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Featured Videos[]

I received this note from Julia of Fandom about the possibility of making a video unique to our wiki. I'll cut and paste it here:

Hey Moviesign. Julia here :) from Fandom's Community team. By now you may have seen our announcement about Wiki Modernization and how we're using featured wiki videos to reduce the number of ads on the site and improve the performance of all Fandom wikis.

As we move forward we plan to have wiki videos in many communities, with Forgotten Realms wiki being a candidate for videos. If you are interested in which video types we might use you can find some great examples in this blog post. If we start producing videos we may reach out to you, other admins, and users to be involved in writing video scripts or being part of the production process.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
—  Springteufel (talk) 13:14, May 23, 2017 (UTC)

I'm not certain that the Forgotten Realms can be captured in video, since most of it takes place in our collective imaginations, but I put it before the group to see if there is anything we want to say or show to the general public when they chance upon our wiki. Please look at the examples she shared with us and brainstorm how a video could be used to get people interested in our wiki, or at least explain what we do here.

One of the many pitfalls I see is the use of copyrighted images in what amounts to an unpaid advertisement (I think). Perhaps Fandom will have some policy on this, but supposedly everything we publish here is covered under CC-BY-SA. I just hope we are mostly compliant.

Moviesign (talk) 00:13, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

Think we could get Chris Perkins or Wil Wheaton to narrate our video? :^D
Moviesign (talk) 00:46, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

There is already the Faerûn History YouTube channel. Good videos but needs more promotion. I'm in sporadic contact withthe chap who makes them.
-hashtalk 02:49, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

Wow, I had no idea. Are those videos correct and canon? I haven't watched them yet. Fandom has four types of videos they are developing/allowing:
  1. High Production Custom Videos
  2. Templated Video with Voice-Over
  3. Templated Video with On-Screen Text
  4. Third Party Videos

So those would fall under #4. If they meet our canon criteria and we agree they would be an enhancement to our site, then we should reach out to the YouTube gentleman and ask him if he would mind having his videos hosted by Fandom (or linked? embedded? I'm not sure how it would work). I believe that each video would be attached to one page of the wiki. As of the latest I've heard, the video will auto-play without sound when the page loads. If the user scrolls down, the video will minimize to the lower right corner of the screen and continue playing. The user is free to un-mute the sound or stop the video at any time.

Moviesign (talk) 15:00, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

I haven't watched all of them yet but I've not noticed any mistakes (a few omissions, but the videos are quite short). The only issue I do have with them is that the narrator has a strong Scandinavian accent and sometimes it's hard to tell what he says (how he pronounces 'Congenio Ioun' for example). His name is Mats Holm and he works for Electronic Arts.
-hashtalk 16:40, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

I will ask Fandom what the procedure is for approaching a third party about using their content.
Moviesign (talk) 19:48, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

Update: I asked Fandom how this would work, and here is their reply:
  • We'll look at the videos you want to feature
  • If we like them too, we'll do the outreach
  • If you have suggestions for which pages the videos would go on, you can let us know and we'll make the final call
Moviesign (talk) 21:20, May 24, 2017 (UTC)

I talked to Mats. Should Wikia approve the channel, he'll put priority on any video we ask him to (he does 1 per week) to sweeten the deal.
-hashtalk 15:22, May 26, 2017 (UTC)

Before we pull the trigger on this, I would like to hear more opinions from the regulars. I have watched a few of these videos and they are very much in the style of a documentary—no frenetic action, just slow transitions and animation. I think these are about the best we could hope for, striking a balance between being unobtrusive to those that are not interested, and being well written, voiced, and produced with care for those that are interested. Videos are coming to wikis, and we can either take the initiative to get things we can be proud of, or we may end up with random ads that do not promote our wiki, but just help pay the bills. Please comment.
Moviesign (talk) 02:52, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

I personally hate the obsession with videos that our culture now has; I much prefer text, and I get mad when I have to watch a video when I could just get the same information in half the time or less by simply reading something.

That being said, I agree with Movie that, like it or not, it is the way the future is going and it is better to have found some good-quality videos than later ending up with crappy ones.

My only real concern is making sure that the videos are correct in their content.

