Vloggers View

Monday, March 13, 2006

Filmmakers and Content Creators

I feel like with the changing of technology and the easier and more accessible nature of film/video production more and more people are becoming content providers. Not only that but the term filmmaker is being thrown around rather loosely. I want to take a moment and make a clear distinction between filmmakers and content creators.

I'm going to start out with filmmakers. Filmmakers are those who understand the language to film (for film truly has its own language). Much like a language it takes years to learn, master and be able to utilize it. Just because someone has a camera and has created content doesn't make him/her a filmmaker. I believe a filmmaker understands their role in telling of a story, whether its a look at characters, a situation, or trying to make a point, a filmmaker has purpose and drives that purpose to their audience.

I would also like to make a special note about the word film. In this particular piece I'm referring to the different types of moving images, not precisely film as in film stock, but also digital media, video and animation. I know this too is a sensitive subject for many people, but the discussion is for another time.

As for the content creators, I feel as though these are what the internet is becoming full of. Essentially content creators are people who pick up a camera, create a "movie" and put it up on the internet, generally with little or no editing and with little or no point to it other than just putting it up because it would be cool. As frustrated as I get by these movies, I also understand their place. First of all we all need to start somewhere. Even the most recognized filmmakers at one point were just experimenting and creating content. As well these piece of content give us a glimpse to an actual reality world which is only slightly influenced by film conventions.

Although there is a time and place for these pieces of content, I feel as though the internet can be such a strong source of true content. As such I feel as though it will be important for the internet to start being a true distributor of quality content. Especially if applications such as Democracy and FireANT are hoping to survive and more specifically, flourish. As much as I feel that podcasting and vlogging has changed how people are creating and receiving content it will be important that this is seen as a legitimate source of entertainment and filmmaking an not just a source of meaningless content.

If there are filmmakers and vloggers out there trying to redefine the ideas and concepts of online entertainment I wish you all luck, for I know the struggles we are all going through, but we can and will prevail in the end. Good luck to all of you.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Creative Commons

"A new way of thinking for a new kind of technology." This should be their slogan at Creative Commons. With all the legal battles and the concerns over who owns what on the internet, Creative Commons sure has their heads in the right place. Downloading and sharing on the internet is going to happen no matter what, the best way to deal with it is to take the stance of: go for it, as long as you credit the original artists and you don't profit from it.

The trick is that as producers and business executives (essentially the people who have been running the show for years) need to start thinking of new ways to start making money. In my book though, the key will be that productions will need to start learning how to profit on less money. With rising ticket prices and more money being put into productions the film industry is going to soon burst. Less people are going to the theaters as technology is catching up for personal uses (Although nothing will ever beat the experience of watching a film in a theater with a room full of strangers).

Videosift recently posted a blog on NBC's shut down of the YouTube video in which Natalie Portman was rapping (this was a clip from Saturday Night Live). The video was just starting to become huge online when NBC shut down the YouTube release. Needless to say I completely agree with the article written on the Videosift site (and there's no real reason to completely repeat it here). NBC lost one of its best advertising pieces to its own concerns of bringing in more profit.

In the opinion of this vlogger, smaller production companies and digital filmmakers are going to start paving the way of new business and it will be this coming up generation of filmmakers, who as we speak are learning to shorten production time and increase the quality of their work through a digital workflow. Even my sister who is 11 years old has now created a few films with the use of a small digital camera and iMovie. The real key will be found in the next year as podcasters struggle with the question, what is the right business model for the next generation of filmmakers?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Myspace Film Site

I think its important to note the date I'm posting this. I'm very disappointed in the Myspace Film site. First of all i think its honorable that they are trying to create a community within film, similar to what they did with music. I hope that over the next couple months the film site will improve immensely and that this posting will become obsolete, but since most of our preliminary publicity is based around the myspace community I wanted to take a moment and voice my concerns about the site.

First of all, my biggest concern comes from the upload process. I've gone through the forums to find if I'm the only one having problems with it, but it certainly appears as though I'm not alone. It seem that myspace is generally Mac unfriendly. For a place that is trying to boast a filmmakers space I think their first market they would make sure that their community would work with is Macs. After all it was iMovie that really opened up filmmaking for the majority of people. I've tried numerous times to upload my films, and it might not even be my Mac (or the browser: Firefox 1.5 and Safari 2.0.3), but its either that or the quicktime compression I put on my films. One way or the other (since quicktime is an integral part of the Mac platform) I feel like their failure to meet the needs of the Mac community is a mistake.
Solution: Myspace needs to do one of two things. If it is a problem with Macs (or their browsers), they need to fix it and quick. I have a feeling though its more likely a problem with the Quicktime compression. If indeed that is the problem they need to either specify exactly how people need to compress their films in Quicktime or they need to come out with a compression application that everyone is expected to use before uploading their films.

My second concern about Myspace Film is that they should start thinking about the future of how people are watching films. Applications such as Democracy and FireANT are trying to answer that question, and I think that the longevity of the Myspace Film site will be dependent on how they too are thinking of that future. If people would be able to set up an XML or RSS feed from their Myspace film page, I think there would be more to consider for people involved in the myspace universe. One of the greatest things about myspace is its ability to network and connect friends. As well the community created within these networks allow for people to communicate their ideas. If a viewer and a community can be created into one site/application I believe it would have the greatest chance to succeed.
Solution: I think I mapped it out already but Myspace should start researching how it expects to allow users to distribute their films while keeping the community ideals of the Myspace name.

I'd also like to add that many filmmakers had made a Myspace page, previous to the creation of the Myspace Filmmaker site. I tried switching my account over to a Filmspace, but it is still not working... its a little thing... but a big thing for those who have already established pages.

Of course one of the other main fundamental myspace attributes is its ease of use, and right now the Myspace film site isn't easy. At this point (March 7, 2006) Myspace has some work to do before its film site can be utilized on a broad film community level. As a vlogger I have been frustrated with Myspace and would like to see some changes before I can incorporate it fully with my project.

Monday, March 06, 2006

First Post

As my first post to this blog I figured it would be best to outline my mission statement of this blog. My goals are to review, discuss and create conversation about the changing technology and ideas surrounding the vlogging community. This includes, and certainly not limited to: new web sites, advancements of video technnology, film reviews and the trials and tribulations of a vlogger producer. I hope this can help people as much as I'm sure it will aid me in my reflection of my research.