Thursday, November 23, 2006


If you check this blog semi-regularly, you may remember my post from just a couple of weeks ago. Sure enough, just during the past week I received notice of this and this.

When I was in college - back in the Dark Ages of the 1980s - I remember the first "homemade" music video, which was a novelty at the time. It was a Make Your Own Video contest for Madonna's "True Blue." The winning entry, if memory serves, was produced by a couple who spent a few thousand dollars on professional resources.

About ten years later, the band Bon Jovi gave dozens of audience members Super 8 movie cameras and told them to just shoot whatever they wanted during a show. The film was turned in at the end of the concert, and the resulting footage was edited into a video ("Bad Medicine", IIRC). Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the professionally-edited Bon Jovi video was all over MTV. I think I might've seen the Madonna one a couple of times after the initial winner reveal, but that's all.

I'm sure there will be more - if you come across any, please send them to me. We're disqualified from a lot of these competitions because we're professionals, but I get a kick out of seeing the submissions.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

tiny video

I found this article today. I think it's interesting, but I also think that it may be overreacting just a touch. The gist of the piece is that users aren't embracing the iPod's video capabilities the way Apple expected that they would. I have to say that I'm not surprised; I don't own a video iPod - yet - but I do have a Portable PlayStation (PSP), and I have the same trouble as other small-screen-gizmo users: sometimes it's hard to focus on, and it gives me a headache after a while. But I think the reason is that the content, in most cases, hasn't been specifically designed for the tiny screen. That content is still largely being developed, and many producers (us included) are still testing out the best methods for creating content. In the same way that widescreen and HD are changing how we shoot (we have more screen real estate to fill), the ultra-small screens of iPods and other handhelds are changing the way we actually tell the stories. It's beneficial to be brief, simple and easy on the eyes.

There have been many times that we've produced multiple versions of the same product for our clients, to suit different needs. A video developed for DVD distribution may be too long or intensive for the web, so we'll cut it down. Sometimes we'll adjust the graphics, making them bolder and easier to read. And we'll use more close-ups if appropriate.

Overall, I think it's kind of neat to test the limits of new delivery methods. It can be frustrating, but it's also rewarding. And it gives me an excuse to get a video iPod.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just For Fun

Thanks to my friend Gary for sharing clips that prove that with the right music, just about anything is funny.

Even... music videos. Which, ordinarily, have the correct music to begin with...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Zune, Schmoon

I'm a Mac Person, always have been. I'm surrounded by PC People, but I've learned to adapt. Today is the launch day for the Zune, Microsoft's attempt at unseating the #1 portable media gadget, Apple's iPod. I doubt that Zune sales will rival those of the iPod, especially since iPods are available in so many configurations, but it could put a crimp in some media availability as the rival companies hammer out exclusivity deals with various entertainment providers. I also believe that Apple has the lead culturally, because they've brought "pod" (as in "-casting") and even the ubiquitous "i" prefix into the common vernacular. Want to make something seem hip and tech-savvy? Slap an "i" onto the front of it!

Even though I doubt I'll ever be a Zune owner (I think their slogan "Welcome to the social" is stupid), I welcome the addition of more portable media devices to the market place. The more common they become, the more likely it is that we'll have new avenues and uses for video on both the personal and professional fronts. And that's a good thing!

One last note: I thought this was very interesting. Apple filed a new patent for an iPod-looking device that seems to have a very, very cool user interface. Check it out.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Brief Rant... and Web Video 2.0

I'm the first to admit that I'm a fan of YouTube, but this really has me baffled.

If you're too lazy to click the link, Time magazine honored YouTube as "Best Invention of 2006", which I think is a dubious honor at best. After all, amateur video - embarassing or otherwise - has been circulated publicly for years. The web's not new, and the web as a playback device for video isn't exactly new, either. Even the way that YouTube delivers video isn't the best: the connections can be painfully slow. I agree that it's made a huge cultural impact, but I'd like to believe that there are more worthwhile inventions that could garner this type of award.

Okay, now that I have that rant out of my system, here's the other side of the story. Amateur video is also becoming an inexpensive way to provide major entertainment outlets with... entertainment content. It's cheap, it's quick... and the possibility, however slim, that you could be the Next Big Web Video Thing will keep submissions rolling in. Of course, there's the likelihood that the fickle viewing public will eventually grow tired of homegrown entertainment, but for now it's a wave that's yet to crest.