~ Lhynard (talk) 03:37, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Maybe Faerûn History can be convinced to list sources used, either in the video or the video description?
Ir'revrykal (talk) 07:21, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

I need to find the time and energy to properly look over the proposal (Wikia's stopped sending me emails, it seems). But my initial reaction is (1) ugh, work; (2) ugh, change; and (3) I use Monobook, so I don't see ads anyway. :) I'm not eager to go to much effort to provide Wikia with a vehicle for video advertising. I also don't like the obsession with videos and audios on the internet; text is the most effective way of communicating information (I also like subtitles on TV and songs without lyrics, yes). And really, looking at the fandom – the Candlekeep forums – fancy technology and videos are far from a priority. :)

When I think of putting video on the wiki, I'd prefer genuine canon/licensed material, like video game cutscenes, music, and clips from the unnamed Dungeons & Dragons movie if it ever goes anywhere. Like images, these would add colour and scenery to articles and be a source of lore themselves. We can probably do that already though.

I don't think amateur documentary videos would really add anything to the wiki. They'd give a potted summary that could be included in the opening paragraph, still images would also appear on the page, and an unneeded voice-over (an amateur voice-over that it isn't as easy on the ears as a professional one). But worse, they can't be cited, won't be complete, and can't be updated like articles. It's like the fancy maps with pins, shiny but useless.

(Some anon tried to upload one of those Faerûn History videos to the FRW the other week.)

Narration for the visually impaired would be useful. I've encountered a few visually impaired players in play-by-post gaming, who either struggle to read text or have a program that reads it to them, to varying degrees of success. A lot of wiki code and features get in the way of that. I don't know if that's even close to what's being considered though.
— BadCatMan (talk) 08:00, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Well, I've caught up. I'm still dubious though. I couldn't even get most of the sample videos to play on my "device" (a PC), and struggled just to watch the demonstration videos, so now I'm even less impressed. :( One new idea though is to raise the topic among the Forgotten Realms fans, our readers, at Candlekeep and other fora. Would they watch such videos if they were offered, and if so what kind would they prefer?
— BadCatMan (talk) 12:43, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback! I am with you on the shift to a video-centric culture, but if we want to stay relevant to new generations, I think we have to include this form of media. However, we are talking about targeted ads here, not exactly the usual wiki content. They start running silently and minimize to the bottom-right corner if the user starts to scroll down the page. The user can dismiss them, ignore them as they run, or watch them, with or without sound, as they desire.

What century is your PC from BCM? Even my ancient laptop can view the demo pages without a problem.

I like User:Ir'revrykal's suggestion of listing sources—we could provide a link to the video on his YouTube page in a reference. And video game clips would be cool, as suggested by User:BadCatMan.

Be aware that the copy of the videos we'd see here would be hosted by Fandom, out of anyone's control but Fandom; it's their revenue stream after all, but they will consult with us on appropriate content. They might offer to re-do the narration with a professional voice actor, for example. Also, Fandom will work with us (and Mats, I presume. Does he have a Wikia account?) in producing other good-quality videos. They will let us write the scripts, and suggest images, etc. and then Fandom will produce professional-quality videos. I have no idea how extensive their plans are. Maybe we get one really nice video, maybe we get lots. That balance between their cost and their ability to sell these ads is something they will decide as this experiment unfolds.

In terms of the amount of work, using these existing videos is nearly effortless on our part. Mats and Fandom will do the rest, I believe, assuming that Fandom approves of the videos in the first place.

Moviesign (talk) 15:17, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

(I love that we are all a bunch of old, grumpy folk.)
~ Lhynard (talk) 18:05, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Ha! Yes, us all being ol' fuddy duddies is neat. This *is* the direction that Wikia has chosen to move in though. Mats is a fan of ours, if not a contributor, and unless we want to make our own videos, having him do stuff for us is certainly the easiest way of taking the initiative. Alternatively, I could reach out to the wider FR community for support - a lot of fans are intimidated by the thought of contributing to the wiki itself because, despite my insistance that they're mistaken, they're convinced that they'd have to learn to code in order to join in. Getting them to make videos instead could be an exciting way to engage the community. They *want* to help, they just don't know how. Since Wikia has made this decision for us, I say we should think about taking on a leadership role in this effort. Wizards of the Coast is concentrating on actual gaming sessions, so why not let us concentrate on the lore? I'm sure I can get some authors on board if what we end up doing is impressive enough.
-hashtalk 19:40, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

I sent an email to Fandom asking them to evaluate the dozen or so videos at Faerûn History. I asked for more information about what they plan and what services they would provide (like voice-over tracks). I stopped short of asking them to reach out to Mats, but they might if the videos meet their standards or can be modified to do so. We can offer input and guidance, but Fandom has the final say.
Moviesign (talk) 20:16, May 27, 2017 (UTC)

Ha ha. :p My old PC runs Windows XP and I'm using Firefox for my browser. I had some slow Internet last night, and Australian Internet is slow in general. Maybe I'll try again another night. I also need to watch some of those Faerûn History videos.

