January 31, 2008

Vote LiveDocs + Fade with camera distance

Along with AE 8.02 was an update of AE Help (PDF) and LiveDocs for AE 8. On the AE-List Todd Kopriva, keeper of the docs, urged all to take a survey so Adobe has feedback about how well LiveDocs is working. He continued:

"One of the things that we heard from last quarter's survey was that After Effects documentation is incomplete (but accurate, yay!). One very fast way to fill some gaps is to point users to the example projects, tutorials, and other materials that people like you create and publish. Some of you have been adding LiveDocs comments to Help on the Web that point to these great materials. We intend to do much more of this if you tell us that you find it valuable."

A good example of value came in a recent AE-List post from Todd:
If you do decide to fade a layer's opacity based on its distance from the camera, here's a [LiveDocs] link to an expression that does the trick...You can thank Dan Ebberts for that.

Again, here's the survey to give Adobe feedback about how well LiveDocs is working. And an overview of AE scripting and expression resources can be found at AE Scripts Galore.

SF Cutters host Maschwitz, Christiansen

The next SF Cutters Monthly Meeting is set for tonight Thursday January 31, 2008 at Adobe San Francisco on 7th and Townsend. It should be a good night for After Effects with these guests:

Interesting vendors and food start the show at 6:30 pm; presentations are from 7 - 9:15 pm.

Update: Stu played the still mysterious Fenderbender, while Mark played the result of Dry-for-Wet, a tutorial he's selling on StudioDaily. Bob Donlon did have some interesting things to say about Flash video. I get the impression that Adobe Media Player's real competition is iTunes. By the way, it's not the only way to play FLV from the desktop! VLC Player and WimpyPlayer (both Mac/Win) are just 2 examples.

January 30, 2008

This Week in Photography

Alex Lindsay has a new podcast available in iTunes and the web, This Week in Photography. The blurb:
Join Alex Lindsay, Scott Bourne, and friends each week as they discuss camera technique, technology, and news. From taking photos of the family to understanding how cameras work to testing state-of-the-art equipment, you'll hear, and see, it all on This Week in Photography.
Update: If you want to see a story on This Week in Photography, make sure to tag it with "twipideas" in del.icio.us...You can also use tags for macbreak weekly (mbwideas) and This Week in Media (twimideas).

Online Video Editing Tools

Without a hint of a desperate need of filler after recent posts, here's surveys of Online Video Editing Tools from Top Web Resources. and a more in-depth but older one from ExtremeTech.

They don't cover similar services like YouTube Remixer, JayCut, Searchles, Movie Masher, OneTrueMedia, Gotuit VideoMixer, Vidavee Graffiti, and interesting services that add metadata and outlines like VeoTag.

January 28, 2008

Working around with QuickTime 7.4

Some of the problems with QuickTime 7.4 are getting a lot of attention (for example here) but the solutions are not. Options include a downgrade to improve (links to installers, plus updated info) the situation, or the Carpia.TV idea for Working around QT 7.4 After Effects error.

Update: fxguide adds some meaty thoughts with Pro Living in a Consumer QuickTime World.

Update 2: the QT 7.4.1 update gets the official go ahead.

January 27, 2008

AE Camera Stabilization in brief

Flowseeker posted about segment from the FxGuide podcast describing in a nutshell how to stabilize a moving camera in After Effects, a technique that is more thoroughly documented in his book, After Effects CS3 Studio Techniques. For more see, Camera Stabilization in AE.

January 25, 2008

Aenhancers.com update

There's a new version of Aenhancers.com, a forum for discussion and library of After Effects expressions, scripts, and presets. Script requests are welcomed.

The forum software has been upgraded to offer these enhancements:
* Posting attachments (size limitations applied)
* Instant messages
* Better code highlighting
* E-mail to the forum to reply to or create posts.
* More powerful search

January 24, 2008

There must be some kind a way out of here

Heath Ledger seemed like a nice enough guy. He wanted to surpass signing the Mona Lisa with a spray can and attempt a edgy slant on the Joker/Thief character. Maybe someday we'll find out what he was up to.

