The temptation to package your message in a video is difficult to resist. Video is brilliant at making complex concepts easily understandable. Video can engage an audience on an emotional and informative level in a way that text simply can not. Not to mention that when it comes to press releases, we see that multimedia content, including video, can drive press release views.
Assuming first that you’re sharing quality, engaging content, you still must remember that a video made for offline consumption does not always translate perfectly for online distribution.
Keep it short – Online audiences are not as attentive as offline audiences. Distractions come in many ways when browsing the web. Online video should ideally be under three minutes long. The shorter the better.
Make Text a Friend Not a Foe – Google needs the text to find your video but the traditional uses of text on screen can create poor online user experiences. So what’s the solution? Christian Heilmann, developer evangelist from Mozilla Popcorn, shared a possible answer at a Newsrewired event.
Heilmann explained that video is a black hole on the web. Google is unable to go through a video like it goes through a text. A good headline and a lengthy description is all we have to make it seen.
So how can we make our video more searchable and more findable? Heilmann’s suggestion is to always separate your content from your presentation. Any text should never be in the images. Any text in a video should be overlaying it. It makes the text easily edited, translated, enhanced or deleted when required. Titles and subtitles and are loved by Google and therefore, as Heilmann puts it, “separation increases search-ability and find-ability . . . search engines have something to bite into.”
The big question now is: how do we do it? Heilmann is a big fan of HTML5 video as an answer to these problems. HTML5 video makes it more accessible on the web by allowing the maker to easily separate text and images. Text is over imposed and can easily be edited and found by search engines. Like music made of many different tracks laid on top of each other, HTML5 video text is placed in a running track. Different kind of texts can be added to different tracks. Broadly speaking, there are 3 different tracks:
- Subtitles: translations of the dialogue in the video for when audio is available but not understood. Subtitles are shown over the video.
- Captions: transcription of the dialogue, sound effects, musical cues and other audio information for when the viewer is deaf/hard of hearing, or the video is muted. Captions are also shown over the video.
- Chapters: they are used to create navigation within the video. Typically they’re in the form of a list of chapters that the viewer can click on to go to a specific chapter.
A good example of a video using the above feature is shown here:
The overlaying is unscripted in the coding itself. Suddenly, the invisibility cloak is lifted and the video is findable, searchable and flexible . . . all things you will most certainly want when sharing your videos.