Tag Archives | Video

May One Web Codec–Any Web Codec–Win

“The great thing about standards,” as a wise person once said, “is that there are so many of them.” One of the major pieces of news at today’s Google I|O conference was the company’s introduction of a new standard for Web video. It’s called WebM, and it’s based upon the VP8 video codec created by On2, a company Google acquired last August. WebM is open-source and free of royalties–which means that anyone who builds any product relating to video is free to use it without seeking permission or paying anyone for the privilege.

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YouTube Does HTML5

YouTube, the Web’s biggest video destination, has started supporting the Web’s newest way to watch video: HTML5, the nascent standard that includes video features that eliminate the need for Flash or other plug-ins. It’s so nascent that YouTube’s experimental implementation only works in Chrome and Safari, but if you use either of those browsers and are intrigued by the idea of Flash-free video, check it out.


Can Qik Go Legit on the iPhone?

qiklogoHere’s another question I have as I ruminate on Monday’s WWDC news: Will the fact that the iPhone 3G S has a video camera and Apple is touting video streaming as a major iPhone OS 3.0 feature mean that we’ll finally get an official release of Qik’s nifty videostreaming application on the iPhone App Store? It’s been available on the iPhone for months, but only for jailbroken phones, since Apple hasn’t permitted the camera on the original and 3G models to capture video.

I’m not sure why the iPhone 3G S wouldn’t be Qik-friendly–Apple said today that there will be an API that will allow third-party developers to write apps that make use of the video camera. And while all the examples that Apple has given of streaming video involve stuff coming into the iPhone, the fact that carriers are comfortable with the idea might mean they’d be comfortable with Qik, too. (I don’t think Qik stands much chance of bringing even AT&T’s fragile network to its knees–it’ll likely never be used by as many people as apps for consuming streaming video will be.)

None of which means that the new iPhone hardware and software will make an App Store release of Qik available, of course. We’ll see.

In related news, Qik is announcing today that Qik will ship on all of Nokia’s Symbian S60 phones, starting with the soon-to-be-released N97. Score one for the N97, especially if there’s no good news about Qik on the iPhone in the immediate future…


Coming This Summer: iPhone Video Capture?

Apple may have said that its iPhone 3.0 software includes more than a hundred news features at its press event last month, but it didn’t say anything about letting its phones capture video. But MacRumors has published an image of what it says is an iPhone 3.0 beta camera application that can capture both still images and video. The alleged spy shot comes on the heels of a bunch of rumors relating to new iPhones with better, higher-megapixel cameras being in the works.

I’m not going to accept anything about next-generation iPhones as gospel until an Apple exec strides on stage and announces it, but video certainly falls into the “that sounds logical” rumor bucket. My big question, however, is this: Will Apple unlock video capability in existing iPhones, or just in ones with snazzier cameras? Companies such as Qik have proved that there are no technical limitations that prevent iPhones from capturing video (albeit choppy, fuzzy video)…


Online Video Watching Reaches Record Levels

A comScore Video Metrix report, released today, confirms what we all knew already: People are watching more and more online video. In fact, U.S. Internet users viewed 14.3 billion videos in December alone.

Google’s Web properties (including YouTube) received the greatest number of hits, accounting for 41% of the online video market. Fox Interactive was the (distant) runner up with a 3.1% share of the market, trailed by Yahoo, Viacom Digital, and Hulu. The average U.S. Internet user watched an average of 96 videos in December, and 78.5% of U.S. Internet users watch online video, according to the comScore report.

Viewers are trending toward short sessions, indicating that they’re not treating the Web like their TV. The average duration videos were watched for was just 3.2 minutes. Hulu users were an exception, spending 10.1 minutes per session.

Furthermore, the most popular YouTube videos of all time are music videos, comedy, and viral shorts. Far fewer people are catching entire television episodes and movies on the Web; although, video downloads and purchases were not tabulated in the report.

NBC hit pay dirt when it placed clips of SNL’s Tina Fey doubling as Sarah Palin online during the presidential election, and plenty of entire TV shows are online, complete with advertising.  So there is a financial incentive for old line media to embrace the Web. But both TV companies and TV viewers still seem to be getting their heads around Net video.