Even if he may have preferred Bob Dylan (co-playing him in I'm Not There) or maybe Donovan singing to God, or the 3 solos at the end of Abbey Road, here's a powerful if retro show in commemoration. Or maybe it's just because I like The Other One. It's from San Francisco's Fillmore West, August 21 1968, via the Internet Archive.

Factoid: In the late 60's the Grateful Dead often did the obscure Dylan song "He was a Friend of Mine" that ended Brokeback Mountain, and the co-producer of that performance by Willie Nelson in that movie regularly tours with a post-Garcia Dead band. When The Byrds did the song it was intended to be about John F. Kennedy. As one might imagine, the song seems to have roots in Afro-American Blues.

January 23, 2008

If Avid sells

As the space after Avid naming a new CEO and NAB shortens, Capria.TV sees more hints of Avid intentions. If investors do think Avid is Humpty Dumpty, maybe Adobe should buy some pieces. It might be better than letting letters M or another A (Autodesk/Discreet) have them.

I still want Commotion's features in After Effects, assuming the source code and an engineer were available, which is unlikely.

FreshDV reviews Imagineer Systems Mocha AE

FreshDV reviews Imagineer Systems Mocha AE in Mocha AE Planar Tracking. There's movie too that's available in iTunes or via direct download.

While you're there, check out Cloverfield Shot on a cheap Consumer Camera?

January 22, 2008

After Effects CS3 8.02 Update P2 ready

DAV's TechTable reports that the After Effects CS3 8.02 Update (which includes P2 Support) is ready:

"To update, launch any CS3 application and go to the Menu option Help>Updates. The Adobe updater will scan your CS3 apps and start downloading. Once it starts downloading, make sure you close all of your web apps and any open Adobe apps. There are STILL EXPORT ISSUES WITH QUICKTIME 7.4. Hopefully we will see a quick update for QT from Apple as many AE users have been crippled by 7.4.For mac users the 8.02 update includes OSX Leopard support."

This update fixes multiprocessing performance issues and more. To learn more about the 8.02 update, go to the Read Me TechNote.

Also important is an update of AE Help (PDF) and LiveDocs for AE 8. On the AE-List Todd Kopriva, keeper of the docs, urged all to take a survey so Adobe has feedback about how well LiveDocs is working. He continued: "One of the things that we heard from last quarter's survey was that After Effects documentation is incomplete (but accurate, yay!). One very fast way to fill some gaps is to point users to the example projects, tutorials, and other materials that people like you create and publish. Some of you have been adding LiveDocs comments to Help on the Web that point to these great materials. We intend to do much more of this if you tell us that you find it valuable."

Flowseeker notes the updates on Adobe Downloads are ready now, and for QuickTime, 'Watch each card you play and play it slow.'

AE Product Manager Michael Coleman also notes: "We have also posted additional information about how 8.0.2 can help those experiencing certain gamma issues. Lastly, if you use custom interpretation rules, you'll find some important information on our support site."

Update: Capria.TV posted a Working around QT 7.4 After Effects error.

January 21, 2008

MLK: not worried

Here's the last part of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 speech the night before he was assassinated. Like Malcolm X, he was murdered even though government agencies were present and monitoring through the COINTELPRO program. Democracy Now has the full speech and more.

Also very interesting is a speech MLK gave the previous year, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam."

Mashups can be fair use

Mashups are probably not illegal, according to Recut, Reframe, Recycle a summary of a study by The Center for Social Media and American University’s Washington College of Law.

Moreover, the "study recommends the development of a blue-ribbon committee of scholars, makers and lawyers to develop best-practices principles. Such principles, similar to ones documentary filmmakers developed in the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use can help new creators and online providers decide what’s legal, and assure that the Internet remains a safe space for new forms of self-expression." (via)

Obey Alien Orders

In Obey Alien Orders, John Dowdell builds on an O'Reilly blog post noting consequences of letting your web browser run scripts capriciously. With much of the world, awhile back I settled on the NoScript and Adblock add ons to Firefox to control which sites get to run scripts. It's easy but a bit annoying trying to figure out which scripts are need to run Yahoo and Google Analytics tracking and Blogspot smoothly. Better than letting scripts run wild.

Marketing knows this, so you still have to enable scripting to view many things. You can still do housecleaning by Clearing Private Data (except Saved Passwords), or more effectively by running Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy, and CCleaner on Windows.

