How to Deseed a Pomegranate in 10 Seconds … video lasts 4:25

I saw this video on Lifehacker which included the ironic banner of “time savers.” The first 2:50 minutes is idle banter until he finally starts pounding the fruit with the wooden spoon. I quit long before it ended. Why couldn’t this have been a ten second video?

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Free the Network: first 12 minutes are a dud, then it is worth watching

The problem here is that the video doesn’t really begin until 12:48 minutes in, with the graphic of the global sub-sea fiber optics cables. The visuals and observational footage of the first 12 minutes were great scenes from Occupy Wall Street, BUT the storytelling was simplistic, the pacing was sluggish and I gave up my full attention and started doing other things on my computer at 12 minutes. Luckily around 16 minutes I heard interesting stuff about the freedom tower so now I’ll go back and watch. But for a person waiting for a movie about decentralizing the internet, those first 12 minutes of Occupy Wall Street nearly lost me. Filmmakers can no longer ease into the story as we once did with traditional documentaries when we had the luxury of a captive audience in a dark room.

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Smartwatch App Demo: just show, don’t tell, and show better

Even though this quick demo of this MicroMint app for a smartwatch appears to have been produced on the fly, it still could have been better with a little forethought. First, the room is noisy and the audio commentary wasn’t particularly useful and rambled a bit. So either retrack it with some planned talking points later, or just skip the audio all together – music or silence can be really nice. The video could have been much shorter as swipping through so many screen shots of bank account balances didn’t advance the story after 3 or so swipes. A better approach to storytelling would:¬† 1) have a title graphic to clarify this as an early iteration demo 2) create context by showing the watch on someone’s wrist displaying the time, 3) show how to launch the app, 4) then swipe through a few of bank balances. We get it from there.

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That Girl: charming visual story telling through montage

I haven’t seen this opening clip in decades but it was memorable then and still works now. The quality of that young “Jules et Jim” optimistic, exploratory, modern fun seems so specific to that era.¬† (Cinephiles would object to me lumping “That Girl” with “Jules et Jim” – sorry). The clip of Anne Marie (That Girl) getting her toe caught in a bowling ball made me yearn to live in world of those saturated, vibrant technicolor colors, from the blue booths to her orange striped shirt.

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Gmail Tap: soft focus backgrounds good for cluttered offices

I prefer to shoot my corporate subjects in their actual workspaces rather than in a sterile conference room or against an artificial backdrop (think sheet on a c-stand). Revealing the real life work culture adds to the authentic storytelling vibe, but sometimes the office clutter can be a distraction and it can be really hard to get a good looking shot. The beautiful cinematography and short depth of field in the interview shots makes the plastic bins stacked on a CPU or a big manila envelope (?) behind a monitor look like elegant abstractions of color and shape. Waiting until 29 seconds to hear the “solution” would normally be too long, but here the pace and visuals kept my interest, plus it is Google so I’ll wait. Incidentally, I first thought the video was a parody.

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Worthless ad-filled videos

Yahoo’s OMG teased viewers with a chance to click and see Hilary Duff’s first post-baby bod photo, only to string them along through 30 seconds of commercial and 25 seconds of host chatter before seeing the image. Judging from the comments, viewers were none too pleased: saying “Show me the f’cking pics & stop with the videos and commercials” and “this isn’t important enough to warrant a vid” and “I never thought it would come to this … I would rather just look at a photo these days instead of these worthless ad-filled videos.” When the single image says it all, it is no wonder viewers feel “video must die.”

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Text Distraction: people feel compelled to read it all

Text used this way was superfluous and distracting. It steals the subject’s thunder because¬† the viewer reads it quickly and then just waits passively for her to catch up with her storytelling and get to the oatmeal part. Ironically the text covering the video takes away the pleasure of pure listening to thoughts unfold, which is what an ethnographer gets to do in the field. Perhaps the text was intended as a style statement but I’d almost prefer the empty white cinder block wall.

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