Bidding Farewell to Daisy Whitney’s New Media Minute

Daisy whitney 2

Daisy Whitney, creator and producer of “The New Media Minute” is ending the nearly 5-year-old show. Whitney posted her final episode last week, and says she’s, “just going old school reporting on media in articles and columns instead.”

Whitney will continue her reporting on new media for such outlets as MediaPost, Cynopsis, @Beet_TV.

For as long as Daisy Whitney has been posting videos, we’ve been posting about her transforming hair and outfits. Now what? Whitney tweeted, “But all good things must end, and it’s better to end on a high note as George Costanza taught us.” A lesson I should have considered on YouTube before I jumped the shark.

Daisy whitney

Is a $1,000 Video Camera Worth It?

These bright tropical birds would probably look like ghetto pigeons on your camera.

I almost always argue on the side of budget, and frequently write about how to get professional looks on amateur equipment. In the pursuit of “balance” (and to make another futile attempt at affiliate links), here are some reasons to spend more on a video camera. You don’t always get what you pay (very often you pay too much, or can get a deal on last year’s falling star). But here are some features that you don’t always see in the $300-$500 range.

  1. Image sensor (provides quality of image under various lighting conditions)
  2. Manual controls (customize lense ring to do white balance instead of focus)
  3. Rich touch-screen display and menu options
  4. Optical image stabilization
  5. Color peaking
  6. External audio/mic input
  7. HD video onto hard drive (internal memory) or memory cards
So for most people, these things aren’t worth the x2 and x3 premium. But if you’re more than a hobbiest, these cameras can offer quality that surpasses the average amateur vid. Here’s B&H photos picks on three higher-end video cameras, and the Sony ($1298) appears to lead the pack based on higher photo file size and internal memory. But the Canon Vixia is $1099 (and I’ve been using Canon for most of my YouTube stint). The Panasonic is under $1000, and the company seems to have recaptured its place in video equipment. B&H usually beats other retailers on price, and my “invisible hand” suggests these are competitive if not the lowest prices. But check.
Read the features below, and watch the video if you want to feel worse about your camera. Then click my damned affiliate links. Ghees. Or use comments to “rationalize” and convince us (and yourself) that your camera is good enough. Whatev.

1) Sony HDR-CX700V Camcorder

Features:

  • 96 GB of internal memory (plus cards)
  • 12 MP still frame photography
  • Surround sound audio built in
  • Geotag of photos
  • Built in USB cable for charging and file sharing

2) Canon VIXIA HF S30 Flash Memory Camcorder

  • 32 GB internal memory and dual SD card slots
  • Color bars for reference
  • Zebra patterns
  • Remote controllers
  • 8 MP photos
  • Built in flash and LED light

3) Panasonic HDC-TM900 High Definition Camcorder

  • 32 GB internal memory and card slots
  • 3 3.05 MP sensors (3 chips, one for each primary color)
  • 5.1 surround sound
  • 14 MP photos
  • 3D videos (snore)

How Many Views Do You Need to Be Viral?

A few years ago, a video could be considered “viral” if it hit a million views. Now I’d like to propose a more stringent definition, and tell you that President Obama meets the criteria.

A video, I submit, is “viral” if it gets more than 5 million views in a 3-7 day period. So Obama getting more than 6 million views in a week is indeed viral. You are correct, Michael Memoli. However many of your peers talk about videos going viral without really considering the competition… many top YouTubers get more videos in a day than what media considers a viral sensation.

One caveat, however. Part of what makes a video “viral” is not just the views but the degree of discussion online and offline (media). Here we get into a “chicken and the egg” issue, since the video’s viral nature may prompt “coverage,” which inspires even more views (although less than you’d think). Most views are driven by online activity not television or print coverage.

 

Double Dream Hands Guy on Sprint Ads

Double Dream Hands Guys on Sprint Ad

Who’s that guy in the green shirt dancing in Sprint ads? Well you heard about “double dream hands” guy here first, right? (Heck I even own one of his yellow shirts).

