When providing video to students or other viewers, the mode of capture can usually be divided into one of two types:
- Live event or synchronous lecture capture
- Pre-recorded lectures which are provided only on-demand (asynchronous)
In order to provide better service to viewers, while live capture is inherently connected to the actual event, it is possible to rethink how purely on-demand video is produced. This article will focus on video length, and how that can improve both the capability to download or view a video online, as well as improving viewer retention.
How a Shorter Video Affects the Viewing/Downloading Experience
A video which is longer in time length, is also accordingly larger in file size. In order to view or download the video, the viewer must be able to stream that video to their machine, potentially via limited internet access.
- Short videos hold a smaller risk of having packets that cannot be delivered, and thus create a smoother, easier streaming experience.
- Short videos create a smaller overall file, and thus can be downloaded more easily over a limited internet connection.
- Essentially: the shorter a video is, the smaller the file, and the faster it will transfer to the viewer's machine. When dealing with less-than-optimal internet speeds and/or rural locations, this could be the difference between easily viewing material and experiencing frustration.
How a Shorter Video Affects Viewer Retention
Research has been done showing that shorter videos better retain the attention of viewers.
- The optimal length for any video is 6 minutes. Longer videos had a greater drop off rate before the viewer finished watching the video. [see "Vanderbilt University Study on Effective Educational Videos" linked in References below]
- Viewers are more likely to engage with material when provided with several short videos rather than one long extended video containing the same information.
- Without the interactivity of a classroom experience, determining the best length to retain viewer engagement is critical.
Can Live Capture be Reduced in Size after Recording?
Within MyMediasite, a captured lecture may be edited and either split into separate chunks to highlight lecture segments, or sections can be removed to improve pacing. Help is provided within the Web Editor, and Mediasite Administration would be happy to provide advice where needed.
If a lecture topic is delivered on-demand, breaking it down into sub-topics can help each video stay short and to the point, ensuring that students will be able to easily download and consume the material.