Attempting to blog an event “as live” by typing furiously during a speaker’s presentation is extremely difficult. I’ve done it many times, and the results are rarely satisfactory. The result is usually a long, rambling post that does the reader no service in terms of selecting the good bits.
Faced with another marathon session of liveblogging at the Online Publishers Association conference this morning, I decided, on a whim, to try to report the event using what I thought might be a more appropriate medium — video.
So when Forbes.com chief executive James Spanfeller got up to speak, I used the only video camera available to me — the iSight webcam built into my MacBook — to record his speech from the front row.
People must have thought I was a bit odd for sitting in the front row with my laptop pointing away from me thoughout the speech. Unfortunately, this strange camera technique also meant that I couldn’t see what I was doing. I just had to hope Spanfeller was in the picture.
Nevertheless, the video and audio quality was remarkably good given that both the camera and microphone are tiny pinholes at the top of my laptop’s screen.
Still, the outcome you see above is not something I’d want to inflict on viewers using the glorious 600-pixel-wide space available for pictures or video on the shiny new blog over at Press Gazette.
The video was was marred by the fact that the camera is attached to the relatively flimsy top of a laptop screen, which shoock slightly with every minor vibration on the table. The incessant clickityclack you hear on the on the soundtrack is due to someone (cough) sitting nearby who was assaulting her laptop’s keyboard as if it were a worn out manual typewriter.
Problem number two: Video takes a long time to get online compared to text and still photography. By the time I had run my (very) rough video through iMovie to edit it down to the quote I wanted to highlight, exported it, uploaded it to YouTube, and wrote a post to introduce it, I discovered that Oliver Luft at Journalism.co.uk had already reported the story very effectively using the conventional text-only approach.
Many lessons learned. Time to invest in a decent camera, tripod and microphone. Don’t use video when speed is of the essence.