View Full Version : Can the bloggers see each other during diavlogs?

04-06-2008, 05:09 PM
I'm a new viewer of bloggingheads.tv (via NYTimes), and have only watched a few diavlogs, but something feels funny. I get the impression that the bloggers can't see each other - i.e. they are just audio-chatting, while being filmed.

Can the bloggers see each other? Or am I misreading their body-language?

To me it seems like the bloggers often don't look at each other while talking, nor react to smiles or facial expressions. Sometimes one blogger will be leafing through papers on his desk, while the other talks - normal behavior for a phone call, but a bit rude if someone is talking directly to you.

04-06-2008, 05:44 PM
Habilis, everybody is recording locally, and the split-screen video is assembled later. I think the criteria for the design stress cost-effectiveness over convenience for the participants. They can't see each other.

04-06-2008, 07:41 PM
Thanks for the confirmation. I'd argue that two-way video is not a convenience, but a requirement for this type of blogger-dialogs.

Having watched a few more diavlogs, the bloggers seem to have two types of behavior. Some of the bloggers have a fixed stare towards the camera - maybe they are more experienced and are thinking "keep looking at the camera, keep looking at the camera, ..." Others act like they are taking a phone call with a security camera pointed at them (which, of course, is all they are doing).

The conversations look strange because half the conversation is missing. The bloggers are only talking with their mouth/ears, but the whole face/eye part of the conversation is missing.

All that strangeness would go away, if the bloggers could just see each other. They could nod, shrug, grin, and frown at each other to create a higher quality and more interesting conversations.

Anyway, I hope bloggingheads.tv can take this as constructive criticism from a first-time viewer.

04-06-2008, 08:52 PM
For comparison, here's an example of an iChat interview, with bi-directional video:


There are many things wrong with this video, compared to a BH.tv diavlog: lower video quality, audio jitter, audio lag, no split-screen.

Still, I think the video is better than a BH.tv diavlog, because the people aren't self-consciously looking at a camera, they are talking to each other as if they were in the same room. They smile, nod, shrug at each other to better communicate their thoughts.

04-07-2008, 09:51 AM

Your criticisms have merit. I agree that being able to see each other's nonverbal cues could help the diavloggers at times.

On the other hand, there's something kind of charming about the current set-up. It's like watching someone talking on the phone, only you get to see both sides -- a god's-eye view, perhaps.

I don't mind when people don't look at the camera all the time. In fact, I think some of the people who do look a little like people posing for mug shots, and would encourage them to set their cameras up slightly off-axis.

04-18-2008, 01:54 AM
I've come back today to bloggingheads after three months to see if I could deal with the distractions of sub-par presentation and sound. I can't.

The technology is available, cheap, and easy to record quality sound and to have the participants see each other. It would improve the dynamic between speakers as well as the viewing experience. I'm very surprised you apparently aren't pursuing these simple improvements. Why not supply each head with a $30 USB mic, and a decent $30 camera, and give them some standards for centering themselves, and show them how to see each other, and have a tech use Remote Desktop (like LogMeIn) to color balance each end?

It's very easy. You can hire a h.s. student at $10 an hour to happily do this.

I'll check back in a few months. The sound, etc. is just not worth my while, despite the often great content.

04-18-2008, 02:04 AM
You elitist, you.

04-18-2008, 02:14 AM
You must work in the broadcasting industry to care so much about that stuff.

I never even thought about color balancing the two screens. Who cares if the participants are centered in the screen. Most of the time, the audio and video are fine. You sound like someone who spends working hours getting these details right for television productions (or whatever), and can't stop thinking about them when you are relaxing at home watching vids on the internet.

I suppose YouTube kills you... All that glaring inconsistency! ;-)

04-18-2008, 02:20 AM
As Jon Stewart said the other night, elitism is not a bad thing ;) Don't we want things to be as good as they can be?

Twin Swords, I do care. And if bloggingheads follows my cheap & easy advice, they'll get more viewers, more revenue, and more love.

04-18-2008, 03:09 AM
As Jon Stewart said the other night, elitism is not a bad thing ;) Don't we want things to be as good as they can be?

Twin Swords, I do care. And if bloggingheads follows my cheap & easy advice, they'll get more viewers, more revenue, and more love.


I assume the first line was directed at me, so here's my response.

First off, I'm all about striving to be elite. However, I care much more about content than I do about production. In that regard, BH.tv is already elite.

I can see and hear the diavlogs fine. A rare few lack audio fidelity, but I've never found one so off-putting for that reason that I couldn't listen. I have absolutely no complaints about the video -- the only thing I care about is an occasional glance at someone's expression, and that's always discernible.

I think the fact that the diavloggers can't see each other probably helps more than it hurts. Many diavloggers, I suspect, would be more self-conscious in front of the camera than they already are, if they knew they were being stared at in real time. Talking on the phone lets people loosen up. Also, some would ham it up, and that might get old. And there are moments of pure comedy when one person does something that everyone else, except the other diavlogger, can see.

Finally, you're more than welcome to make suggestions for improvement. But this business of threatening boycotts until production values meet your standards seems a little juvenile.

04-19-2008, 12:21 AM
Listen guy, I'm not threatening a boycott, I'm giving feedback and expressing my strong view, based on my own preferences and not on universal truths, which are that although the content here is delightful, there's now a lot of great content on the web. Personally I don't like the distraction of poor presentation that I find here, as I have explained.

That's me. It ain't you. And that's fine, just the way it ought to be. To each his own. You stay, I go. I offer feedback before I go, and I'll check back because I like the content. I'd appreciate it if you would refrain from attempting an insult, and instead argue on the merits, if you care to. That would be adult of you.

04-19-2008, 02:40 AM
Sorry I hurt your feelings so much.

04-19-2008, 02:30 PM
I somehow doubt it.

04-19-2008, 10:15 PM
Sorry to hear that. What can I say to reassure you of my sincerity?