Viewfinder: Webmasters Becoming Videomasters


I’d like to welcome a new group of people into the world of video production. The craft of Webmastering didn’t even exist just a few short years ago. Today there are thousands of people authoring html pages on the World Wide Web. As of recently, many Webmasters have become curious about video production because they now have the ability to "stream" video from a Web site.

When Web page authoring was a new craft, most Web sites were comprised primarily of text. Some Web sites included a few images, but these tended to slow down the page loading process. People visiting Web sites did not have the patience to wait for images to download. Over the past few years, modem speeds have increased dramatically. Most Web sites today include an abundance of images. As most of you know, in the past year, Webmasters have added lots of other bells and whistles to their Web sites. Streaming audio, animation and slideshows are popular on many Web sites. Although these bandwidth intensive features seem to "slow down" most Internet connections, as mode speeds continue to increase, we will find these on more Web sites. These bells and whistles make Web sites a more robust media experience.

The ultimate media experience is television. Most people believe that, in the near future, people will be viewing Web sites on TV. Microsoft certainly believes this. That is one of the reasons they purchased WebTV for over $400 million.

Streaming video is just another bell (or whistle) that enhances web sites. However, the bandwidth required for streaming video is a quantum leap compared to audio. Most Webmasters agree that, in the coming years the majority of Web sites will include streaming video. This is why Webmasters are now interested in learning more about video production. Most people that make video would say that there is a lot to learn about making video. Like illustration, photography and audio recording, video production has been an art form in and of itself for many years. It is challenging to become a decent video producer in a short period of time. Therefore, I will devote the remaining paragraphs to my personal tips for Webmasters interested in video production.

First, try to use videotapes (edited video) that are provided by someone who is experienced in video production. This is the simplest way to add video to a Web site. If this is not an option, try to use raw video footage shot by an experienced video camera operator. Shooting is an art involving shot composition, lighting, make-up, wardrobe, casting talent, directing talent, audio recording and a few other disciplines out of which many people in Hollywood make careers.

Editing is a bit easier. Since most video on the Internet is shorter than three minutes, the process of editing is an easier pursuit, compared to shooting. Video editing can be accomplished on the same computer used to author a Web page.

If you are a Webmaster and you are also planning to shoot video, remember to shoot many, many takes, so you have lots of footage to choose from. Pay careful attention to all of the disciplines that I itemized above.

Making video has never been easier or more popular among Webmasters. The desire to make Web sites more TV-like has resulted in an increase of video on the World Wide Web and the need for clearer understanding of video production disciplines. If you are new to video production, welcome aboard.

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