Limitations of video format for sharing insights

Video is engaging, concise, to-the-point, and great for story-telling

It has been shown again and again that video is the fastest way to share information when compared to the alternatives, i.e., static reports, slides, and dashboards.  Video displays non-verbal content well, engages audiences, presents content concisely and in a rich manner, incites action, enhances communication, and has the widest market reach. For example, video outperforms images in advertising based on engagement.

Video content by far generates more engagements with our users” – Taylor Hurff. Source.

Chad Hurley described video as: “Video is the most interesting and engaging way to share an idea with others” @Chad_Hurley

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Video has a large footprint

Assuming one minute of 30 frames per second 1080p Full HD resolution video takes 150MB¹, here is how many megabytes a one minute, 30 frames per second video will be for select native resolutions.

Resolutions Native
Width
Native
Height
x:9
aspect ratio
1 min. of 30fps native video¹
iPad Pro 12.9 2732 2048 12:9 404 MB
IPad Pro 11 2388 1668 12.885:9 288 MB
1080p 1920 1080 16:9 150 MB
3K SurfaceBook 3000 2000 13.5:9 434 MB
4K 3840 2160 16:9 600 MB
5K 5120 2880 16:9 1066 MB
6K 6016 3384 16:9 1472 MB
8K 7680 4320 16:9 2400 MB
IPhone XS Max 1242 2688 19.478:9 241 MB
IPhone XS 1125 2436 19.478:9 198 MB
MacBook Pro 13 2560 1600 14.4:9 296 MB
MacBook Pro 15 2880 1800 14.4:9 375 MB
Macbook Pro 16 3072 1920 14.4:9 426 MB

The video format is very resource inefficient.  Streaming video at fixed formats of 720p, 1080P or 4K video, has relied on highly compressive encoding during creation and hardware support for resolution scaling and decompression during decoding. Also, the video has to be specifically encoded for each of the resolutions and orientations.

User interfaces on our computers, phones, and tablets, take full advantage of native screen resolutions, but we still scale videos because of these resource requirements.

¹ Range 100MB – 185MB, depending on colors, and level of compressive encoding used.

Video is expensive to distribute

To reach the audiences globally and without considerable lag, a video has to be distributed over content distribution networks.  CDNs usually have to store copies of the same video, adding to the cost, for various resolutions, i.e., for mobile, desktop, low-bandwidth, high-bandwidth, etc.

Video has no support for accessibility

Video cannot adapt to color blindness. This is particularly important when choosing a palette of colors for a chart.  Here is an example of “Red-Green confusion color blindness” and how it appears to a person whit this deficiency.

color blindness

It is important to point out that iOS 13 continues to make progress in helping people with color blindness deficiency. It does so by changing the definition of certain colors.

Video is not device resolution or orientation agnostic

Video has to be generated for different resolutions and orientations.  Various resolutions are usually downsampled from a master and distributed to various platforms.

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Movies have been created with varying movie aspect ratios, ranging from 4:3 (Academy aperture), to 15:9 (European 35mm), to 16:9 (letterboxed), to 20:9 (70mm), to 21:9 (CinemaScope and Panavision), to 25:9 (Cinerama).  They are retrofitted onto screens using horizontal and vertical black bars.

Retrofitting fixed dimension video for handheld or personal devices using black bars is quite unappealing.

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Video has limited interactivity

Interactive video offers limited interactivity limited to hotspot links to external media, ability to branch within various positions in the video, basic HTML overlay form input.

Video can be made to support limited personalization

Using branching, it is possible to skip segments of video or show them in a different order. However, the entire video has to be included in the payload.

Outro

Video is engaging, concise, to-the-point, and the ability to tell a story makes it explainable to the audiences. Video is well suited for movies and shows but quiet limiting

  • for generative payloads,
  • where it is not cost effective to host multiple videos across channels, days, devices, and resolutions,
  • where video storage and distribution costs are an important consideration,
  • where the entire native device resolution is expected to be used without need for scaling or resampling,
  • when existing and future devices are to be supported natively,
  • where vertical and horizontal orientations need to be supported,
  • when higher level of interactivity is required compared to limited interactive videos,
  • where support for accessibility is a major consideration,
  • where support for explorations or querying without leaving the video environment is a chief consideration.