It used to be that 30 seconds was the smallest video molecule that could survive in the Universe; so dictated by TV advertising executives with broadcast air time slots to sell. This runtime was reduced from the length of 60 second commercials originally afforded on broadcast airwaves. Today, 15 and even 6 second commercial slots are common on the television cycle powered clock.

There is no arbitrary clip length limit on the internet. Streaming services like YouTube can easily neak in short ad snacks; you are forced to watch while fumbling for the ad kill button.

Video writers and producers of late need to pack whole shows; truncated messages into shorter time frames. Making things smaller is usually harder, but edit sweets will abound to fill demands of the moment - however brief.


In video production circles, all runtimes - seconds and minutes are not created equal. One can get lucky capturing a happenstance clip of a monkey smelling butt-finger, or lose a few years hiding in the jungle trying to film the sequel. Strike the jungle shoot before it starts to sound like a good idea.

The first consideration in any project should be to determine an achievable goal within the timeframe assigned. Analog Sampling’s video format outline dictates what goals are going to be practical within our modest project case:

 maximum runtime = 10 seconds (for no good reason) 

      no budget; no travel; no help; no complaints 
      create concepts and elements as needed 
      use existing media library and free online content 
      consistent start-end frames for semi-seamless looping 

 maximum completion time = 1 day 

With these narrow guidelines, ideal but budget-busting production teams will be forever jettisoned in favor of a one-head show. Who deserves a crew for a home-made 10 second piece? There will not be a middle-person involved to moderate this soup to nuts role. No one to share duties with but no one else to argue with (other split-personality or consciences exempted), but then no one else to blame.

With the broadcast air of expectation slot to fill, it boils down to a matter of time to make something that matters.


Writing a reasonably cohesive technology article is one skill to aspire to, but creating a short representative video clip to represent meandering words is another challenge altogether.

Some subjects are hard to visualize – other creative treatments can hatch out of nowhere. A single picture can say a thousand words. Here we have 300 picture frames to work with - upward potential for 300,000 words communicated inside a 10 second video.

Which of these words stand out to tell the tale in short visual form? It helps to be the writer and have familiarity with the subject matter, but the Creative Gods can be nudged along with a few words of focus. Thy ask:

 What is the point of the story? 
 What are the keywords to focus on? 
 What visuals support the storyline? 
 What motion images will attract attention? 
 What style will appeal to the target audience? 

Because these words can be written does not mean entertaining video magic will instantly ensue from the same fingertips. The clock may run out before a good idea is fashioned or the imagining is done. Sometimes one will make half-baked yolks and get egg on the face, but a taste of failure will make for a better cook.


In Part 1 of this 10-Second-Video-Takes-All-Day story, a shot list of a dozen elements within an-car-entertainment system theme was compiled. As decider and follower of my own rules, I chose media acquisition items that would not require physical movement, gasoline sniffing or covid exposure.

There exists a vast set of video post-production resources awaiting the persistent internet wanderer. The more photography, audio and editing experience you have, the more likely it is you have acquired a library of familiar content goodies and the knowledge of where to find more. This saves time big time.

You may have it all in your head but treasure can only be found if there is a map and you dig in the right place. It may only take a few minutes to find a sound effect that will do, but another certain element that needs to be perfect may take hours to source.

The following project task list is an example of how much time it actually might take for executing simple steps within a short video project. The minutes listed for each item are arbitrary, loose and concurrent with the creative process.

Some time to experiment, go down rabbit holes, and change direction away from abandoned concepts is accounted for. Know that the longer proportion of time taken in the primary review and development stage, the quicker discovery and creation tasks can be attended to.



 00:20     article review, breakdown, outline 
 00:40     creative thinking, idea development 
 00:10     editing software project & folder setup 
 00:10     choose local music bed - eerie, foggy intro  
 00:10     locate audio - radio changing through stations 
 00:10     locate audio - electricity zap 
 00:10     text to voice convert "ROCK4 from Mars" 
 00:10     locate local video driving through hills 
 00:15     locate local mid-60s GM Delco radio image 
 00:20     create in-dash car stereo display image 
 00:10     create dashboard background image 
 00:20     create separate radio dial parts image 
 00:15     download green screen UFO 
 00:10     locate local exploding fireball 
 00:05     test video FX - sun rays through fog 
 00:05     test transition - electrical field 
 00:05     set audio levels 
 00:15     set video levels 
 02:00     video assembly, editing, revisions 
 00:30     project rendering 
 00:30     project testing, QC
 00:30     Post to website and test 

 07:xx     Time to completion


As itemized, note it does not take long to burn through an 8 hour shift when poking around with creative ideas and elements. Over the course of any project, an editor might view the creative bits whole or in part dozens of times. You rarely buy the first shoes you try on - in video, everything has to be tried and tested to fit in length and style before you can walk away.

Experience will teach you not to overkill your project mission - right from the creative concept. Do the mental math up front so the equation adds up at the end of the day. Order your shot list tasks in order of importance – if you fall behind, drop non-critical elements from the timeline. If you get ahead of schedule, try a few tricks and learn new techniques that will add arrows to your skill quiver.


As this story crossed over the 1000 word target, the Big Idea had not yet appeared in mind for the accompanying video clip. Sometimes the hardest part about a simple 10-second video is just staring at the black screen, and it just stares back.

A quick search through a few stock video clips on hand triggered a couple of ideas. With a simple outline and short shot list, the video was done in a few hours. For this element of surprise, perhaps we shall add a bonus line item to our task list:

 ??:??     Search For Art-official Intelligence

Randy Berg

xyz digital inc.



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