When you produce video for the Web, you need to balance video production values and Web production values. Both should serve the educational mission. Ultimately, Web video appears in a context in which it is surrounded by other material, such as text, navigation, images, even computer desktop clutter. Accordingly, it is generally a small part of the overall presentation and must work within that presentation rather than seek to dominate it.
Shooting Video for the Web
For both editorial and technical reasons, video shot for the Web should be simpler than conventional video intended for television broadcast. Shots should be slower than conventional video; for example, pushes and pulls should be gradual. When a set is dressed, it should be done simply. Busy background and complex lighting should be avoided. A good rule of thumb is to think of the computer compression protocol, not the human eye, as the first audience for the video. Range of color, speed of motion, and complexity of image all require more work in the compression phase and risk compromising the end product.
Editing Video for the Web
When you are editing video for inclusion on the Web, avoid fast cuts, complex edits, and lower-third material, which will be hard to read. You should, however, provide both captions and transcripts for all video included on a site.
Work this out in advance, as video and Web production process and terminology differ. Before any real shooting takes place, it is useful to do a "test flight" of how the video will be produced and ultimately served on the site. This is to ensure that all of the steps, formats, equipment, and personnel required are anticipated. You can pretest the video on paper or with an actual test shoot. At a minimum, you and all relevant personnel should consider the following questions:
- What is to be shot and why?
- In what size window will the video be displayed on screen?
- In what format will the video be acquired?
- What naming conventions will be established?
- How will the video be stored, logged, reviewed, and edited?
- How will chapter points be determined and recorded?
- How will the edited video be provided to the Web team?
- For what formats and bit rates will the video be encoded (QuickTime, Real, Windows Media Player; high, medium, or low bandwidth)?
- How will captioning, transcripts, or other enhanced features be produced and displayed to the user?
- Will the video be used in any other way (for stills, print, etc.)?
- How will the video be served?
- How will the video rights be acquired and recorded?
- How will the video be archived?
During the test flight, these and other steps may be charted. Use a who/what/when/where grid during your preparations to make sure you understand and have accounted for all of these tasks.
Finally, Web video is time-consuming to encode, particularly if you provide it in multiple formats and bit rates. A rule of thumb is that every minute of final video will require 20 minutes of encoding time. This is exclusive of captioning or any other production needed on the encoded video, and of testing/quality assurance, which also takes time.