January 20, 2008

SF Cutters host Maschwitz, Christiansen, Donlon

The next SF Cutters Monthly Meeting is set for Thursday January 31, 2008 at Adobe San Francisco on 7th and Townsend. It should be a good night for After Effects with these guests:
This event has a $10 admission charge and due to circumstances must be paid online by credit card. Paid yearly members of SF Cutters ($50 online) have their admission to meetings covered. If you are inclined to come, please register now, the faster the event fills the more the raffle can fill up; everyone gets two raffle tickets with entry.

Thanks to Phoenix Editorial and Advanced Systems Group the meeting includes pizza, veggies and drinks.

MacBreak podcasts from Macworld 2008

I missed many things at Macworld 2008, so I'm glad that Ninja Crayon noted the MacBreak podcasts.

Web video tracking and piracy

TorrentFreak has a few interesting items: Video: How People Are Tracked Using BitTorrent and Director of ‘The Nines’ Talks to TorrentFreak About Piracy. Making the Movie had more thoughts in Torrent Ambivalence.

Mark Pesce's talk about harnessing mob rule downloading last year is still interesting. Back to the point, here's the simple version of how people are tracked using Bittorrent:

Update: An interesting discussion broke out in the comments of the FreshDV post, John August on BitTorrent and Piracy.

January 19, 2008

Scene detection for AE

On the AE-List, Lloyd Alvarez posted news about his new script for scene detection in After Effects called Magnum - The Edit Detector. A movie demo is also at his site AEScripts.com.

Prolost noted that this could be part of a first step in a DV Rebel color grading workflow, as demoed with the Make Thumbnail Comp script in his book The DV Rebel's Guide.

Update: PrepShootPost mentioned the use of this new script.

January 17, 2008

Nodes for After Effects with Conduit 2

Conduit, currently an Fxplug for Apple Motion and Final Cut from dvGarage, is coming soon to After Effects (and Photoshop) for both Mac and Windows. Conduit gives you the basic nodal compositing functionality of Shake, and on the Mac it works in real time through GPU rendering. It's especially useful live on greenscreen sets, letting you adjust lighting setups and capture live 4:2:2 color through HDMI from HDV cameras like a (now) $600 Canon HV20.

Features on Windows for the AE filter will be limited compared to the new Conduit Suite on the Mac, since leveraging Mac OS APIs makes so much possible so cheaply (compare pricing with the new and less capable FXhome filters). Details on the release should be finalized in few days.

Much more info and explanatory movies on Conduit and nodal compositing can be found in the demo section of dvGarage Conduit pages, and on the blog Lacq’ing in Depth.

Update: There may have been confusion about inequality of features across platforms, after all my source was an a little card from the Macworld booth. The developer for Conduit for the Window side made some clarifications in the Comments section (click on post title to access). I think the difference is that Conduit Suite, which includes Conduit Live, is only on the Mac. The AE filters and file formats are the same.

Update: Details on the release should be forthcoming January 30.

Hackintosh in the air

Update: Lifehacker posted this a few weeks later: OS X on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required, and No Film School is still interested in November 2010 in How to Build a Hackintosh.

Reposting something from November in honor of the new Apple laptop -- and the $400 ASUS subnotebook. But the hack is hardly headache-free. If you "don’t have SSE3 and/or recent Intel chipset, my understanding is the EFI hacks at the moment do not allow you to run an unpatched kernel, hence no updates." There can also be sundry system errors from driver malfunction, so no fancy Final Cut setups are safe, according to sources sighted at Macworld...

Actually seeing the new Apple Air does make you soften somewhat because it is nice, but Tech Thoughts hasn't touched it yet and has some good comments. Henry Norr, the former editor at MacWeek who took a brave stand at the SF Chronicle, has more thoughts. \\\

Hobbyists might enjoy building a Hackintosh -- in the sense discussed here, a PC running Mac OS assisted by "OSx86" technologies that evolved from developer kits for transitioning from the G5 to MacIntel. It seems akin to cloning the BIOS of the original IBM, and not quite the same as running a virtual machine like VMware.

Lifehacker has a walkthrough on how to Build a Hackintosh Mac for Under $800, and UNEASYsilence does the same for the $300 ASUS subnotebook in Load OSX 10.5 Leopard on the eeePC.

