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« The Myth of Leadership | Main | Quick Looks »

In Praise of Tedium

Why does everything have to be so interesting all the time? Here is my attempt to balance the scales by producing something incredibly boring.

Called ‘Travelling on an up escalator’, this video breaks every rule in the book and has little to commend it from an aesthetic point of view.

However, in a strange sort of way, my attempt to produce a very boring video has been unsuccessful because it is interesting to discuss why it is boring. Or even if it is boring: there are other videos on YouTube on the subject of escalators. How strange.

There is a serious side to all this. For a long time now I have carried a camera with me everywhere in order to be able to take pictures  with which to illustrate my articles. However, video is potentially more interesting, so I have just started taking a Flip video recorder with me sometimes instead.

I don’t know how well this will work out. I don’t wish to spend more than a few minutes adding a title and some credits, and uploading a video. I don’t have the time or inclination to do lots of editing. What I would like to do, over time, is build up a library of video clips for all occasions.

But I digress. Here is the video: 

Related reading:

Going Underground

This article is an amended version of one first published on 16th May 2009 under the title "Boring Media".

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Reader Comments (4)

Because video is such a rich medium, it contains too much data to be truly boring, certainly at this length. I recently used my Flip to film walking down a path in the woods for about half a mile, lasting about 7 minutes. At that length tedium begins to kick in. I wonder where the border is between the still-interesting and the tedious in this medium.
October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEd Webb
Good point, Ed. I think @theokk would be interested in this question. Thanks.
I think you have nailed the idea on the head Ed. Video is indeed a very rich medium, but length of clip in relation to the context is critical. This has been born out by research we have undertaken at the university of Hull
(Burden, Kuechel in lit.) which found that clips between 1-5 mins were most popular for use for learning. It is quite remarkable how much information you can get across, whether it is Terry's 1.2 min clip or this from the Cassiopeia Project which covers the ancestry of man in about 10 minutes - I managed to re-edit this open licence clip down to 3 mins and it works.
October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertheo
Thanks, Theo. You're right about the amount of information you can pack in. It's surprising really. That series "Terry's 2 Minute Tips" I experimented with last year (and am considering reviving) proved that I think. It's like a video version of Twitter. I like 12 seconds ( but that's packing up now :-(

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