Q&A: Discussing Online Video with Jim Lustek

A recent analysis from eMarketer concludes that 66.7 percent of U.S. internet users (approximately 147.5 million people) view online videos each month – a number which is projected to rise to 77 percent (193 million people) by 2014.

In light of these projections, I sat down with Jim Lustek, Director of Brand Management and Production, to see how he views the world of online video at Hopkins. Among other responsibilities, Jim leads the video production team for Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Ben Butanis: What are the hopkinsmedicine.org users looking for in a video?
Jim Lustek: Most people are looking for an overview of the organization, a particular specialty, innovative research, or a patient success story – things that inspire confidence, help them relate, and convey the abilities of our doctors to heal our patients.

BB: How important is it to provide multimedia formats for online users?
JL: It’s very important. People learn in different ways – especially in today’s fast-pace world. While most readers skim content, some users still read everything, and others want to listen to podcasts on their mobile devices or in the car or watch a video.

BB: How has the approach to providing information changed?
JL: We’re constantly evaluating the best way to provide and deliver information to patients. Compiling stories and images really draw people to listen more. There’s a possibility we’ll be shooting interviews in video every time – we can podcast the video, and from that, pull the audio as well. That way, it’s available in multiple formats.

BB: What are your thoughts on using Flip cams?
JL: They are small enough to fit in your pocket making it easy enough to take wherever you go. They are versatile, and are ideal for an informal way we can tell a quick story. With that said, Flip cams have their place – I personally think their use is more for a targeted audience like in social media. The HD camcorder can store more videos and still images, and they are small, but provide a higher quality video, better technical accepts. Many of them also have the ability to hook up a microphone for superior audio quality. We can send footage from the HD cameras on to news agencies and outside organizations, or even take a photo for the website. I think the next generation of smart phones will have the same capabilities as the Flip near in the future.

BB: So flip cams don’t necessarily convey the best message to a potential patient?
JL: If a patient is looking for information about a doctor or a procedure, they don’t want a video with inferior quality. They’re looking for professionalism – there’s seriousness to the situation. Videos should be the "show me, don't tell me" vehicle that communicates compelling stories to target audiences. Short videos add a personal touch to the task of connecting with patients and consumers.

For example, Mayo Clinic has a lot of interviews shot with a flip cam. While they convey spontaneity, it’s all about making a first impression. You simply don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. I haven’t seen a Flip cam capture compassion from a patient or faculty member. They always appear stiff, they’re afraid to move, and the camera doesn’t capture enough emotion. Johns Hopkins is at the top of the medical game; this organization, and its patients, deserves the highest quality.

BB: What should people do if they want a video?
JL: They can go to the Intranet site to contact us, or they can work with their marketing manager to determine exactly what type of video they need.

To view samples of the video team’s work, please watch their award-winning ALS or incompatible kidney videos.