Beyond Constructs

enric wrote this 3:17 pm: These last two days I saw two films:
  • Rob Nilsson's "Go Together"
  • Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight"

They could be considered opposites. "Go Together" is made on a shoe string budget by an independent, local film maker, Rob Nilsson. While Dark Knight is an almost $200 million Hollywood blockbuster movie by Christopher Nolan.

But for me they're at essence about the same thing: Transcending simplistic constructs. For "Go Together", it's the construct of the the film spectacle that is critiqued as people voyeuristically watch a film within a film back out to itself. Reflecting the displaying and viewing of film pulled within and through itself, the very act of viewing film is considered. The projections of our own wants, distractions, desires -- such constructs -- missing acting out on acting on life for passive reflections of forms of living.

In "The Dark Knight", the construct of the Hero that people picture in their minds to the real consequences of acting as a hero. Nietzche's statement "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." comes into play. As the actions of ridding evil, results in the death of loved ones and crossing into corrupt, destructive acts. To be true to justice, the Dark Knight goes beyond simplistic constructs of Hero. To be true to his values, he's willing to be seen as the villain by those accepting one dimensional ideals.

To me, this is the challenge of the 21st century. To go beyond simplistic constructs of good and evil(doers). Simple views of liberals or republicans as good or bad. Instead to discover to bring about values in reality that are actually good irregardless of the consent of those settling for simplistic notions.

justin.tv p0wns King Content

enric wrote this 1:48 am:

In NewTeeVee's March 29, 2007 article, "Eisner: The Web Doesn't Change Content", Michael Eisner makes the same contention as Barry Diller that content is king across all media. Michael Eisner:

I don’t look at it as web content. It is being distributed in a different mode. Hopefully [people] will forget whether it’s sitting on their lap or on a screen or on a desk, they’ll just be engaged in what the characters are saying. I don’t care about the technology, except that it opens up eyes to content.
Barry Diller:

"There is not that much talent in the world," Diller said. "There are very few people in very few closets in very few rooms that are really talented and can't get out."

"People with talent and expertise at making entertainment products are not going to be displaced by 1,800 people coming up with their videos that they think are going to have an appeal."

Now I love the p2p DVD quality downloads of Veoh's "Battlestar Gallactica". But what appears to be missing from Eisner's and Diller's perspectives is that a mass conversation system has existed as long as radio, film, and television. First as telegraph, then telephone and now with the internet. But it isn't until recently that Doc Searls, Jeff Jarvis, Richard MacManus, et. al. have clearly and popularly conceptualized the net as conversation.

With the convergence of film/television media with telephone technology in the internet, conversation enters into the media milieu. The dynamic of unreal and scripted reality-tv explodes into actual reality tv of justin.tv. The tech geek, Justin, who probably couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag to write compelling content has constant avid viewers, traditional media coverage. There are no writers, producers, actors or editors. Viewers are in a conversation with justin.tv in chat, in person by showing up in a location of his daily itinerary, calling him on his cell phone, and so forth.

The traditional media addage of "content is king" now has a powerful new competitor in conversation media.

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VON Recommendation

enric wrote this 4:56 am:

Jeff Pulver & Chris Brogan invited videobloggers to attend VON which I found quite worthwhile. After some session I thought they were too presentational. You know, talk for 75-90% of the time and Q&A the rest. So as we met at different times, I had some suggestions to Chris. On the barcamp end I recommended open discussions with a strong moderator so that one or two individuals don't take over the conversation. On the Vloggercon end, I recommended something like the Bullshit Cards. These cards, I believe, are invented by the astute vlogger Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen. If someone in the audience disagrees, thinks the speaker is saying bullshit, they should raise the card. The people on stage have the option to have the card raiser respond. The card doesn't have to say "bullshit", but could be less confrontational like a "not" card (as in the Modonna or Borat "Not!")

Now that a few days have passed since VON, what I found most promising is taking two groups of individuals:

  • Media Innovators (videobloggers, open software media developers, etc.)
  • Media Industrialists (TV network representatives, Media Advertisers, etc.)
and create innovative ways they can meet, present aspects of their work, and get to know each other. The recommendations above are a few that can be considered to break down the separation between the innovators and those in the industry. What I recommend is to brainstorm and try different methods, mock them up and see which works best. Then iterate and improve. There's much that can and will develop in new media, let the games begin!

The Case Against Advertising in Net Video

enric wrote this 11:10 pm:


From Very Good with Computers' photos.

Recently methods of advertising in video have become active in development and implementation. Originally when I heard the rational for Ads in net videos from Revver, I thought it worthwhile. Provide a method for people making video on the net to gain revenue from their work. This would support net videomakers continuing their work. There had been entries on the yahoo videoblogging group and on blogs for Ads targeted to the audience and content of the video. Similar to Google showing Ads that try to relate to keyword searches; an Ad for Harley motorcycles could appear on a videoblog entry about a weekend motorcycle hog excursion with friends.

