Bitty Ruminations 82 – Video reviews

Posted on April 15, 2016


So some of you may have seen the video review of Theri. We, at  The Hindu, aren’t abandoning the traditional review. (And I hope they never will.) But this is the future, and I can see why this is important to our digital presence. It was funny doing this. Came back after the film. Wrote a few hurried notes on sheets of paper. The videographer said I shouldn’t be looking at notes, I should be looking at the camera instead. So I wrote the same points — in block letters — on A4 sheets, which she held up behind the camera, a human teleprompter. I did my best to not look as if I was staring at those sheets, staring at the camera instead. Slightly unnerving, and hopefully I’ll get better at it. Apparently, old dogs have to keep learning new tricks.

PS: I can see why everyone’s getting on to this format. Everyone watches it. So many people wrote in to say congratulations, people who don’t usually say much about my written reviews. Even my neighbour saw this and said something to me, and he’s someone who’s never said anything about my work. I don’t want to make too much of a few random examples, but I’m seeing what they say about the slow death of reading.

PPS: Karthik Srinivasan, of milliblog, wrote in a helpful mail (see below), with comments. If you have anything to add, would be happy to hear it.

Congrats on the video debut… though, it was a difficult watch, to be honest 🙂

The video review zone in TN has been taken over by independents like Prashant and pros (reasonable) like Bossky. And the uncategorizables like TamilTalkies. And then there is Karthik, from Hindu Tamil.

The thing with all these is that there is more focus on showmanship than offering something of meaning, or offer genuine criticism. When you try to do that, and show scenes from the trailer or look off the camera, it feels very difficult to follow the thread. This isn’t a problem with the written word, however, since we readers keep going back to the sentence and cherish it over and over again.

What I believe you need to make it different and worthwhile (can’t avoid idiotic and abusive commenters, of course) is a visual/narrative device that helps (a) distinguish your style and (b) in sustaining interest. Such a device may even seem gimmicky, perhaps, but would help, overall.

I don’t know what it can be, but one start could be walking and talking. Helps alleviate the boredom of one pose. Two, hand movements. And 3, John Oliver-style… expressions 🙂