Forums: Helping Hand > Can video introduce people to the FR?

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I received this note from Julia of Fandom about the possibility of making a video unique to our wiki. I'll cut and paste it here:

Hey Moviesign. Julia here :) from Fandom's Community team. By now you may have seen our announcement about Wiki Modernization and how we're using featured wiki videos to reduce the number of ads on the site and improve the performance of all Fandom wikis.

As we move forward we plan to have wiki videos in many communities, with Forgotten Realms wiki being a candidate for videos. If you are interested in which video types we might use you can find some great examples in this blog post. If we start producing videos we may reach out to you, other admins, and users to be involved in writing video scripts or being part of the production process.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

  —  Springteufel (talk) 13:14, May 23, 2017 (UTC)

I'm not certain that the Forgotten Realms can be captured in video, since most of it takes place in our collective imaginations, but I put it before the group to see if there is anything we want to say or show to the general public when they chance upon our wiki. Please look at the examples she shared with us and brainstorm how a video could be used to get people interested in our wiki, or at least explain what we do here.

One of the many pitfalls I see is the use of copyrighted images in what amounts to an unpaid advertisement (I think). Perhaps Fandom will have some policy on this, but supposedly everything we publish here is covered under CC-BY-SA. I just hope we are mostly compliant.

Moviesign (talk) 00:13, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

Think we could get Chris Perkins or Wil Wheaton to narrate our video? :^D
Moviesign (talk) 00:46, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

There is already the Faerûn History YouTube channel. Good videos but needs more promotion. I'm in sporadic contact withthe chap who makes them.
-hashtalk 02:49, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

Wow, I had no idea. Are those videos correct and canon? I haven't watched them yet. Fandom has four types of videos they are developing/allowing:
  1. High Production Custom Videos
  2. Templated Video with Voice-Over
  3. Templated Video with On-Screen Text
  4. Third Party Videos

So those would fall under #4. If they meet our canon criteria and we agree they would be an enhancement to our site, then we should reach out to the YouTube gentleman and ask him if he would mind having his videos hosted by Fandom (or linked? embedded? I'm not sure how it would work). I believe that each video would be attached to one page of the wiki. As of the latest I've heard, the video will auto-play without sound when the page loads. If the user scrolls down, the video will minimize to the lower right corner of the screen and continue playing. The user is free to un-mute the sound or stop the video at any time.

Moviesign (talk) 15:00, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

I haven't watched all of them yet but I've not noticed any mistakes (a few omissions, but the videos are quite short). The only issue I do have with them is that the narrator has a strong Scandinavian accent and sometimes it's hard to tell what he says (how he pronounces 'Congenio Ioun' for example). His name is Mats Holm and he works for Electronic Arts.
-hashtalk 16:40, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

I will ask Fandom what the procedure is for approaching a third party about using their content.
Moviesign (talk) 19:48, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

Update: I asked Fandom how this would work, and here is their reply:
  • We'll look at the videos you want to feature
  • If we like them too, we'll do the outreach
  • If you have suggestions for which pages the videos would go on, you can let us know and we'll make the final call
Moviesign (talk) 21:20, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

I talked to Mats. Should Wikia approve the channel, he'll put priority on any video we ask him to (he does 1 per week) to sweeten the deal.
-hashtalk 15:22, May 26, 2017 (UTC)

Before we pull the trigger on this, I would like to hear more opinions from the regulars. I have watched a few of these videos and they are very much in the style of a documentary—no frenetic action, just slow transitions and animation. I think these are about the best we could hope for, striking a balance between being unobtrusive to those that are not interested, and being well written, voiced, and produced with care for those that are interested. Videos are coming to wikis, and we can either take the initiative to get things we can be proud of, or we may end up with random ads that do not promote our wiki, but just help pay the bills. Please comment.
Moviesign (talk) 02:52, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

I personally hate the obsession with videos that our culture now has; I much prefer text, and I get mad when I have to watch a video when I could just get the same information in half the time or less by simply reading something.

That being said, I agree with Movie that, like it or not, it is the way the future is going and it is better to have found some good-quality videos than later ending up with crappy ones.

My only real concern is making sure that the videos are correct in their content.

