I’ve surveyed general-interest video websites and here’s what’s available for gardeners and gardener
wannabees in need of a little instruction. Videos on gardening sites will be covered in a separate post.
Readers may remember that I’ve ranted about this site, specifically about their landscaping writer’s lack of qualifications and telltale bad recommendations. But at least I know he’s unqualified because his bio is presented. Not so for their video "experts." And googling their names produced a big zip.
But straining to be fair, I give their production values a pretty high mark. I’ll even grant that the topics are generally good ones – dividing perennials, edging a garden, planting an herb garden, building a stone patio and more – and the content offered up by their mystery experts seems pretty good. The advice is more traditional than earthwise or organic, however.
And a small gripe. Because home and garden videos are listed together, with less than a third of them on topic (for us), browsing the titles isn’t much fun.
Now the folks at ExpertVillage have the good sense to show bios for their experts but alas, the sum total of their "qualifications" often rests in the disappointing term "extensive knowledge". And production values? Check out this video on invasive plants. Can you see anything she’s pointing to? The apparent problem with shadows seems pervasive, too, so when experts says "as you can see," it’s kinda funny.
And here’s another example of their low production standards: Garden shop owner Allan Watts offers his "Basic Tips for New Gardeners" videos – 16 of them – which he clearly taped himself. We know that because the camera is static and he’s a talking head, a really dull one. Here’s an example. Also notice the location – his store.
And once again with the annoying mishmash of home-and-garden titles.
THE BRITS DO IT BETTER – VIDEOJUG.COM
Now let’s see how the English fare at this endeavor. Here’s How to Care for Your Lawn in Autumn. While the production values are professional, I may be entirely too American because a lot of the narration was lost on me. And not just because of the accent but wow, who knew that gardening terminology could be so different and what the heck is a besom? And in the link above you’ll witness the sweeping of a lawn, a putting-green-height lawn at that. (Are their turfgrass species really that different?) And how about their advice to spread a "top dressing" of 6 parts sharp sand, 3 parts topsoil and 1 part peat on the lawn? Maybe the subject of gardening isn’t as exportable as we think.
"Digital culture" blogger, mediaangler.com, provides a nice segue:
Videojug is run out of the UK by a band of television professionals.
Viewdo was founded by a couple of American guys seeking out a cool
business to grow. Videojug goes on location to film instructional
videos, Viewdo puts more onus on the user to supply video of their
special skill or knowledge base.
So let’s see how those two American blokes made out with their venture. Unfortunately, their Home and Garden listings don’t actually include any on gardening, though the exacting task of folding a napkin is thoroughly explored. Enough said.
COMING SOON – MONKEYSEE.COM
Why all this interest in gardening videos? Because I received a solicitation to appear as an expert myself and survived the taping of my first video, a 9-part ditty called "Sustainable Gardening". It will debut next month on Monkeysee.com, which our digital blogging friend would call a "Web 2.0 content start-up." (Now can somebody tell me what Web 2.0 means?)
And while I’m impressed with Monkeysee’s professionalism, there’s no telling what my video will look like on screen or how it will function. Case in point: On About.com I clicked on a video about deadheading flowers only to be shown a video of Jennifer Love Hewitt selling bras. Gotta make a buck first, I suppose. But if it turns out that viewers clicking on "Sustainable Gardening" first have to sit through an ad for Anusel suppositories, I’m outta there. I swear to God.Posted by Susan Harris on May 29, 2007 at 3:46 am, in the category Watch Someone Else Do It.