Over the years I’ve watched thousands of youtube clips of metal detecting and arrowhead hunting videos. To those who take the time to make them, you ROCK. I thought on this page I would share my opinions about what makes great metal detecting videos that seem to spread and get a lot of views. I welcome your ideas as well of course and look forward to seeing your videos!
The reason I even feel remotely qualified to talk about this is that I’m involved in video marketing and have some concepts that apply to live dig videos also. I’m Google certified in video advertising and have looked at hundreds of videos’ analytics/stats and learned many of the patterns that most people never see. So here we go…
My ideas for better metal detecting videos
- Consider keeping your metal detecting videos under 3 minutes and making more of them. While we all love the quiet time swinging the coil between signals, it’s not so good on videos. In my profession, I see lots of people stop watching at around 2 minutes 30 seconds. If you’re aiming to show the videos on Instagram, they currently have a 1-minute limit.
- Let us know the backgrounds of anyone you talk with. Which university are they with? What is their background in this kind of work? What is their favorite part about working on the project… Do 1-minute staff profiles. Include a ridiculous, humorous question to lighten things. Archaeologists love to use their titles. Let them, it’s ok.
- Tell The Story – show the site – but not enough to break your privacy requirements to the property owner. Show your hike to get there and something about the soil. Show others working on the project. If you’re on Archaeology projects, make sure to get permission from the team members to record and publish them.
- Tell us about the site, what you are hoping to find/learn, and how you’re recording provenance. What research questions are you hoping to answer? How will your efforts improve understanding? If you’re working on an archaeology project, perhaps have the principal investigator intro your video for you.
- Let us hear dialogue between you and others about a site, find or technique. A little humor goes a long way. If it’s an Archaeology project, get different perspectives. The property owner. The principal investigator. Students. They all have interesting things to say.
- SKIP LONG INTROS or leader clips. Make yourself a 10-15 second intro leader clip and use it every time (e.g. Chicago Ron.) An ending clip can have all of your contact information on it. Nothing has helped this quite as much as Instagram’s 1 minute limit. I’d rather watch 10 1-minute videos than 1 10-minute video!
- The video title and descriptions’ first sentence have a SINGLE JOB – to get people to watch. If your video title sucks (e.g. “My weekend detecting project”) get ready for disappointment.
- The first 8-15 seconds of every video should be a “sales pitch” on why you should watch the rest. Most people leave within 15 seconds unless you’ve hooked them.
- The last 5-15 seconds of every video should be a “sales pitch” to subscribe or watch the next video. Youtube has a nice “end screen” feature for this that’s easy to use.
- Let us hear the machine! Pull your headphones aside so the camera mic picks them up and sweep over the target with the coil or in-line probe. We can usually hear other pinpointers fine. Tones make us all happy. We learn from sounds.
- Make 1-minute highlight reels of your longer Youtube videos and post them to Instagram, with a link to the longer video in the comments. “See the rest of this video” here.
- Please don’t video finding Wheaties or endless numbers of the same thing unless you’re demonstrating a technique, etc. Oh my goodness they get old.
- Let us see the object close up! When you pull an object, take the time to hold it in front of the camera for a moment, or superimpose it later on if you’re good at editing.
- Close-Up Focus: f you’re using your cell phone to record video, touch the screen on the artifact. Most phones will then focus on that spot. Cell phones usually have what’s called matrix focus, meaning that the object to focus on has to take up most of the screen before they’ll shift. They’re getting better.
- Skip hole digging and long sifting footage – we have seen a few thousand. Just pause the video and restart it with the hole open.
- What are ‘ya swinging? Tell us about the equipment, the methodology, etc. Include the metal detector in the description and the tags so others with the same machine can find your clips!
- Tell people who the video is for right up front. Beginner video? Pinpointing video? New hunt video, concept, explainer. You get the picture. (PS: Pondguru does a great job of this!)
- Be Yourself! Let others see how much you love the hobby! Dance that happy dance!
I’m sure that some of you will say … “but Scott, some of your metal detecting videos don’t follow those guidelines either!” You’d be right. My videos are getting better all the time and these tips are the reasons.
[EDIT: 10/27/16: In the time since I wrote this post, lots of things have changed – with the introduction of Instagram videos, Facebook Live, Periscope and other tools. And as of this writing, there are some new, inexpensive high quality video editing tools coming out. In addition, virtual reality and 3d are going NUTS (I’ve just tested a few out) and I see 3d video recording making its way to lightweight glasses. Big stuff coming!!!!]