Live Video Streaming for Cell Phones Hitting, well, the Main Stream

Last week, a friend on Facebook (or actually an acquaintance… someone who I’ve never met in person, but within whom I’ve done a little work via phone and email) offered a link (via Facebook) to a live video stream of a techie industry party on a rooftop over-looking Washington, DC. The amazing thing was that when I clicked the link, it actually worked. Instantly, I was face-to-face, in a virtual sense, with party-goers who were saying things like “I just thought you were taking my picture…” to which this guy says, “No, you’re live on the web” and a quasi interview ensued.

The Video Web is expanding more rapidly than even I realized… and cell phone video, live streaming cell phone video, is to blame.

If you want a more widely-respected opinion, The New York Times wrote up the whole scene in a Sunday Business section column called “Novelties.” The article, “Capturing the Moment (and More) Via Cellphone Video,” includes some even more compelling examples from the likes of LA’s NPR radio leader, KCRW and mentions two leading live webcam video streaming website platforms (which are enabling these feeds): Kyte.com which calls itself “The Universal Digital Media Platform,” offers ideas for “monetization” and offers the image above as part of its self-promotion, and Qik.com which appears to be a bit more popular with the blogging/social networking crowd, including my pal in DC.

Kyte also offers among other things, “The Kyte Premium Facebook application (which) is more than a simple widget – it’s a branded social communications platform, featuring live video streaming, multimedia chat, viral distribution capabilities and monetization opportunities.” Don’t we all need one of those?

Michael Moore to Make New Movie Free for Downloads

In a move that would make Chris Anderson proud — and in a move that is, to my knowledge, completely unprecedented for a “major motion picture” — Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films have announced that Moore’s new flick, “Slacker Uprising” will be made available via the web for free download on Sept. 23rd. If you’re interested, this link will hook you up to the viral marketing campaign so you can spread the word.

Their announcement also adds, “You can also buy the DVD for $9.95, which will start shipping on September 23 and features extras like: Special Guest Joan Baez – America the Beautiful, Why People Like George Bush?, My Pet Goat, The O’Reilly Factor for Kids, Just Add Water and Heat – More Ramen and Clean Underwear, and more. Or should I say, Moore!”

Here’s the trailer:

Web Video News Story: Democracy Now host Amy Goodman Arrested


In this world of video on demand and video shooters everywhere sharing their news, it is no less shocking to have the highly-respected American journalist, syndicated columnist and author Amy Goodman arrested while doing her job, right here in the USA, at a demonstration outside the Republican National Convention. (Full disclosure: I was, many years ago, a producer for Pacifica Radio, the network of independent radio stations who produce Ms. Goodman’s “Democracy Now” broadcasts.) Perhaps even more striking (and dare I say empowering) is the fact that this story can be tracked in detail via videos on the web. For example, here is video documentation of her actual arrest:

And here is a short video interview conducted in the halls of the RNC immediately following her release from jail:By way of background, Time magazine’s website provides an overview on the demonstrations; and if you are as shocked and appalled as I am by this kind of treatment of journalists, please sign the petition at Freepress.net demanding that the charges against Amy Goodman and her producers be immediately dropped. I submit that freedom of the press is worthy of your time to support. As a journalist, I feel personally violated by this kind of intimidation of the press.

Updated Tues 9/3: The most comprehensive online coverage, video and otherwise, of the clashes and arrests by police in St. Paul may well be aggregated by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com who goes so far as to suggest with shocking substantiation and more web videos that the FBI may well be involved in coordinating the attacks and intimidation of protesters.

The State-of-the-Art of Sponsored Internet Videos?

Beet.TV interview about the Bebo internet video channelsThe world of Internet videos keeps getting richer. Yes, there’s more interesting stuff than what’s on YouTube (not that’s YouTube is bad, there are just more channels on the “Internet TV system” than most people know). For example, this Beet.TV interview with Ziv Navoth, VP Marketing & Business Development at Bebo (which is one of the slickest, high quality internet video sites) offers one of the most passionate and somewhat persuasive pitches I’ve seen for a monetized opportunity for video producers. What do you think? Is it time for you (or me) to finally do an online video series?

