As someone who has never attended a Wikimania but would like to, I don’t think videos are the solution. As someone who has organised conferences and had this issue of videoing come up, again I don’t think videos are the solution.
Folks who can’t attend events for whatever reason do ask for videos (I’ve done it too!). However, I would suggest looking hard at the stats on how often videos are viewed (and if there is a way to know if they are viewed all the way through or not). I know that I might look at videos of a couple of keynotes and maybe some talk that someone really recommends to me knowing my interest, but I would be genuinely unlikely to look at a whole lot of them. When people say “I wish I could go to Wikimania”, I don’t think they are saying “I wish I could listen to those talks”. Conferences are much more about the opportunity to interact, including the opportunity to interact in relation to the talks. Also, when you go to a conference, you are committed to setting aside those days of your life to focussing on the conference (well, that used to be the case, now with mobile devices and wifi, everyone sits in conferences reading their email, checking FaceBook, and keeping on top of their job back home, and generally misses hearing the talks even though they are in the same room!). If you aren’t going to the conference, you don’t have the big block of time in your life set aside to watch all the videos. Also a conference generates its own excitement, you’re there and your endorphins are working overtime. With watching videos after the event, you don’t have that buzz. When I watch videos, I know I often give them my attention for a couple of minutes, then have them going while I read email or whatever – the video finishes and I haven’t heard it as my mind has been elsewhere.
And, no matter what people say, there is a lot of work involved in creating videos both during the event and in postprocessing after the event. People say “quality doesn’t matter” in advance but then people complain afterwards if the quality isn’t perfect (can’t see the speaker clearly, can’t hear the speaker clearly, can’t see the slide projection). Again people say this can be done with volunteers, but actually your volunteers are wanting to engage with the conference, not spend the whole conference messing around with video equipment. And if the videos are not captured well in the first place, it’s hard to fix those problems after the event.
Also video postprocessing is mostly done after the event (it’s too busy during the event). What people (who don’t organise conferences) don’t seem to understand is that for organisers, the end of the conference means a return to their normal activities. For months, they’ve been putting off their boss, colleagues, family and friends with “please, can this wait until after the conference”. Of course, there are post-conference actions that have to be done (payments and accounts finalised, thank you letters written, reports written, etc) but, as far as your boss/colleagues/family/friends are concerned, the conference is OVER – you have no favours left, you have to make it up to them. It’s hard enough to fit in the minimum post-conference actions that you have to do, let alone extra things like high quality videos. And the adrenaline that allowed you and your volunteers to get everything done before and during the conference has now deserted you; you’ve run your race and have nothing left in your tank.
So videoing and postprocessing often ends up being done by professionals, meaning a lot of money spent. It’s so easy to say “use volunteers” but the thing about volunteers is that they do the things they want when they feel like doing them to the extent of their ability. And doing them in the middle of the conference and after the conference is not a great time for that (they want to engage with the conference and they need to return to their normal duties after the event too). And you might have the volunteers but who just don’t have that skill set. Also unless you get those videos out quickly, nobody will watch them – the momentum is lost.
In summary, I think it is much cheaper and easier to collect presentation slides or speaker notes or whatever other material the presenter has and make them available as a way to get conference content to non-attendees and this should be the preferred strategy for the bulk of presentations. Videos should be limited to keynotes or talks expected to be of particular interest. Stats on viewing and perhaps surveying on how much of the videos are being viewed should be collected to see how much the videos are actually used. And look at using professionals to do the video work, unless you really do have suitably skilled volunteers available (and not committed to other tasks), if you want the videos to be of good quality and be available quickly.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of ??????
Sent: Tuesday, 4 August 2015 4:22 AM
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription) <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Video recording of Wikimania sessions
I find it odd that we are willing to have a huge budget for Wikimania and none for recording videos of talks for non-attendees to view. I think we owe it to them. It can be crowdfunded if need be.
An interesting idea perhaps is to group video if we have a reliable way to crowd source this.
I did notice a video cam recording the talk after mine. I am unsure if mine was recorded as well. Does anyone know who was operating the tripod camera? I seen it in other talks too.
-- とある白い猫 (To Aru Shiroi Neko)
On 18 July 2015 at 23:17, Asaf Bartov <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
On Sat, Jul 18, 2015 at 9:52 AM, Andrew Lih <email@example.com> wrote:
I'm trying to guerrilla video record as many Wikimania sessions that I can attend, so I cannot respond at length.
But I do want to say: the cost/benefit analysis needs to consider the quality of the viewers and not just the quantity.
When a Wikipedian in Residence can show their institution the video of their Wikimania presentation as evidence of impact and engagement, it can lead to renewal of their positions and more initiatives.
When someone talks about Wiki Loves Earth, #100wikidays or other grassroots projects, video provides a unique window into the emotions and motivations you cannot capture in a mailing list or blog post.
When in 10 years, we want to know the passions and personalities that led us to where the movement is, where will we look?
If we're expecting Wikimania videos to rack up the same views as LOLcats, it ain't going to happen. It has always been a very small core community does a massive amount of the innovation and work that keeps the projects going, and the ability to talk to each other in deep, complex and accessible ways is vital.
For a movement dedicated to capturing the sum of all human knowledge, it's surprising how blasé we are in letting our own community history fall by the wayside.
Associate professor of journalism, American University
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video
On Sat, Jul 18, 2015 at 9:31 AM, Nkansah Rexford <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Recording video* is easy; you can do it on most mobile phones these days.
And on that note, the wiki indaba conference was recorded solely on a mobile phone. Although sound quality wasn't the best, with considerable thought on getting an appropriate accessory to handle sound, phones are also an alternative worth looking into.
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