Video culture

Before you suspect mixed-up channels, be assured that we'll work our way to a happy hifi ending. To get there, we simply start in the kitchen for a change. Ivette had gotten tired of the daily wasted citrus juice whilst using a cheap plastic manual reamer for our early vitamin hit. So off we went Googling not for Espresso machines but mechanical citrus presses. We soon narrowed it down to the Adexa CJ6 and Sage/Breville 800. Of those two the latter won. The next video had a lot to do with it. It's blessedly brief yet hits all the right notes except for pomegranates. But someone else's video on the same product covered those to have us fully covered.

This got me thinking on the shopping utility of video tutorials and the big difference a professional presentation makes. The quality of sundry YouTube reviews on the Sage spanned the gamut. Of the lot I found, the above by the actual maker was the best, hands down. Then it struck me. Much of high-end audio still hasn't made the transition to modern video culture when it comes to documenting a product's hidden features. At large, our industry still relies on PDF owner's manuals yet all too often, even those overlook certain details to require a direct contact with their tech department to sort. That's sales prevention at work. A maker of anything must anticipate all product questions. They must provide all the answers so buyers can make a properly informed opinion. Learning after the fact that certain things don't work as anticipated—or at all—is poison. And why lose a sale because you forgot to mention a feature which to certain buyers would have made all the difference? Why rely on tech bloggers to fill in the gaps? The one who knows everything there is to know about the product is you. Shouldn't you then be the one to explain it?

The takeaway of today's mini feature is not our new kitchen gadget. Why would you care? It's to encourage audio manufacturers particularly of more complex kit with hidden features, multi-layered menus and such to avail themselves of a video's tell-all opportunity. At large, expensive full-color printed product brochures have already been replaced by PDF downloads which are cheaper to produce and disseminate. Isn't it time the old-fashioned owner's manual were replaced or at least augmented by an intelligently scripted video tutorial? Pictures are worth a thousand words they say. How much truer is that for moving pictures?

Video culture. Get some?

Chatting about this with John Darko as the go-to guy for professionally produced hifi reviews in video format, "I guess hifi's promotional mind set remains rooted in shows so real-world demonstrations of products which as you suggest is to fall long behind the times. The in-house video production idea is slowly catching on here and there but many companies quickly find out that putting together their own video that looks and sounds good isn't as easy as making a .pdf. Many hifi companies are small so designer-led. They don't have dedicated marketing teams so must (or feel that they should) front the video themselves. How many are capable of that? How many brilliant engineers would go to pieces in front of a camera? How many of 'em struggle to explain their work off-camera?" John delves deeper in this feature which he penned the same day that I published this.

So to call it a wrap, yes, hiring a professional video production team and presenter will cost real money. Of course so do hifi shows which in 2020 locked down. It should thus depend on where hifi manufacturers see the most value for and return on their marketing budgets. Videos certainly seem to be on the ascendant. And as a consumer, I do find properly scripted cogently presented tutorials super useful. It's why very selfishly, I'd like to see more of 'em also in our industry.