I'm not sure why someone doing video would spend too much time on this, but I keep hearing about it because of the low cost of building a PC Frankenstein. You might remember that Victor Frankenstein shirked responsibility for his actions and rejected the creature out of fear; only after this neglect did the creature became a monster.

FXhome adds 2 new AE filters

FXhome has released 2 new After Effects filters for Mac & Windows. MuzzlePlug lets you easily create weapons fire, from modern day to futuristic, with 3D and subcomponent controls. PowerPlug lets you create a variety of lightning, electricity, and plasma effects.

The demo movies for MuzzlePlug makes it especially seem worth a further inspection if you don't have The DV Rebel's Guide or After Effects CS3 Studio Techniques muzzle flashes, squibs and energy effects.

Update: Mylenium adds "let’s not forget about various sources for stock footage like Detonation Films or Andrew Kramer’s Videocopilot site. Personally I’d think real hard about it." Given the alternatives, perhaps the price is high -- but the 3D controls inside the Comp window seem cool.

Update 2: Maltaannon has a review and tutorial of MuzzlePlug.

Update 3: MuzzlePlug was EOLed and replaced by the app Hit Film.

January 15, 2008

TV tech in primary coverage

Not long after Technology Review published a long essay critical of NBC and new media, The Daily Show looks at the cable news networks uses of TV technology during the New Hampshire primary coverage. (via)

Gridiron renders workflow snapshots

Ok, so no 'Nucleo for Premiere' but instead, it's asset management in the picture for GridIron. The automatic thing is what's cool in the new product GridIron Flow. There are no check-ins and no preset workflow requirements as in other assets managers. You work as normal and get to review, backtrack, and archive even after creative flurries.

I think I'd like to see PERT chart-type for project management rather than just a calendar though. If internet services are offered by this work tracking app, they'd likely get evaluated like Adobe apps for magic cookies.

...and now an edit of the press release:

GridIron Software has announced GridIron Flow, new digital content management Mac and PC software for creative professionals working on graphic design, web, and video projects. Flow tracks work in progress from initial creation to end result, automatically, even in complex workflows.

Flow tracks workflows by recording all Import/Export, Save/Save As, and Copy/Paste actions in a project. It understands the file formats for virtually all creative professional applications, including those from Apple and Adobe, and maintains the relationships between stills, movies, sound clips, fonts, plug-ins, and color swatches on all local, network, and removable storage devices. Flow automatically builds Workflow Maps for every project that display all related application project files, media assets, and internal structures such as comps and layers. By selecting any file in the Workflow Map, users can view its fonts, color swatches, and the application plug-ins used to create it.

Other features to be included in Flow are a Workflow Calendar; Visual Versions, which automatically track and stores versions of files and metadata to allow reverting; and Tags and Annotations, which provide tags and sticky-note style annotations to assets or projects and support custom tags and metadata standards. In addition, GridIron offers the Flow SDK to tool vendors to make it easy for them to create custom extensions to support their file formats and add new functionality to the Flow environment.

Flow will be available this summer for Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard and for Windows XP and Vista. For more information and to sign up for the Public Beta visit http://www.gridironsoftware.com.

January 14, 2008

2007 image processing projects

Here are 4 image processing projects from academia that made a splash in 2007. The links go to the original posts with more information and sources.


VideoTrace: fast interactive scene modelling from video

Seam Carving

Enhanced photogrammetry

And some things from corporate, Hydra: Adobe's answer to Core Image? and Microsoft Surface≠Minority Report.

Also, from Seattle by way of the TED conference: using photos scraped from around the Web, Blaise Aguera y Arcas of Microsoft shows Photosynth and Seadragon creating amazing multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features.

