Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Vlogger Interviews: BerrySoftball [Tommie Weimer]




Thoughts on this Vlogger Interview:

Dayton, Ohio resident Tommie Weimer's channel, BerrySoftball, is both a creative outlet, and a way to socialize and get to know people from around the world.   While many people, I think it's fair to say, have discovered the world through vlogging and YouTube, Tommie's participation in the YouTube community is just the latest chapter in his interaction with the world.  A U.S. Navy vet who served in the early to mid-1990's, he has friends the world over.  Having the chance to build an even wider community online is a huge part of his attraction to the world of vlogging.

So far, I've interviewed over thirty vloggers  - and social interaction is by far the most frequently mentioned reason for starting and continuing vlogging.  Yet, strangely, it's the one thing that non-vloggers don't fully realize.  "Traditional" media tends to see Vlogs and other produced YouTube videos as a one-sided affair.  Even in some corners of the YouTube community, there's a tendency to create more and more of these "one-way" productions in the broadcast model - it's the tried-and-true way to go.  

The Community model, I think, is far more exciting - and, potentially, offers so much more for a creator and his audience.  The strength of community in the online world is still largely overlooked.  It's going to take more ambassadors like Tommie - whether they're veterans, retirees, entrepreneurs, or simply individuals witha  passion to express themselves - to bring that community to it's full potential.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm Interviewed on "The Quad Spot"


Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed on The Quad Spot, a YouTube webseries that also features interviews with YouTubers - but with an approach all it's own. These interviews feature one subject and four interviewers interacting on Google Hangout over at Google Plus. I really hadn't had the chance to use Google Hangouts much until this interview - it's probably the single greatest advantage of Google Plus. I've been using it more or less on a regular basis since the interview - and I recommend you give it a try.  Join me on Google Plus!

I had a great time - it's a whole different ballgame being on the other side of an interview - you can be sure that I'll be featuring each of the Quad Spotters in future Vlogger Interviews! 

Enjoy the interview - and let me know what you think! Click on the video and check out The Quad Spot Channel as well! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Barbarians Storm the Gates! Broadcasting and the Future of Media

As someone who has lived most of his career in "traditional media" (in other words, outside of the internet), I've always known the NAB Show as a technological mecca - an overwhelming conglomeration of state of the art equipment for all phases and types of broadcast media - from radio to television to digital cinema.  The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show in Las Vegas includes perhaps the most extensive exhibition of broadcast technology in the world, with attendance topping 90,000.   

While I love tech, however, my point of view has evolved over the past decade.  Today, I'm excited with innovations that have evolved technology into an increasingly accessible tool for creative work.    There are many in broadcasting, however, who see this evolution as a dire threat.

What does "broadcast" mean in an age when so much media access is moving online?  How relevant is the traditional broadcast world in the changing landscape of information and entertainment?   Broadcasters are aware the world is changing - NAB's slogan this underlined the rumbling earthquake:  


In his keynote speech, NAB President Gordon Smith summarized the challenge to professional broadcasters - and to those working in traditional media, "Our greatest challenge is to have the courage to challenge ourselves.  Challenging our existing business models, looking around the corner, and adapting to a media marketplace where only the technologically nimble will survive.

"It is said that every moment can be golden for those who have the vision to recognize it as such."

I'm a great fan of streamlined technology - high quality, increasingly simple-to-use tools that tear town the obstacles that have prevented so many creative people from expressing themselves effectively.  With increased access to these tools, audience access is no longer limited to the select few.  Anyone can create a YouTube channel or record an audio podcast.   Of course, that doesn't mean that most will earn an audience.  Talent and ability are still prerequisites for success.  Some in the broadcast industry, in my opinion, see this as a "storming of the gates" and look upon low cost tools with disdain or outright rejection.

The future of entertainment is not in the hands of engineers and technicians.  It is in the hands of a huge and growing resource of creative people everywhere.

----

Here's my "Planet of the Vlogs" podcast on my NAB experience, featuring several products that, perhaps, prove that there is beauty in simplicity."



Here are a few selected highlights that likely represent the charactger of the NAB show five or ten years from now.

