A few weeks ago, I spotted a tutorial on YouTube covering making model roads. It was well filmed and the end results looks impressive, but I was struck by the duration - 17 minutes.
As a well known writer of how-to articles in the model railway press, I pondered how I would have covered it on the page, and concluded that there were 6 or 7 steps. In other words, I've have had to do the job is just over half a page. Even with a little generous stretching and a big final photo, I'd not have extracted more than a double page spread out of the job.
More recently, I've been pondering how to reduce the wind noise when recording video on my G12 camera. The solution seems to be a furry muff (stop sniggering at the back) fitted over the microphones.
Price for the ready to stick version is around £14, which seems a lot for a bit of teddy bear fur and some Velcro. It's not like it's even a custom job, you have to crop the Velcro to fit the camera.
I was right. There is an Instructables that covers making a wind muff. They do it in one step and on a pretty short web page. Reading time 2 minutes.
If I prefer, I can watch a video for the same job. Duration of the films is anything from 4.5 to nearly 8 minutes. Most of this is watching someone use scissors to cut Velcro or showing off teddy bear fur fabric. Some show the results of fitting the muff, but mostly it's handycraft.
My feeling is that if you want to follow the process, static works best. Video is for those who just want to be entertained, or at least sit slack-jawed while pictures move on a screen in front of them.
Now you might cry "hypocrisy" as I also film material for magazine DVDs and you might have a point. I often wonder what the point is myself.
With every film I'm trying to use the medium to give something that the printed page can't. There are times when watching a live demonstration can make a difference. Some things are easier to understand when you watch, but my feeling is that there are less of these than people think.
You can also say that it doesn't matter. The job is to entertain people. Nothing wrong with that - it's the business we are in after all. When the viewer is happy then nothing else matters.
Maybe it does, but I do worry when people tell me that they only watch videos and refuse to read or even look at the pictures. Perhaps I'm just being grumpy and old fashioned. Perhaps I just need to get over the idea that anyone does things for themselves now and that for most people vicarious modelling is the future. As one who can be on the screen, I ought to be glad that there is a small demand for my services.
What do you think? Should I ditch words for moving pictures?