User:Faerun History has an account here. (If you're reading, hello!)

More thoughts after sleeping on it. Forgotten Realms fandom is probably divided in two: the old-fashioned, lore-hungry fans, and the casual gamers who just use the setting. While we seem to be largely the former (and you'd have to be to want to wiki it for fun) and these video gimmicks likely won't appeal to this section of fandom, I have to admit the latter are a very different story. Maybe "the kids" want quick, engaging visual summaries rather than reading a wall of text? Yeah, they probably do. If the video persuades them to read the full story in the article, then that would be a good thing.

And Hash makes a good point about leadership. Although the Forgotten Realms Wiki seems to get the most visits and highest Google rankings, we still compete with a variety of other fansites with their own efforts to document Realmslore, including Faerûn History. All these competing efforts dilute the central goal of documenting the Realms and making it more accessible. We have the edge in referencing, completism, and professional standards, but lack in the core topics of the Realms (novels, classic central regions), since all us editors seem to have fringe interests. :) (<cough>Utter East</cough>) So, anything that puts us further ahead and helps bring in more fans and more dedicated editors, and bring these competing projects together is also a good thing, for the FRW and for Realms fandom.

My thoughts, anyway. I'm still not thrilled by the idea, but since Wikia's doing it anyway, my thoughts don't really matter either. I wouldn't stand in the way of it.

So, as for the types of videos we could feature:

  • Video game cutscenes and gameplay. These are usually free on Youtube anyway, so rights might not be an issue. Maybe we can embed Youtube videos?
  • Music, also from video games. There are canon lyrics/poetry but no tunes. Maybe Fandom want to do readings of some of the dirtier ditties. ;)
  • Clips of the proposed movie, but that would be years away still. If/when this ever happens, this will have a major impact on the wiki.
  • Mini-documentaries like those from Faerûn History. Okay, these won't be complete, referenced, or kept up-to-date, but I guess they don't need to be. They can't take the place of a full article, but as a brief and engaging visual summary, they could help get potential readers interested.
  • Interviews with designers and writers might be nice and draw attention, but the Fandom budget might not stretch to it.
I imagine these videos/adverts would focus on high-traffic pages, like Drizzt Do'Urden, Elminster, key player races, gods, and central regions. These would need development to enhance and justify them though.
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:22, May 28, 2017 (UTC)

Hey everyone, one of the more recent additions here, but I have come to love the Forgotten Realms, especially as a Campaign Setting, but onto the point of the forum.

I can't help but agree with BadCatMan and Moviesign when it comes to the types of videos we would desire as well as who their target audience would include. Videos, in my opinion, do a great job at introducing new people to most content, especially for things that are as heavy as the whole of Forgotten Realms. They will be a great addition for any new or prospective users.

Frankly, I've found few documentary style videos, so simply finding a Youtuber who does them is quite awesome in and of itself. The biggest issue I foresee with any video uploads is the sourcing involved, since that would require a vigorous and meticulous review of any material in the video that should be sourced. Publishing a script, with all of the sources, in a separate locale seems to be the simplest way of going about this. Faerûn History will likely have to go back through everything and find the script he used or something like it.

Any response is greatly appreciated.
Erezrim(User talk:Erezrim) 11:05, June 1, 2017 (EST)

I've been in contact with some talented Forgotten Realms fans and a few Wikia staffers and have received several offers of help. I'm quietly confident that whatever direction that we choose to take will be met with at least some success. Like I posted earlier, if our initial efforts are successful, I'm sure I can get some authors on board. I was thinking that one avenue that could be explored would be readings of the free-to-download FR novellas, accompanied by fan artwork of what's being described.
-hashtalk 16:44, June 16, 2017 (UTC)

Wow, I had no idea about the Faerûn History YouTube channel. That's incredible. However, the observation has been made that the dude's got a pretty heavy accent. ;)

Aside from the discussion on whether videos should be front and/or centRE here, some of you might not be aware I've had a somewhat long (and remarkably unsuccessful) career on YouTube and I'm lucky enough to possess an accent often compared to "BBC English".

