Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Emergency Video

I haven't been posting as often as I'd like, despite the large numbers of interesting stories that have popped up in recent weeks. It's just been crazy around our place, and I simply haven't had the time. I'm making a resolution to be better about it, but in the meantime I'm just going to share some good news links - and an anecdote.

One Sunday evening a couple of weeks ago, the Patriots lost the AFC Championship to the Colts. My spouse, a huge football fan, was utterly cranky as a result. But not as cranky, it turns out, as the two women who got into a drunken fistfight in the middle of the street in my ordinarily tame neighborhood. It was quite a sight, and got so vicious that we ended up having to call the police. The dispatcher had lots of questions for me, and while I'm normally pretty observant, I realized that certain small details do escape me. It wasn't long after that incident that I saw this story carried by various news outlets. Makes a lot of sense to me.

What else is going on?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What is Funny?

I recently produced some TV commercials for a long time (and favorite) client, and for some reason they just aren't clicking. The concept, which we came up with together, is funny. At least, I think it's funny. But for some reason, it just isn't gelling the way I'd hoped it would, and I'm not sure why. It's frustrating, but it does happen sometimes. Without getting too specific, the idea involves using the client's product/service in a ridiculous way, and then providing resolution by showcasing the proper use and all the benefits. On paper, and in theory, the ridiculous humor was really funny. In execution, it's just not as crisp. I'm wondering whether we are just not taking the right approach, so I did some homework.

I was looking for examples of well-executed ridiculous humor, and I found this clip. It's childish, but it cracks me up - and it's exactly the type of comedy I was aiming for, because the concept ("Waiters Who Are Nauseated By Food") is so... ridiculous.

So ultimately, I'm not posting this for any other reason than it's funny, and I thought you'd enjoy it. I'm still working through my own comedy-related issue. If the ads work out, maybe I'll post them, too.

One of the rules of comedy is that a person finds humor in situations where he or she feels superior. That is perfectly exemplified by this prank from Australian TV. It completely cracked me up, although if I were one of the passengers waiting to board that particular flight I might not have seen the humor. It's all in your perspective, I guess.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Information Overload

I've been bombarded with so much new information in the last couple of days, I don't even know where to begin. Each time I read something new, I think, "That'd be good for the blog." I have no idea how to string them all together, though - so here's a laundry list:
  • Remember this post about D.I.Y. music videos? I've found a new one! This time it's a homemade music video recorded on (gah!) cell phones. The article also mentions a previous effort in this area by the Beastie Boys (caution, may be NSFW).
  • I often post about the emerging new venues for video - and the market is indeed exploding - but interestingly there has been a lot in the news lately about the role of conventional TV (by "conventional", I mean "TV as decor", which can include not just regular TVs but also new, HDTVs, too.) There was this article, which turns the tables in a sense by discussing how to get web videos into your living room.
  • In related news, Apple introduced (apple)tv today. While it's been a little overshadowed in the press by the simultaneous introduction of the long-awaited iPhone, I think (apple)tv is a neat idea. What I find intriguing is that it's not really a new concept. Microsoft has offered Media Center for a while now. My friend Peter has demo'd a Media Center PC for me, and they're really neat. But for some reason, it just seems that Apple can integrate its products into people's everyday lives in a way that other manufacturers just don't. Think different, indeed.
  • Finally, Net Neutrality is back in the news, somewhat sooner than expected. (I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the Democrats' self-imposed 100 hours of legislative progress, but I'm not going to discuss politics.) If you're not familiar with the issue of Net Neutrality, I recommend that you click on the link. It's an interesting topic, and as consumers it does affect all of us. As a video producer, I feel just the tiniest bit torn on the issue (ensuring that my work has the optimum venue, placement and bandwidth, even if it comes at a price, has an appeal for me), but overall I support it and the freedom(s) it protects.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Jumping On The New Media Bandwagon... nearly impossible when the bandwagon moves like a NASCAR contender. I came across this article tonight, which talks about new technology and delivery methods for media that will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (And yes, for those of you who might feel the need to point this out - and you know who you are - I'm aware that the CES usually coincides with the annual porn industry convention. I'm pretty sure that's not really a coincidence. I've never attended either event, but if you're looking for porn stories you can ask me about the time I saw Ron Jeremy at Disneyworld.)

Anyway, the gist of the article is that the market for audio/visual content just continues to grow. Consumers want, and expect, media-on-demand delivered to their handheld devices, PCs and phones. As I've mentioned before - and I reallly can't stress it enough - video in particular is becoming an essential tool in business communications and marketing. I finally received my coveted video iPod for Christmas (thanks, Tom!), and I'm glued to it, even more than I thought I'd be. The picture quality is exceptional (better than my PSP), and finding content for it has been loads of fun. I'm actively searching for music videos, clever advertising, and other bits and pieces to add to my playlist - it's becoming my own personal YouTube, a source for videos to share with my friends and clients. And, of course, I can put my own projects on it. I have always been a firm believer in the power of video communication, but these new advances make sharing it so easy and so accessible that its transition from a novelty to an essential is really inevitable.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Truth In Advertising

Happy New Year! I've been light on posting during the holidaze, but Tube's back in full swing.

While I'm generally an optimist, I do harbor a strong inner cynic. Most of the time, that cynicism is focused on advertising. After working on commercials for so many years, I've found that while there is a great deal of truth in advertising, it's usually present because there'd be some type of legal consequences if it wasn't. That said, these commercials for Volkswagen had lots of people talking earlier this year. They definitely make a statement about auto safety, and more effectively (in my opinion) than this for Mercedes or these classics from the US Department of Transportation. I mentioned in a previous post that I bought a new car this year - a Volkswagen - and I was partially sold on the crash test rating for the car.

A couple of days before Christmas, I found out firsthand that there is truth in advertising, when my Volkswagen Beetle was nearly flattened by a dump truck on the highway. The car took the impact remarkably well, and even though it had to be taken away on a flatbed, both me and my passenger escaped without serious injury. The scenario was scarily like those depicted in the commercials: everything is fine, and then you're blindsided. Believe it or not, I really did think of those ads as I surveyed the damage from the side of the road.

So I'm counting my blessings at the start of 2007, and I'm looking forward to casting a (somewhat) less cynical eye on this year's media offerings.