"When I started, a demo video was a screencap vid," Adam Lisagor begins, "usually a developer or an engineer, badly miced, going [he grabs the lavaliere mic from his shirt and speaks directly into it, for maximum distortion] 'I'd like to show you my new CMS financial manager.' You watch his mouse go around the screen, and it's super boring. It takes up eight minutes of your time, instead of 30 seconds." A cursory peek at Sandwich Video offers some insight into precisely how far we've come on that front, a parade of short videos produced for companies like eBay, Rdio, Flipboard and Jawbone that bring professional-level production and a dash of humor to the proceedings.
Though, as Lisagor explains, it's about a lot more than just creating something that looks nice. While his company has evolved a fair deal since the days of the earnest video caps, the spots still need to actually, you know, show people what the products do. "When I first started doing them, they were meant to be a demonstration," explains Lisagor. "They were meant to show the user experience, while adding a lot more pizzazz and sparkle. We don't take the route of focusing on shock / entertainment value. We take the opposite approach, where it's all about the product and being engaging enough to want to share."
And besides, production isn't everything. After all, that fancy new video for your crowdfunding campaign might actually hurt your efforts in the end. "If you're putting yourself on Kickstarter, but it looks like your video cost $100,000," adds Lisagor, "there's a certain portion of the population that's going to take that as a sign not to donate to your campaign, because it doesn't look like you need the money."
Check out all of our Peripheral Vision Episodes:
- Eric Staller on building his "deepest subconscious impulses"
- Marc Maron on the catharsis of podcasting
- Professor John Slough on how nuclear power could get us to Mars in 30 days
- Reggie Watts on using technology to make art, pterodactyls