Sky Full of Bacon

Longer Than Chad Vader

Okay, I’m not sure if anyone looks at this blog per se, it mainly exists to facilitate the videos, but if you happen to see this, I’d be interested in any feedback on the following.

Got a comment back from a local writer-editor person who basically said the Sun Wah video podcast was sort of interesting— but too long.

Now, I’m sure there are lots of people who will find 15 minutes on a Chinese restaurant too long… because they’d find two minutes on a Chinese restaurant too long. Fine, it’s not for them. But basically one of the things I’m trying to demonstrate here is that online video doesn’t have to be 54 seconds of online goofiness on YouTuber, that you can do things that have the feel and cohesiveness of a feature piece in a magazine, or a short story, or an NPR interview, in a sit-at-your-desk-and-watch-it setting.

For me, 15 somewhat methodical minutes on the family behind a Chinese restaurant is easier to take than the 22 minutes (plus commercials) that make up a typical food TV show, in the course of which we’d flit between five different places, cut every two seconds and get whiplash from the ADD camerawork. I find those kinds of TV shows much harder to sit through for very long than the videos I’ve made, but obviously they have some kind of audience which responds to that kind of pace or at least, once suckered in, is too dazzled by flashing bright colors to change the channel.

For me, I want to make things that let you go behind the scenes and really get to know a single place and the people involved— within the limitations of a 10 to 20 minute running length. Basically it’s an interview show, but with pictures. Of course, an audio podcast you can just have on in the background, so it’s okay if it runs on a bit; a video one has to be more focused and compelling minute to minute, because you’re sitting there looking at it. So where nobody would be bothered by a 30 minute audio podcast, I want to keep video short enough that it’s over before you’re tired of it, more in the 15 range.

But still, I refuse to let YouTube set the expectations for all video online; I’d rather have 1000 people watch something meaty (and that’s about what the first podcast has reached) than have 100,000 people watch something catchy but stupid I happened to make.

So what do you think about length, depth and the prospects for video online? And about the length and pace of the two Sky Full of Bacon podcasts to date?

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6 Responses to “Longer Than Chad Vader”

  1. Jude Says:

    I may be a bit biased because I’m a Sun Wah regular, but I really enjoyed watching it along with your other video post. I’m far from being a locavore and would never think of growing my own vegetables on a rooftop but I found the first video compelling nonetheless.

    If it has good content and is worth watching then I don’t care if it’s 15 seconds or 15 minutes long. I can always bookmark it for later viewing if time is an issue.

  2. reid Says:

    time is always an issue for me. I liked the sun wah video, but I didn’t watch the whole thing and I probably won’t go back and view the rest. five minutes is a long video for me.

    side note: i used to live in Uptown, on Winnemac, not far from Argyle. My wife began on her path to becoming a vegetarian after seeing some pigs hanging in the back of a truck in the neighborhood. She fully converted a little later. When? Great question! Four days into our marriage, while on honeymoon, when a piece of dark chicken made her think of goat. “I’m done,” she said. And she was.

    BTW, I love the topics and I love the first episode (even if I think it could have been split into two). Keep it up!

  3. Michele Hays Says:

    Good work again, Mike – and I really enjoy the in-depth interview style. Yes, it’s probably too long to sneak in while you’re at work instead of a water-cooler break. It would, however, be easy to carve 15 minutes out of sup-par primetime TV viewing. You offer very meaty (forgive me) content that doesn’t drag, or seem overly preachy.

    When you think about it, the duck dish itself takes 24 hours – and well over 15 minutes to eat!

  4. mmorowitz Says:

    Mike, you already know my opinion, but I’ll air it here for everyone to know. I think 15-20 minutes is perfect for this style of video feature. It’s long enough to allow you to sink your teeth into a subject but not too long that it feels drawn out. You manage to keep it compact and dense.

    People will sit and watch hours of Dancing With The Stars or American Idol, where they spend more than 15 minutes alone on product placement. 15 minutes of ad-free unique content is exciting and refreshing.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Joe Germuska Says:

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with the length of your segments. I appreciate that you get more in-depth.

    That said, I have one (audio) podcast to which I subscribe which normally runs an hour, but they’re taking the summer off and covering with 5-10 minute shorts from things which were left out of earlier broadcasts. I like the variety.

    I think you should take advantage of the flexibility you have and if you have a short subject (or stuff that you leave out of your longer ones but which still has something going for it), you could occasionally make shorter clips.

  6. Michael Gebert Says:

    Thanks for the feedback, all.