Something about Nothing

by Geno Zaharie, National Partner Manager, LifeSize

Geno Zaharie

Visual imagery in sequence is made possible by the passing of time. Our eyes produce fantastic motion screenshots, but the human visual system does not see in terms of frames; it works with a continuous flow of light information. How we perceive this light grounds our unique independent reality from a visual perspective.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Video and I have been fairly close for some time now. About 18 years ago, I put some videotape footage into a computer and made a movie. It was a movie about a squirrel that my dog followed which then ran up a telephone pole and made an escape over the power lines.  My movie was also about my neighbor pulling weeds.  He kept smiling and nodding while pulling endless dandelions from small patches of grass that he called a lawn. The movie ended with a close up shot of my garage door window that had a crack in it.

The movie described above was about absolutely nothing. It was a movie produced solely for the purpose of my own education – how to make a movie with a computer. I showed the production to my family who were amazed that the videotape was magically inside the computer.

My intent for the video was realized. It worked.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Today, what may appear as purposeless video is everywhere. When Apple put a video camera in the iPhone 3GS, single click mobile uploads to YouTube increased by 400%. The YouTube video vault was now “accessible” to the masses through a device in everyone’s pocket. Every minute, 24 hours of new video footage is uploaded to YouTube. The majority of footage is about nothing. However, to someone, it’s about something or people wouldn’t be watching three billion videos daily.

Education has come a long way. Now, video technology is routinely used in modern classrooms across the country. (Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia)

A study by two really smart people at the University of Illinois on The Effect of Context-Based Video Instruction on Learning and Motivation in Online Courses found some truths in using video for learning. The study determined that there was a significant difference in learners’ motivation in terms of attention between the video-based instruction and traditional text-based instruction. In addition, the learners responded that the video-based instruction was more memorable than the traditional text-based instruction in the online context-based learning situation. Motivation in terms of attention is the key point. We can assume a motivated person is more likely to learn something compared to an unmotivated person. If video increases motivation toward attention and is more memorable than text, imagine the results if your video held some information that someone actually needed. Even if they didn’t know they needed the information, the association qualities of video to recall what they saw and heard is a good thing.

With endless social media distribution vehicles that enable micro-marketing to narrow band audiences, one has to really understand the social connection aspect of this new medium. Recently, LifeSize introduced a product called LifeSize® Video Center. The system can record/stream interactive HD video conferencing sessions, broadcast a single user to his/her target audience, receive uploads of produced video material, and at the same time serve as the all-in-one asset management engine with rules and permissions of who can watch. It’s a super mega visual information aggregator/distributor/communicator for spontaneous or planned video/audio/text content.

Woah. Best of all, it just magically lives in our business/educational communities and becomes part of our communication fabric. The simplicity of one-click recording, uploading and playback make it as seamless to use as your smartphone.

So, if people watch video about nothing and have a higher probability of remembering what that nothing was about, what if your video was about something important intended for the organization, team or individual? Since technology such as Video Center and YouTube remove accessibility barriers from an input-output perspective, let those videos pile up! Like your TV with over 700 channel choices and tethered DVR that records specific special interest content within those channels, load up your vault of visual information.  I believe that all video about nothing or something will surely find its way to a motivated viewer – and you don’t have to be a heart surgeon to figure that out:

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