Thursday, May 28, 2009

Record Year - unofficial music video (flash)

Fan made Music video for 'Record Year' by the Decemberists (rated PG-13).

Terminator Behind the Scenes Footage (flash)

Raw behind the scenes video from the movie Terminator: Salvation

  1. video 1
  2. video 2
  3. video 3
  4. video 4

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google In Upfront Marketplace

Google is now buying and selling TV ads in a big way.

Google TV Ads has begun booking upfront deals with major agencies and advertisers for the first time.
Marketers are committing upwards of seven figures to buy ads through the TV spot buying system in the year ahead, with agencies like Deutsch and Saatchi & Saatchi and advertisers like Coldwell Banker coming to the table, said Mike Steib, director of Google TV Ads.
Steib explained that marketers can still buy or tweak their campaigns daily; they're simply agreeing to use Google TV Ads throughout the year.
What our customers told us if the planner can put us into the upfront plan, then the buyers are free to utilize the platform in the way they works best for them, he said.
They can also buy ads on YouTube now using Google TV Ads

(from The Hollywood Reporter).

Parazynski Descends Everest (flash/news)

Astronaut Scott Parazynski and other IMG climbers descend down the summit ridge on Mt. Everest; especially spectacular starting at 1 minute 10 seconds (rated PG).

Whack-A-Kitty (flash)

It's time to play Whack-A-Kitty (rated PG).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Legal Terms of Video Hosting Services

...I was researching a video hosting service that would match my requirements of:
  1. Which rights of my work I would have to give away,
  2. what usage rights I could assign to my viewers,
  3. what level of privacy I could expect in terms of disclosure of my data,
  4. and where a service had its legal residence in case of a dispute.
I’ve decided to collect and extend my findings in this post in the hope that it can help others in choosing their preferred video hosting service

(from Owned? Legal terms of video hosting services compared). Since these can change at any time, double check, and consider speaking with a lawyer; caveat producer.

Numbers and the Net

But the great thing about the internet is that it allows every minor interest, every academic specialism, every rare and refined hobby a place, so the numbers really don't matter in the same way as the old media

(Emphasis added, from Codecs and Capability).

Never 'Sorry for the Mass Email...'

If you begin with "I'm sorry for the mass email, but..." you clearly aren't and everything said after should not be trusted. Don't say that.

Video Release Timing: Go Live Early, Announce Late

When first releasing any online video, it is best to make it live (soft launch, push live, etc.) well before you expect the audience to want to watch it. Usually this means at least a few hours before. For web shows targeting North America as a main audience, put the episode up (publicly available and live where you want it to be) at a few minutes after midnight pacific time on the given release day. This accomplishes many things at once, including:

  • This is 6 hours before East coast prime time begins (Weekdays 9am-5pm local time) allowing time for people and computers to react to the upload.
  • If the video is incomplete, corrupted, or simply not the right video, there are 6 hours to trouble shoot or delete and re-upload before large numbers will begin to try watching the video.
  • Titles, descriptions and tags do not always appear on the live site as originally written or intended; these can be checked and rewritten or fixed as needed.
  • Many computer systems take time to encode, transcode and syndicate the content. Give them time to finish their work and have the video fully live and available on all platforms before the audience wants to watch.
  • Search spiders and third party video search and syndication systems have automated components that need time to discover, process and make useful the information about the video that they discover. Since you can't know every system that may need time to react to your upload, give time for these unknowns to prepare so they can support your show. Make it live early to both give them a chance to respond and give yourself a chance to notice their reaction.

No two shows are the same and no single formula can address all the unique artistic and business needs, but in all cases: make sure the audience will be able to successfully watch the show how and where they want to before asking them to do so. This means send emails, publish blog posts, micro-blog (e.g., twitter), status update and make all forms of public requests for people to watch only after the video is fully functional and available.

Failing to give adequate time can mean you send audience to watch and they can't. When the audience can't watch what they want where and when they want to, they will blame you (even if it isn't your fault). Simple timing can save some of the disappointment from ever happening.