Hardware encoders for h.264 and MPEG-2

The Elgato h.264 USB thumb drive encoder was mentioned here a few months ago and has competition from a $3,495 PCI-E card and from a similar device also priced around $100. Actually, I kinda wonder if the Elgato is the same product under a different label as Instant Video To-Go by ADS Tech (from April 2007), who claims "With software conversion often taking 4 -10 times longer than real time, Instant Video To-Go video transfer accelerator converts up to 5 times faster than real time..." The Editblog's result with the Elgato device weren't that good. [update from MacWorld: same USB device but branded for different OSes, Elgato takes the Mac side while ADS retains Windows]

ADS Tech has another product that accelerates Adobe CS3 Production Premium applications. Pyro Kompressor HD is a $3,495 PCI Express "solution that accelerates HD MPEG-2 and HD H.264/AVC encoding up to eight times faster than software-only video compression." According to Macworld, the $3,495 package "supports watch folders for job automation, upscaling and downscaling, frame rate conversion, custom settings, chapter support, batch encoding to handle multiple tasks, drag and drop, control over target output file size, and muxing, or combining, streams from different input files ...and includes decoders for DV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.264, AVCHD, AVC-Intra, VC1, DVCPRO 25/50/100, DVCPRO-HD, JPEG2000 and YUV files, along with import support for DirectShow and QuickTime files."

The technology behind this product by Ambric is the world's first teraOPS-class processor.

January 11, 2008

January 8, 2008

GridIron has been keeping a secret

Hmm, could it have to do with rendering? Whatever it is, it should be fun. Apple makes you wonder what you could do with a new tricked out 8-core Mac with 32gb RAM.

Steve Forde of GridIron Software shared this on the After Effects List:

"Wanted to post an invite to list members to a Macworld announcement party we are having in San Francisco on Monday January 14th between 6 and 9pm PST. Here's the details...


I can't go into any details until after the announcement - but suffice to say - we think AE folks will think its pretty dang cool...;)"

SF Bay Avid User’s Group, Wed Jan 9th

The San Francisco Bay Area Avid User’s Group hosts Nicholas C. Smith (A.C.E.) as guest speaker on January 9th, 2007, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm (at Avid/Digidesign in Daly City):

"Nicholas C. Smith’s editing credits include Underclassman, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Monkeybone, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Cars, The Secret Garden, The War of the Roses, Spaceballs, and The Possession. Nicholas is an employee of Pixar and is an Avid user, (Yes, even at Pixar use Avid for their feature length projects)."

Avid has had some good tutorials, blog entires, and podcasts but a good number of them seem to be missing as the company makes a transition. The FreshHDV video on ScriptSync from NAB2007 is still available though.

Update: The Editblog notes a post by A.C.E. Avid editor Harry B. Miller III on his experience with Final Cut (comments too).

Update 2: The Editblog notes Avid HD Resource Documents.

January 7, 2008

Dumbing down web video with TV news

MSNBC is letting you spin their video on your site (via Beet.TV). My counterspin is wondering what scripts they're running when you embed with them!

Update: Camcorderinfo offers an update in Round-up: news outlets offer free online videos.

Edifying web video

The New York Times has an article on two of the investors backing BigThink, a new website currently in its private beta, that offers a certain consensus reality through interviews with thinkers, think-tank reps and other operatives on faith, truth and justice, and policy and politics (via another Scott Kirsner blog, Innovation Economy)

BigThink is the latest in a series of similar startups, as noted in a previous post Feed your head, which include:

Fora.TV (similar range of opinion as BigThink), ResearchChannel.org, The University Channel, PBS, Research-TV.com, TotalVid.com, EnergyPolicyTV.com, UVu.Channel2.org, ScribeMedia, plus the TED and LIFT conferences.

Update: NewTeeVee has additional comments in Two Startups Shoot for the Snobbish Set.

Update 2: Beet.Tv has video in Big Think, the "Intellectual YouTube" backed by ex-Harvard Prez Lawrence Summers, Launches with Style and Starpower.

'Eliminate all that laborious compositing'

A glimpse of the future from Scott Kirsner:

In Sunday's Boston Globe, I wrote about a small company called Cinital that's trying to bring down the price of high-quality, real-time green screen compositing. What's novel about their approach is that the camera can move anywhere it wants -- or change focus -- and the background responds appropriately.

read on (with better video formatting) at CinemaTech...

January 6, 2008

Michel Gondry at Apple Store SF

indieWIRE presents Michel Gondry, director and writer of Be Kind Rewind, on Monday, January 7, 7:00 p.m. at the Apple Store in San Francisco on Stockton near Market Street.

