deliver presenters and special guests from remote locations. Skype, WebEx and Go To Meeting are remote video services that can allow experts to speak to audiences in live meetings. This technology opens up the world to your audiences.
Event Video on the Web
Video webcasting live events can engage a whole new audience: the world. Video webcasting is sending the live event out to a remote audience. We can now video webcast an event either live or on-demand to a select audience or to anyone who has an internet connection. Video webcasts can be delivered on desktops, laptops or mobile devices, so your ability to connect with your audience is almost unlimited.
And if you are already video recording your event, you have most of the technology you need to do a video webcast. The cameras, lights, sound and other AV are already part of your live event, so for a webcast you need to add a video encoder, an internet connection and a video streaming provider. These elements used to cost thousands of dollars, but the cost has come down dramatically in recent years.
There are many advantages to webcasting or providing on-demand video of your event, but probably the most significant ones are the expansion of your event in space and time. Your event is no longer confined to a single location, and your event can be watched anytime by your viewers. We are living in an on-demand world, and video delivers to that requirement.
Event Video Production Summary
Video can engage your attendees, extend your event, and make your meeting more successful. Costs have come down with new technology, so adding video to an event is easier now than ever.
Live video webcasting may seem like a terribly confusing subject, so this blog will try to outline the technical details of how to webcast. Trying to learn and explain to co-workers the differences between a webinar and webcast can be tough enough, but once your company decides to video webcast a live event, what should you ask and expect from vendors? Or what do you need to do if you want to try to do this yourself?
Video Webcasting Basics
To video webcast a live event you will need the following.
- A camera or cameras
- A way to encode your video and audio
- A way to connect with the internet
- A service provider to stream and distribute your video
- A webpage to host the video player
- To have an on-demand version of the video, you will need to record the event.
Live video webcasting can use one camera or many. If you use more than one camera you will need a video switcher to cut between the cameras. If you want to have computer graphics - whether slides or screen demos - then you need a switcher to integrate those. So for a simple live video webcast one camera will do, but for a more interesting webcast you will need a video switcher as well as cameras.
Your video webcasting production company needs to also provide sound. If your speakers are going to stay at a podium, then one podium mic might do, but if you are going to have multiple speakers who want to walk around, then you will need an audio mixer and multiple wireless microphones. Also, if you are playing a video on a computer or DVD, you will need to get that sound into the audio mixer.
A way to encode your video and audio
Encoding your video webcast requires special hardware and software. Some services, like UStream and Livestream, allow you to plug your USB or Firewire camera into a computer and encode it that way. This can work, but if you have multiple cameras or audio sources, or if you want to include slides in your webcast, this gets more complicated. We use several solutions for encoding. Wirecast is an affordable computer based switching and encoding solution. For higher end productions we use the Digital Rapids Touchstream Appliance and the Teradek Cube. These tools take High Definition video in, and encode to high bit rate video and audio streams. We usually encoded 2 streams at 2 different resolutions so viewers with different speed connections can see the webcast play smoothly.
A way to connect with the internet
Your encoded video now needs to connect to the internet. This can be done with an ethernet connection or a wireless connection. Ethernet is better, faster and usually can handle more bandwidth. You should do a bandwidth test to make sure your connection can handle the amount of data you are sending. We usually like to have twice as much bandwidth as the total amount of our streams. So if we are sending a 500kbps (kilobits per second) stream and a 300kbps stream, we would test for a 1600kbps connection or more.
There are some newer technologies on the market that allow for streaming remotely via cellular technology. We haven’t used these yet, but they offer great portability.
A service provider to stream and distribute your video
You need to send your video streams to a service provide. UStream and Livestream are such providers. We use Kit Digital and Brightcove, who use Akamai as their CDN (Content Delivery Network). Your service provider will take the video to their servers and make it available to anyone who views your player. So, your service provider also will give you a player to embed your video in. Some providers offer custom players, some providers offer secure players, some providers offer players for desktop and mobile devices.
A webpage to host the video player
Now you need to put the player in a webpage. This is really easy to do. You just take the code and place it into the html of a page, much like you do with a Youtube embed code. If you are webcasting a live event and want your player to be private and not public, then you need to put the page with the player behind a secure site. We do this with companies when we are video webcasting company meetings. Players can be embedded in SharePoint or other server technologies.
Record the event
If you want to have an on-demand version of the video, you will need to record the event. We record our live events all the time. This allows us to edit the program if necessary, and also provides us with files to make on-demand versions in various formats available to our audience.
Simple or Complex?
Of course you can make your live event webcast as simple or complex as you would like. In the end, this is a TV Broadcast. Live streaming a meeting or event can be an eloborate and effective way to engage with your audience, but everytime you add something or want more interesting content, it usually means another technical piece to the puzzle. But the more interesting the content, and the more interesting the presentation, the more your audience will remember.
