Sunday, August 30, 2009


Skeptoid er-r "InFact" with Brian Dunning

Dunning posted on his iTunes feed an advertisement for his new proposed web video series "InFact." Dunning was also looking for a sponsor, or someone to help in get a sponsor to do a 13 episode season of "InFact."

I watched all three pilots he has posted on iTunes. "InFact" is a three minute version of "Skeptoid," which is typically about ten minutes long, in a video format. (I am not sure why he picked a new name for the video show.) They are pilots, so they are a tad rough around the edges. "The Pacific Garbage Patch" had the best use of illustrative photos. The one on the Mayan 2012 end of the world episode was bit annoying since he referenced an ancient carving which shows a solar system of ten planets behind him. However, Dunning was in front of the picture. I really could not make out what he was talking about. This is just quibbling really, since they are only pilots, and I am just jealous that he has "Final Cut" on his Mac, and all I have is iMovie. Dunning has charism, so he can carry a video show.

My only thought is this siren call video has for people who are successful in an audio format. I think of Rush Limbaugh and "Dr." Laura who moved from radio to television only to see the jump to the visual fail. In the podcast (he calls them netcasts) world, Leo Laporte has a small videocast empire with, which is successful. Leo's video viewership is dwarfed by his audio following. (The guy is constantly upgrading his rig to the tune of big bucks.) Audio has one big trump card that video can never safely have which is one can listen to a show almost anywhere. I listen to my repertoire of podcasts in the car, while walking the dog, working on the yard, doing things around the house, etc. Do any of the above with a video and it's a certain trip to emergency department after I cut my foot off with the lawnmower or drive my car off the road staring at my iPod screen. You are forcing the consumer to take time out of their schedule to watch your program, and that requires a dedication to make a more polished product to keep the viewer happy. Video done well, costs more in time and money than doing a audio program. "InFact" is a shorter program, and therefore, conveys less informational skeptical goodness than "Skeptoid," which is already in a short program.

All of the above being noted, I like the idea Dunning is pursuing. I agree that a short form program is probably the best way to go. It requires less focused commitment by the viewer. My big concern that if he is able to attract a sponsor(s), that it does not take away from his excellent podcast. "Skeptoid" is the bedrock of his brand of skepticism. If that suffers, Dunning's presence in the skeptical community could take a hit.

For the record, I think the outfit of the black sport coat with the white stripe shirts looks the best on "the Pacific Garbage Patch."

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