Reader reaction to our new video feature is mixed. One writes:
"Gotta question?" Yes. Are you dyeing your beard again?
Screw you, hippie. Another asks:
The rotoscoping is just to hide the sexy greying of your beard, isn't it?
And screw you too. Another:
I'm asking you to stop making hostage tapes. I'll chip in for the ransom.
Video answers are definitely a cool thing, but the filter is distracting and I can't stop looking at the cartoon eyebrows it gives you.
When did you become a Charles Schwab commercial?
Not all the feedback is critical:
Love the roto – makes the beard even more impressive.
I will definitely tune in to anything Andrew has to say. Now I don't have to wait for those long periods between appearances on Real Time With Bill Maher!
I just watched "Ask Andrew Anything" and was surprised that you have an English accent. (I'm an idiot.) I wonder how many of your readers noticed the same thing.
Jesus I never realized how ENGLISH you sound. You sound like Boris Johnson.
Nice use of the word "naff" – it was much appreciated by a fellow ex-pat.
It would be a most welcome feature if you could provide a transcript of the videos. Most people read much faster than you speak.
A transcript would kind of defeat the purpose of the feature. Another wants me to go Colbert:
I want to see a debate between Andrew and himself. Your tech wizards ought to be able to make it look like there are two or three Andrews having a real-time debate.
Another wants to turn me into Clippy:
Have your talking figure silhouetted on the page. In other words, have your video wizards figure out a way to do away with the rectangular box, which reduces him to a talking head like every other talking head on the tube. If you could have his face just talking on the page without the box – that would be cool!
I'm a Toronto Liberal and NDP voter and dedicated reader of you and The Dish from way back in 2000. I'm also an iPad user – as I believe you are – and was excited to hit up The Dish today to read about a new video feature. Problem is, as you know, there's no flash for iPads and iPhones. So there were those two big white blank spaces where the two vids have been placed. Is there any way that your cool Dish web dudes and dudettes could consider that the vids posted could be anything but Flash?
We will pass it along to the techies. An artist offers detailed tips:
Visuals – Why not show a bit more of the body, placing him slightly behind, say, a tabletop the color of wood, or formica? You already have the Charlie Rose black background setting him off, and there is a reason that Rose's style has held up for so many decades, er, years. Rotoscoping is not my particular fave (nor its evil cousin, motion capture), but the effect is unfortunately making Andrew's beard the predominant focal point of his visage. And the beard looks like someone went nuts with the smudge tool in Photoshop. Possibly changing the camera angle could help this.
Movement and Emphasis – The rocking forward and backward was enough to make me feel slightly queasy. Gesturing hands disappearing and reappearing is also distracting. Again, camera angle and/or presence of a piece of furniture could mask this. The movement worked against, rather than with, the answers. One shouldn't SEE evidence of his working on his spontaneous responses (all politicians have to get good at pulling out their thoughts or pre-canned responses, but we expect more from the non-politician (for now). I'm sure he'll get smoother, however.
Format – I'd like it better if there were a voice-over over the typed-out question, alternating male and female voices (note how NPR or the World, or Deutsche Velle uses different English-sounding translators from foreign languages.) Two things going on here: First, hearing a human voice different from Andrew's makes a better connection between the questioner (our surrogate) and the Answerer. It also gives a greater feeling of the question coming from "outside" of the pre-arranged, slick Beast format. Second, different spoken voices are inherently more interesting than the typing format – even if they may on occasion be a little distracting.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with the new feature. I look forward to seeing how it develops.
And your feedback is critical to that development. More thoughts at our Facebook page.