Producing audio and video for the web


A project I’ve been working on recently has involved creating video news shorts for Medway Council’s website. I’ve also recently been involved in producing podcasts for the first time as well.

The video and audio content for these is recorded and edited entirely in-house by members of the council’s Communications and Youth teams.

Now both projects have launched it’s interesting to reflect on the differences between producing video and audio content as a professional communicator.

The barriers to entry for both these tools are so low that anyone can produce audio and video themselves without specialist equipment or skills. However the real barrier is the quality threshold that you choose to apply as a communicator.

Do you want your podcast to sound like it’s been recorded in a bathroom, or your video to have the production value of last year’s home video?

Equally you don’t want to sound or look too slick either, as that moves away from the genuine, personal style that works well nowadays to something more corporate and less credible.

It’s a fine balance to achieve, made all the more difficult because it’s easy for a professional to deliberately sound/look amateur, but it’s really hard for an amateur to sound/look professional.

In my experience it’s more straightforward to produce audio content that gets closer to the mark than it is to produce video content, although there’s always more you can do to learn.

The team had many discussions about the look and feel that was appropriate for audio and video content coming from an institution like a council. The consensus was that the content needed to appear professional and credible.

Feedback on the first video is here. Offline feedback has been very positive, although we have had some problems reported with the Quicktime player we’re using. However I think these can be relatively easy to solve soon.

I also underestimated the amount of time it takes to plan, write, record, edit and upload content – something that anyone considering using audio and video on the web needs to take account of.

However I’m absolutely convinced that audio and video news will be part of the council’s future communications mix in some form, as they open up opportunities to reach new audiences and show richer information than is possible in text format.