I am going to contact Mr. Faerûn History and see if he would like a voiceover artist for his videos!

Fw190a8 20:10, July 8, 2017 (UTC)

Appearance & Issues[]

Videos are starting to appear on our wiki. Pages Firbolg and Drow have them. There may be more, I discovered these two accidentally. Check them out and provide feedback (thumbs up or down). If you find more, please post a link here.
Moviesign (talk) 14:14, December 5, 2017 (UTC)

No joy here. I don't see them in Monobook, and in Oasis I get "Cannot load M3U8: crossdomain access denied (2048)". Which is cryptic to say the least. I use Firefox 52.5.0 and Windows XP.
— BadCatMan (talk) 14:27, December 5, 2017 (UTC)

I saw ones on Tyr and Lathander. They worked fine, but I had the sound off and didn't really pay attention to them. They had a lot of movie scenes from video games, which didn't make any sense to me, but again, I didn't actually watch them closely, because I don't really like videos on wikis. It wasn't disruptive though. They move out of the way when you scroll.
~ Lhynard (talk) 14:58, December 5, 2017 (UTC)

BadCat: I believe that message is because you have a javascript blocker (I got the same message). Once I whitelisted the 2 or 3 addresses it was trying to use, the video worked. I think the names all started with "jw".
Moviesign (talk) 15:21, December 5, 2017 (UTC)

So, what's the deal with these videos? Where are they actually coming from? From what I can tell, they are a bunch of slide shows of fan art, which I don't like. The Tabaxi video, for example, has exactly one image of an actual tabaxi (5e art), and the rest are miscellaneous cat people drawn by who-knows-whom from who-knows-where that don't match the descriptions of tabaxi. The images shown have no correlation to what the narrator is saying. Also, of all the options, why was that particular page chosen?
~ Lhynard (talk) 03:22, January 18, 2018 (UTC)

Currently, the videos are annoying. They automatically start playing when I open the page, the imagery does not match the narration, and they miniturize into a corner of my screen when I scroll down away from it. Maybe it is just my computer, or sour grapes, but I don't like them.
SilverTiger12 (talk) 20:00, January 19, 2018 (UTC)

While the video is playing, on the lower right, click the settings/gear icon. You can then turn off Autoplay Videos. They will never autoplay for you anywhere on the site. Yay!

I fully agree about the images not matching the narration. It bothers me worse that the imagery sometimes/usually doesn't match the topic. In the video for Shar, at 1:35, they show Quenthel Baenre as if she is Shar!

~ Lhynard (talk) 20:47, January 19, 2018 (UTC)

Ugh. They actually have a clip from "I Dream of Genie" in the Genasi video!
~ Lhynard (talk) 22:01, January 22, 2018 (UTC)

Wha—? Using Monobook I haven't noticed them, and I still can't play them when I switch skins to Oasis, so I guess I need to find another computer to view them on. But that sounds very disappointing. Are they just cycling random images, or are these deliberate efforts? It sounds like an algorithm is collecting the wrong images, or else FANDOM is trying to tie together different franchises for cross-promotion? I thought we'd only be getting videos of the Faerûn History standard?

Okay, I've managed to look at a few. So, they do have bad voice-overs, so they're deliberate. On the Who is Shar? video, the opening image is showing a woman's nipple (the masked woman with peacock feathers and see-through cloak). That's sure to attract objections and I don't believe it's appropriate, as the wiki should be General-rated. Some of the artwork is clearly fan art, not official, so there's no fair-use claim to use it.

