Dramatic “Royalty Free” Music Sites

If you’ve worn out Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech, but looking for free, royalty-free music here’s a new alternative… some dark, intense, orchestral and dramatic options. Check ’em out: http://www.jewelbeat.com/

Also a bunch more courtesy of YouTube’s BattlefieldDoktor via JourneysofLifeBooks:

http://ccmixter.org (click here to search royalty-free for commercial use tunes)
http://incompetech.com
http://freepd.com
http://www.jamendo.com
http://soundsnap.com
http://theslip.nin.com/
http://www.dance-industries.com
http://www.tbtmusic.com
http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/
http://www.audionautix.com
http://www.music4yourvids.co.uk
http://www.nathanwillsmusic.com

Sell Your Video B-Roll Online

Are you a b-roll hoarder? Have hundreds of videos of quality HD video content that’s rotting away in your closet?

Thanks to “10 More New Ways to Make Money Online,” here’s a tip…
If you’re a digital video fanatic, turn your high-quality b-roll into bucks using stock imaging sites that also carry video footage like Pond5, iStockPhoto Video and Pixelflow. You get to set your price, set your terms, and add this new revenue stream to your income.

Having tried to find cheap footage (in my case of a golf ball rolling into a hole), I found the options on Getty One cost prohibitive. Three forces will make this marketplace boom:

  • Need for more inexpensive video content to serve diverse online mediums and target markets.
  • Declining market budgets put pressure on original production.
  • Amateurs can produce near pro quality without high barriers to entry.

Just don’t forget… you may need to compete with these guys. Because THEY’VE got that b-roll.

Flip Cam Alternative in JVC Picsio?

A month ago while on vacation in Florida I discovered I had forgotten my Canon HV30. I panicked.

I searched my laptop case (a giant man purse) for a Flip cam to hold me over. Note how easy it is to say “flip cam” instead of “small video camera.” No luck. On a trip to Best Buy I look at the Flips, but I continue to be frustrated by Flip’s price rigidity. Instead of bringing any legacy model close to the $100 point (I’m the guy that would own five of them for that price), they keep adding features and pushing past the $200. At $200 it’s a rival to larger but much better $300-$500 cameras. At $100 (or even $150) it’s an impulse buy and almost disposable.

Having been duped by Sylvania’s “Poor Man’s Flip Cam,” I would not go that route again.

So I tried out the JVC Picsio because of a significant sale ($150 if I recall, off a $199 ARP) and the super strong endorsement from the Best Buy dude. Not Billy this time. I was in Florida.

A worthy competitor to Flip in my book, but not according to Amazon raters...

Pros:

  • As small as Flip, but I believe the picture quality is as good or better. You can go 720 or 1080, and in good lighting it looks like a $500 camera.
  • I was afraid the JVC Picsio wouldn’t play nicely with my Mac, and I’d need software to convert. Surprisingly the files were .mov files and ready to roll into iMovie.
  • It takes photos and they’re pretty decent. I’ve learned not to get lured by megapixel promises… consider these pretty nice for a discount video camera ($150 would get you far more in a digital still camera).
  • You can find the price online even lower (see Amazon).
  • It’s very small and goes in the pocket easily. We took some cool swamp footage I can’t remember if I posted! Wait- I didn’t, did I?
  • I like to toggle between photo and video camera easily. It confuses the victim, however.

Cons:

  • It got slammed on Amazon’s reviews, so I wouldn’t have purchased it had I known that. But my experience wasn’t as severe as theirs.
  • No USB plug: you’d be surprised how that seemingly trivial miss can be so frustrating.
  • The playback sound (camera’s speaker) it almost inaudible. Like the Flip, no external mics welcome. Indoors without ambience, it did well. Cars not so much.
  • The power button is hard to use (quite annoying to dig fingernail multiple times to turn off/on), and the navigation is more complex. It began recording in my pocket a few times.
  • Apparently when the battery dies, it’s a paperweight.
  • Some people claim the images are not as steady, but again I was happy with what I got for $150 on an impulse buy.

Would I buy it again? I suppose if I didn’t already own a bunch of Flips (the Hello Kitty one is still my fav), I might have instead sprung for the Flip Mino to give it a try. As I recall, Greg Benson (mediocrefilms) shot this Yearbook parody video with it (amazing). For another $50 or $100 I’d like to see how it compares directly to the JVC Picsio and other portable cameras.

Here’s some footage I shot with it. What do you think?

