It’s time to say goodbye to tape….but

Video tape is large, can wrinkle, and is problematic to email. We’re digital now folks. It should have been gone long ago. But we need to agree on it’s replacement.

The problem with file-based media is simply the wide variety of file based media. Is it Quicktime? Ok, fine…Quicktime. 422? What audio spec? How many channels? Just open up Final Cut and look at all the parameters you need to set. We need to standardize. Or pick 2 or 3 and go with it.

Then we need to make it small. I’m hoping in short order compression technology will develop so that my 5 minutes of Pro Rez is not 5 gigs. It’s not so much the hard drive space as it is the transfer speed. Be it hard drive to hard drive or KiPro drive to Dropbox, if it takes longer than hitting “eject” and the media landing in your hands, it’s taking too long.

But video tape does make a better door stop.

How Kevin Rose Made Me Hate Twitter

Ever look down at your cars odometer and notice it says “100,000.5”. Rats! Missed watching it roll over to 100,000! Then you start thinking about well, maybe if you go backwards….oh that never works. A milestone missed. That happened to me, except not with the car but with Twitter.

I don’t use Twitter.com to tweet because, well, it sucks. I use Hootsuite for Mac, iPhone, iPad. There is something that Hootsuite lacks and Twitter gives you…how many tweets you’ve sent. I looked yesterday and it was 10,016. Damn. Missed the rollover. I thought about deleting…oh that never works. A milestone missed.

I was an early user of Twitter. When I started, there were few people to tweet and no one really knew what to do with it. The page was the simple sentence “What are you doing?” and a text entry box. People answered the question…unfortunately. Around the time I started, so did Kevin Rose. His tweet “I’m having a burrito” proved to me that Twitter was the stupidest thing on the planet. Kevin seems like a nice guy, I met him when he came to Current TV, I watched Diggnation. But still. Really?

That was over 10k tweets ago. Twitter has changed and I figured out what I want it to do for me. And I don’t see many tweets from Kevin anymore.

Social Media Day 2011

A short video I shot with my iPhone to document the Social Media Day gathering at House of Air in San Francisco.

Walk Around A Car, Get Famous. Break a Guitar, Get Infamous

Jose Castillo is a new media marketing consultant. He wrote this post for the June/July 2011 issue of Streaming Media on video and social media. I cut it down just a bit.

Tactic No. 1: The Rip Van Winkle

I am not a fan of car dealership commercials. Most of the yelling, screaming, and silly gimmicks are annoying; these tactics only turn me off from shopping with any of those dealers. So it was with a sense of trepidation that I recently visited with the owner of several regional auto dealerships. I politely stated up front that I was not interested in working with him if he was going to use some of the traditional approaches to selling cars. But I was pleasantly surprised in our conversation to hear that he was open to taking a dramatically different approach to building his business. The recent economy and surge in social media usage has everyone scrambling to figure out how to survive and grow in the new business world order. What was most interesting to me though was one small part of an initial review of the dealership’s web content. The dealership had started a YouTube account more than a year ago and had posted a bunch of mostly canned car reviews (most with zero views), but there were a few videos that stood out. Someone had taken a 3-minute video just sitting in and walking around a car, pointing out its features; the video had thousands of views. The owner was unaware that it had any views at all, much less a respectable number. After a quick dig into some of the analytics, we found that this video had been viewed around the world and was posted on several car sites. It turns out that this small southern dealership had become a trusted resource to people interested in this specific model of car a year after the fact.

Tactic No. 2: The Million Camera March 

Imagine if you had unlimited time and an infinite budget to create whatever video content you wanted to. Visualize a thousand production companies lined up to do your bidding. Close your eyes and envision an army of videographers all focused on telling your story, each one with his or her own unique perspective. After flashing back to reality, this may seem like a silly daydream. But The Million Camera March tactic is no pipe dream; in fact, it may already be working for you at this very moment.

The continuing march of technology has placed high-quality video cameras in the hands of millions of consumers. Smartphones, pocket camcorders, tablets, gaming devices, and just about anything with a power button on it have given consumers the ability to create and share video instantly. Yes, I am suggesting that your customers can create content to help you build your business. I know, this is a very unnerving thought for some of you. But the rules have changed, and we must change our tactics.