Filmmaker Michel Gondry will participate in a discussion and show scenes from his latest film, Be Kind Rewind, which stars Jack Black and Mos Def. When a man whose body accidentally becomes magnetized unintentionally erases every tape in his friend's video store, the pair set out to remake the lost films, including Back to the Future and The Lion King.

Be Kind Rewind
was edited with Apple's Final Cut Pro software. The event will be moderated by indieWIRE contributor, Susan Gerhard.

Update: NewTeeVee has a report on this event.

January 4, 2008

MGLA becomes DMA/LA

On the AE-List, Ko Maruyama announced a new name for MGLA, which was run for 10 years by Trish & Chris Meyer. If you want to sample the history of the field, check out Summaries of some of the 125 MGLA meetings.

Now, MGLA has reformed without missing a beat and is named DIGITAL MEDIA ARTISTS / Los Angeles. There's an interim web site mirror, www.mgla2.org, until the site and forums are fully ported over to the new group name. The next meeting is Tuesday, January 15 and features MAXON’s "The Power Integration Tour," a joint road show with Adobe.

This is the only time of the year that being in San Francisco is better than LA for a user group meeting, since SF has a "super secret" presentation by Apple at the Macworld FCPUG Network Supermeet on January 16!

Letterpress bites

Here's a nice little movie on letterpress printing. All because John Nack mentioned The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web, which he got from Drawn's Web Typography Sucks, which linked to kottke.org.

The Bay Area is a thriving center for small press and the art of bookbinding. You can take letterpress workshops at The San Francisco Center for the Book, which also has a Bookarts Users Group. Another fun resource is Paper Source, with workshop stores in Northern and Southern California and across the country.

January 3, 2008

Adam Wilt on Lithium Batteries on planes

Tech Thoughts and Boing-Boing both have good coverage of the new ban on lithium batteries on planes.

Adam Wilt, who apparently has a plane obsession, had some additional comments on over on the SF Cutters list:

>> Between several professional and consumer camcorders, MacbookPro, digital still cameras and a little hand-held micro-cassette audio "note-taker" I have quite a few batteries that travel by air on occasion. I'm wondering whether I'd be Lithium "overlimit" if I packed it all for a shoot!>>


- You can carry on or check as many Li-ion batteries as you want IF they are installed in/on the powered equipment.

- You can't check ANY spare Li-ion batteries.

- Unlimited numbers of small Li-ion batteries may be carried on as spares, but only 2 spares above 8 grams Li content (about 100 watt-hour capacity) may be carried, the total amount not to exceed 25g (about 300 watt-hours). Most pro-level batteries are rated in watt-hours, but prosumer camcorder batteries are rated in amp-hours (Ah) or milliamp-hours (mAh).

Conversion factors:

- Watt-hours = battery voltage x amp-hour rating
- Watt-hours = battery voltage x milliamp-hours x 1000

For example, a Specialized Communications high-capacity Li-ion battery for an HVX200 is rated at 7.2v, 6000mAh. That translates to 43.2 Wh. The stock Sony BP-U30 battery for a PMW-EX1 is 14.4v, 1.95Ah, or 28.8 Wh (the “U30” being a battery with a nominal 30 Wh rating, apparently), while the high-capacity BP-U60 is twice as much.

It’s unlikely that any of the Li-ion prosumer batteries pack more than 100 Wh, so you’re safe carrying on a whole mess of them--but be sure to cover their terminals to prevent short-circuits. I put a bit of gaffer tape over the terminals, or pack each battery in its own plastic bag.
Lithium metal batteries (non-rechargeable, like the lithium button cells used for clock backup batteries) face higher restrictions if they have more than 2G of Li metal, but these larger batteries aren't common in A/V gear to the best of my knowledge.

Metrics and viral video redux

As NewTeeVee looks at TubeMogul and Vidmetrix in Emerging Company Category: Video Metrics, and offers Online Video Predictions for 2008, I'm still thinking about who and what are behind various viral videos, as discussed in previous posts Go Viral + a web video swarm and Idiocracy kool-aid -- red or blue?