Now he’s back with “double dream feet,” which appearance in a Sprint television ad (and, above, as repurposed on YouTube). He’s John Jacobson, and his new YouTube channel is here.

Double Dream Hands Guy is Back With Double Dream Feet (and Sprint Ad)

 

 

America’s Funniest Videos Versus YouTube

  • Why has America’s Funniest Videos (AFV) not died in 20 years even despite the age of “instant gratification via YouTube”?
  • How does AFV manage the logistics of culling through massive amounts of user-generated clips?
  • How many clips does AFV producer Vin Di Bona own?
  • Why has no other show or format “cracked the code” of televising web clips until, perhaps, Tosh 2.0?

Wired Magazine solved many of these age-old nagging questions in “Painfully Funny: Why America’s Funniest Home Videos Won’t Die” a recent issue by Brian Raftery. Note Raftery’s choice of “won’t” versus “hasn’t” or “can’t.”

Some quick AFV-facts (below) were fascinating news to me, and I’ve watched the show since 1989 with the love-hate relationship you perhaps share. Sure, I dig the poodle in a congo line and giggling quadruplet babies, but my spoof (now at 12 million views) tells you how I see the show. All that’s missing is Sagat’s painful impersonations — the chalkboard scratch of the 1990s.

Fun Facts:

  • Di Bona is like the porn king of user-generated videos, and is sitting on an exclusive library of 104,000 plus digitized clips, all carefully tagged with words like “cat (4K plus), parrot, baby, snot (265), itchy, zipline, sea turtles and lick.
Bergeron is gold. But someone may want to update this photo. When's the last time you held a VHS tape or burned a DVD?
  • Why, despite Sagat’s horrible humor, sound effects and voiceovers, did the show survive? Because in the 90s it was impossible to share clips and nobody was culling them. Luckily Tom Bergeron and a smart writing/editing staff have fine-tuned the model. Bergeron is like Ryan Seacrest. Each sound, facial expression and body movement exudes confidence, is inflected with precision, and yet is approachable. I watch them like you may watch professional ice skaters (I tend to prefer the latter only when they spill).
  • Did you miss a key word of my first bullet? Exclusive rights, which is extremely rare in today’s digital economy. That’s why David DeVore, a Florida real-estate agent, made a smart decision to turn down “exclusive,” in a move that’s given him far more than even AFV’s top $100,000 prize (and since the clip involves a minor under the influence of a drug, it might well have never left AFV’s faults, points out Raftery’s Wired piece). I just found DeVore’s note to me: in the weeks after “David After Dentist” exploded: “Do you have any advice on what to pursue? Maybe its nothing, I dont know. Is youtube partners a good option? Are there other things to look into?” I rushed to bring this to YouTube’s attention, although it certainly would have happened without me. It takes a lot of home commissions to reach what he’s earned from that clip in advertising-revenue sharing, and he owns it… not Di Bona.
  • The show’s secret formula is that it stayed away from video “stories” (beginning, middle and end) in lieu of micro clips that have global appeal… I’d see FailBlog as today’s version, yet many of its clips are ripped and certainly not capable of monetization. I sent my 1980s videos to Di Bona when I saw a “call for entries” that preceded the original broadcast (I can’t remember signing a release, but I’m sure I’d have signed away my life at that time). I was tickled to see some of my videos on the early promotions of the show, although I don’t believe they’ve ever been in the show. For two decades people have asked me why I don’t send videos to AFV, and I now have two simple answers: my videos aren’t AFV gold (with a few exceptions like Charlie and the Santa claus) and I don’t like exclusivity. No AFV grand prize could offset what YouTube’s done for me.
  • Charlie and Santa, having surpassed ever slightly the “50K views or lower” AFV requirement, would not make it eligible for AFV. They’re smartly avoiding online memes and popular clips. That’s a distinct advantage over shows that recycle clips most of us have already beat to death. To be considered for AFV, of course, I’d have to take down the video and cede any upside that might come otherwise (the clip has been on television but no exclusivity was required).
  • The AFV videos are recycled less often than you’d think. In periods Di Bona received 1,000 videos a day, sometimes barely any, and other times 2,000 per week. If he relaxes his exclusivity clause and invites easy web submissions he’ll get far more entries even if worse in aggregate (that would lower the bar for home-video creators, making it less effort to submit, and perhaps overwhelm his staff reviewing loads of nonsense). Relaxing the exclusivity requirement would also change the business model since by air time we might already be sick of the Sneezing Panda.
  • The most interesting fact about the Wired article? No mention of Cute, Win, Fail... which I think is a brilliant adaptation of AFV for YouTube… with potentially a higher potential revenue source long term.

