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Enhancements to the Video Web: The Mini-Camcorder Du Jour & Intelligent Video Conversations

A couple of quick blog bites (vs sound bites) from the NYTimes website which indicate continually brighter days ahead for what I affectionately call The Video Web:

First of all, my fave tech writer David Pogue not only reviewed my Christmas present (see posts and demo video below), The Flip Ultra, but his latest “State of the Art” column, “Camcorder Brings Zen to the Shoot” pretty much nails it. It also informed me–and I had no idea about this–that the Flip is now garnering a rich 17% of all US camcorder sales and “has been the best-selling camcorder on Amazon.com since the day of its debut. For Pogue’s finely articulated perspective, click here.

The other item is what appears to be a new feature on the NYT website, which is Bloggingheads.tv “diavlogs.” Language-wise this is a double-derivative term. I’ll bet most people don’t even know that the term “blog” is derived from “web log” let alone that a “vlog” is a video blog. Just the same I welcome this combination that creates a new kind of conversation. (kind of rolls off the tongue) I’ve been thinking and occasionally saying that the use of webcams and the ease of the current state of video conferencing should be put to more use. Little did I know that this kind of video dialog, oh OK, diavlog was being so widely distributed. And then imagine my delight when I found at least these two commentators talking about the Barak Obama race speech being more articulate and interesting than most of those duds on cable TV news shows. Right on. It was also nice to see the NYTimes editing down and providing a solid 4-minute excerpt of what appears to be an almost hour-long original conversation on BloggingHeads.TV At least the whole thing is there for you if you want it.

Click here to watch the NYTimes-BloggingHeads edit: “Obama’s Grandmother” which asks the scintillating question: “Is everyone missing the whole point?”

I have to add that the intelligence of this BloggingHeads conversation is in stark contrast to my experience experimenting with the Seesmic.com video “conversation” website which is mentioned in the Davos post below. That turned out to be an interesting attempt from a technological point-of-view, but extremely boring overall. Even Seesmic’s specially produced (and apparently funded) posts were disappointing (to say the least). Sorry. I liked their bushy-eyed enthusiasm, but there’s good web video and a lot that is not so good. Like everything else…

Live from Davos via The Video Web


I’m presuming that most of you know about the World Economic Forum held in Davos each year and attracting a virtual planetary A-list who’s who… from heads of state to Bill Gates & Rupert Murdock to celebs etc. etc.

As the video web expands, live person-to-person coverage is becoming quite interesting; and perhaps the best of that batch is Loïc Le Meur, the French self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur and blogger.” Here’s a taste of “live from Davos” via the video web featuring Emma Thompson, Bill Gates and more…

Btw, Le Meur’s latest start up is Seesmic.com “the dashboard for your videos” and an online video “conversation” platform that’s still in alpha (testing, limited user base, etc.) Click here for a review/demo by BBC News’ Dot.Life

Oh yeah… And then there’s “The Davos Question” on YouTube:

And (drum roll) a darn good (IMHO) answer by “rock star” Bono :

It looks like the video web’s conversations are heating up! 😉

My First Pocket Camera Video is on YouTube

I mentioned that I got a Flip mini-video camera for Christmas:

My favorite new gizmo is The Flip (Ultra), a pocket-sized, web-ready video digi-cam. No tape, just 60 mins of MPEG-4 video in Flash memory and a flip-up USB port.

This camera is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It’s easy to use and for what it is, it works quite well.

So, I took it out for a drive… my buddy Keith Bailey had a photography show open at a restaurant in San Francisco last week. I shot the following while in attendance, in a very noisy atmosphere, in some instances with virtually no light… and the results are not bad. I edited it in about 1 and 1/2 hours with iMovie and “borrowed” some music from a friend, Gary Malkin (his collaboration with Tito La Rosa will be for sale soon.)

Anyway, here’s my quick first effort at pocket-cam event videography. It’s about 3 minutes. Please let me know what you think:

My Virtual CES Report

No, I didn’t go to CES (the consumer electronics mega-convention) in Las Vegas, but here are a few tidbits from the web that I’ve found worthy:

Scoble‘s doing Qik videos direct from his cell phone including this interview with the guys from YouTube:

And CNET picked this astoundingly innovative and open source BugLabs platform as its CES Awards winner for “emerging technologies.” I even like their video. Cool.

Nintendo Wii Hack Creates 3-D Virtual Reality Head-tracking: Whoa!

I don’t usually cover do-it-yourself techno-hacks, but as far as I’m concerned this is one of the kinds of things that YouTube was invented for. Specifically, here’s an amazingly creative computer guy (a Ph.D. student actually) who has figured out a way to create a true 3-D virtual reality experience by doing a customization (a.k.a. a “hack”) of the Nintendo Wii.

What’s equally impressive, at least to me, is that in less than 5-minutes on the video clip below, he not only explains how to do this yourself, but he educates us mortals about the difference between a simulated or flat 3-D image and the much more real virtual reality style head-tracking that he has managed to implement. I love not only what he’s done but the fact that he can use internet video to share it (and to share it so clearly) with the world. (Thanks, Johnny.) Enjoy.

Yet Another Stupid (yet entertaining) Web 2.0 Video

Another tech bubble? Who are you kidding?!? Or not…

Seniors Nintendo Wii Bowling Video Scores as Viral Video Marketing

Here’s a video that’s not only entertaining and about seniors using the innovative Nintendo Wii video game, but it is also a clever form of viral video marketing which subtly promotes a senior assisted living company. Expect to see more of this kind of thing in the future. This one is unusually well done, and they save the low-key pitch for last. Appropriately putting the fun first…

A Viral Video with Massive Heart, Energy & a Difference

Sometimes I see something that moves me and is sufficiently “right on” that I feel I need to post it. This is one of those times:

Video Shows (or Channels) Are Attracting Real Money


Beet.TV is calling this a “boom time for niche media” as in Believe It: Boom Time in Niche Media is Now: Mediapost Sells for $23 Million….WallStrip Producer Explains the $5 Million Value Proposition for CBS..and More! Impressive sales for producers who started their own thing, only on the web. Real sales for real substantial dollars. Nothing pie in the sky. Unquestionably, internet video programming has become a REAL market.

NYTimes covered the MediaBistro sale

A New Way to Distribute Your Videos on the Web

What’s a video producer to do? We all want to have as many people as possible see whatever we produce… So should we upload our clips to MySpace, to YouTube, to Google Video, etc. etc. Or, wouldn’t it be nice to have a simple web-based service that does this kind of distribution for us?

Well, now there is. It’s called Hey!Spread. Get it? They help you spread your video around the web.

It’s a basic, practical, straight-forward service (but you do need to set up accounts at the services you want them to populate with your clips) and most importantly, it’s immediately useful. I like that. 😉

Thanks to TechCruch for their mini-review of this service.