~ Lhynard (talk) 03:37, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Maybe Faerûn History can be convinced to list sources used, either in the video or the video description?
Ir'revrykal (talk) 07:21, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

I need to find the time and energy to properly look over the proposal (Wikia's stopped sending me emails, it seems). But my initial reaction is (1) ugh, work; (2) ugh, change; and (3) I use Monobook, so I don't see ads anyway. :) I'm not eager to go to much effort to provide Wikia with a vehicle for video advertising. I also don't like the obsession with videos and audios on the internet; text is the most effective way of communicating information (I also like subtitles on TV and songs without lyrics, yes). And really, looking at the fandom – the Candlekeep forums – fancy technology and videos are far from a priority. :)

When I think of putting video on the wiki, I'd prefer genuine canon/licensed material, like video game cutscenes, music, and clips from the unnamed Dungeons & Dragons movie if it ever goes anywhere. Like images, these would add colour and scenery to articles and be a source of lore themselves. We can probably do that already though.

I don't think amateur documentary videos would really add anything to the wiki. They'd give a potted summary that could be included in the opening paragraph, still images would also appear on the page, and an unneeded voice-over (an amateur voice-over that it isn't as easy on the ears as a professional one). But worse, they can't be cited, won't be complete, and can't be updated like articles. It's like the fancy maps with pins, shiny but useless.

(Some anon tried to upload one of those Faerûn History videos to the FRW the other week.)

Narration for the visually impaired would be useful. I've encountered a few visually impaired players in play-by-post gaming, who either struggle to read text or have a program that reads it to them, to varying degrees of success. A lot of wiki code and features get in the way of that. I don't know if that's even close to what's being considered though.
— BadCatMan (talk) 08:00, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Well, I've caught up. I'm still dubious though. I couldn't even get most of the sample videos to play on my "device" (a PC), and struggled just to watch the demonstration videos, so now I'm even less impressed. :( One new idea though is to raise the topic among the Forgotten Realms fans, our readers, at Candlekeep and other fora. Would they watch such videos if they were offered, and if so what kind would they prefer?
— BadCatMan (talk) 12:43, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback! I am with you on the shift to a video-centric culture, but if we want to stay relevant to new generations, I think we have to include this form of media. However, we are talking about targeted ads here, not exactly the usual wiki content. They start running silently and minimize to the bottom-right corner if the user starts to scroll down the page. The user can dismiss them, ignore them as they run, or watch them, with or without sound, as they desire.

What century is your PC from BCM? Even my ancient laptop can view the demo pages without a problem.

I like User:Ir'revrykal's suggestion of listing sources—we could provide a link to the video on his YouTube page in a reference. And video game clips would be cool, as suggested by User:BadCatMan.

Be aware that the copy of the videos we'd see here would be hosted by Fandom, out of anyone's control but Fandom; it's their revenue stream after all, but they will consult with us on appropriate content. They might offer to re-do the narration with a professional voice actor, for example. Also, Fandom will work with us (and Mats, I presume. Does he have a Wikia account?) in producing other good-quality videos. They will let us write the scripts, and suggest images, etc. and then Fandom will produce professional-quality videos. I have no idea how extensive their plans are. Maybe we get one really nice video, maybe we get lots. That balance between their cost and their ability to sell these ads is something they will decide as this experiment unfolds.

In terms of the amount of work, using these existing videos is nearly effortless on our part. Mats and Fandom will do the rest, I believe, assuming that Fandom approves of the videos in the first place.

Moviesign (talk) 15:17, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

(I love that we are all a bunch of old, grumpy folk.)
~ Lhynard (talk) 18:05, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Ha! Yes, us all being ol' fuddy duddies is neat. This *is* the direction that Wikia has chosen to move in though. Mats is a fan of ours, if not a contributor, and unless we want to make our own videos, having him do stuff for us is certainly the easiest way of taking the initiative. Alternatively, I could reach out to the wider FR community for support - a lot of fans are intimidated by the thought of contributing to the wiki itself because, despite my insistance that they're mistaken, they're convinced that they'd have to learn to code in order to join in. Getting them to make videos instead could be an exciting way to engage the community. They *want* to help, they just don't know how. Since Wikia has made this decision for us, I say we should think about taking on a leadership role in this effort. Wizards of the Coast is concentrating on actual gaming sessions, so why not let us concentrate on the lore? I'm sure I can get some authors on board if what we end up doing is impressive enough.
-hashtalk 19:40, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

I sent an email to Fandom asking them to evaluate the dozen or so videos at Faerûn History. I asked for more information about what they plan and what services they would provide (like voice-over tracks). I stopped short of asking them to reach out to Mats, but they might if the videos meet their standards or can be modified to do so. We can offer input and guidance, but Fandom has the final say.
Moviesign (talk) 20:16, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Ha ha. :p My old PC runs Windows XP and I'm using Firefox for my browser. I had some slow Internet last night, and Australian Internet is slow in general. Maybe I'll try again another night. I also need to watch some of those Faerûn History videos.

