Most news organisations shy away from the “talking head” video, afraid it won’t engage viewers. Not at the Financial Times.
“If I’m honest, our bread and butter is the ‘talking head'”, said Josh de la Mare, editor of video at the Financial Times, a panelist on the online video panel at news:rewired – media in motion. “The FT audience is quite strange in that sense. I’m quite surprised myself.”
de la Mare was one of four panelists who shared their expertise on online video, including David Dunkley Gyimah, a video journalist, academic and consultant; John Domokos, video producer for the Guardian; and Christian Heilmann of Mozilla.
Each shared a different view on video, from the Guardian using reader-submitted videos to the Financial Times talking head videos to Gyimah referring to all news video as cinema. One thing the panel all agreed on is that video will only work if your audience is interested in the content.
“Something needs to be happening for it to be good video,” said Domokos.
“If it’s compelling, they will watch,” Gyimah concurred.
Heilmann suggested video professionals should work on making content interactive by using tools such as HTML5 or Mozilla Popcorn. Different open source technologies like these can allow the audience to add live tweets to a politician’s speech or change an iconic scene from a beloved film. He advocated that “video on the web should use the web”.
“We have a great opportunity to make this engaging, read-write media really work and right now we don’t,” Heilmann said. “We should, as professionals, take that over.”