Bottom Line:

  • I am surprised at Flip’s ability to dominate the market and hold on high prices ala Mac. It’s a great innovation, but I keep expecting for a Canon, JVC, Sony or other manufacturer to come out with a $100 Flip killer. Not yet.
  • As long as Flip keeps innovating (and allowing older models to hit that $100ish level) it may continue to dominate the ultra portable market, and I noticed the bold advertising campaign has continued even post Cisco acquisition. I do wish it would use actual amateur video in its ads instead of the awkwardly over produced simulated amateur clips. Again Flip resembles Mac in its advertising: slick, cool, musical.

P.S. If you Flip peeps wants to loan me the newest (UltraHD or this brushed-steal gen 2 Mino) for a head-to-head trial against the JVC Piscio I’ll gladly take the challenge and return the camera. I’d shoot simultaneous shots of the Flip and JVC (recording in the same conditions at same time), then post them on my daily vlogs on YouTube (unclenalts). Just hit me at kevinnalts at gmail (if I don’t reply immediately, don’t hesitate shooting again).

Hulu’s “Confidential” Ad-Selector Specs Leaked; YouTube Adopts Mandatory Pre-Rolls.

Just when you thought pre-rolls were dead, both Hulu and YouTube are embracing them in recent weeks. Hulu has officially rolled out an “Ad Selector,” where viewers can choose among several ads from a single sponsor. And YouTube, whose parent Google once chastised online-video pre-rolls for causing 75% abandonment rates, is now quietly experimenting with mandatory (unstoppable) 15-second pre-rolls before professional and amateur content.

Some brief background: When I spoke to Coke marketing executives about YouTube last year, I had the dubious role of following Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. He teased Coke marketers with an emerging ad offering that’s now officially called the “Ad Selector.” He showed how Coke could provide Hulu viewers a variety of options, where the individual could chose to watch one of several Coke commercials before enjoying a free show. I was thrilled at the model because a) it gives marketers insights, b) it provides consumers with choice, and c) the mere selection exposes the viewer to several brands.

Adweek recently reported that the Ad Selector works. The article cites research by “The Pool,” a study by Vivaki, now a Publicis Worldwide company. [editorial warning: both of the referenced agency websites are horribly annoying].

VivaKi’s research examined 29 different ad models over 16 months, and had participation from such brandsas Allstate, Applebee’s, Capital One and Nestle Purina PetCare. Overall, VivaKi officials said the group invested 230,000 hours of research, surveying over 25 million consumers.

Guess what? The Ad Selector delivered click-through rates that averaged 106 percent higher than pre-roll ads. Plus, online ad-recall scores were 290 percent higher than pre-rolls.

The Adweek/Media week prompted me to “Google” for the actual research (impossible to find on the agency’s website), and I instead found this “confidential” PDF document that outlines Hulu Ad Specifications (dated December 1, 2009).

In case the good folks at Hulu decide to “reconfidentialize” that PDF, here is a brief overview: The Ad Selector is an ad unit that allows the user to control their entire ad experience during video playback. At the beginning of their content play the user will be presented with 2 or 3 category options. Once a selection has been made, the user will be presented with video advertisements in the category of their choice. For example an automotive company could offer the user a selection of SUV, Truck or Coupe advertisements. If the user selects “SUV” the remaining breaks will playback commercials from the sponsor related to just to their area of interest (SUVs).

Yey for Jason and Hulu! Jason’s talk at Coke excited me because he revealed his primary goal was to provide online-video viewers with a positive experience, and wanted to ensure that advertisements did not interfere. Here’s another happyhulu moment: last night I discovered that neither iTunes nor Hulu had yet posted that night’s episode of Fringe (which I missed while flying to Chicago). Instead, I decided to catch Tuesday’s episode of “The Office,” and instinctively went to iTunes first. It was $2.99 (yipes) and iTunes wouldn’t let me watch it on my laptop (seems I’ve exceeded the 5-device rule). So I was pleased to find it free on Hulu, and welcomed the few short interstitial ads.

So now YouTube is imposing “unskippable” prerolls (although not yet with a friendly “selector” model). This is especially ironic since Google in 2007 cited abandonment rates of 75% for pre-rolls, albeit less so for 15-second ones. AdAge reported late last year that YouTube was experimenting with “optional” pre-rolls that a viewer can skip. But Google’s Erin Bouchier reports that viewers are enduring short pre-rolls on professional content, and lately YouTube is rolling out mandatory pre-rolls on short professional and amateur content.

Do you see a skip option on this 15-second preroll on this recent Smosh video pictured below? I don’t.

Just this week I spoke with a fellow YouTube Partner who agrees with my cautious view of these: unless they command significant revenue and are proven to not cause audience drop-off, we’d prefer to turn these off. That said, neither of us has been invited to participate in this program (our options are limited to InVideo ads or adjacent banners).

15-second preroll advertisement is mandatory to watch short comedy video.