Bottom line: should people submit to AFV or YouTube? That depends on the power of your clip, and whether you think you’re a “one-hit wonder” or someone who wants to make this your passion. Most likely your clip isn’t going to go “David After Dentist,” but get lost in a sea of sameness. But I’d certainly test it on YouTube, and see how quick it gets views. If it caps at a few thousand and doesn’t appear to be moving, odds are it won’t (though it’s possible). Then you’ve got higher upside on AFV, although you may never see it on television or make a dime. For me, the odds of winning the coveted $100K prize just seem too low… and my videos are usually pranks or mini-stories, so they’re not an AFV fit. So when I hear the word “exclusive,” I hear “if this thing starts making loads of money, you won’t see a dime.”

Meet YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar Live

Via Body Language, Founder and Former YouTube CEO Chad Hurley Demonstrates Strong Partnership with Salar "Little Superstar" Kamangar

Who’s the YouTube CEO? Not Chad Hurley anymore. It’s Salar Kamangar.

Let’s introduce the YouTube community to Salar Kamanagar, and get him to Vidcon2011 (the YouTube version of South By Southwest spawned by Hank/John Green and the Nerdfighters).

This article gives you some interesting cultural nuances about Google and YouTube which are rare in print. And another piece profiles Salar Kamangar.

Dear Salar “Little Superstar” Kamangar: as the new Lord of YouTube, your presence would be welcome and appreciated by the YouTube community. You could send your “specialist,” but how about making a personal visit to let the creators, viewers and fans know they still matter even if you go Madison & Vine. VidCon is July 28-30, 2011 in Los Angeles. Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Here’s the agenda, and you’ll be the keynote. I know last year didn’t work out. And don’t worry- we’re a very positive group and it won’t be like typical public speaking settings. Hey if you just walk on stage, wave, and say hi… you’ll have us eating from your hands.

Sure I’ll probably make a fart sound from the back of the audience when you get onto the stage, but that’s only to make you feel “at home.” You know what we’d LOVE? If you told us a story. Something that humanizes you… maybe a funny experience of the early days of Google that’s not widely known. Stay away from biology and corporate stuff. Tell us a funny anecdote from your rare and wild ride.

You don’t have to talk about YouTube’s future, and nobody’s gonna grill you about how much attention you give to amateurs versus professionals. The crowd would toss out an antagonist and they’d be ejected like a viral infection. This is the friggin’ NERDFIGHTER group. It stands for reducing world suck. Increasing awesome.

Someone told me you’re a big iJustine fan, and she’s going to be there!

Send him some love in comments, mkay?

The History of Just About Everything

2100 pages and 50 jotter books, but it got full marks… so the displeased eskimo may be pleased with this work.

Learn What the “Wilhelm Scream” Is, Noob

With apologies to you seasoned film enthusiasts, I’d like to introduce the Wilhelm Scream to those still left oblivious to it. You see, I used the sound effect in a recent YouTube video and was again reminded that it’s not as widely appreciated as I should think.

