Video

In Demi Moore's Living Room, Talking about Women

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Demi Moore, known as @mskutcher in the twittersphere just launched a cool web video project:

Basically, Demi was asking what guys want and girls want in their partner.

What is really awesome in this one is the fact that Demi Moore, a Holywood top actress, is just shooting away a webcam video to youtube, without fancy lighting, top camera, or even script (noticed how many times she asked guys to keep it clean)? You actually see the study room of the Kutcher family in the background.
Her ex, Bruce Willis,  who obviously have a worse webcam, posted this one:

Yes, it is a part of promotion to her new perfume, called WANTED. But it is done in such an adorable way. Authenticity in its best.

Wish we’d see more of the real life of those who we see on the screen.

TokBox, Porn, Video Chat, And A Missed Opportunity

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Image representing TokBox as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Last night I received a nice email from TokBox, the video chat company, about new features just released. A year ago, when I first tried out the platform I was pretty excited.

TokBox is offering a simple to use video chat, that is now embaddable in third party sites. It is also offering the ability to create threaded video conversations, chat, and public messages. And the good thing – it works like a charm.

These features are important to every video site, conference, or event. As we are working now on a major virtual event, I was delighted to see that these guys are still alive, even though they suffered recently and fired half of their engineers.

However, at the current state, I will never use it for business, nor recommend it to my customer.

Their site, though technically works great, is ridden with content that I wouldn’t like to see my customers associated with – from teenagers to pseudo  adult content.

Reliable, socially distributed, embeddable video chat solution is defeinetly needed in the industry, especially after Seesmic turned its back to this market and focus on the Micro blogging market.  But no one in its right mind will put its content with teenage girls and questionable content.

If TokBox’s business model is video chat UGC, I personally don’t believe in it, but it is just me. But if they want to attract high profile customers, they need to do a clean up, and get more resources to manage the content in their platform, or create a seperate brand and site for these customers.

Choosing Camera For Online Video Production – Part 1

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own work
Image via Wikipedia

Recently I’ve been asked by several people which video camera should they buy in order to shoot online videos. So, instead of answering only on Twitter I’ve decided to write this post series. This post will cover key considerations, and the next one will review some of the models sold today. I will focus on sub $1,000 gear considerations, which is around the amount of money new entrants are willing to spend on such an equipment.

But, before we start, let’s put one thing straight:

No camera can save a bad script, horrible talent, or plain bad experience some great things are done with cheap cameras (1938 Media for example), and some horrible pieces of moving pictures were done in huge budget (did anyone say “The day the earth stood stil[5.6/10 rating][5.6/10 rating]l”?)

Equipment can make your life easier, make some things feasible, but that’s it. Nothing can replace talent and knowledge. in other words – IT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENS WITHIN THE CAMERA THAT IS IMPORTANT, IT IS WHAT HAPPENS IN FRONT OF IT.

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get started:

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Online Journalism – If You Don't Have Video On Your Newspaper's Site You Are Going to Be Eaten

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Michael Rosenblum is the godfather of video journalism. He was a one man band video crew back at the 80’s and since then he trained and taught generations of video journalists this craft.

Though poorly shot, here is a great presentation he did to UK journalists where he describes the history and reality of video journalists :


Michael Rosenblum @ Society of Editors 08 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.


Michael Rosenblum @ Society of Editors 08 pt2 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.
Michael Rosenblum @ Society of Editors pt.3 from Paul Bradshaw on Vimeo.

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The Digital Journalist

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The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard did two great pieces about the philosophy, workflow and tools that digital journalists, usually a one man show out on the field. If you are suckers of neat kits that allow you to basically do everything on your own, as well as interested in learning more about the best way to be a one man gang kind of producer, check these videos out:

NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo: Her digital workflow from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

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NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo: Inside her digital toolkit from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

Schiavocampo is a digital journalist with NBC News.

According to this great post her kit includes:

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Diggnation and Editing

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Take a look at this short video – if you are a video editor, you would definitely love it.


Edit Day in Final Cut Pro from Glenn McElhose on Vimeo.

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What do you think about video comments?

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Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

Video comments are a tricky thing – they allows users to leave comments in video instead of text, and meant to enrich the conversation in blog’s comments. However they are not that straight forward as text comments.

I’ve been using Seesmic as my Video Commenting system, but didn’t really promote it till now. Other sites such as Techcrunch are using the same product.

What’s your opinion?

If you support video comments – please leave one! Also – I’d love to see the faces of my readers for a change 🙂

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Om Malik Opens NTV Station – The Best of Web Video, Facing Challenges

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Om Malik anounced a new venture today called NewTeeVee Station, an editorial driven guide to online videos:

...NewTeeVee Station is your guide to online video, pointing you to hot new memes, following the emerging stars of the web, and just generally indexing this new entertainment medium. Whereas in the past we covered online video shows like Ask a Ninja, Obama Girl andWallstrip from a business perspective, now we’re also reviewing content for content’s sake…

….NTV Station features editorial reviews of online videos written by a team led by Liz Shannon Miller, who comes to us from Variety and the Daily Reel. We eliminate the static and bring to you videos that are actually good — but also the stuff that’s so bad it has everyone talking… When you visit the front page of NTV Station, you’ll see in one glance what’s hot at that very moment. Our editors monitor the online video universe and refresh the site with new videos throughout the day. A special widget developed using the VodPod API allows you to scroll through all of our past video picks….

I am a big fan of sites trying to make some sense of all the videos out there. In a past, I wrote a hotly debated post where I asked when would someone create an online HBO equivalent, and gang all the best video shows to one site. This is a form of content discovery in my opinion – a way to bring the best videos to my computer screen. Would Om answer my prayers?

Challenges ahead

Value

There were several initiative in this area, one of them was Jeff Pulver’s Network2.tv. While N2 was aiming at being a definitive guide to all episodic video on the web, it seems that Om’s effort is a mix of being IMDB and an editorial driven site, that does some filtering for the audience. What I am missing here is a clear value proposition, or, in other words, what exactly should I expect – the best videos? The hottest videos? All the “good” videos?

Definition of Quality

One of the trickiest issues in the world of online video is the definition of quality. How can the editor in NTV know what’s good for me? Though philosophical in nature, it is a major challenge, that I’d love to hear Om’s opinion about.

User Interface

Last but not least, user interface is one of the biggest challenges in online video today. Looking at the current interface of most video recommendation sites, one would see the same scroll down page with x amount of videos. This interface works for YouTube, but in my opinion should be improved. NewTeeVee is built as a blog, and as such it is well designed. As a video interface – not so good IMHO:

1. Almost one-third of the screen is dedicated to promotion, ad space, and other money making machines.

2. Viewers need to scroll down in order to see recommended shows.

3. Video player is covering a small amount of the screen – while it is supposed to be the dominant experience

4. Users need to click at least twice to start playing a video

My belief is that online video interfaces should be, well, video interfaces. I’d like to see a site with a dominant video player, where users could navigate and find the best videos for them. This way, the video experience is the dominant one, and not the textual interface.

I hope that Om will be successful in this project – the web certainly needs one!

Watch Out Rupert!!!