The bottom line? I’m a marketer and we need our advertising to work. I’m also a YouTube Partner and welcome models that command higher revenue for YouTube and myself. But I’m a viewer too, and I like control. Even my kids have learned to instinctively close InVideo ads (the ones that appear over the bottom 1/4 of a video), so I’m concerned about their sustainability.

My prediction is that YouTube will follow Hulu’s lead and soon give YouTube viewers a choice of ads. I would also expect that mandatory pre-rolls, if they do endure, will only work a) before highly valued video content, b) with longer formats (like 22-minute shows), and c) in very short form with 15 seconds being the maximum for 2-3 minute videos.

And, guys, I’m still rooting for an alternative to the pre-roll ad that places the 15-second advertisement inside the show. It’s not a simple solution, but it sure would help content creators engage audiences, and encourage them to sustain through an advertisement that would work.

Poor Man’s FlipCam: Sylvania DV-128

A few people have written me notes to the extent of, “I wish I could do videos, but my camera is so bad.” I usually tell them to relax, and just make sure the lighting and compression is good. The reality is that those two factors can make up for a lot if your camera is old… then I tell them to settle for a Flipcam, which is easy to use and fairly low cost.

Unfortunately, Flipcam (now owned by Cisco) has resisted providing a lower price-point, and has for years been stuck at the $150 plus level (HD versions are down to about $176, though… so splurge). Meanwhile, there are countless min-video-cam options for people with lower budgets wanting something fairly similar. But FlipCam hasn’t yet, to my knowledge, pursued the Mac strategy (as Apple did with the iPods)… innovate to maintain the higher end buyers, but produce a lower-end unit for the mass-market of $100 peeps.

Today I received a Buy.com offer for a $40 (including shipping) Sylvania DV-128 digital video camera with built in memory and an SD slot. I searched extensively for product reviews or consumer ratings, and found virtually nothing on ePinions, Google, YouTube and Amazon.com.

So I bought it, and will review it on my UncleNalts channel. If it sucks, you’ll hear about it here first. If it’s okay, then I’ll probably suggest it for the price-sensitive people… or folks that want to keep an extra camera around for backup. I expect it to be harder to use, lower picture quality, and poor sound. But at $40 shipped I’m considering it almost “disposable.” Worse case scenario I take it on a dangerous ride down the river.

Again- I like the Flipcams, but that’s because I’ve never bought one. Gotten more than my share of free ones from Google and YouTube, and it does the trick. Katie (my 9 year old) used the FlipCam for all of her 15 mini-episodes of “The Charlie Show” (see www.charlieshow.com). Certainly much better quality than the video capture that comes with some $100-$200 standard photo cameras, but the magic of FlipCam is the incredible ease of use. She chose to edit these videos in iMovie because she knew I could give her the basics. But I’ve played with the FlipCam editing software, and it’s not bad. Comes free with the device, and old cameras automatically prompt you for new firmware.

Hey, Flip cam peeps (and we know you’re reading). Happy to review the new HD one here and on my YouTube channel if you want to send one along. I got a little HD envy seeing Shaycarl’s.

Here’s the source for that Flip HD… buy it so I can make a penny on my Amazon affiliate program. Hah. Flip MinoHD Camcorder, 60 Minutes (Black)

Choosing the Best Video Chat Tool or Software: FaceBook, Stickam, Skype, Google Chat, AIM, BlogTv

Compare and review video chat- stickam, skype, facebook, google chat, stickam, blogtv, AIM… Which one is the best for you? Depends on your use.

It’s a race for live video chat. Which one is right for you? First the history, then some recommendations based on what you plan to do (one-to-one or one-to-many).

  • First it was Stickam, where community people would run group video sessions.
  • Then came Blogtv.com, which provided advertising dollars to popular online-video talent to run live shows (the most-subscribed blogtv creators are, not coincidentally, all most-subscribed on YouTube).
  • Stickam and Blogtv, according to Alexa, are currently fairly close in terms of visitors and time spent on site (as much as 13 minutes).
  • Skype also extended its audio chat to video. And of course there’s always AIM video for people either far behind or far ahead of the time.
  • Then Google/Gmail Video Chat made it easy, and integrated with Google mail.

Now Facebook is getting into the game. Given the proliferation of Facebook, I’d guess we’ll see significant use of its video chat — perhaps more than Gmail or AIM since it’s a common platform regardless of e-mail or hosting provider.

