Viewfinder: The Future: Boredom-Free Home Video

Homemade movies and videos deservedly have had the reputation of being very boring. Typically, the footage documents family activities ranging from birthdays to vacations. They tend to be of most interest to the home video’s creator, the people featured in the video and their friends and family members. Almost everyone avoids watching home videos (other than his or her own).

One of the reasons that home videos tend to be boring is that they are usually unedited. Professional documentary video production is based upon the notion of capturing many hours of footage and keeping only the best scenes so that the final product contains the very best five percent (or less) of the footage. I have great confidence that if you read this magazine, you edit your home videos, so you’ve already succeeded in reducing viewer boredom.

Perhaps you could edit more aggressively by dutifully omitting any scenes that are less than perfect. However, by doing so, you’d be catering to a larger audience at the cost, perhaps, of your own appreciation, and that of your friends and family, who’d appreciate those marginal scenes. It makes one wonder, wouldn’t it be great if it was easy to make two versions of every video?


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In a really crude way, this idea is already happening. There is the full version of a home video, then there’s the abbreviated version played with the use of the fast-forward button on your remote control, which allows you to breeze through any lackluster segments.

The DVD format presents a better solution. Authoring to DVD not only allows you to create a long version and a short version. There is virtually no limit to the number of versions that you can create, and they can all fit on the same disc. Although DVD authoring is new and can be quite complex, it is already very affordable and easy to do if you keep it simple. A basic table of contents on a DVD is a cinch to create and it allows viewers to quickly navigate to the scenes of their greatest interest.

Most of you use a computer for video editing. DVD authoring requires the addition of just two extra items: DVD-authoring software and a DVD burner. Some industry insiders believe that DVD authoring will prove to be an enormous category for videographers.

The marketplace is already overcoming two hurdles to make this happen: DVD player consumer penetration and compatibility issues. DVD players, in fact, are now the hottest category in consumer electronics.

I have written before about DVD compatibility issues. The good news is that standards are becoming agreed upon and embraced by more and more companies. Soon the compatibility concerns of DVD will be a thing of the past.

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