Can we remove these rubbish videos?
— BadCatMan (talk) 05:57, January 23, 2018 (UTC)

I've seen a complaint to FANDOM Support/Feedback, so fingers crossed we can get these fixed or removed.
— BadCatMan (talk) 07:06, January 23, 2018 (UTC)

I had to change to Monobook, just to avoid those videos. Hope they remove them...
Zero (talk) 21:39, January 24, 2018 (UTC)

BadCat, did you get a response from Fandom? I sent in a complaint but have not received a response yet.
~ Lhynard (talk) 02:30, January 29, 2018 (UTC)

Afraid not. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have titled my comment "Featured videos are rubbish". :-\ I've resent my complaint with a milder tone and more urgency. :)
— BadCatMan (talk) 03:49, January 29, 2018 (UTC)

Apparently we can author our own scripts for these videos. See this blog post. The form to submit a script is here. This is available for the top 100 wikis on the WAM and we are currently #66.
Moviesign (talk) 22:15, January 30, 2018 (UTC)

Does the script involve selecting our own images/videos excerpts? Can we write a script to replace one of the ones that they already made?
~ Lhynard (talk) 22:41, January 30, 2018 (UTC)

I just posted the images question on that blog. Feel free to ask your own specific questions.
Moviesign (talk) 22:54, January 30, 2018 (UTC)

I've received a response from FANDOM Support over the videos. Here's my post, the response, and my reply.

The Featured Videos recently added to the Forgotten Realms Wiki have severe problems that must be addressed.

The images seem to be selected at random, and don't always match the subject matter. For example, the video "Who is Shar?" presents a generic vampire and a completely separate character Quenthel Baenre as her. The "What are the Drow?" video opens with a night elf from World of Warcraft. Bizarrely, the "Who are Genasi?" video presents a clip from I Dream of Jeannie.

Many images come from fan artists and works outside the D&D franchise, so we don't have permission or a fair-use claim to use them, leaving us open to accusations of copyright infringement. Some would be considered inappropriate for a general readership: the opening image (taken from an artist's website requiring a viewer to identify as an adult) for "Who is Shar?" shows a bare breast and nipple, which some readers would likely object to.

The videos themselves can blot out out the opening paragraphs, have bad voiceovers, and with autoplay and sound, they're generally regarded as annoying.

This is especially disappointing as our own community suggested and communicated with the creator of the popular Faerûn History channel on Youtube, who already does similar videos of better quality and reliable accuracy, and provided one for our Tymora page.

Please remove or alter these videos or allow admins to remove them. Please also allow us to provide proper images for them, and let us check the text for accuracy prior to their creation. As it is, they significantly harm our image and hamper our reputation for accuracy and taste. Please respond as soon as possible, as this in an extreme issue.
— Me
Hi Bradley,

Thank you for the feedback, we will be removing the videos from the wiki shortly. Since your community still seems interested in having videos on the wiki I wanted to send you the community script form so that the community can participate. We won't be able to accept fully created videos through the site though so if members want to do that you can upload the videos to google docs and send us the link. Keep in mind you will still need to fill out the community script form for these media pieces in order for us to consider/use them. Also for future projects that we create in-house for Forgotten Realms, I can send you the scripts so you and the community can review them since you guys are the experts on your wiki :)

Community Script Form:

Also, I saw you emailed in twice so I'm gonna bundle these two together for us so this will be the one we use in future conversations :)
— Jgriffin
Thank you very much for your response. I am relieved to hear the videos will be removed and that we can create and review future scripts. I shall share your response with the community to settle our concerns and expect that some members will want to try their hand at scriptwriting.
— Me
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:16, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

New Development[]

So, now we have some say and control over them, what do we want to do with videos? Come up with our own scripts and slideshows, or outsource to Faerûn History? Which pages should get them?

Personally, I'd like to have no Featured Videos at all, but FANDOM may continue to not give us a choice. Creating our own feels like too much effort, but we may not have a choice there either, it's the only way to maintain quality control. Wikis are in video now. :\ Scripts should be checked against pages to ensure everything is sourced and accurate (even if references won't appear in the video).

As for which pages get Featured Videos, I'd imagine FANDOM wants the most read, those appearing at Special:Insights/popularpages. I'd prefer they be our best-quality pages, the Featured and Good articles, fully sourced, formatted, and following current wiki policy, as these video-graced pages should attract viewers and hopefully make them readers, so they should represent our standards. They'd also need to be topics with a lot of canon images available, especially images that match the narration. That means more of these high-read, core-topic pages would need to be developed. (Ironically, all of us regular editors usually have interests that are broadly outside the core Realms and D&D. Maybe we're more esoterically minded, maybe we like documenting things people don't already know about, or maybe it's because research is easier for the smaller stuff?)
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:16, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

I got the same reply. I was quite satisfied with it, but yes, now we have to decide how to respond.

