April 5

Online Video: Cute Wins!


As a video producer, I have to always be asking myself, “What does the audience WANT to see?”  I think it is my job to give it to them.

It is easy for a video producer to take the attitude, “What do I want to produce?” and then hope that people will watch whatever you give them.

Although I am occasionally guilty of that thinking myself, there’s no doubt that the first strategy will always be more successful.  The viewer is in the driver’s seat.  There is plenty of video online for them to watch so they can pick and choose.  Give them what they want and they will choose you.

So what do online video viewers want?   Judging by what is most popular on You Tube, CUTE is always a winner.

Some of the most popular videos on You Tube are totally insignificant except for one obvious attribute.  THEY ARE CUTE!  Usually, the cuteness centers around animals or babies.  Baby animals pack a double whammy!

People love to ohhhh and awww.  Cute babies, animals, baby animals are universally loved!  Show me someone who does not love a cute baby face and I will show you a curmudgeon with no friends!

Babies always make cute videos
Who doesn’t love a baby face?

Back when I worked in TV news, we used to constantly laugh about this.  Here we were trying to do serious, intellectual stuff but our serious efforts got beat out by CUTE ANIMALS every time!

My best example was the night Al Gore announced his candidacy for presidency in 1999.  Here was the hometown boy (I worked at WSMV-TV in Nashville) announcing his candidacy for President of the United States at a huge rally in downtown Nashville.

What led the news that night?

A story about a dog!

Al had to settle for being the second story of the night.

Al Gore
It’s tough being Al Gore! His formal announcement running for president 2008 was beat out for the lead story on the TV news at 10 p.m. by a dog story!

Now when it comes to news, I rather decry the practice of pandering to the audience like this, but when we’re talking online video, I have no problems with it!  Let’s do CUTE VIDEOS.

We recently had a litter of puppies at my house.  Are they ever CUTE!  So I just HAD to do a video.  I will make a prediction right now…this cute puppy video will get more views on YouTube than all my other views combined!

This was an easy to video to make. I grabbed my tiny mini-Dv camcorder and sat down on the floor with the puppies.  This way I could get up close and personal.  I shot most of it with the camera right beside the puppies with it zoomed out all the way and focused on a macro shot.  The puppies do not have their eyes open yet so they did not even know the camera was just an inch in front of them.

Close-up shots looking directly into their cute little faces give the viewer the best perspective.

I spent about 30 minutes videotaping them doing whatever it was they felt like doing.  I just used window light, which was only about one foot away.  I brightened up the room considerably by opening all the shades.  This gave plenty of soft, diffused light.

I made sure to keep my own mouth shut, so the microphone would pick up all their whimpering.  Even their sounds are cute, and I knew I would take advantage of their natural sounds while editing.  I ended up using their whining and whimpering during the entire finished video.  I overlaid some toe-tapping royalty free music and mixed the two audio sources.  I think without the natural puppy sounds, the video wouldn’t be as cute.  But if I had left off the music, the puppy sounds alone would have gotten tiring.

I had so many cute shots, I ended up using two shots on the screen at once for the entire video.  I put the puppy shots on top of a digital juice background.  I took the opacity of the background down to 70% in order to mute the color of it somewhat.   A good background should not overpower the video.

I softened the edges of each puppy shot and set the size at 58%.  I put one in the top left and the other in the bottom right.  I put a default one-second dissolve between each shot, making sure that no two shots were dissolving at the same time.

I added some titles using two different fonts and two different colors.  The style trend in graphics went to using two different fonts at the same time several years ago.  At first I didn’t like it, I thought it looked too junked up.  But I got used to it and it’s so common now, who am I to argue?

I spent about two hours editing this one-minute video. I must say, I had a jolly good time!

Please leave a comment below!  I’d love to hear what you think.  Now, it can be argued that these puppies are actually kind of UGLY.  But see, with puppies, even ugly is cute. 🙂

Here is another doggie video. It’s under 20 seconds. This dog is part Husky, so loves the snow. I had to capture the joy.

If you are looking for an online editing system that’s easy to use, you should check out Adobe Systems.  Their free online video editing system is a snap to use, so you can craft stunning videos using Adobe software.

Thanks for reading Video Production Tips

Lorraine Grula


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  1. Hi Richard.
    Thanks so much for your comment about my video.

    I have gotten a lot of positive comments on this video. It is impossible not to like puppies! Especially if they are just puppies on You Tube and there is no chance they will be “going” on your floor! Nope, they saved all that for our floor. They are currently outside enjoying the fine spring weather!

    Cute videos are one of the most popular categories of online video. Cute videos bring a smile to your face and we all need that! Cute videos are easy to make if you have cute video clips. Cute video clips are a snap if you have cute subject matter.

    Easy video production and popular with online video audiences, obviously a win-win.

    I have just convinced myself to go make MORE cute videos! Adorable Puppies the Sequel… has a good ring to it!

    Thanks for reading video production tips
    Lorraine Grula

  2. Awwwww thanks!

    You should see the mutts today! They are HUGE! They like to play in the pond and they get all covered in moss and stuff. I need to get busy and get my kitten video done. They are totally cute too.


  3. Your very right , cuteness is a very optimistic and heartwarming emotion its natural that most people gravitate towards it 🙂

    I recently choose a video to upload from a large collection i had shot all over the city and lone behold , cuteness got the most views in the fastest time 😀

    here is the video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hKV9hHxFB0

    thanks for the article

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