Newspaper video: Types of video online

I have been kicking around some ways of describing the different kinds of video that I come across on line. Part of me thinks that it may be an over developed need for categorisation and organisation, but those who have seen my desk know different.

The seed of the idea came from a comment on a post about the use of video by UK newspapers. Neil McIntosh, head of editorial development at Guardian Unlimited, commented that I must have missed some of the stuff that they where doing.

I didn’t consider that video as much as multimedia, and reflecting on that I began to form some ideas about what the different uses of video where.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Disruptive video

Update – Howard Owens suggests Attached Video video may be a better title .

This is short, eyewitness style video, taken fast (and cheap) and presented with very little editing other than a top and tail. It is generally (and should be) presented within the body of the story.

It’s a clip of a short interview with a key player in the story or showing the event being covered that users can click and view without leaving the story page. And that’s the key thing here – it should be part of the story.

When thinking about this, I thought of calling it embedded video, but that has too many technical connotations. So I thought disruptive fitted as it reflects the use of disruptive technology and techniques – an approach that Howard Owens encapsulates nicely in this post.

This content is generally and, in my view, should be delivered using an embedded flash player as the file has often be converted for the web using a third party or online service – taking that disruptive technology idea through the process.

Channel Video
There is a debate at the moment that hangs around the question of online video being like TV. Regardless of the right or wrongs put forward in the discussion, many newspaper video outfits are taking the ‘more like TV’ approach.

Channel video has recognizable elements of a TV package in its production techniques and is often longer and more polished in its presentation. But the key to this definition is more in its delivery than its production.

In contrast to disruptive video, this kind of video is often separated from the print based output of a site. Hence the Channel idea – following the link to video on the site is almost like switching channels from newspaper to TV.

This content is often delivered in a purpose built player, pushing the analogy even further, with a main display section and a menu of stories down the side – like a TV screen and channel selector. Some players even have separate channels. These are generally flash based, to enable the interactivity for selection, but this is by no means a standard.

The channel approach commonly means that the video is relegated to an embedded windows. media file in a single page with no linkage. In most cases this is due to the lack of flexibility in the Content management system used.

One result of this is that many channel based video efforts in newspapers are house off the main site. Video teams will use blogging software that has video presentation plug-ins available to make the process less technically taxing. Disruptive technology sneaks in there somewhere!

Multimedia Video

Multimedia video generally contained within a broader flash presentation, either directly as embedded content within the flash file, or as stand alone files that are only accessible from links within a flash presentation.

The video can take the form or packages or clips – perhaps with the same kind of production values that we would associate with channel or disruptive video – but will always be delivered as flash.

So that’s where I’m up to at the moment.

It isn’t really the intention to make value judgments about which is best or not – all have their pro’s and con’s. I’m just trying to get some language straight.

12 Replies to “Newspaper video: Types of video online”

  1. Two more categories for you: Syndicated Video, from AP or elsewhere, and Reader-Contributed Video, still a bit rare in the wild on newspaper sites, but clearly coming down the road, in two flavors: Breaking News and Your Life.

  2. Thanks Ryan.

    The mention of UG content is interesting. I was thinking as much how they were used as where they came from. So Syndicated or UG content could be used as disruptive/Attached video or channel stuff.

    It’s got to be in there though , so perhaps I need to make clearer the difference between the production and distribution process. Hmmm

  3. Here are some more for you:

    The P45 Video – ones you shouldn’t have clicked on at work.

    The Rice Crispy Video – usually done on a shaky mobile phone with the wind snap, crackle & popping the mic. More pixelated that seasickness, but with exactly the same effect.

    The 250 videos – obvious fakes (possibly made to claim the £250 from “You’ve Been Framed”).

    The Katie Melua Videos – So bland and uninteresting they send you to sleep on your keyboard where the drool poses a real fire hazard.

    dr pb

  4. Andy, I think that’s a pretty good break down of the types of video that is around at the moment. Something tells me you’ve got a book planned.

    Prof Burro – I like the Katie Melua video description, so true.

  5. It’d make a decent book, make you a few quid as well. I’ve just finished editing a feature video for, seems their strategy is definitely more along the ‘professional online video’ line of things. Which makes sense, quality newspaper, quality output.

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