Stanford grad student Dan Ackerman Greenberg, connected with Stanford's Persuasive Technology Lab, posted techniques for promoting videos in his TechCrunch article The Secret Strategies Behind Many “Viral” Videos. Christopher Herot summarized the article with a handy list in How to Make Your Video Viral - or- The First Law of Holes:

The Obvious:

  • Make it short.
  • Design for remixing, e.g. Dramatic Hamster.
  • Don't make it an outright ad unless it;s as clever as the one for Sony Bravia.
  • Make it shocking.
  • Use fake headlines.
  • Appeal to sex.
  • Share the video with your friends on Facebook.
  • Set up a Facebook event to promote your video.
  • Send the video to a mailing list.
  • Tell all your friends and get them to email and share it on Facebook.
  • Pick a catchy thumbnail, preferably with a human face in it.

The Clever:

  • Make sure the frame in the exact middle of the video is eye-catching, since it will be one of the three grabbed by YouTube.
  • Change the thumbnail every few hours.
  • If you have more than one video, release all of them simultaneously instead of dribbling them out one at a time.
  • Pick unique tags for al you videos so they will show up in each other's 'related' lists.

The Sleazy:

  • Pay bloggers to post embedded videos.
  • Have your own employees to set up multiple accounts on a forum and start fake conversations with each other.
  • Delete negative comments that others make.
  • Embed videos in the comments section of people's MySpace pages
  • Use a misleading title, with terms such as 'exclusive,' 'behind the scenes,' and 'leaked video.'
  • Use an image of a half-naked woman in the thumbnail.
  • Once the 48 hour window for 'most viewed' expires, delete the video and reload it.

Hitchcock on editing

from Flippant News, Hitchcock on the three types of editing:

There are more interviews in the related YouTube video thumbnails, including Hitchcock interview from 1964 from Monitor (& part 2).

See also a previous post Hitchcock was a drama king which noted Jeff Bays' How to turn your boring movie into a Hitchcock thriller and a newer article Hitchcock Humor ("suspense doesn't have any value if it's not balanced by humor").

January 2, 2008

Adobe track backs

As noted in an earlier post Go Viral + a web video swarm, behavioral tracking is a popular topic among marketeers as companies try to leverage information from data mining (so careful what you click). The hullabaloo on Adobe and Apple partaking in tracking -- as acknowledged by Photoshop product manager John Nack in 3 posts so far-- got me thinking about behavioral targeting again. For more check out Anil Batra's ISP based Behavioral Targeting and Watching What You See on the Web from the Wall Street Journal, though the topic still confuses me.

I was also confused by all the Omni-s: Omni Consumer Products LLC which borrows its name from Robocop was involved in the Idiocracy energy drink, and The Omnicom Group owns Agency.com ran some behavioral marketing project for Adobe. But it's Omniture which collects data from iTunes and CS3 clicks through a tricky domain "2o7.net" (it's an o not a zer0).

Both Mitcho.com and dev.netcetera.org discuss opting out of the schema.

Anyway, there are privacy concerns and even under the current Bush administration the Federal Trade Commission took note, albeit for "self-regulation" with Online Behavioral Advertising Privacy Principles. Maybe Adobe is going to tap revenue streams for services, which was perhaps signaled by the purchase of Scene7. They could leverage existing products a la Bridge Home and the Flash panels, and draw in new customers with free services like Adobe Share and Adobe Media Player plus all the AIR widgets looming on the horizon. The question is still open on which direction the industry in general takes: follow the seemingly hands-off model of Google (expires in 2038) or go brilliant but "evil" like Facebook. GigaOM summarizes many of the issues in How to Safeguard Your Privacy Online.

Update: Wired takes a look at the World's Top Surveillance Societies and a mix of privacy and fear concerns in THREAT LEVEL's Year in Review -- 2007.

The trend in video seems to be "social-networking TV," an electronic panopticon where you can "participate in your own manipulation," as EBN mused.

Update 2: In a funny turn,
if you remember the revelation about the pre-9/11 wiretapping by the telecom giants and dark forces, the Democratic National Convention Committee announced their telecom provider for their convention. See DNCC Goes With Qwest.

Update 3: John Dowdell notes a story from the BBC in Underestimating privacy, where "a newspaper columnist said 'oh privacy is overrated' and published his bank account number to prove it." He also notes the scraping friends story from Judi Sohn's Scoble, Facebook & Plaxo: It’s a matter of trust. And fear. Privacy policies may change with the bottom line.

Update 4: John Nack has more from Adobe on the issue.