“If you don’t have flow, you don’t have a show, because if you don’t have flow, your show feels slow.”
Sometimes we run into this sort of stuff without even knowing we’re brushing up against it, as this video from Paul’s Hardware earlier in the month illustrates if we take a closer look. Just because Paul runs a big tech channel doesn’t mean he’s immune to the need for show flow. He just runs into these sorts of things with bigger numbers attached. 🙂
Before you even click on the video, whether you searched for Ryzen info or see this off to the side in the related videos panel, you’d already know from the metadata that it’s a video from Paul’s Hardware and it’s about Ryzen overclocking. 🙂 Otherwise you’d see it immediately as the video started playing. 🙂
Nice short intro aside, the video starts with “welcome back to Paul’s Hardware. This is my second Ryzen video where I’m going to be talking about overclocking.” Yes, as we just got done seeing in the metadata when clicking over to it! Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 😛 On a more serious note, the first 20 seconds are what some video entertainment folks refer to as “hook time” which is the time you have to hook someone before they resume their digital channel flipping as they try to find something to watch – one reason why I did away with TV style intros at the beginning of every single upload and provide some context first if I keep them in the script. 🙂
It’s good to tell people what you’re going to be doing, which Paul does after the video starts but the PC build recap afterwards holds things up. It shouldn’t be hard to use an end screen or description link for easy access to the previous video. Matter of fact I’ve been experimenting with a trapezoid end screen with previous and next in the lower left and right corners with the remaining one or two slots for links to other content on the channel. There’s no need to take minutes to get to what people clicked on the video to see!
To recap, this is a video by Paul’s Hardware about Ryzen overclocking. Joe Viewer knows about all of this before ever clicking the video. How long does it take for Paul to actually get to some Ryzen overclocking instead of acting like this specific video is the one and only video he has ever uploaded on YouTube? 🙂
Skip. Skip. Skip. I’m now using my skip bar and the channel is losing watch minutes. Oh look a spreadsheet. Woohoo. All those flashy video thingie options on YouTube and I get to stare at Excel!!! Yay I should just go back to the office. 😛
…and then, there’s Notepad. Skip. Skip. Skip. 😛 Oh look. The BIOS. More hot menu action!!! Although this is technically part of overclocking but this sort of thing is one of the shortcomings of over-the-shoulder tech videos. Yeah it’s like being over a friend’s house watching them mess with a computer, but YouTube lets you pre-edit before uploading if you’re not streaming live. This wasn’t a stream. Why wasn’t it edited? There will be at least a few people who take issue with that.
This video is a little over 23 minutes long. You could technically say the bumping around in the BIOS is technically the beginning of the overclocking – 7 minutes in.
Fortunately, the testing picks up from there, but if you’ve noticed the background music by this point in the video you might know that one of the things background music is used for is to distract someone from how much time they’re wasting waiting for what they really want, like when used in a doctor’s office or restaurant. In the doctor’s office you want to see the doctor about something. The waiting room background music, magazines, etc., distracts you from the fact that you’re sitting around waiting to see the doctor. Likewise in a restaurant when everything from the decor to the music to trying to have small talk with someone if you’re not in the restaurant by yourself to even poking around on your phone is to distract you from the fact that you’re sitting around waiting for what you really want – your darn food!
Now contrast this to something like Green Ham Gaming, which narrates things out and makes an entertaining story out of even something as mundane as goofing around with a 1st generation Core i7 Dellasaurus. 🙂
Even better (which might be hard for some people to imagine) is a new channel I recently subscribed to called TheWolfePit, which is similar to Ashens with YouTuber versus cheap food but more cinematic and directed. This channel tries cheap foods with a lot less beating around the bush than something like Wreckless Eating, but there’s a place for videos about a bunch of friends shooting the breeze with some goofy food dares. 🙂
Some folks have complimented me on some of the changes to what I upload that takes things more in this direction, and let’s just say I’m not anywhere near short on inspiration to do so. 🙂 At the same time, Paul’s Hardware has inadvertently illustrated just what a lack of show flow looks like by taking nearly half of a 23 minute video to get to the overclocking that folks on YouTube are looking for when they click on that video.
Not all of this is YouTubers’ fault though. The site’s roots as something resembling a more video-y form of social media and with vloggers ruling the roost unfortunately had the unintended consequence of normalizing certain kinds of behavior that are inherently antagonistic to show flow, such as a big long intro, or talking a lot at the end of a video (which traditional “calls to action” eventually became) or even the informal nature of what sitting in front of a webcam meant back when YouTubers were just talking to each other via video uploads.
YouTube also rides the wave of this stuff with their advertising system with those automatic mid-roll ads that certain videos display, which often slaughter the show flow by abruptly stopping what you’re watching and hopefully you don’t end up waiting for an unskippable ad to finish interrupting what you were watching. However, because bad show flow was tolerated on YouTube in “the good old days” people stomach it, so it’s a thing. :-\
These days, bad show flow finds its home on live streaming services where you have no ability to edit things down, but in environments like YouTube where editing beforehand is more of an option, it makes sense to make more use of it.
Regardless, even from a Semper Reformanda perspective here in 2017, show flow makes all the sense in the world. 🙂