When I watched episodes of Star Trek on CBS’s classic television Web site last year, I was bombarded with surveys about the advertisements that I saw. That was very blatant market research. It will be interesting to see how the studios adapt to the Web, and if they can figure out how to turn all those online viewing sessions into the money they’ll need to pay for more content.

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How to Produce Great Web Video in a Whole Lot Less Time

[David Spark (@dspark) is a veteran tech journalist and the founder of Spark Media Solutions, a storytelling production company that specializes in live event production. He also blogs and does a daily radio report for Green 960 in San Francisco at Spark Minute.]

speedvideoTen years ago when I worked at ZDTV (later to become TechTV) I made all the mistakes a first time producer can make in video production. I shot too much video. I didn’t set up a shoot schedule. I didn’t have an outline of what I wanted. And I ended up reshooting projects because I didn’t plan correctly.

Video production can be insanely time-consuming. Some of that is just a result of rookie mistakes made early on, but many production processes are simply unavoidable. Even though everyone has adopted non-linear video editing, watching video must be done linearly. A good producer can reduce time considerably if they plan better and learn how to more efficiently work their equipment. But even when you cut out all the fat, you still end up with the realization that  video production is slow.

About four years ago, at CES in Las Vegas, I started to see a new crop of software and devices specifically targeted at reducing the time it takes to produce a video. No single product or technology has shown itself to be the panacea for speedy video production, but when you use these tools and tricks in aggregate they can save you an enormous amount of time. Here are some suggestions that everyone can use. These tips are not just for professionals, but anyone looking to cut down the time it takes to produce video. I know I’ve left a lot out, so I look forward to you adding some of your own recommendations in the comments.

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YouTube Adds a Search Bar to Every Embedded Video

youtubelogo1[UPDATE: My colleague Ed Oswald reminds me that we covered this a month ago. It sounded familiar…]

TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington has pointed out a new feature in embedded YouTube videos I hadn’t noticed: a search bar. Mike thinks it’s ugly. I wouldn’t argue that it’s gorgeous, but it’s kind of handy, since it turns every embedded YouTube clip into a mini-YouTube that lets you rummage through the video site’s entire addictive cornucopia of stuff without leaving the site you were on in the first place.

Rather than trying to explain this, I can give you a video and let you try searching right now. Look, here you go:

If, after watching the Shatner Vic-20 ad above, you got in the mood to watch more commercials with Bill, you’d do a search something like the one below. And could watch several hundred clips without ever leaving Technologizer. (The image below is just an image, not live YouTube–as far as I know, you can’t embed search results, although it would be nifty if you could.)


(You know, I kinda liked Shatner-as-spokesman better back when having William Shatner in your ad wasn’t in itself some sort of allegedly hip, postmodern statement.)

On today’s Web, when a lot of the content and functionality on sites such as Technologizer is really someone else’s embedded service, it’s easy for those of us who do the embedding to feel proprietary and paranoid about changes: All the millions of YouTube videos that folks have incorporated over the past few years now have that search bar, whether we embedders want it there or not. But what really matters is whether YouTube watchers like the new search feature. And I bet they will…

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Joost for iPhone: Good, As Far as It Goes

joostlogoJoost, the pioneering video site from the folks behind Skype and Kazaa, is available in a new, smaller form tonight: on the iPhone. In some ways it’s quite impressive–it faithfully brings the Joost look, feel, functionality, and content into an app that feels at home on the iPhone. What you think of it will likely boil down mostly to how you feel about the programming that Joost has to offer.

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YouTube Looms Large(r)

youtubelogo1YouTube may be the Web’s biggest video site, but YouTube’s videos have never been the Web’s biggest. In resolution, that is–in fact, the YouTube player has been looking increasingly cramped and retro compared to its roomy rivals at sites such as Hulu.

As of today, though, YouTube has increased the size of its player to 640 pixels wide–which is, coincidentally enough, the same width as Hulu’s player. The new player is in widescreen 16:9 format, but most content up on YouTube is old-school 4:3, so you usually get black bars. The extra real estate is still nice, though. Examples after the jump.

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