Another dot in the blogosphere?

No permission to record

Posted on: April 5, 2018

When I enter contract negotiations for my talks, workshops, or consulting services, I occasionally see this line item: Video recording the session.

When I ask what this is for, the usual responses include archiving, showcasing, reference for absentees, or later review. I object to all three, but not for the reasons you might expect.

Archiving or showcasing a session on video is a lot of work with very little return on investment. If you want to do a good job of archiving or showcasing, the video must spend a lot of time in post-production. At the bare minimum, every minute shot needs at least ten in editing.

If the video is meant to be a reference, I wonder:

  • Who exactly is going to watch the video?
  • Why do they need to do this?
  • How exactly is watching a video a proxy for attendance?
  • What use is a video-based review if it is incidental and not designed for follow-up?

A workshop is about work, not watching dispassionately. Even though my sessions are blended, they designed for being there, getting involved, and learning together. A video is not the same as being there.

A workshop is also about context. I have conducted many sessions with the same title, but I have to do something different each time because the context changes. The people who attend make a difference to what I do. Watching a video does not give you a sense of context nor the ability to add to it.

Other than these design factors, I also have a consulting factor for saying no to most recordings. A single video recording is a potential loss of opportunity for me. Someone can offer the video in an online repository and an administrator can claim that they have the same experience for free. They do not, and they fool themselves if they think they do.

So I say no to most video recordings while negotiating contracts, when I am asked on the spot, or when I notice video camera pointed at me without permission. This is not about being camera-shy; it is about being savvy with learning design and firm with my rights.

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