Unfortunately, specifying include an Ad in my video on Revver, blip.tv and others means you can have a powerful, emotive video on the relationship to one's father followed by a upbeat commercial for Juicy Fruit gum. Or a irreverent video of doing a prank on someone followed by a commercial for the Heart Association. Now this problem probably just relates to the technicality of specifying categories for the Ad's relationships to video content and the amount of different Ads available. With time the correlation of Ads to video content and the viewership should have stronger matching.

The question is why have Ads in videos on distributed networks. Traditionally, on a television set broadcast a advertisement had to exist within the video stream. No other location was provided for placement. However on the internet an Ad does not need to be in the video. It can be anywhere around the video on the web page. Either top, left, right, bottom or lower down the page. Now video on the net does not mean just a web page. It can be an iPod, mobile phone, Tivo, or even projected in a theatre film festival. All of these non-website screens can and probably will develop methods of displaying more than just a video stream. A future iPod, mobile phone, digital TV and theatre projector will be able to show more than just the video. Like the Opera super- and sub-titles projected separately from the performance, these screens will probably eventually have dynamic separate information areas where Ads can appear. Further with the usage of different screen ratios than 4x3 (16x9, etc.), space can be made available around the video to place Ads. This puts advertising in the video stream, but does not directly break up the video continuity.

Google proved the failure of putting ads directly in searches. Flash Ads that pop-up and dance up over the content of web-pages send people away from sites. And Ads that interrupt the video, even at the end, will be found to be ineffective. They will either drive people away from watching the videos if at the start or middle or tend to not be watched if at the end. Ads placed around the video will work since people can choose to pay attention to the periphery of a video if the ad relates to their interest or ignore that area.

Defining Videoblogging

enric wrote this 6:15 am:

Interestingly the discussion on Amanda leaving Rocketboom has branched into a defining videoblogging. Now I see accurate models of entities as powerful and useful. For instance, Mathematical models of architecture allow the freedom to design new and revolutionary structures often in a few years. Prior to this in the Middle Ages, it took generations to build a cathedral. While the cathedrals are beautiful, there are few and large groups of people devoted their entire lives to constructing them.

However the danger in defining is dictating ones non-objective views and taste on an endeavor. This is what appears to be the purpose of some who'd like to narrow "videoblogging" to a style or method like "personal" videoblogs. This would be a hinderance to the growth and vibrancy of videoblogging for which a lack of stated definition is preferable. It is better to trust the wisdom of individuals acting in aggregate practicaly toward videoblogging than imposing a definition that excludes expressions.

However, I see that videoblogging has been around long enough with a large enough population for me to take a stab at a accurate definition. There are two aspects to videoblogging:

  • Technological architecture
  • Individual behavior

The physical architecture is the easy and apparent part of videoblogging. And it was defined early on. Currently wikipedia states:

A vlog is a video which uses a blog as its method of distribution. Regular entries are made and presented in reverse chronological order. A typical vlog entry combines an embedded video or video link with supporting text, images, and metadata.

Vlogs often take advantage of web syndication. Web syndication allows the distribution of video over the Internet using either the RSS or Atom syndication formats, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.
So the physical aspects are:
  • Video in a blog format with entries in reverse chronological order
  • Which use syndication (like RSS or Atom) for distribution.
    Note: Syndication is not always considered a requirement

The human behavioral aspects I have observed is that people require personal control and distribution of videoblogging. From freevlog tutorials on how to shoot, edit, upload and present videoblogs on your own to numerous and continued questions on how to encode, techniques of shooting, hosting sites, etc. on the videoblogging yahoo group, the apparent feature of usage is personal control in creating media without requiring approval from a gatekeeper. For distribution, when a service like Veoh violates individual control of distribution -- contradicting the creative commons licenses of vlogs -- videobloggers will not stand for it. So the behavioral aspects of videoblogging are:

  • Personal capability and control of creating a videoblog entry
  • Personal control of distribution (syndication) of one's videoblog

Combining the technological and human aspects of videoblogging, I propose the videoblogging definition of:

Videoblog: Video in a blog format with entries in reverse chronological order that can be syndicated for distribution. The creation and distribution of the videoblog entries are personally controlled by the videoblogger(s) without approval required from any media gatekeeper.

Update on July 10, 2006: I have modified the part of the videoblogging definition from "The creation and distribution of the videoblog is personally controlled..." to "The creation and distribution of the videoblog entries are personally controlled..." This change is to the first comment by Steve Garfield that the individual posts or entries are being created and modified, not the videoblog itself. Thank you Steve for the clarification.

Update March 2, 2007: Adrian Miles, Steve Garfield and Michael Meiser have put up thoughtful and important responses to this post. I have been away doing other things and will respond soon.