We've discussed before making a concerted group effort to fix all the most targeted pages, and perhaps this can motivate/force us to finally do it.

Goliath and tabaxi are already good articles. Some of the deity articles won't take too much work. Eilistraee is already good. I already intended to do both Firbolg and Genasi. Maybe we can divide the labor and try to get the popular hits fixed up. If I actively fix up an article, I probably could write up a script also. I personally go on a crazy picture hunt anyway for the big articles I write, so I could even throw those in. Maybe we make a project page/check-list for us to claim articles and track our work?
~ Lhynard (talk) 05:12, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

They already took down the Tabaxi video. They are keeping their word.
~ Lhynard (talk) 05:14, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

Oh good. I wish we could have a list of which pages did get FVs. Going down popular pages, I also see Faerûn, Bahamut, mind flayer, tiefling, firbolg, Lathander, Waterdeep, dragonborn, Drizzt Do'Urden, Demogorgon, Tyr... all have FVs. So it does seem to be the popular pages getting them. They've removed the videos for Shar and genasi now, thankfully. Those are mostly races, key monsters, gods, and some main topics (and Demogorgon is still riding the wave of interest from Stranger Things). I should get back to copy-editing them, at least. I'm currently in the middle of Selûne (and will get back to when I get a chance to wrap-up devas). I want to tackle a race like tieflings at some point (though the divide between 1e/2e/3e and 4e versions, and I don't know what 5e's is, makes that tricky). I suppose writing a script will become another part of major article development.
— BadCatMan (talk) 06:37, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

I made a quick mock-up of what such a project page could look like, Lhynard (shamelessly adapted from Wikipedia's D&D WikiProject). It could be a useful tool to help editors focus in on the most important subjects. However, from my experience with a few similar projects on other wikis, it's easy (for me, at least) to get lost in the project management (assessing articles, making lists, etc.) instead of actually working on the articles in question. A traditional WikiProject might not be the best model for the FRW, but it could potentially work.
Ir'revrykal (talk) 08:13, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

Mats seems to be very busy right now so I don't know if we can expect any new videos from Faerûn History. It's great that FANDOM are listening to us and acceding to our requests, as well as giving us the tools to do the job ourselves. I went back to Monobook ages ago so I've been fairly ignorant of these problems :/
-hashtalk 13:52, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

Hey, Ir'revrykal, as usual, your style is very attractive. :) I also typically like breaking things down into categories. But for this case, I think that such a list as you give in your sandbox is a bit overkill.

I use project pages a lot. For example, See here. We do not need to fix up so many articles and generate videos scripts; we only need to do so to the pages here, since that is where Fandom is going to put videos. And we need to make our list such that we have a spot where we can sign up and check when it's complete.

I envision a sort-able table with the following columns:

  • popularity rank
  • linked article name (with a link to a subpage of the article where the script is being developed in parentheses)
  • who signed up for it
  • check box for if the article is at least good status
  • check box for if the script is written

For example, what about something like the table below my post? Could you work out something like this?

~ Lhynard (talk) 14:37, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

Popularity Article (Script Link) Assigned Editor Good Status? Script Written?
2 Tabaxi (transcript) BadCatMan done! in progress…
9 Genasi (transcript) Lhynard not started not started
10 Firbolg (transcript) Lhynard not started not started

That looks very clean and usable to me. I approve.
Ir'revrykal (talk) 16:26, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

I really like this format for organizing the project as well. I also thought those videos had multiple issues (I'm with BadCatMan here in that no videos at all is an even better solution, but alas), so I'd be glad to help getting some of the popular articles up to shape. In particular, I've had my eyes set on mind flayers for a while (the whole nautiloid and subsequent realmspace entourage being all just a large digression), so I'd be happy to work on that one.
Sirwhiteout (talk) 22:58, February 1, 2018 (UTC)

Nice to know that the videos will be taken down. On the popular pages, I can help clean up grammar and implement past tense in them but I doubt I could write a script. I am currently on an ongoing project to clean up, organize, and rewrite the entire Maztica section of the Wiki, though, so don't count on me. If you give me a specific task, however, I'll try my best.
SilverTiger12 (talk) 01:11, February 2, 2018 (UTC)

Hello all! I've been away from the wiki for a while but I do check in regularly and this post peeked my interest. I'm a bit late to this discussion, but I have some thoughts - and I may be able to help.

