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Video blogs are coming

In case you haven't heard, video blogging may be the next big thing. It's like podcasting...but with video. There isn't a universal term for this. I've heard vod, video blog, vlog, vidcasting, the vlogosphere, diary....

It's not that web video production is expensive or difficult to set up. Digital video cameras are available for a few hundred dollars nowadays, even a simple $30 webcam would be sufficient. There are plenty of free video capture and editing tools out there. The problem comes down to the nature of video itself.

Text blogging is just like writing a newspaper column, but with more spelling errors. Podcasting actually allows you to hear reflection. Things like humor and sarcasm tends to get lost in print. Video blogging brings along a visual medium. This means that people have to actually watch the video for the visuals to have any impact, right? I've looked at a bunch of the early video blogs this morning. Most of them are horrible. Boring, dull, uninteresting to watch talking heads with poor lighting. Nobody wants to watch a talking head for five minutes straight.

Then again I found some interesting ones. There's this one video blog about digging for Civil War relics in Virginia. It was quite interesting to watch. Text blogging just requires you to write. Audio blogging requires you to 'write' and orate. Video requires writing, speaking, acting, cinematography, lighting and sound considerations, editing and directing. It's by far the hardest medium, but allows for the most creativity.

I'm not targeting any particular video blogger in this piece, so if you are one don't take offense. I might not be talking about you in particular. However the medium has to improve for it to gain momentum, and early video bloggers can influence the direction. Keep the quality high, and the medium will gain respect and admiration. I don't think diary style video blogs will ever be interesting. What I see as growing are web series, like personal television or public access shows. Although lowering the barrier of entry always causes more crap to appear (look at the number of good webcomics versus the number of bad ones), it lets amateurs and hobbyists have an outlet for creativity. We're in the Age of the Digital Amateur, and that's a good thing.