Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Can I Learn From Pomergrante Video

I tend to see things and then notice something and look at it again. A long time ago I learned about the concept of reverse engineering. You look at an object, a story or a video and try to figure out how to figure out the structure. What makes it work?

Can the film or video give me an idea or two that I can use?

Now you shouldn’t try this with Citizen Kane. That movie is multilevel genius work of art. Let it alone. Savor it. But for every day consumable videos you can learn a lot of technique. Today I did it in less than 41 seconds.

What You Will Need
  • Pen, pencil paper or recording device of your choice
  • Timer/stopwatch (optional)
  • Open mind (required)
You can go as deep or as shallow as you want but the point is to pay attention. I was looking around the American Test Kitchen site and viewed this 41 seconds video on de-seeding Pomegranates:

First question to ask is what kind of video is it? It is not just a cooking video. It is a demonstration/tutorial video. You have to be clear about giving instructions. What you say has to match up with what you do. 

What I Learned or Observed:
  1. Intro tiles told me in 4 seconds what this is about and who made it. With people sharing videos this other viewers who don’t know about the site orbit back to the source.
  2. Combination of text and limited motion graphics
  3. Brief black transition then slide into
  4. Establishing shot of the environment – 5 seconds
  5. Cut to close up of the Pomegranate – 3 seconds
  6. Cut to the establishing shot – 4 seconds
  7. Cut to the Pomegranate – 5 seconds
  8. Cut to the establishing shot – 5 seconds
  9. Cut to slightly different angle but still a close up – 5 seconds
  10. Back to establishing shot – 4 seconds
  11. Brief black transition then into
  12. Closing titles that introduce the speaker with an invitation to visits the main web site with the web site address.

A lot happens in 41 seconds. Simple cuts and transitions can make an instruction interesting. It was a natural pathway from the chef telling me something and being able to see it.

The lighting, audio and focus was spot on. It should be. And there lies a story. Or memory. Something.

My Highly Subjective Memory of America’s Test Kitchen

(For those not into cooking, social media history or business 101 you can skip this part.)

America's Test Kitchen has been making television programs for years.The television show is part of a larger publishing company. That company reluctantly came to the Internet but didn't understand the linking and sharing thing.

Recipes were sparsely given out at the site. They did not allow people to view content unless you were a subscriber. The other option was to view the programs on PBS.

The television show encouraged viewers to come to the site. Where you had to subscribe to see what else they had to offer.

As I recall, they did not like bloggers. And had even less regard for food bloggers.

They were in a corporate silo of we have books, magazines and the television show to sell; we have our existing consumer base. The vibe I got when I visited the site years ago was “We do not acknowledge you other folks exist. Pay or go away.”

That is their right. Understandable from a corporate point of view. Just as it was my right to go other food sites and publishers that did not mind me visiting or viewing some of their content. And telling people about it.

Time marched on. Other publishers, foodies, bloggers and manufactures decided that they wanted to make food videos. Those people that understood about relationship selling benefited from open engagement with their audience. Places like Chow.com talk to the next generation of cooks and food hobbyists.

Video food bloggers are creating videos for a spectrum of users that are not serviced on the corporate food cable channels. Raw, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free; you name it there is an audience for it.

There are new cooks in town who don't know jack about America’s Test Kitchen. Never saw the magazines or the television show.

Apparently, things have changed a bit over at the site. The version that I stumbled into is called The Feed. They even have a YouTube channel. I would have never ventured over their by myself. It was a link from another web site that I trusted that I followed.

Now I know. Change is good. Learn from it.

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