The new fashion is to watch videos at a fast pace.

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The voices may even sound like ETs in cartoons. They cause strangeness. Even so, they opened a new fashion that is becoming popular among Brazilians: the consumption of video and audio at different speeds, generally faster. The success is such that even Netflix released the function, despite the scolding of the filmmakers.

Behind this story is a growing need to see more in less time. Can you believe? The content available on the network no longer fits 24 hours a day. Since the goal is to speed up life, videos on YouTube or podcasts are also accelerated, in a habit that should shock older people.

I myself was out of this trend until I made an informal post on my Twitter. To my surprise, most readers already use the function at some point in their daily routine … living and learning! They put the content at 1.25x or 1.5x, but if you fool around, you can jump to 3x.

I haven’t found any scientific research that looks at the topic. Anyway, here are the lessons learned by the DataThás Institute – don’t take it seriously, I just invented it! – to explain users’ motivation:

  • Presenters take too long to get the message across (the famous lenga-lenga).
  • Search for specific information within audios or more complete videos.
  • Possibility to consume more content in less time.

The Pocket Casts podcast aggregator has been offering speed control for many years. He was also a pioneer in the function that cuts the silence and breath of the presenters, the kind of thing that can keep many people away.

He did the calculation. Let’s say a person listens to 10 hours of audio throughout the week. If she activates the function, she will have 66 more minutes of content. That is, the system makes more information fit when it changes the speed and cuts the speech intervals. The difference is 11%.

Most purists will say that it distorts the way the content was designed. I tend to think like that myself. But, as it is not silly, Netflix anticipates the criticisms by stating that even at the time of the DVD (who remembers?) It was already possible to skip frames by the remote control.

It’s true, but I remember and I can say that we didn’t used to watch the entire movie at an accelerated speed. The streaming company says this is an old and frequent request from subscribers. And that gives more flexibility to those who have the invoice up to date.

It is also true. Ultimately, the user decides exactly how he wants to enjoy that series, that movie, that audio program.

There is an additional reason: to increase the accessibility of productions. Faster audio makes life easier for people with visual impairments. A portion of this audience is used to speech synthesizers that read the content of the screen at 200 km / h. On the other hand, the slower sound creates opportunities for individuals who normally have difficulty understanding speech, in addition to being an incentive for those learning a new language.

Netflix recognized the rocks it took from Hollywood’s biggest names. So much so that it is not possible to leave it at an accelerated speed permanently – it is necessary to enable this setting whenever you play new content. She also claims that research was done and that the participants did not report an impact on how they perceive the quality of the material.

I bring to the conversation the psychoanalyst Christian Dunker, professor at USP. He explains to the column that the acceleration feature can even make the person more angry, more thirsty for information, in what he calls a narrowing between means and ends. “It is that user who gets annoying because he wants to get straight to what matters, straight to the heart of the matter.”

Dunker draws a parallel with the camera. For him, the good focus is the one that moves: it captures moments of better detail, but it can also be diffuse. “It’s like going to the Louvre in Paris and checking only five works. It completely kills the experience of walking around the museum. ” I add: it is always good to run into something new, to discover unexpected information.

Was it a fad? Time will tell. I just keep an eye on the growing anxiety we are experiencing, especially in this quarantine period. At least when it comes to entertainment, the idea is to relax, enjoy, enjoy the scenes, feel the emotion of that story. And don’t rush to see it before everyone else and post it on social media.


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