Feedback on a Video

Hi all. As some of you likely know, I’m planning on moving in about a month. That, plus a rather difficult bathroom remodel, has kept me from having much time to work on a number of projects I’ve started. The remodel recently finished though, and today I decided to work on one of them.

This project stems from my earlier series of posts on various questionable, or even outright dishonest, things Michael Mann has done in his work on global warming. I think those posts turned out okay, but they weren’t that accessible to people new to the subject. That problem gave rise to the idea of creating YouTube videos to explain some of these issues. I decided to try making one. You can see it here:

Obviously, it is a very crude rough draft. I recorded the audio in one take with no prep, and all the images I used were ones I had created beforehand. I’d like to rework them for aesthetics, especially to give them all clear labels. I’d also like to find images to fit in the empty spaces.

Other than obvious stuff like that though, what do you think? Was the script understandable? Were there any points you think I should have covered but didn’t? Do you think my voice is annoying and I should never speak out loud again?

Let me know what you think. Be gentle though. I’m new to this.



  1. Watching it now. The audio is a bit hard to pick up in a noisy room (some odd reverb going on).

    How hard would it be to add captions?

  2. I’m not sure. I’ve never added captions to a video before. I think it’d mostly just be a matter of copying text into a file and adding timestamps, so not too hard.

    I’m surprised you’re having trouble with the audio though. There’s a little background noise I might be able to filter out, but I struggle to hear it unless I turn the volume up quite a bit. Pretty much all I hear is my own voice.

  3. Your voice is fine, btw. Content is good. Obviously needs work on the visuals. Some long black screens that are begging for bullet points to appear one at a time.

    And a definite ‘yes” vote from me for adding closed captioning (this can be done through Google’s video manager).

    Youtube annotations are a good way to generate hyperlinks that people can use to follow the links you’re showing on the screen.

  4. In case it isn’t obvious, just Google how to close caption and annotate youtube videos. (space holder for a non creepy emoticon here).

    I’ve not done it, but it looks to be fairly easy to do.

  5. I have a few images in mind I’d like to add. The biggest one is I’d like a map of locations for the data used in MBH, plus a map showing the locations after PCA was used. I think that’d be helpful for people to understand what I say about that. I can’t remember if Steve McIntyre posted such maps on his site at some point. I’ll try looking. I know I could figure out how to generate such maps, but if someone else already made them, there’s little point repeating the process.

    By the way, the links I’m showing are annotations. I just forgot I can’t make them clickable without being a “YouTube Partner.” I need to go verify my account then change those annotations. I’ll go do that now.

  6. Nevermind. Apparently you can’t have general clickable annotations for YouTube at all. You have to link to specific types of pages.

    I’ll copy the links into the video’s description instead. Then people can see the link in the video and look for the right one there. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best solution I can think of offhand.

  7. Brandon,

    Looks promising. Even I could follow it!

    Regarding the geographic distributions of MBH proxies, this was on Jo Nova’s site, but I think it’s extracted from the ill-fated Marcott paper. Looks like the crosses are what you are looking for, but there’s more that 22, so they are probably pre-selection.

    All I could find on Steve Mc’s site was a map N. Amer. geographic distribution.

    And when you reference the “iconic” nature of the stick, maybe this photo?

  8. John M, I’m glad to hear it!

    The first map you provided is for the Marcott et al paper, and the second map only shows tree ring data (and only for the United States). Even worse, it shows data MBH originally claimed to use, but actually didn’t. Both maps are good for their intended purpose, but they’re not what I had in mind. For what it’s worth, if you make a location map for the entire data set, not just what was used back to 1400 AD, there will be 415 series which get reduced to 112. 22 is how many of those 112 extended back to 1400.

    For the the “iconic” nature of the hockey stick, do you mean near the beginning of the video or near the end? I talk about his graph becoming a central figure early on, but I also talk climate scientists praising and promoting him, making him a figurehead toward the end. I’m thinking it’d be good to add a couple images of his work being used like for the latter part.

  9. Brandon, maps showing proxy weights

    Also this old post contains a graph showing the relative contribution of different proxy classes, keeping bristlecones+Gaspe as a distinct contribution. Other than bristlecones, the entire contribution of the other proxies is essentially white noise.

