The Art of Compromise
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  • The Art of Compromise

Success in video production, whether on the desktop, or using conventional tape-based equipment, entails making a number of often difficult tradeoffs. Which choices you make will depend on:

  • What you want to say (your message content)
  • How you want to say it (the type of movie dramatic, expository, interactive -- and, unless its supposed to stand alone, its relationship to other components in your communication, for example: related text, images, sounds; learning tools, lesson plans, etc.)
  • Where you want to say it (videotape/television; CD-ROM; Internet/web)
  • Who you want to say it to (your audience)
  • What capabilities they have of viewing your message (connectivity, computer power)

 In desktop video, say you want to generate a few movies to be integrated into web pages for a digital learning resource on the web. What size movies make sense? 240x180 or 120x160 pixels. Increasing the image size of a digital movie also raises its filesize. Which means it'll take up more space on your disk and will take longer to download over the Internet. Same goes if you increase adjust the compression to maximize quality, or select the best audio quality available (44 KHz;16 bit). This may be appropriate if you're outputting movie with all the bells and whistles, including great music) to videotape (with stereo) or CD-ROM, but it isn't justified if you're planning to distribute via the web, your image size is 160x120 and the movie just shows a talking head. Besides, the movie size might be so unwieldy as to be hardly worth downloading. Great production, but no audience.

 Then perhaps you got carried away with all those cool transitions while assembling your movie. Your piece is peppered with them. The first drawback to overusing transitions (other than cuts) is that they typically require a lot of computer power to calculate, unless you're using a high-priced, high-end desktop video editing system. As a result, it can take a lot longer to compile previews compared to when simple cuts are used. Which could pose a problem if you happen to be struggling to meet a tight project deadline.

 Also, movie files that incorporate numerous transitions contain a lot more data and therefore occupy much more disk space. That's not necessarily a problem, as disk storage just keeps getting cheaper. But then you find out that nobody is viewing your movies on your web site or CD-ROM because it takes far too long to launch and play them. What a waste of time and effort!


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