I met David Basulto of FilmmakingCentral.com in the press room before the exhibition opened - his iPad based camera rig is a great example of the simpler-is-better creative spirit I love about the evolving world of media:




Some Photos:

At several locations throughout NAB, remote control camera copters, made possible by miniature HD cameras,  were on display.

Another camera copter - of a more radical design.

The NAB Show took over the huge Las Vegas Convention Center.  Here's a small portion of the massive exhibition.

Social technology was also on display.  "Escort Live," from escortinc.com brings dashboard radar detectors to a new level.  Now, if your detector indicates a police radar or laser nearby, your location information is fed into a social network, alerting others nearby that they're coming upon an area where they might want to be extra careful...

Yap.tv is a desktop and smartphone application that provides monitoring of  Twitter/Facebook and other social activity attached to current network programming


Tracky.com is a social network designed for tech and creative start-ups - with both private, group-oriented project management features, and a public area for targeting networking

WeVideo.com is a browser-based, collaborative editing platform.  It's already available as a recommended tool at http:youtube.com/create  - or as a stand-alone tool.  It's no replacement for Final Cut or Avid, but it's a surprisingly useful system with a wide range of potential professional, semi-professional and educational possibilities. 



Finally, the smallest, cheapest, and most popular camera at NAB - GoPro's booth was packed, as it's cameras stood staring into the face of change....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Planet of the Vlogs Podcast - Episode #2


In this second episode of my new audio podcast, I react to the Google/YouTube decision to open the YouTube Partnership program to just about anyone eligible for Google Adsense. I also talk about my decision to attend the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas to seek out industry evolution to serving the needs of content creators. Finally - a quote from a Hollywood legend about the early years of the movies that speaks today's media pioneers.

You can subscribe to this podcast through iTunes at (this will open iTunes):  itpc://planetofthevlogs.podomatic.com/rss2.xml

Check out the official podcast page at http://planetofthevlogs.podomatic.com


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Vlogger Interviews: Andy8b



About this interview:

Aside from gaming, 20 year-old Andy hasn't turned on his television in years.   His friends still watch broadcast television, but it's just a matter of time before the tables are turned - and vloggers like Andy turn out to be the early adaptors when online video emerges as the dominant source of video entertainment.  Though Andy's actually been actively vlogging for the last couple of years, he still finds it a bit surprising when people in his non-YouTube life - from church, for example, mention that they've been watching his channel.  It seems that as YouTube becomes more accessible, the hidden lives of vloggers may not be hidden anymore...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Planet of the Vlogs: A New Podcast

I've been interested in podasting for quite a while, and now - this is my first attempt at a podcast series.  "Planet of the Vlogs" focuses on my perception of the world of vlogging, from the perspective of my background as a traditional media producer - really, it's an extension of what I've been doing on my blog and my vlog.   I anticipate that many of these podcasts will also include audio versions of the Vlogger Interviews I conduct on YouTube.  This episode includes an interview with Ryan Abe,  a YouTuber (ForSkitsAndGiggles) with over 242, 000 subscribers.  He reveals that many successful YouTubers are beginning to see the site as a destination, as opposed to a jumping off point for a career in traditional media.

Listen using the player below, or click on the links.



Check out the official podcast page at http://planetofthevlogs.podomatic.com/

I look forward to your feedback!

By the way, you can subscribe to this podcast through iTunes at itpc://planetofthevlogs.podomatic.com/rss2.xml

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Will Apple TV Turbo-Boost Vlogs?


Study  after study shows that people are unplugging from cable at an ever increasing rate.  As reported on mashable.com recently (Millions of Americans Cut the TV Cord, by Alissa Skelton), The Convergence Consulting Group reports that between 2008 and 2011, 2.65 million Americans ended their pay-tv subscriptions.  They predict that number will grow to 3.58 million by the time 2013 rolls around.   The exodus, according to the report, is driven by online streaming services - Netflix, Hulu and the like.