It’s unfair to compare these, because they have different purposes. Here are three, with my recommendations:

  1. Want a video-conference call that includes several people, and potentially observers with view/comment access only? Try Stickam.
  2. Want to do a “show” for a large audience? Blogtv is probably best, unless you want to interact with interviewees or callers… then it gets limited.
  3. Going one-to-one? AIM, Google Video Chat, Skype, and FaceBook seem like reasonable bets. Given that FaceBook likely has your network established, I’m betting on it surpassing the others.

nalty merck

Park Your Own Subdomain Free at OfNalts.com (who needs TinyURL?)

ofnalts usernamesI don’t recall if I’ve ever announced that you can park your own free subdomain (username) at ofnalts.com, which you can “point” at any website or URL. It makes that complex YouTube video URL (or other long URLs) short, simple, memorable and pretty.

I use it in lieu of TinyURL because I can link to my YouTube videos easily inside a Twitter post… and it’s fun to create my own name instead of using a random code on TinyURL. BTW- you can now park a vanity TinyURL name, but most of the good ones are gone. Alan (fallofautumndistro) already snatched tinyurl.com/youtube! And I parked a few YouTube celebrity names, but had them point to other people’s channel pages. Moo haa haaa. Try tinyurl.com/renetto. Or tinyurl.com/spricket24.

This free little OfNalts application was created by Tim Breslin (of Xlntads). Tim saw a lot of YouTube usernames starting with a word and followed by “ofnalts.” This was prompted because I needed an account for Jo and naltswife didn’t look right. So we went with wifeofnalts. Tim Breslin, while we’re on the subject, is the guy I tried to convince to create a multi-site upload tool before there was TubeMogul. But he blew me off.

Insert footage from “It’s a Wonderful LIfe”: Sam Wainright to Jane Bailey: Still got the nose to the old grindstone, eh? Jane, I offered to let George in on the ground floor in plastics, and he turned me down cold!

Where was I? Oh- Here’s how ofnalts works…

  1. You simply go to www.ofnalts.com, and click “register” (ignore the username/password prompt).
  2. Then you put in your username (whatever you want), password twice, and e-mail address. But no worries- you won’t have to wait for a confirmation e-mail.
  3. Next you enter your long URL and hit confirm. Now you own http://yourname.ofnalts.com.
  4. Now your personalized [insert name].ofnalts.com is listed on the bottom of the ofnalts page, and you can use it anywhere to redirect people to the complex URL. Note you don’t use www.

Sounds more complicated than it is. Once you use it once, you’re hooked.

And a subdomain on ofnalts is a lot more charming than the overused tinyurl.

Former Top YouTuber Leads Vlogging Revolution

Vloggerheads launchesFor months, YouTube Cewebrity Paul Robinette (Renetto) has been posting video blogs (vlogs) about his discontent on YouTube. He has criticized the site for how it handles the small but vocal video community, and has stirred up drama with the grace of an Olympic gymnist.

In the past few weeks, Robinette quietly launched Vloggerheads.com with 250 plus fellow vloggers. I previously reported that he was launching RenettoTube (see site), but apparently he had some help from branding experts.

The site, which was created using ning, is by invite only (info@renetto.com), and has already banned at least one controversial YouTube poet. The site has rules of ettiquette and is working to keep out unsavory “haters,” “trolls” and “pedophiles.” Fortunately that crowd has its own site (utubedrama.com). And don’t pretend you don’t surf for your name there weekly.

Renetto, who shaved my head years ago when I desperately wanted to be him, once topped the charts of YouTube but has fallen down the top 100 even faster than Nalts (which is rather sad given that I “jumped the shark” more than a year ago).

Renetto is loved and hated, but often the subject of discussion (see outtake clip that spoofs Renetto from a video I shot this week with YouTube Whore MrSafety). He’s best-known for his Mentos parody (nearly 10 million views) and was quoted regularly in the early media coverage of YouTube. In late 2006, Robinette rallied in support of YouTube-challenger Live Video, then changed his mind and brought about McCarthy-like challenge to those who abandoned YouTube (and took great pride in helping unravel LiveVideo). See NY Post article for more.

Vloggerheads is being listed as a “placeholder” site with larger goals. However it’s already attracting some of the YouTubers who don’t have top rankings but are staples among the inner circle of a vibrant community. My “poster child” of the online-video community (Nutcheese) is already addicted and that’s slown down her visits to Stumble! by 26%.

With just 800 videos to date and no apparent revenue model, Vloggerheads won’t soon be a threat to YouTube. But it’s an alternative virtual city where “hard core” community members are gathering, debating, communing and creating drama…

A smaller pond for those feeling lost in an increasingly commercialized YouTube?

Here’s my social commentary on vlogging. I wasn’t too sarcastic was I?

P.S. A reporter from Wired.com contacted Paul and said she heard about him from Nalts’ blog. That’s the power I have in media. Like TechCrunch I can make or break a company. Arington eat my pie hole you viralvideovillain promoter.