ESPN.com's Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller needs to apologize to his readers. His videos represent a massive gap between the ease of use of technology and the application of new media video.
Repeated calls for Mr. Miller to go for a technological upgrade have gone unanswered. Yet he continually posts video of him reading like it's story time in the Romper Room. Personally, I keep waiting for him to look through a fake mirror and wish me happy birthday.
He has yet to step up and say, "Yes, the technology is there, but I have yet to fully embrace the technology at hand. I am sorry and that's entirely my fault. I need to take a few courses so that I can enhance the experience for my visitors on ESPN.com."
Meanwhile, Miller continues to make mundane movies of himself. For each short video he’ll don a different polo shirt, cram himself into the corner of his home office, and critique amateur athletes who have not signed a contract with the "World Wide Leader in Sports."
We get it. He likes to hear and see himself talk.
Miller writes some nice things for his blog; most notably he does manage to get in depth with each Pac-10 team and provide some nice overviews of teams and positions.
Most observers are well aware that ESPN.com is one of the great sources to turn to for college football coverage, but Ted Miller comes up short in enhancements.
1. His eyes stay glued to the text that he reads, and his head swings from side to side.
Suggestion: Instead of reading each the entire context of a speech try using bullet points and speaking on them.
2. The bookcase behind him is so close that it looks like he's crammed into the corner of a broom closet.
Suggestion: Add a green screen behind that enables the enhancement of the viewer’s experience by altering the background to an applicable image on a per-video basis.
3. His microphone sounds like he's speaking inside an echo chamber.
Suggestion 1: This can easily be fixed by adding some padding to the walls so that the microphone doesn’t pick up the echo of his voice as it bounces off of the wall around him.
Suggestion 2: Mr. Miller has enough deepness in his voice that a lapel microphone attached to his chest could pick up the vibrations of his chest as he speaks and eliminate much of the echo.
Suggestion 3: Forget that the microphone is halfway across the room. It's not necessary to shout. Speak softer and deeper and the microphone should still pick up your voice yet the final product will seem more personal than a speech from a bully pulpit.
4. His webcam is mounted so low that it looks like he's using the webcam that his computer came with.
Suggestion 1: Buy a decent webcam that can be mounted eye-level during the reading.
Suggestion 2: Buy one for a 100 bucks. A decent webcam can be found on Amazon.com, as can a tripod on Craigslist near his house in sunny Arizona.
Suggestion 3: Place the bullet points near the eye of the camera to give a bit more of an intimate feel to your viewers.
5. He often forgets to smile the deeper he gets into his reading.
There's no real technical solution to this except for overlaying images, videos and text...other than the modeling trick of Vaseline on the teeth.
Along with the bullet points put in red letters "smile" periodically...or do the "Vaseline Smile."
6. There are no enhancements to his videos...ever... just him reading. However, when his head swings awkwardly from side to side and his eyes are glued to the screen, it can be unnerving to his viewers so enhancements would be a great addition to his videos.
Suggestion 1: Video editing software is so cheap and easy to use that adding a video or image of the athlete or coach.
Suggestion 2: Video editing software also allows for text placement on the screen. This would be a wonderful enhancement when going through bullet points.
7. His voice inflection is decent, but it sounds like a high school valedictorian that is getting ready to navigate the real world.
Suggestion: Have someone in the room during the speech so that it feels like a discussion to the viewers.
Miller took the ESPN.com job so he could step out of the shadow of the two-newspaper town of Seattle. But stepping into the national spotlight includes responsibilities.
One of those responsibilities is to be continually embracing all of the aspects of new media. For failing to do that, Ted Miller has fallen short and needs to apologize to his viewers.
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