What the report doesn't reflect, but which will undoubtedly make a dramatic impact in a follow up report a year or two hence, is the rise of online-specific entertainment, led by YouTube and driven by the emergence of the "digital hub"  -  televisions and devices (like Apple TV) that unify most of your digital entertainment (online video, music, podcasts) in one convenient place.  Watching YouTube in your living room is finally becoming as simple as watching your favorite television show.

The numbers so far are likely very small - but they're certain to grow.  As AppleTV and it’s cousins become more commonplace, I expect that millions will soon begin to discover online entertainment - expanding the market so rapidly that conventional (aka traditional/old/archaic) media will be left scratching it's collective head.

Recently, I demonstrated Apple TV to a friend largely unexposed to YouTube and online entertainment. I launched the YouTube app, and scrolled the featured and most popular videos.  A scientist at heart, his attention was drawn to a recent video by Charlieissocoollike - Fun Science:  Randomness -  part of his series defining scientific concepts in brisk, easy to understand and funny videos. At 21, Charlie is a veteran vlogger - he's been on YouTube since he was sixteen.  According to the latest statistics, his videos have over 225 million views.  He's not a typical vlogger - but I think it's fair to say he's a good ambassador for the vlogging community.

In a single moment, my friend understood, for the first time, the personal appeal of online entertainment.  Vlogs take on an added power when presented full screen on a 46 inch television.  A large part of the appeal of effective vlogs is the creator’s personal connection with the audience.  On a television, that connection is only strengthened.  I began to wonder if his reaction might be an early hint of the potential growth of vlog-based entertainment.

The technology isn't there quite yet - all of YouTube's social and community features (commenting on a video or channel, or liking, for example) are currently inaccessible from Apple TV and other similar devices.   Bring these features into the family room alongside big-screen YouTube, and the combination could very well engage millions and make possible a true Vlogging Industry.








Friday, April 6, 2012

The Vlogger Interviews: Mippey5 [Luke Thompson]





About this interview:

Luke Thompson, of Mippey5, is a Minnesota-based YouTuber creating song parodies of contemporary songs.  Now that he's graduated from college, he's working full time to see if he can make his growing YouTube channel a part - or even full time profession.  Luke discusses how he began on YouTube, and haters who have trouble understanding the word, "parody"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't Ridicule Kids Who Connect


Elissa Gootman’s article in this Sunday's (March 31, 2012) New York Times, “Young Writers Dazzle Publisher (Mom and Dad)” explores the phenomena of young children - pre-teens, in some cases - publishing their own books using the numerous tools now available for DIY, or do-it-yourself publishing - which today can include print-on-demand services, in which books are printed and shipped on order.   Some young authors are actually selling hundreds or even thousands of copies.  
Parents and children, of course, find value in the experience - but the article notes that without the traditional gatekeepers (i.e. publishing houses) some see “the blurring of the line between publishing and self-publishing as a lost opportunity to teach children about adversity and perseverance.”
Naturally, the “old school” scoffs at self-publishing.  The article quotes, among others, novelist Tim Robbins, “What’s next?  Kiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11 year-old rocket scientists?”  He dismisses parents who think their children might have the skill to write a book, calling them “delusional.”
To be fair, it takes time and experience to be a true master at any craft.  A twelve year old author might write engaging books that earn her a loyal following - but that doesn’t mean she’s at the top of her game.  She’ll grow and develop - and learn not only from teachers and mentors - but directly from her audience to an extent impossible to young writers of previous generations.  
While attitudes toward do-it-yourself publishing - whether writing, music or online video - are changing - there’s still a determined arrogance amongst media professionals - and an astonishing lack of empathy toward young or struggling artists that finally have a pathway to the world
A young writer who sells thousands of books is connecting with his audience.  A young YouTuber with thousands of subscribers is connecting with her audience.  A musician living far from the mainstream can connect with fans around the world.   
By using and succeeding at self-publishing and do-it-yourself technology (and sometimes skillfully using social media to promote their work), they are trailblazers.  Ironically, they’re providing professional artists with infinitely wider opportunities as we enter a decidedly entrepreneurial future.
Traditional media, on the other hand, may still have a bit of a blind spot:  oddly,  this New York Times article ignored the greater revolution in self-publishing: the e-book.