Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

oscarappThe sycophantic slush of another Oscars ceremony is already a fading memory but there are some learnings from ABC’s two-screen, Backstage Pass coverage that are worth further reflection.

The 99 cent app for iPhone and iPad users gave users access to live streams from more than 25 cameras dotted around LA’s Kodak Theatre – TV gallery-type command in the palm of your hand – plus access to additional content.

ABC’s acknowledgement of the multi-tasking tendencies of TV audiences allowed people to flit away from mainstream coverage to the likes of the unruly paparazzi cam, another one focused on famous faces and one on fashion.

Alessandra Stanley writing in the New York Times said the extra feeds gave viewers “an all-too-vivid look at how the air leaves the theater and the night starts to drag.” Miaow!

She was talking about how the streams showed winners celebrating backstage while TV was left with losers “smiling tightly through their rancour and disappointment”.

Sounds to me like TV had the best of that carve-up, but it depends whether schadenfreude or success is your preferred measure of enjoyment in such things.

Stanley also queried whether advertisers would be happy about a network inviting viewers to spend commercial breaks watching backstage camera shots of stars.

Probably not, but the world of advertising, like journalism, is having to react to profound change and the Superbowl has shown that compelling ads can hold and engage audiences if they’re good enough.

Update: The Chrysler Born of Fire ad featuring Eminem that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago has been seen 8.8m times on YouTube.

The benefit of a fully integrated two-screen production is that it keeps viewers tuned in rather than turning off or going elsewhere when the televised action flags.

Having more options shows the audience you’re working harder to give them a better experience, and it doesn’t have to be confined to big set-piece event like the Oscars.

Imagine, for instance, being able to rate in real-time the performance of panellists on Question Time via a second screen, to see the results on the TV, distinguishable by location, and then to share them with friends.

Imagine watching Click and at each mention of a device or a technology getting a back-catalogue of reviews, features and stories on your second screen.

And imagine news packages being amplified with information – the assumed knowledge the audience is expected to bring – because there simply isn’t time to recap everything in a two-minute piece: What’s a Green Paper? How is inflation measured? What is the Monetary Policy Committee and how does it work?

Now it’s true that all the information is already available on the web if you’re prepared to search. But this is about tethering, about extending the leanback ease of television to make extra material available without effort.

In this same vein, there’s a much bigger body of work being undertaken by colleagues over at BBC R&D which is set out here by Stephen Jolly.

Do read it; it holds clues to the future of television.


ONA10Two days, 1,300 journalists, hatfuls of awards (though, sadly, not for the BBC) and a blizzard of panels, workshops, keynotes and show-and-tells made for an exhausting, if stimulating annual conference in DC.

There were lots of highlights, but I’m going to pick out two and provide a few links to the rest.

The first came from a meeting with Vericorder CEO Gary Symons, who’s been leading the charge on MoJo, or mobile journalism.

The former CBC journalist has helped develop what the company calls “the world’s most advanced iPhone mobile media applications for recording, editing and sending files”.

Gary was CBC’s go-to guy for rapid coverage from the field of fires, explosions, crashes and disasters, and the expertise he acquired along the way has been poured into the software – it’s designed by a journalist for journalists.

He’s now pushing ahead with a major hyperlocal project in Canada and also touting a freelance journalism marketplace called

While the stringer network idea is nothing new, the clever bit is its back-end integration with newsroom systems.

The second conference highlight came from a session about shooting video with a DSLR and it was the work of independent film-maker Danfung Dennis which struck me.

His hour-long documentary about US involvement in Afghanistan, Battle for Hearts and Minds, showcased better than anything the power of great storytelling using a digital camera.

Embedded with Marines in hostile territory, his combat footage was shot on a Canon 5D and with only one lens (24-70, f 2.8) to avoid problems with dust in the body and to avoid missing the action.

For audio he used a Sennheiser shotgun mic (ME-66) and a G2 wireless system, though at that stage the technicalities became a bit like listening to fly fishermen talking Gold head wets and Cat’s Whiskers – a bit overwhelming.

Danfung also spoke about combining the aesthetics of still photography with cinematic storytelling and how that shaped his approach to the subject.

Fellow panellists Rii Schroer and Travis Fox had different kit solutions and less lofty approaches but showed equally impressive skills.

Rii presented a quirky feature piece, shot in a day, about the World Snail Racing Championships in Norfolk which she did for The Sunday Times, and Travis Fox showcased a Frontline package on highly decorated Haiti buses known as Tap Taps.

Now think about how this kind of work might plug into YouTube Leanback or Google TV, where individuals can become channels in their own right or their content can be reaggregated into underserved niches. The iPTV revolution is gathering pace.

Some other conference highlights:
Amy Webb’s top 10 tech trends
The top 10 lessons for hyperlocal journalism
Is Patch evil?

looxcieMobile video is constantly improving but all too often the best, unexpected moments are missed because the device isn’t ready or it’s in your pocket.

“Everybody gets the splash, but nobody gets the whale,” is how Looxcie’s marketing chief Bob Kron puts it.

His company makes a wearable Bluetooth camcorder which fits over the ear and continuously records video.

It stores up to five hours of material on a 4GB flash memory and the last 30-seconds of viewing are continuously buffered to be saved by a one-click, instant clip button.

To set-up, you use your smartphone (Android only for now) as a viewing screen to make sure the camera is level and pointing where you look.

Once up and running a red “video on” light illuminates.

The 30-second clips you save can be instantly shared – bandwith permitting – to pre-selected recipients or to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.

On the face of it,  this new hardware looks like a useful addition to the journalists’  toolkit.

At $199 it’s a cheap route to video capture, and simple to use. It doesn’t involve fiddling with lots of buttons and controls so you can concentrate on what’s going on around you – and that’s important if you’re in potentially hostile environments.

It’s also less obvious than a handheld camera so less likely to trigger adverse reactions in a crowd, though there’s always the risk that someone will think you’re filming them for clandestine purposes.

And as mobile pictures from the G20 protests have shown, the increasingly levels of scrutiny mean that you can never be sure that someone, somewhere, isn’t watching – and recording – you.

Google gets into speech to text

Posted: July 21, 2008 in Internet
Tags: ,

Maybe it’s raised conciousness on my part, but voice-to-text applications seem to be gathering pace.  Google is the latest player, offering searchable election video on YouTube’s politicians channels.

The speech recognition software locates keywords entered into a search box and then shows where they crop up on the video’s elapsed time bar.

It means that rather than having to listen to an entire speech, it’s possible to jump straight to the bit you’re interested in.

The software isn’t perfect and context is important but it’s a big time-saver that will unlock key parts of content  that may, in turn, whet the appetite for deeper engagement with the message.