User:Faerun History has an account here. (If you're reading, hello!)

More thoughts after sleeping on it. Forgotten Realms fandom is probably divided in two: the old-fashioned, lore-hungry fans, and the casual gamers who just use the setting. While we seem to be largely the former (and you'd have to be to want to wiki it for fun) and these video gimmicks likely won't appeal to this section of fandom, I have to admit the latter are a very different story. Maybe "the kids" want quick, engaging visual summaries rather than reading a wall of text? Yeah, they probably do. If the video persuades them to read the full story in the article, then that would be a good thing.

And Hash makes a good point about leadership. Although the Forgotten Realms Wiki seems to get the most visits and highest Google rankings, we still compete with a variety of other fansites with their own efforts to document Realmslore, including Faerûn History. All these competing efforts dilute the central goal of documenting the Realms and making it more accessible. We have the edge in referencing, completism, and professional standards, but lack in the core topics of the Realms (novels, classic central regions), since all us editors seem to have fringe interests. :) (<cough>Utter East</cough>) So, anything that puts us further ahead and helps bring in more fans and more dedicated editors, and bring these competing projects together is also a good thing, for the FRW and for Realms fandom.

My thoughts, anyway. I'm still not thrilled by the idea, but since Wikia's doing it anyway, my thoughts don't really matter either. I wouldn't stand in the way of it.

So, as for the types of videos we could feature:

  • Video game cutscenes and gameplay. These are usually free on Youtube anyway, so rights might not be an issue. Maybe we can embed Youtube videos?
  • Music, also from video games. There are canon lyrics/poetry but no tunes. Maybe Fandom want to do readings of some of the dirtier ditties. ;)
  • Clips of the proposed movie, but that would be years away still. If/when this ever happens, this will have a major impact on the wiki.
  • Mini-documentaries like those from Faerûn History. Okay, these won't be complete, referenced, or kept up-to-date, but I guess they don't need to be. They can't take the place of a full article, but as a brief and engaging visual summary, they could help get potential readers interested.
  • Interviews with designers and writers might be nice and draw attention, but the Fandom budget might not stretch to it.
I imagine these videos/adverts would focus on high-traffic pages, like Drizzt Do'Urden, Elminster, key player races, gods, and central regions. These would need development to enhance and justify them though.
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:22, May 28, 2017 (UTC)

Hey everyone, one of the more recent additions here, but I have come to love the Forgotten Realms, especially as a Campaign Setting, but onto the point of the forum.

I can't help but agree with BadCatMan and Moviesign when it comes to the types of videos we would desire as well as who their target audience would include. Videos, in my opinion, do a great job at introducing new people to most content, especially for things that are as heavy as the whole of Forgotten Realms. They will be a great addition for any new or prospective users.

Frankly, I've found few documentary style videos, so simply finding a Youtuber who does them is quite awesome in and of itself. The biggest issue I foresee with any video uploads is the sourcing involved, since that would require a vigorous and meticulous review of any material in the video that should be sourced. Publishing a script, with all of the sources, in a separate locale seems to be the simplest way of going about this. Faerûn History will likely have to go back through everything and find the script he used or something like it.

Any response is greatly appreciated.
Erezrim(User talk:Erezrim) 11:05, June 1, 2017 (EST)

I've been in contact with some talented Forgotten Realms fans and a few Wikia staffers and have received several offers of help. I'm quietly confident that whatever direction that we choose to take will be met with at least some success. Like I posted earlier, if our initial efforts are successful, I'm sure I can get some authors on board. I was thinking that one avenue that could be explored would be readings of the free-to-download FR novellas, accompanied by fan artwork of what's being described.
-hashtalk 16:44, June 16, 2017 (UTC)

Wow, I had no idea about the Faerûn History YouTube channel. That's incredible. However, the observation has been made that the dude's got a pretty heavy accent. ;)

Aside from the discussion on whether videos should be front and/or centRE here, some of you might not be aware I've had a somewhat long (and remarkably unsuccessful) career on YouTube and I'm lucky enough to possess an accent often compared to "BBC English".

I am going to contact Mr. Faerûn History and see if he would like a voiceover artist for his videos!

Fw190a8 20:10, July 8, 2017 (UTC)

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