The Million Camera March tactic is not an entirely new concept. Business has tapped into customer minds to help create content and launch ad campaigns for years. But the current breed of electronic tools has leveled the playing field in the quality and speed-to-market categories. One clever YouTube video can help one company (Taylor Guitars) and can drop the stock $180 million of another (United Airlines). It’s a few years old, but the “United Breaks Guitars” story is worth reading again. [EDITIOR: video embedded below]

So what is the best way to implement The Million Camera Tactic? First, be very clear about what you need and how the process will work. Do you want a 30-second TV spot, a first-person review of your service, testimonials, how-to videos, or feedback on your products? The Ford Fiesta Movement selected video applications for 100 agents who would receive 6 months with a free car in exchange for videos and photos of various excursions. Make sure you set up guidelines for how to create videos, where to submit them, how you will select one, and what people will get in return. Supplying them with existing images, videos, and music can help provide some direction and even provide b-roll fodder for the more adventurous.

Secondly, be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Left to their own devices, consumers can create some very interesting things. The creators of most of the bad videos probably would have said something negative about you even if there weren’t an official channel for response. Policies that allow for removal of false or inappropriate material should be clearly posted. Possibly worse than the bad ones are the ugly ones, but remember, if you are clear up front with what type of video content you are looking for, it makes it easier to cull through the chaff—for example, “We want a 30-second spot, not a documentary.”

Finally, follow through. Pick a winner, use the spot, share the content on official channels, make the process into a video, celebrate with all your participants, and have an open dialogue about what to do next. An honest and transparent conversation with your customers/participants can do wonders for a company. Just remember, they are the ones with the million cameras. You only have one.

Tactic No. 3? 

Online video is changing rapidly. Not just the tools but also, more importantly, how we use them. The next 3 years are going to be a wild ride for any industry, whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a freelancer in your basement. I would encourage you to embrace these tactics but also realize that there will be new ways to engage with your customers just around the corner. Tactic No. 3 is the one that you will discover when you think like an underdog and take a fresh approach to online video. Remember to use what you have on hand, leverage your existing content, and empower your customers and partners to build your buzz for you.

The sun begins to set along the clear blue horizon. The soft sounds of island music drift down from the thatched roof of the bar. The warm sand on your feet and the cold beverage in your hand help settle you deeper into your lounge chair. Your tactics have bought you a few precious moments to yourself. And as you drift off to sleep, your final thoughts dance through your head: “Is someone filming this? This would be great for our next campaign!”

Like this? Here is the contact info for Jose.

What Final Cut No Longer Does

UPDATE: David Pogue did this blog post with his review.

Richard Hart of Academy of Art University School of Multimedia Communications has been playing with Final Cut Pro X. His report:

  • You can no longer import any previous Final Cut Pro projects in FCPX. (Yet you can port them to competitors’ products.)
  •  You can no longer import or export Edit Decision Lists, markers or any form of XML.
  •  You can no longer import Photoshop files with layers.
  •  You can no longer use Final Cut Pro 7 plugins.
  •  You can no longer assign tracks. No more video tracks or interview on Track 1, narration on Track 2 and music on Tracks 3. No tracks.
  •  You can no longer capture from tape using SDI, only Firewire.
  •  You can no longer control those Firewire devices.
  •  You can no longer Batch Log and Capture.
  •  You can no longer export to tape at all.
  •  You can no longer use Xsan or any other network volumes.
  •  You can no longer output broadcast quality (true video), not even to an AJA Kona, Blackmagic or Matrox card.
  •  You can no longer use a project on more than one machine, so
  •  You can no longer collaborate with other editors.
  •  You can no longer make a frame a custom dimension.
  •  You can no longer lay out your own workspace.
  •  You can no longer use more than one timeline per project.
  •  You can no longer organize your project media. No Bin columns, only devault folder structure.
  •  You can no longer set your own Scratch Disks or folders to store renders.
  •  You can no longer “Reconnect Media” or see a thumbnail if it is missing.
  •  You can no longer see the path to the media if its drive is disconnected.
  •  You can no longer rely on an Autosave Vault and
  •  You can no longer save your project manual manually.
  •  You can no longer use Multicam, one of the best camera tools in the industry.
  •  You can no longer use a color wheel to color correct.
  • Apple has discontinued FCP 7, Studio and Final Cut Server, and
  • Final Cut Studio’s installer is PowerPC and, hence, will not run on Lion.
  • FCP will run on Lion, but you can’t install it on Lion.”

So, it would seem Apple decided to get itself out of the professional video business.

iPhone Shoot, Edit, Upload

While out for a walk before the Apple WWDC, I shot, edited and uploaded this short video all via my iPhone. I’m not happy with the tiling that happens in the transitions.

Just an experiment

I am playing around with different ways to embed video. This version uses the iframe embed code given by YouTube which seems to work well. I am also wondering why YouTube makes one of my edits crazy. That’s not in the original file! The original video was shot on an iPhone while I had a few minutes to kill. Edited on Final Cut 7.