The Great Courses

It's All In The Packaging

Jul 7, 2013 at 7:22 AM

Thanks so much for the kind words on the production of the recent FreeOK 2013 videos.

Links here:


I shot the A-camera myself, and a couple of volunteers with their own cameras provided the two other angles (a big "thank you" to them).

Personally, I find myself tremendously frustrated with the substandard quality of most conference videos. An organization will spend copious amounts of money on venue, lodging, food, travel and promotion, but they'll document this major event for a global online audience by placing a last-minute recuit with a Handycam in the back corner. Lousy audio. No close-ups. Poor framing. Crap lighting. And the constant passing-by of attendees walking in front of the poorly-positioned camera. Ugh.

We're in the business of storytelling (or at least we should be). We have a responsibility to make the evidence and arguments we're presentation as palatable as possible: polished, informative, entertaining. Otherwise, we limit our effectiveness.

We live in an age where people are shooting 1080p video on their cell phones. It's a culture weaned on the Discovery Channel (not C-SPAN), and while some decry polish as "dumbing down" or "selling out," I think it's a necessary tool in the fight against superstition. Why wouldn't we want to present ourselves with excellence?

Churches are selling falsehoods with million-dollar media departments. Are we to counter with grainy, poorly-shot, poorly-edited and mostly inaccessible responses?

I think not. It's time for the freethought movement to take a lesson from TED and TAM, remembering that if something of value is packaged poorly, the package may never even be opened at all. 

Seth Andrews

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