For example, YouTube needs a non-trivial amount of time to make a video available on cell phones in addition to the time it takes to make it available on the website. If, as I witness many producers doing, you send an email asking people to view your video on YouTube only after the video is live on the website, iPhone users who click on the YouTube link in the email will get a disappointing message telling them the video is not yet available. Rarely will they then make a special effort to seek out the video later or on a computer. Sending the email too soon loses viewers and fans just because it was too soon.

There are many other factors impacting video release and announcement scheduling, but usually doing a soft launch (it's up and works) significantly before a hard launch (hey everybody, come watch!) solves many problems.

Related note: releasing an entire 'season' at once often makes better sense than spreading it out over weeks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Once It's Live, Leave It Live

About a year ago a highly rated TV show built a fictional company's web site to tie in to real life events at Comic-Con, the convention in San Diego. The finale of the newest season was this week. Just a few minutes ago a friend on Twitter and Facebook changed their status to say he wanted to work for that fictional company, and I wanted to comment/reply to my friend's status with the link to the fictional site. The site is down, offline, 404.

I wanted to share a part of the show with a friend, and they won't let me. I wanted to promote their product for free, and they stopped me. Instead of allowing all the money spent on the site and its very good videos and promotions pay off forever, they took it down. Estimated annual savings in taking down the site: $2000 (which ought to be lower, but for various reasons in this case is not lower). Estimated loss of audience engagement, good-will and ability for the franchise's value to increase over many decades: infinite.

The stock of the parent company that owns the network that carries the show has lost about $20,300,000,000 of market value since mid September (admittedly this may not only result from company wide failure to understand or capitalize on the internet).

A Google-less World

Starting at about a half hour ago, I noticed that the adsense ads I have run on some of my sites weren't loading. Then I began having trouble connecting to the blogging platform blogger. Hoping to stay productive while the network hopefully adjusted, I went to YouTube planning to change the avatar image one of my various YouTube accounts. YouTube wouldn't load. Remembering these are all owned by Google, I tried to load It was also was sluggish/non-responsive. I checked my gmail, nothing.

While navigating my cable company's phone system seeking a person to see if they were having a problem keeping my cable modem connected, on a lark I tried and it loaded, immediately. Still holding for an operator at my cable company, I checked twitter. Others couldn't get to google services either. And not just near me but on other continents too. This surprised me. Thursday morning (in North America) is not a time anyone would chose to have their sites off-line, and while a few on twitter seemed to still have Google's sites running just fine, it highlights how enmeshed we all are with Google's systems, and how good they are at keeping them up for people like me to assume they will be up and available virtually always.

For a few moments I had to mentally step back and assess how I'd react if Google, and all of it's wonderful products, vanished. It reminds me of an article I read years ago asking how much of your business Google controls. Between search traffic they provide, videos they host, email, and the myriad of other products they offer, what would you do if they simply stopped? I know what I would do: I'd grouse, whine and moan for a few minutes, and then swap the services of theirs I use for other, in almost every case inferior, services offered by others. The fact is Google is as successful as they are because in so many ways they do what they do better than anyone else. Yet still, with all the bright people, deep pockets and prestigious name, if they stop being what the audience expects, in minutes the audience will begin replacing them.

Not quite an hour later, the hastag #googlefail is already the number 6 trending topic on twitter, with "gmail" the number 3. That's some of the most active users of technology on earth already reacting to this hiccup. This does remind me to back up things offline ;-). I wish the best to the Googlers I imagine are already hard at work fixing things.

Update: Google's systems seem to be working again and coming back online for most people. Worth noting: spread your content widely, exploding your content makes you less susceptible to problems at any one company or on a single site.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Leary Mission (flash)

Hulu's latest funny ad in their evil plot to destroy the world.

President's Plane Scares NYC (news, flash)

The President's plane (Air Force One when he is on board) flew over New York City for a photo shoot, costing taxpayers $300,000 and frightening the nation's largest city (watch AP video or citizen video of the flyover below).