Are Interactive Celebrity Video Classes In Our Future?


I recently came across a new venture by celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. He has joined the “MasterClass” program, which offers classes over video with celebrity/expert teachers.

Other MasterClass courses include, Christina Aguilera (singing), Kevin Spacey (acting), Usher (performance), Serena Williams (tennis), James Patterson (writing), Dustin Hoffman (acting), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting) and Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Hans Zimmer (film scoring) and Deadmau5 (electronic music production).

To be clear, these aren’t real-time, interactive 1on1 sessions. These are highly produced and scripted pieces. Ramsay’s videos were shot by an academy award winning director.

However, this message on the signup page caught my eye. It appears that Ramsay will answer questions from select students, and students are encouraged to submit videos to the class for review.

Gordon Ramsay Office Hours

Could the next step be for Ramsay (or a chef certified by him) to watch you cook live? Watching a video lesson from a master can be extremely helpful, but having the master directly guide your attempts and provide real time feedback would be even better. Also, some celebrities like interacting with their fans. In a recent reddit AMA, Ramsay answered a number of questions about his MasterClass. In this one, he not only directly answers the question (about materials needed for the class) but he personally bought the random redditor a set of knives.

Obviously, booking real interactive 1 on 1 time with a celebrity would be extremely expensive, but a model does exist for online real-time classes. In fact, while many traditional educational organizations have long embraced videoconferencing, we are now starting to see it being used for personal lessons. For example, I’ve been giving my cousin guitar lessons over video. It is a bit of a compromise from an in person meeting. For example, the latency makes it hard to play along together. However, it does work. I am able to show her the correct chords, see and hear what chords she is playing, and let her know if she is getting it right.

A quick Google search shows I am not the only one giving guitar lessons over video. There are several online music schools as well as plenty of individual guitar teachers offering lessons over video. Yoga over video is apparently a real thing as well. The selection of cooking lessons over video is more limited, but it does exist.

The idea of lessons over video has always been appealing but has been hard to support in the past. Living room videoconferencing never really happened. However, with cloud video eliminating the need for infrastructure, and browser based video eliminating the need for video endpoints, anyone with a laptop, or even mobile device, can join a videoconferencing session for personal instruction. I expect to see a lot more of this in the next few years.


About Author

David Maldow is the Founder & CEO of Let's Do Video and has been covering the visual collaboration industry, and related technologies, for over a decade. His background includes 5 years at Wainhouse Research, where he managed the Video Test Lab and evaluated many of the leading solutions at the time. David has authored hundreds of articles and thought pieces both at Telepresence Options, where he was managing partner for several years, as well as here at Let's Do Video. David often speaks at industry events and webinars as well as hosting the LDV Video Podcast.

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