In the coming months some of you will come back from vacation and a boss will say, “How can we webcast this?” It may be an employee meeting, it may be a sales meeting, it may be a product announcement. If your event is at a hotel or larger venue you can turn to the AV company, or you may call the person you usually use for your video production. Next week we will publish a fact sheet about the things you need to think about when video webcasting an event. This blog will look at the types of events that you can webcast, and what some of the advantages are.
The Advantages of Webcasting Live Events
Video webcasting live events can help you connect with employees, customers and vendors, and provide information to develop deeper relationships with any audience. Once an event is webcast live it can also be published for on-demand viewing, which gives your audiences access to the information anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Why Webcast Employee Meetings?
Employers need to connect with employees. Some companies produce employee webcasts every quarter. These webcasts can be part of a live meeting at your main office or at a hotel or other venue. Companies we work with find the webcasting of employee meeting to be an effective way of disseminating information to staff around the globe. Video webcasting company meetings is a new phenomenon, but this can be an effective way to reach all your employees at a modest cost.
Webcasting Sales Meetings
The webcasting of sales meetings is an effective tool for connecting sales professionals who cannot be on location because of travel, time or budget restrictions. Video webcasting sales meeting helps keep all of your sales staff on the same page, and by archiving the meeting and posting it for on-demand viewing, sales staff can access new product information anytime, anywhere, on any device. So, theoretically people can be sitting in an airport, watching a presentation about a new product as the event is taking place, or hours after the event is over.
Webcasting Customer Meetings
You don't control your customers. So your job is to provide them information anytime, anywhere on any device. One of the best ways to keep the customers you already have is to educate them about your products and services. Video webcasting customer meetings provides an easy way for your customers to get information about your products when they want it. Your employees know best practices for your products, by video webcasting customer meetings of your employees talking about your products, you connect with your customers, keep them coming back to your site, and develop deeper and longer lasting relationships.
Look at our website for more information about video webcasting and on-demand services. And please contact us if you have any questions.
Here we are for Part 2 of our Blog on TED Talks. We think TED Talks are great examples of the excellent use of webcast technology, so let's continue with 3 more elements that make TED worth watching.
Prepare and they will watch
Webcasts are performances. Experts put themselves on stage and screen to demonstrate a product or elaborate on an idea. Performances need practice. In one recent TED Talk, Susan Cain author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" is reported to have worked for six full days with an acting coach immediately before the talk.
A Wikipedia article about her talk reports, "Three months after the talk, Cain wrote that she had metamorphosed into what she termed an "impossibly oxymoronic creature: the Public Introvert." Wired's Steven Levy remarked that "the introvert aced the talk," which reportedly received a standing ovation and whose video received its first million views faster than any other TED video. The Atlantic's Megan Garber remarked that the ideas spread by TED are becoming defined by the persona of the speaker who presents them, citing Cain in particular as representing the idea of the power of introversion in an extrovert-optimized world."
Performance helps create a lasting impression of the speaker and lasting memories of the content, and a good performance takes practice, practice, practice.
The Story of the story
The progress of every TED talk is fundamental storytelling. Now, there are many theories on storytelling, and truth be told we are no experts on this artform, but we do have a defintion we like: Stories are a way to organize and convey information that gets to a deep meaning.
Ira Glass of “This American Life”, who is a storyteller, talks about storytelling in these Youtube clips. Glass has a quirky style of storytelling on his show, so his definition may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he has insights worth considering.
According to Glass, storytelling is made up of 3 important elements:
• First, there has to be a connected series of events.
• Second, there has to be something compelling to keep us engaged throughout these events
• And third, there has to be a payoff - actually a series of payoffs - some kind of bigger meaning or purpose to it all.
A good storyteller keeps building the payoff through a series of dramatic connected events, which eventually gets to the meaning of it all... or at least the meaning of that story.
Delivering the Goods
And video delivers these goods. There are several ways TED uses video to keep us entertained. First, the video quality is high. Good lighting, good sound, high quality cameras: all make for an interesting visual experience. The way the talks are switched is also compelling: by using several cameras and a video switcher the action of the video cuts creates constant focused motion which helps keep us engaged.
In one TED Talk, Chris Anderson, the Curator of TED, talks about the special power of video, and how it is reshaping the web. "Why do people like watching TEDTalks?" he asks. "All those ideas are already out there in print..." But Anderson then addresses a special power, "...there's still a lot more being transferred than just words. And in that non-verbal portion, there's some serious magic. Somewhere hidden in the physical gestures, the vocal cadence, the facial expressions, the eye contact, the passion, ... the sense of how the audience are reacting, there are hundreds of subconscious clues that go to how well you will understand, and whether you're inspired -- light, if you like, and desire. Incredibly, all of this can be communicated on just a few square inches of a screen."
So there may be magic in this technology, harnessing it effectively is a craft at least, an artform at best. A lot can happen in 19 minutes on TED, and if there - it can happen elsewhere.