The pomposity of web video (and its creators)

Credit: pursuethepassion

Pompous*: (adjective)

  • affectedly and irritatingly grand, solemn or self-important
  • characterized by pomp or splendor (archaic use)

*according to my Macbook Dashboard dictionary

Attending Net Tuesday Vancouver’s event last week on the use of video on the web left me with two impressions.

  1. Web video can be a highly valuable and splendid way for nonprofits to engage with their audience and spread their messages.
  2. People that create video for the web can be irritatingly self-important (see “HOWEVER” below)

The experienced panel offered great practical tips, the highlights being:

  • if you’re not a pro, free tools such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are fine (Final Cut Pro was the choice for the pros)
  • assuming you have a good story, video/editing quality doesn’t have to be great for a video to go viral, but sound quality is much more important
  • things going viral is hit or miss; quantity of output is as important as what you think quality is
  • other tools include Jamendo (free music), Mobygratis (free Moby music), freesound (free music), other Creative Commons audio sites, Tech Soup Canada (free or discounted software for nonprofits), (a free, web-based alternative to Photoshop for non-pros), qik (webstreaming tool), Craigslist (finding people willing to work on your project as a volunteer or for an honourarium)
  • Pull Focus Film School is a great Vancouver-based resource, as it  “partners aspiring film makers with non-profit organizations that are in need of film content”

For a great summary of Net Tuesday Toronto’s recent event on video, with even more specific tips, click here.


One story told by a panelist was of a video that was peddled to and turned down by two related advocacy groups because the video didn’t fit their values. Which means that the video makers either:

  1. made assumptions of what was needed and made a video without consultation and didn’t choose the right audience; OR
  2. consulted the client and yet somehow still subverted some of the values core to the client.

Don’t get me wrong. I thought the video quality itself was great. Well edited, good story line, emotional tension. I laughed, I cringed. The people behind the video production are obviously technically and creatively talented…

…but completely off the mark when it came to the core principles of the group the video was “made for”. And yet, the reaction was that of disbelief. They wanted cred for something they were trying to give away for free. The phrase “biting the hand that feeds you” was used. You’ve got to be kidding me. This is just a new age bourgeois version of pat-on-your-back charity.

The thing is, you’re not of service if you’re not wanted.