    These posts and some other similar posts are tagged in

  10. Thanks Steve. A couple maps in the first link should work (the second and fourth). They don’t have the same counts as I mention in the video since they’re for the 1400 step instead of the 1820, but that’s easy enough to address.

    I don’t want to use the maps showing proxy weights right now because they’d require more explanation.

  11. Brandon,

    Yes, I meant for that figure at the beginning during one of the first “black screen” pauses.

    As far as Michael Mann the man, you know, direct praise by climate scientists is oddly hard to find. Many want to support the Hockey Stick, but I get the impression that Mann himself is not a very likeable fella.

    Most of public praise I see for Mann himself seems to come from hacks and hangers on.

    See the list of endorsements here:

    The only “scientist” I see on there is Lovelock, who unfortunately, has gotten a little loopy since his true scientific achievements.

    I seem to recall Bradley, his old mentor speaking highly of him for some award, but I’m not sure there’s any visual that captures that.

  12. John M, I’m not worried about praise for Michael Mann as a person. The video is about his hockey stick, so I’m just going to find examples of his work being promoted. That’s easy. Even if people didn’t endorse him as a person, a lot made use of his work.

    I still need to figure out what I want to add other than just more images. I’m not sure if I want to add “slides” with bullet points, animations or whatever else. I’m so not a visual person.

  13. You’ve got a way to go before you can match the polished slickness of Potholer or Old Lettuce Face.

    On the plus side, it’s simple (in so far as this arcane subject can be made simple) and direct. It’s a great project. Good luck.

  14. Brandon,

    With regard to the HS being promoted, an interesting side story is Al Gore’s stealth use of it in An Inconvenient Truth. His “handlers” redrew the graph by smoothing the HS and “appending” an updated instrumental record, and he presented it as “Dr. Thompson’s Thermometer” to confirm Mann’s HS! See the comments in this CA post:

    AIT was made in 2006, which is after the problems with the stick were well known.

    Don’t know how to tell this with bullet points, but it might make an interesting story if presented clearly.

    Maybe the title of the slide could be “Artist’s Rendition of Hockey Stick Confirms Hockey Stick”

  15. Canman, I can’t say I know who either of those are. I don’t doubt you’re right though. I’m not visual person, and I’m definitely not an artistic person. I think the only way this could truly wind up being polished/slick is if someone else did the visuals. Still, I can definitely improve on it.

    Anyway, thanks! I definitely need to read through the script a couple more times for practice. That recording was done on my first run through. I was surprised I did as well as I did.

    John M, I don’t think there’d be any good way to bring that into the script I have, but it’s definitely something worth highlighting. I thought it was hilarious when it was first discovered.

    I guess it might be possible to show that in “slides” in the later part of the video. As in, leave the script as-is but explain that issue with text/images while I’m talking. It’d fill up a lot of empty space. I don’t know though. I know I could multitask well enough to follow such, but I think most people would just find it confusing.

    I guess if I really want to, I could always work on making more videos.

    By the way, sorry for the slow responses guys. I’ve been sick the last few days, and it’s left me drained. I’ve had trouble keeping up.

  16. The basic narrative is very good, and I look forward to seeing the eventual polished version.

    One quick and easy dramatic improvement: instead of a black screen, simply leave the last visual on until you need to change it. People will be far less distracted by what they see on the screen not being the same as what they’re hearing than they will be by having a black screen (which makes them worry about whether something has gone wrong with their computer).

  17. David Ramsay Steele, thanks. I agree about not leaving a black screen. I didn’t want to, but the version of Windows Movie Maker I was using is not very friendly about these things. Changing the duration of one display can require modifying every display after it. For instance, if I want an image to display from 2:30 – 3:00, you’d think I could just type in a start and endpoint. I couldn’t. What I had to do was pick the spot in the reel at 2:30 then set my display for 30 seconds. That’s not bad until you realize if I then inserted a 30 second display at 1:15, it would shift the entire reel after that point 30 seconds meaning the earlier display would wind up at 3:00 – 3:30.

    I’m not sure if I was missing some features in the software which would make things easier or if I just need to switch to a better program. I’m betting on the latter.

    In case it isn’t obvious, video editing is not something I do regularly.

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