Displaced History

enric wrote this 1:24 pm:

Monday I was at my parents house trying to watch TV. I hadn't realized how far I'd moved from settling into tv watching. I could only watch a few minutes of The Golden Globes, 24, Fox News, The Comedy Channel, and so on before turning away to search for satisfaction on the next channel up.

The importance of the celebrities, drama of characters in stories, significance of news stories had an emptiness lacking connection to my history. I couldn't see my purposes in the esteem of a film star, the need of a character to stop terrorists, the report of significant world news, etc.

A day later considering the content of the shows browsed, I see that TV programming generalizes my history. And the media made by people I know as Ryanne Hodson, Erik Nelson, Chris Weagel, Raymond Kristiansen, Michael Verdi, Matthew Clayfield, Schlomo Rabinowitz, et. al. connecting and communicating to my current activities. That it isn't the quality of the lighting, camera movement, editing, beauty and skill of the actors, and such that is important. But whether the media content informs my activities in life. Much of mass media I now find unnecessary.

* Image from X-travalueMeal#2's photos

Lucid Media has moved

enric wrote this 9:09 pm:

The Lucid Media blog is now located at http://lucidmedia.cirne.com. If you are using feedreader (for example, from the "Get Feed" menu), feedreader is updated to the new location for Lucid Media feed location of http://feeds.feedburner.com/LucidMedia. Otherwise, please update your aggregator.

Videos Playing in Place

enric wrote this 6:48 am:

Below is a tutorial on coding quicktime video to play in place (without opening a new web page or refresh) on your site. The videos don't load until specified by a javascript call. To see videos playing in place, visit my Cirne site and try out the video entries.

After seeing the videos start and stop with mouse rollover at vlogs universe, I decided to code my videos to appear in place on my web pages. I wanted to create generalized javascript functions that handle the movie appearance. So, I looked at the source on vlog universes and Steve Garfield's Video Blog and this is what I came up with. The code and procedure is a bit complex due to the limitations of javascript. So a mistake in typing can easily cause failure. If there's better techniques, please let me know.

1) The first thing I figured is that the content of a <div> could be replaced with a call to "innerHTML." So after some experimentation I wrote the following javascript function:

What showVlog function does is take the ID of a <div> (divName) and the http location of a quicktime movie (movSrc) and replace the content of the specified <div> with formatted <object> and <embed> code for the movie. You may also optionaly enter the movie width (movWidth), movie height (movHeight), whether it automaticaly starts playing (movAutoplay) and displays a movie controller (movController). Or accept the default settings for those parameters: A movie that's 320x260 (with controller), does not auto play and will display the controller.

After trying this out and making it work, I realized I usually want my movies to autoplay (start playing immediately.) So I created another, simpler function playVlog(...) that has autoplay on:

2) I put both of these functions into a javascript .js file (I called mine "vlog.js") and put it up in a appropriate directory on my server (/vlog/script directory.)

3) Writing the vlog. First activate the javascript file by putting it as the first entry:

Since RSS aggregators will organize each entry as seperate, the call to the javascript file will need to appear into each vlog entry.

4 Then I place <a href...> link code within a <noscript> tag. The <noscript> tag serves two purposes: 1) If scripting is disabled, it allows the user to start the movie from the link inside the <noscript> tag and 2) RSS engines will format the first visible <a href...> pointer to a media resource as an enclosure:

5) Now to call the javascript movie function. First create a <div> with a unique <id>:

6) Then put in a <img> tag within a <span> container. The <span> tag has a <onclick> event call to the javascript function to replace the div area with the specified movie. The <img> tag has a style="cursor: pointer;", so that the cursor becomes a pointer when entering the image to indicate it's a clickable area:

7) And last, I write out in a script section a text link to call the javascript movie function:

8) If using WordPress 1.5, you'll need to comment out the following line in the php file wp-includes/default-filters.php:

   //add_filter ('the_content', 'wptexturize');

Otherwise the above script will be reformated by WordPress and not link correctly.

So here is the code to place into the javascript file:

And here is a sample entry to place the video in the page (please change it to the correct settings for your javascript file location and quicktime movie):

That's generally it. Let me know if you have any questions, see any errors or have any suggestions.

-- Enric

Update 2/27/06: The "Writing the vlog" and the "sample entry" above previously had errors. They should be correct now.

Nerissa Site Generator Test

enric wrote this 2:52 am:

Below is the movie produced from Nerissa's site for generating html code for movie enclosure. I've modified it so that the movie loads from a clickable poster movie:

FreeVideoCoding.com

Markup Language

enric wrote this 1:31 pm:

I am investigating a markup language for moving media. I came across a CMML (Continuous Media Markup Language), which deals with making moving media catalogueable and searchable. But this is not exactly what I'm looking for.

As I get further along, I'll post more on this endeavor.