Klaxoncow said it best:

The scream, which originated in a 1951 film called Distant Drums, has appeared in countless movies since. You’ve heard it in Star Wars, Indiana Jones, King Kong (Jack Black’s version), The Family Guy, and many films you may know by heart. Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas have celebrated the sound effect, originally dubbed “man getting bit by alligator and he screams” (source: Wikipedia so it must be accurate).

My sister, who sent me this clip, became aware of it when her son began to notice its repetition (a remarkable feat for a child who was 7 at the time).

I would like to challenge all video creators to find a special place for it in coming months, and make it an Internet meme that is abhorred by Anonymous and 4Chan.

Now enjoy some classic film moments, and listen for it in your movie and Internet-video watching.

Best Online Video of 2010

Believe it or not, I debated the headline of this post longer than you might imagine.

I can’t sum this video up. It’s just your responsibility to watch it, and realize that… if my videos are chocolate flavored Doritos, ChurchofBlow’s are fine French meals, followed by a creme bruleee  and an espresso. This is the guy that brought you “YouTube Is My Life,” and it’s more of the same smart humor.

Creative writing and acting. Humor and depth. Visually compelling. Surreal and funny.

You can almost see Jeremiah at 3:00 a.m. handwriting the script on a yellow legal envelope with a dull #2 pencil. Then, months later, painstakingly moving through storyboards, visual layout, acting, and animation (look for a brilliant faux rack focus).

It’s so good it makes me want to punch him right in the brain.

Today is “Project for Awesome,” so Watch for Nerfighters Reducing “World Suck”

Today, December 17, is the third-annual “Project for Awesome,” where thousands of Nerdfighters will be using online-video to “reduce world suck.”

Even if you understood nothing in the headline or lead, I encourage you to keep reading because you’ll learn a lot about online-video through this story.

Project for awesome 2009 logo

John and Hank Green were brothers who lost contact over the years, and decided to change that through daily vlogs to each other (which they posted for the rest of the world as Vlogbrothers). I find myself increasingly frustrated with people in online video that don’t know their name… and give them the look of disgust you get from a sports enthusiast when you say “I hope Tiger Ruth helps the New Orleans Rangers make it to the Superbowl.”

Unlike other popular online video creators, the vlogbrothers put their loyal viewers, ideals, intellect and charity above themselves. This has created a genuine fan base of people (we call ourselves Nerdfighters), who would pretty much do whatever the Green brothers asked unless it involved hurting small animals. We’re bonded on the pursuit of increasing awesome and decreasing suck. After all a good planet is equal to awesome less suck (put mathematically, that’s GP=A-S). In my opinion, increasing awesome is easier that decreasing suck. It’s easier to bond around a cause than a complaint.

Today, like the two prior years, hundreds of video creators will make “Project for Awesome” videos to promote good causes (here’s mine, which is to promote awareness of autism). “We want to make the world a better place, and so we’re thanking people who have dedicated their lives to do that, and promoting their cause with our time and our money,” the brothers write on their website.

So here’s what to watch for today:

  • Hundreds of videos will be posted to YouTube with a specific thumbnail (icon).
  • Via Twitter (using hashtag #p4a), hundreds or thousands of people will be giving these videos “5 star” ratings, and commenting aggressively on them (to push them to most-discussed and most-viewed pages, which are as important as the homepage itself.
  • The team will be using a ProjectforAwesome Livestream to communicate as well.
  • As a result of this, many newer YouTube users will be perplexed, but then find themselves amused and perhaps compelled to participate.

Now let’s say your heart is made of ice, and you really don’t care about community or charity. What can you learn from this as a marketer? Well to keep it real, you’d unlikely be able to replicate this, because people tend not to rally around a brand or commercial effort like this.

But it does show the influence that a few people can have on a larger group (the YouTube “community” that is still vibrant), and in turn to a much wider audience of YouTube grazers (the rest of the world). Give people something to care about that’s bigger than your brand or you, and do something selfless (to help reduce world suck). That’s a noble cause, right? And maybe we’ll see major charities or brands tossing their hats in the ring this year or next.