Initial thoughts

Although I do share some of the frustration from websites adding videos (often needlessly) to their sites, I do appreciate how they can draw people in and engage users who are intimidated by large blocks of text. I think short engaging videos that summarize a page or maybe give a news-like update about new FR info (new video games, events, etc) would be great. I also think the videos should be consistent with the tone of our wiki; well sourced, realm specific, lore centric and without bias to a specific edition.

Adventurous video idea

What follows is an adventurous pitch for a video idea. It's quite high production value, but stay with me...

As for what these video should be, I have an idea - and I would be willing to produce a 'pilot' to share with you guys if you like it. In my head, each video would be 'presented' by a wizened old person sitting in a candle lit tavern/study explaining the page summary as if he is in the realms. This character could even look like Elminster (without ever explicitly naming him as to avoid copyright). The character would explain the topic briefly and could even have sourcebooks open on his desk/table that he could turn to and show images from the relevant source books. There is a scene in the first LOTR film where Gandalf is reading lore about the ring (see this image of Gandalf studying) - this is the sort of image I imagine for our videos.

Although this sounds complicated, it is totally doable and by using sourcebooks as props in the videos we would not only be avoiding explicitly inserting images on screen, we would also be providing sources for the information and encouraging viewers to go out and buy the sourcebooks. Imagine a dusty old study lit by a fireplace and piled high with papers - in the centre, a haggard old academic eagerly explains what a Drow is. Accompanied by a small stack of sourcebooks from various editions, the character flicks to a page and reads a quote or shows a map. The video ends, as the old presenter tidies up his books, and sips from a tankard.

So hopefully you are enthused by that concept but you probably think it's a bit out of a reach. I would like to offer my services in producing a 'pilot' for one of these videos as I am actually quite qualified, and have access to all the filming equipment needed. I even have a handful of locations in my head near me which I should be able to secure free access to. I've been away from editing the wiki recently because I've been working on several small video based projects. I graduated with a degree in Film & TV almost two years ago and I've been working on short films, music videos and commercials since then. Most of these projects were unpaid (I do have a day job) but I have accumulated lots of experience and valuable contacts which would allow me to produce high quality content for the wiki.

I don't want to get carried away, but this idea also has great potential for expansion if it works; additional presenters for different areas of study, different locations, guest interviews, reactions to timeline advances etc. If need be I can write up a detailed proposal/pitch to send to Fandom.

If Fandom is open to us submitting videos to them, I propose that we go for it and make the best video we can. Vidoes that fit in with the academic, lore based mood of our editors but also appeals to the younger video-centric readers.

Although I'd like to take the lead on video production, the community would help write scripts and select topics. We might be able to do it on a zero-budget (by using my equipment, finding a volunteer actor and sharing our sourcebooks in the post) but if Wikia likes the concept, a small budget would go a long way.

Simpler ideas

All that being said... I know that idea is quite bold and would be a large workload to maintain consistently over time. If that idea is too bold, I'm still very happy to edit and narrate simpler videos (like this one from Wookiepedia). I have the necessary recording equipment and editing software/skills at home. As a veteran editor of this Wiki, I would endeavor to maintain our tone in these videos and provide on screen citations.

Basically... whatever videos you want, I would very much like to be a part of it as it combines two of my main passions; videography and Forgotten Realms. Well done if you read this far.
-Thomas Love Star_tiny.png [talk] 11:51, February 2, 2018 (UTC)

That sounds fabulous :) I have reached out to my contact at FANDOM and hopefully I will hear back from the person in charge of gaming videos. I will let you know what I find out and perhaps direct them to you. I also asked about getting the Faerûn History YouTube vids added. We shall see.
Moviesign (talk) 19:04, February 2, 2018 (UTC)

OK, everyone, here is a link to a project page to get us started. I created a template to make adding new entries to the table easy.

Forgotten Realms Wiki:Video Project

~ Lhynard (talk) 04:37, February 3, 2018 (UTC)

Catching up...

On developing big articles and dividing labor, I've proposed focused community-wide joint projects before, such as "horde editing", but couldn't raise much attention. Nevertheless, we've done similar things informally and in smaller groups, such as currently Lhynard's Celestial Restoration, where I and others have contributed.

