Instead of hijacking Yankee's thread on music on sales videos (which I agree is distracting), I figured I'd start another. What do you need to see in a sales video, or say, a friend emailing you to check out their horse for soundness, etc?
I have a pretty stringent checklist on what I expect to see on sales video specially. I'd like to see a straight-on shot showing front legs including hooves, then lateral showing all 4 as in a typical conformation shot --both sides please, and one from the end with the tail up out of the way, including full view of his rump.
It would be great if I saw a quick section of the horse being caught, groomed and tacked up as well. Go ahead and ride the thing with polos, boots, or full body armor, but I want to see those legs in a conformation shot as well.
Dear lord people, one minute of each gait IN BOTH DIRECTIONs, showing transitions between them. Agree a halt is pretty telling. Flying change in both directions. If you're selling a kids hunter who's also a packer, showing him packing a blind monkey around a 3' course. In other words, show the horse doing what you say it can do. If it's unbroke, show it free lunging in an area free of visual obstructions, 2 minutes per gait is fine. And if it's bred to be a jumper, show it free jumping if it's old enough.
I feel like what I post is being redundant for those with basic intelligence and basic horsemanship skills. But the longer I walk this earth, the more I feel like our world is from the movie Idiocracy. And horsemanship is nonexistent as well. A little common sense goes a long way.
A client was shopping for a quiet horse for his girlfriend, so I did much of my shopping on video to save our time. I received a sales video from someone who claimed the horse essentially crapped gold. The video proved the thing didnt' know leads or how to travel in a balanced frame. Hitch was, neither did the seller, so of course she thought he pooped gold! That video saved us hours of time and hundreds of dollars in travel expenses..
It drives me crazy not to see a good conformation shot - either in the video or still. I see ads for horses in the low to mid 5 figures advertised, 3/4 shots or whatever but there can be 10-15 photos and not one good conformation shot.
It leaves me figuring they don't want you to see the weak loin, long back or bad angles. I never assume it is just an unintentional omission and it makes me skip on by...
These days where it is so much easier for people to evaluate and buy from a distance, I think you want to provide as much quality information up front rather than risk that this type of buyer writes you off before even inquiring.
I have found that most people don't like to sit down and watch a long video. So I have started making more, shorter videos of each horse. Then if a buyer wants to see specific "things" I'll do that as well. But the initial video is primarily of the horse doing what the seller says it can do.
Some of the things you mentioned Sansena are my personal pet peeves in videos! I loathe watching still shot after still shot. I find tacking up/grooming videos absolutely a waste of time. If a video starts out with that, sometimes I'll just skip over the horse.
All I want to see is the horse doing the job advertised. Sometimes it's just a show video, and that's fine with me. I don't need to see every single button it has because if I'm really interested I'm going to be testing those buttons myself. If it is a video of the horse schooling, I really don't want to see a minute of walk, trot, canter each way. That's 6 full minutes before I even see the horse jump which is the MOST important part. No matter how beautiful the horse moves or how well schooled it is, I am not interested at all if it doesn't jump well.
I like to see horses/handlers/riders properly turned out. Breeches/boots/tucked in polo shirt for English, clean jeans/boots/button up shirt for Western. It lets me know that you're serious about selling your horse. Horse doesn't have to be braided, but clean with well fitting tack.
You know, I guess we all look for different things based upon our situation. IMHO, providing more is preferable to less b/c folks can always hit the FF button.
But I can totally see how those who have FT grooms who do the catching & tacking up, loading/ unloading and bathing could care less about those skills. I'm a broke DIYer so these things matter to me. And I dont' want to drive 4 hrs one way to watch the owner chase the sale horse around the pen for 45 minutes because they can't catch the rank SOB. This was on the 2nd visit and I specifically asked the horse to be left outside for this one. Previous one, horse was in stall, impeccably groomed and half tacked and quiet as a mouse. I smelled a rat and flushed one out by asking the horse to be left out for my follow up. And she was wild for the second visit.
Anyhoo.. when selling a horse, is it even realistic to ask what a prospective buyer is wanting to see in a vid? I would imagine that's jut too time consuming, and more realistic to think the viewer could just fast forward through the superfluous bits. What say you guys?
Can't believe I spelled superfluous without spellcheck..
I have no issues with a video showing all that but fast forwarding is not always easy depending on your internet. That is why I suggest several shorter videos. That way if you are the type who does not care about catching and such you can simply not watch that video. It also makes it easier if you want to see the jumping video again you do not have to sit there fighting with your computer to find just the right spot.
I am with everyone on no music. I always mute it anyway.
My dream sales video for a dressage horse would be one with a conformation shot, then good forward walk, trot, and canter under saddle down the long side of an arena in both directions similar to how they do it for the European auctions so that I can evaluate the horses gaits. Then a second under saddle video showing the horse schooling the movements appropriate for the level the horse is showing/being sold at.
For baby videos (or any at liberty video really) I want to see walk, trot, and canter when they are relaxed and playing. I HATE videos of youngsters careening around the paddock with their tail straight up in the air. They DO NOT move like under normal circumstances so it DOES NOT wow me in any way... Shoot, my retired grade QH looks like a positively gorgeous mover when he's all riled up in the field... He certainly does not and has never moved like that under saddle.