OMG, Twitter is like so totally busted! “Twitter Whore” shows all…

I mentioned below the “In Plain English” Twitter video which actually explains Twitter to the uninitiated or un-techie amongst us. But, on the other hand, if you want to laugh a little, and sorta, kinda experience the frenetic experience of what I believe Twitter to be (and why I’m not a participant… go on, comment below about why I’m missing out!), then OMG! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Twitter parody videos below, produced by and staring one of YouTube’s rising stars, Lisa Donovan (screen name LisaNova), a self-described “Twitter Whore” (video is in two parts below). As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there.”

iPhone is Now a Light Sabre

I’m forced, due to time constraints, to wait for the lines to die down at my local Apple Store to get my first smartphone. Yes, me, your virtually favorite techno-dweeb has never owned a smartphone. That’s right, no Treo, no Crackberry… But, just in case your confidence in my geeky authority is waning; and to underscore the sincere message that the iPhone is now the ultimate–at least for now–mobile computing platform (thanks to the amazing resources now available via the iTunes iPhone Apps Store)… not to mention just for the giggles… I wanted to make sure that you all know that the iPhone (even the old, slow ones) is now a StarWars-reminiscent light sabre!

Video courtesy of the wonderful geeks at their totally-hysterical super-estore:

ThinkGeek

Matt Makes Viral Video Delight & Super-Hit

Frank Capra used to say (regarding the requisite creative direction to make a movie), “One man, one movie.” In today’s world of viral video distribution, one man (or one woman) can make a super-hit all by themselves… or in this case with the support of one partner and a chewing gum company for a sponsor (no kidding). The story is well-written in this NYTimes coverage, “A Private Dance? Four Million Web Fans Say No” (although as of this writing it’s been viewed 5.5 million times.) The Times calls it, “an almost perfect piece of Internet art: it’s short, pleasingly weird and so minimal in its content that it’s open to a multitude of interpretations.” I like it for all of the reasons above as well as the fact that it’s just plain fun and makes you feel good. 🙂 (btw, clicking on “watch in high quality” is HIGHLY recommended, although you have to view the clip here on YouTube to do that.)

I also recommend viewing Matt’s “Dancing Out Takes” at http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/

New iPhone Videos Better Than Ever

I’ll leave the commentaries on Apple’s dramatic announcement of the iPhone 3G to others. I’ll only say that after holding out on buying an iPhone, I’m glad I did. Because now I’m ready! Half the price for double the speed (and all those new applications!) I’m going to get an iPhone 3G as close to July 11th as possible. That’s as strong an endorsement as I can make. And, I think the iPhone is truly the first, the leading and the most important mobile computing platform.

I also noticed that the videos of today’s announcement are better than ever. For example, here’s a nice little hightlight reel from the Wall Street Journal:

I also looked at a little of Apple’s streaming Quicktime version of Steve Jobs’ complete presentation, and the quality of that video looks better than ever at http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/0806wdt546x/event/

I also enjoyed and appreciated the excellent live blogging done by the TechCrunch crew. Their live blog posts included videos of key people and commentators pre-event (including a nice scoop that EBay would be announcing an application) as well as great photos during.

The Ultimate Video Blogging Camera?

Hey, I’ve got a birthday coming up. 🙂 But seriously folks, as much as I enjoy the flexibility of my Flip Ultra, this looks like the professional’s on the run camcorder. I still dream of finding the time to do a kind of video blog and this is the kind of tool (and toy) that could help me make it happen. Click here for the TechCruch review of the Sanyo Xacti with 1080i HD and 300 frames per second slo-mo (I sure could use that to add cool video to my golf blog).

And speaking of video blogs, I actually saw an exercise video clip today that I enjoyed. Get exercised! 🙂

Video Chat Portal, Seesmic Gets Celebs including Spielberg

I fooled around with the social video site Seesmic–you might think of it as a video chat portal–some time ago, and I found it boring. But now that the likes of Steven Spielberg, Karen Allen and Harrison Ford are posting video clips there too, maybe I should take another look?

And here’s a thread you can view (without signing on to Seesmic) from a UK Guardian Journalist who dialogged via video with Steven, Karen, Harrison & more: Spielberg Pops Up on Seesmic

I caught wind of this from a TechCrunch post: Don’t Screw Your Partners Over A Marketing Promotion which explains more background and some related technical issues. Most interesting to me, they refer to the appearance of these celebrities as a “promotion” without explaining that deal. Jemima Kiss, the UK journalist says “the guys behind the project” are the Picture Production Company. However, The Industry Standard’s coverage of this says, “Seesmic’s founder Loic Le Meur claims that he didn’t even know it was going to happen until right before the videos went up.”

Still, it’s clear that these celebrities are not just posting. For one thing, they all have the same background (gold curtains) on their videos so they apparently all went somewhere together and recorded their posts. These are hardly the casual, usually at-home kind of chats most Seesmic users post. Just the same, I view this development as an interesting new kind of access to some very interesting creative, innovative people, as well as more evidence of how important “The Video Web” is becoming to more and more people, including top-level leaders in the entertainment industry.

Anyone out there using Seesmic regularly and care to comment?