On the matter of project pages, I'd rather separate the issue of article development from that of video development. That is, article development should remain our focus, video development is secondary and optional. Actually, that mostly amounts to wanting to rename Forgotten Realms Wiki:Video Project. :)

That's a very dangerous proposal, Thomas. For you, that is. :) It sounds like a lot of work and expense. (FANDOM should start paying us for this.)

These videos shouldn't be complicated, fancy, or take anything more than minimal effort, time, and cost on our part. FANDOM has to shoulder the cost if they want to do this, while we're doing it only grudgingly. We should only write and transcript and collect the images, and let them do the work of putting it together.

And let's consider what the readers will want. Assuming they're like us, many won't want videos, or will want something that very quickly gets to the point and gets out of the way. An acted-out clip of a sage in an office or adventurer in a tavern will be cute, especially from a tabletop RP angle, but frankly will always appear amateurish. It takes time, and delays the artwork and lore. It will also very quickly get annoying after a handful of articles or when returning to an old article.

So I favor discreet, minimalist, and dirt-cheap. The current approach of a slideshow with a voice-over description, as employed by Faerûn History and FANDOM is exactly that.

That's not to say it shouldn't be done, if you can and really want to do it, but maybe only for a special video or two. Sound can be much more evocative behind a slideshow: a crackle of fire, the hubbub of tavern talk, a little music, and a put-on fantasy voice can go just as far for less.
— BadCatMan (talk) 13:41, February 3, 2018 (UTC)

I totally hear where you are coming from Badcat. It is a big workload, it may take away from the article, it could quickly get annoying, it would take considerable effort/expense for it to not look amateur. I got very excited about it as a project, but I can see how a simple narrated slideshow may be a better option for a wiki. I don't know who or how they are paying/out-sourcing these videos to at the moment, but If they are employed by FANDOM, that's a job I would love. If you are in conversation with FANDOM, can you ask if they pay people to make these videos? Paid or not, I will help out in any way I can.
-Thomas Love Star_tiny.png [talk] 19:34, February 3, 2018 (UTC)

Hey, Thomas,

If you are still interested in this, I'd suggest contacting Fandom directly with this link. I'd much rather have you working on videos than someone from outside the community.

Fandom Feedback Link

~ Lhynard (talk) 19:26, May 15, 2018 (UTC)

First attempts[]

Okay, after finishing Selûne, I finally got around to writing my first video for it. I tried to take the preamble and key passages from the article, and build on that, but I found I had to cut back a bit. I am rather verbose, of course. I took one line from my game, where I had the PCs visit a temple to Selûne. :) I spent way too long on it though.

I have a script up at Selûne/Video transcript with suggested images linked. I could read it in under a 1:40, which is about the length of many of the FANDOM-made videos, but I might've been reading it too fast from over-use. Does anyone have any thoughts or concerns about it? Too flowery maybe? I can find more pictures of Luna from the comics, but frankly I have an over-abundance of options for the main characters.

I also went down the list of popular pages to find which pages did indeed have videos. I hacked a 6th column into the Video Project (I'm sure Lhynard or Moviesign can pretty it up later) where we can list them and note any problems. That way, we can track what FANDOM is focusing and target work on new and replacement videos. If you can watch and check them, and note if they're good or bad, that would be great, thanks.

The correlation between January page views and whether there's a video or not definitely shows FANDOM is focusing on the most popular pages (those with the most page hits), possibly just the first 20-odd. They would be the ones to focus our attention on.
— BadCatMan (talk) 12:02, May 22, 2018 (UTC)

Did you submit the transcript? ~ Lhynard (talk) 23:13, May 22, 2018 (UTC)

No, not yet, I left it for a second look later and any comments from others first.
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:08, May 23, 2018 (UTC)

I like it. It's far more poetic than mine!
~ Lhynard (talk) 03:10, May 23, 2018 (UTC)

You can't not be poetic with Selûne. :) I went for an in-universe style, fitting our articles and kind of like Faerûn History and Thomaslove's more extravagant ideas. Besides, I'd already written the article like that.

Alright, I submitted it, so fingers crossed.

I'll also send a message to FANDOM Support about recently uncovered faulty videos, as well as our submitted ones and approved ones of theirs, to get some action on cleaning the earlier ones up.
— BadCatMan (talk) 09:50, May 23, 2018 (UTC)