YouTube Starts a New Kind of Video Viewing Experience

Although streaming video has been around for many years, it is just now having a meaningful impact upon the world of video. Back in the .com boom years, streaming video was the buzz term that many video hardware and software manufacturers embraced. Today, these same companies hardly use that terminology anymore.

YouTube and several other video-sharing sites have drawn society’s attention towards streaming video. Unlike vidcasting (videos downloaded first, then played later), streaming video is downloaded and played with little delay. Currently, the Internet’s capacity is limited, so streaming video is a lower-quality viewing experience. The images are small and the motion can be stuttery. While some sites offer download-and-play content, nearly all video sharing sites use streaming video. This combination is changing the way that people visit Web pages. Until now, Web visitors would rarely read a page for more than a minute before they scrolled down to read more or clicked off to a new web page or another site. When people visit YouTube, they often watch videos of five minutes or longer. These sites are cultivating a new audiovisual package.

We are all familiar with the other audiovisual packages: the feature film, the 30-minute TV show and the 20-minute short film. The Three Stooges and The Little Rascals popularized the short film in the 1940s. There are also packages of shorter clips strung together to make one program, like Amazing Animal Videos.

YouTube’s rise to fame comes from a new type of audiovisual package. These videos are freestanding video clips that are shorter than 20 minutes, even as short as 15 seconds. It’s exciting to see how video producers are rising to the challenge and trying to utilize this new audiovisual package. Some are long one-shot clips from a Web cam, while others are “micro shorts” shot and edited by a hard-working video producer.

Most videographers want large audiences. Some video sharing sites pay for videos that draw large audiences. The creators of a Diet Coke and Mentos video pocketed $35,000, which was their share of the ad revenue paid to them by streaming host

These new audiovisual packages allow ordinary people to become almost famous. It seems to me that lots of these videos are made by people who record things like bottles with Diet Coke and Mentos exploding, a pet trick or fantastic dancers.

I’d like to see two things emerge along with the popularity of the long clip and the micro short. I’d like to see talented video producers shoot and edit more compelling videos. I’d also like to see people who record interesting things on video become more skilled in shooting and editing.

Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor

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