Tuesday, 20 November 2012

1 min video - Gerbil video research

After looking on Youtube and Vimeo at various video's around the subject of gerbils, these were the ones which I found had interesting things to either avoid doing, or to include in my video.

Baby Gerbil from Alicia on Vimeo.
This video wasn't aimed to be instructional, but it shows a gerbil none the less (well that's my excuse for using this video as an example anyway, other than the fact it is extremely cute!), but I have taken away a few vital things to avoid when filming them. For starters the camera isn't stationary and somebody is holding it and moving it around attempting to follow the gerbil, which is distracting and off-putting, especially when it isn't done well! The second thing I found was the people speaking were just having a normal general chat, and again this distracted you from focusing your attention on the gerbil. Other than the poor quality camera, unadjusted lighting, and unplanned filming, this video at the end of the day was only made for a personal reference to look back on how small the gerbil was, rather than trying to instruct or even show a narrative so I can't be too critical!!

This video is very different to the one before, as it is intended to instruct you (on a very basic level) of how to clean out a small rodent cage. There is a mix of shots used, where mid shots show the woman talking about how to do it, close up shots of her actually doing it, and extreme close ups are used to show the animals enjoying themselves. All of these shots vary in length, but the extreme close ups seem to last the shortest amount of time. I have noticed that a tripod wasn't used when filming, as there is small camera movements throughout on all of the footage, which to my surprise wasn't particularly noticeable. There was no added lighting either for this video, as they opted for natural lighting, but again you don't find it off-putting to watch. The sound used was simply the woman's voice over, talking informally about how to best do it. She is not 100% confident when speaking, but makes the video seem more friendly and informal. She explains everything and gives helpful advice to first time owners, even giving out contact details at the end for extra help. What I found strange was the lack of ambient sounds in the footage, and how clear her voice is, when it is obvious that it was recorded on camera, but this helps her sound clear and there are no other distractions to what she is saying. One thing I really liked about the video was that at the end of it, close up footage of several different animals in their cages were shown, displaying how happy they are in their cleaned out cages (which I thought was a lovely touch!)

This video comes from a series of how-to video's all based on gerbil care, by 'Meercatdave'. Like the other video's, this hasn't been filmed using a tripod, but it is taken to the next level, where he is holding the camera whilst doing stuff with the other hand on screen, such as cleaning the cage. I personally find this a little off putting as the camera is moving all over the place, showing a lack of planning for the video, as the lighting also hasn't been planned. There are a few still shots, viewing the tank from the side, where he is filling it up with sawdust, and another one where the gerbils are being put back into the cage. Personally I thought these shots were more visually interesting and caught my attention, compared to the other badly shot and lengthy footage. The content of the video however is interesting, concise and helpful, giving recommendations on how to care for your gerbils on a weekly basis, as well as mentioning diseases they may contract if you don't follow his advice. Unlike the video before, he talks about other items and toys to put into their cage, and how to keep the gerbils interested and to keep their curiosity. Like most of the videos mentioned in this post, in the last shot he has links to his Facebook and Twitter pages for self promotion.

Although this video doesn't look into cleaning gerbil cages, and is a slightly different topic than what I am looking at, I thought that this video is a good example to show (of what to avoid when filming, but what to include when talking about the gerbils). Personally I feel that this is the least professional video (other than the first one, which wasn't intending to be instructional), which some people may argue that she is simply being informal, but the video lasts 9 minutes as she repeats herself and rambles on before getting to a point. She does however give plenty of information on how to care for gerbils as well as how to tame them, whilst giving the gerbils own personal background. She also introduces each gerbil in the beginning, which I really liked, as it makes the video feel more friendly and that they are actually her loved pets. When talking about what foods to give them, and what they enjoy doing, she refers to each gerbils own characteristics and traits, again making the video more informal. One thing I really didn't enjoy about the video was that she had a small nibble by one of them, which she made into a big fuss, which she then proceeded to talk about how you should stay calm if you are bitten, which was slightly contradictory. Regarding the camera and lighting set up, she is using a hand held camera and filming and interacting with the gerbils at the same time, like one of the other videos. As badly shot the footage is, she made sure that the gerbils were constantly on screen. The footage itself is one long uncut or unedited video, which in itself limits the video quality. Like the others she ends the video with self promotion.

I feel that this video is probably the best out of all of the others shows. Mainly because she uses different shots to keep it visually interesting, whilst still giving helpful information about how to set up the cage and keep them interested with toys, their health and well-being, and the variety needed in their habitat. Like the last video she introduced the gerbils, making it more personal. She also included different information than the other videos, such as how to bath the gerbils, and other games you can play with them. Although the first opening slide to the video is rather cheesy, it does introduce the type of video well. After this she uses writing on the footage for the opening title and at the end of the film uses a thankyou title credit. The lighting in this hasn't been considered, but generally is alright. What I noticed that was different to the other videos, is that as well as including a voice over, she also has faint music in the background, which doesn't distract you from the film footage. She also does other pet related video's, which may be a reason why her video seemed to be more thought out perhaps, than the others. At the end of the video she also offers extra help to anybody who wishes to find out more, which I feel is a really nice thing to do (like the second video).

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