Also, for the love of all things holy give it a rest with the slow motion. Personally, I would rather it not be included at all, ever. But if you insist there should be no more than 5 or 10 seconds of it. The judge doesn't score movement by watching them in slow motion so I could give a crap what the horse looks like in slow motion. Usually the only thing it does is make me reeeaaally disappointed when I see how the horse actually moves.
But I can totally see how those who have FT grooms who do the catching & tacking up, loading/ unloading and bathing could care less about those skills. I'm a broke DIYer so these things matter to me.
I don't have a groom. I find videos of a horse being groomed/tacked up a huge waste of time. I don't really care if it has bad ground manners or doesn't like getting brushed, that's easy to fix. I just want to see brief WTC (NOT 1 minute of each, please no) and then see what the horse is supposed to do. So if it's a 3ft hunter, I'm fine with just seeing a show video with 5 steps of trot in the opening circle. If it's a jumper, I want to see it jumping at the height advertised. No cutesy still photos, no 50 million still shots, no grooming, catching, tacking, ground work, etc.
Manners/handling can be shown quickly. If broke to ride, I'd definitely appreciate seeing it tacked and mounted. *Way* too many horses have holes in these basics. Also include handling the feet and loading. Not entire mini-movies...just takes a short time to show a horse walking onto a trailer, or having a hoof lifted, or standing still for bridle, girth and mounting.
If the horse has decent manners at these everyday happenings, show it. I'd prefer to see a bit of that as opposed to 5 full minutes of a rider trotting it in circles. Show the gait transitions; only takes a short time showing walk to trot to canter to walk to canter (insert lead change here if it has one) to stop. That's all that's needed for flat. If a hunter, jumper, eventer or fox hunter...jump it. If it's young, free jump it.
Confo both sides, front and back. Trotting in hand towards camera and away.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
I think the word edit should be engraved in stone for these things.
And not edit out the bad, just edit so it's short enough to sit through.
I completely agree, shots of any horse snorting and careening around an arena is useless.
More than 20 seconds of grooming and saddling, zzzz.
You can sometimes learn a lot from the offhand, spontaneous comments in the background from a video, but the owner/friend/barn mate saying "ooh he looks pretty" isn't necessary and is mostly annoying.
Thirty seconds at each gait, taken from a reasonable camera angle -- without the inclusion of when you dropped it, shot the arena floor, or had the horse out of the frame --with some transitions, and a short demo of what the horse can do is enough to either buy, or schedule a visit for those who are not impulsive.
Yes, you can strip all audio out of a video. It's just got to be done in some sort of video editing software, instead of youtube. Lots of free options out there, but Windows Live Movie Maker will work just fine for most PC users.
Something else I haven't seen mentioned--if you have title pages, don't leave them up for a ridiculous amount of time. I tried to watch a video the other day, and it began with a black title page with some simple text about the horse. Nothing crazy...maybe just the name and the breeding? I clicked the video off when I reached a FULL MINUTE of that.
It is fairly easy to "mute" a video with video editing programs. I use Roxio Creator and all you have to do is click on a button on the "native audio" track to turn the sound off. Most Smart phones are easy to mute as well. Nothing sounds worse than someone squawking in the background of a video . Well, music is a close second.
The No. 1 thing for me is if you edit the bajezus out of a video, or leave something important out like an entire gait or canter in one direction, I assume the parts you cut/left out are nonexistant or horrifying. Short is absolutely key, but if a video is super choppy, I assume your horse was being a beast in between the edits. I'm not saying no edits -- it's more like when you see these videos that are compilations of 5-second clips.
On a related note, if your video doesn't show the horse doing the things you say he or she is doing (jumping height or level-appropriate dressage movements), I tend to wonder if you are exaggerating his or her accomplishments.
Also, I don't mind if people include footage of ground handling, clipping, tacking up, but I want to see it AFTER or separately from the video of the horse under saddle. Otherwise I scroll through and don't see it at all. Similarly, I don't prefer seeing a whole bunch of pictures and text upfront, because I tend to already look at/read that stuff before clicking on the video.
So my ideal is the following two short videos:
1) A short video of the horse moving on level ground, walk trot canter both directions, under saddle if the horse is under saddle. Continuous but short footage if possible, for the purpose of showcasing the gaits. 30 seconds at each gait, each direction seems like plenty. ETA: and I like to see the transitions between each gait, too. Especially with canter. If I see canter without seeing the upward I wonder if the horse has issues with it.
2) A short video of the horse doing the work at the level you say it can, preferably at a show. Needs to be close up enough that you can see what's going on.
Minor bonus points for the next two:
1) A short video of the horse lunging or moving freely on level ground (NOT the same as fuzzy footage of your horse careening wildly in the distance around a muddy, unlevel pasture while being chased by somebody with a plastic bag and a stick)
2) Extremely short footage showing your horse can clip, load, generally behave himself, etc.
I'm sure this depends on your target audience. These are the important things to me, as dressage is my primary discipline and I prefer seeing the gaits before deciding if I want to see anything else. JMO. :-)