The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Archive for June 2010



The sugar cane machine

The sugar cane machine

A short analogy that explains, simply, the evolution of differential marketing from monopoly to competition to open competition to product differentiation. Only the latter truly survives in an open marketplace.

It’s a great lesson for anyone in business (or freelance) or trying to promote an independent video/film project. You can’t compete on price alone:

And then! And then one cane processor starts creating a series of collectible containers, starts interacting with his customers and providing them with custom blends, starts offering long-term contracts and benefits to his biggest customers, and yes, even begins to pay his growers more if they’re willing to bring him particularly sweet and organic materials, on time. In short, he becomes a master of the art of processing and marketing cane. He earns permission, he treats different customers differently and he refuses to act like a faceless factory…

Who are you?

Seth Godin is always worth reading and this is short, to the point and valuable. It’s how we evolve when media can be distributed free, whether we authorize it or not.

YouTube: HTML5 Video Is No Match for Flash (Yet)

Although YouTube has been encoding to H.264 since early 2007, most distribution is via their Flash player, although they do have an HTML5 player as well. The advantages of Flash for YouTube at the moment are:

  • Live Streaming (although almost nothing on YouTube is live streaming in that sense – it’s all progressive download). What Google means is control over buffering and dynamic quality of the files it serves up.
  • Content protection for the “Premium Content” demanded by the content owners, despite all kinds of DRM being pointless (don’t work) and annoy the legitimate user.
  • Encapsulation and Embedding. Flash is definitely easier for that and has better security.
  • Fullscreen Video. Tick. HTML5 players (mostly MP4 players) do not do Fullscreen video. Not that I use it often, but it’s an important feature to have.
  • Access to Camera and Microphone for interactive experiences, something not yet possible in HTML5

On the other hand, Hulu Plus kicks Hulu’s dependence on Flash for it’s iPad/iPhone application. (In fairness, you can do pretty much all of the above when you move from plug-in or native browser support to a custom application.)

If The Public Library Was Invented Today, Would The Gov’t Call It Organized Crime And Shut It Down?

The story is about a website in Bulgaria has people upload book scans and they’re OCR’d to text. That’s probably a copyright violation, except the site is “open to the public” and in Bulgarian law apparently that makes it a library. Although the law isn’t clear on the matter.

But as Mike Masnick writes:

Either way, all of this makes you wonder: if traditional public libraries were just being founded today, how much effort do you think publishers would go through to shut them down by claiming they were illegal and violations of copyright law?

Every innovative business model bought to the incumbents is made so ridiculous that I can believe they’d go after public libraries if they were started now.




The Successor to HDMI:

The Successor to HDMI: All Your Video Through CAT6

It’s all based on a new A/V cable standard dubbed HDBaseT announced yesterday by Samsung and LG.

Not only is it based on standard CAT5e/6 networking cables, which is going to make networking your home theater much cheaper than HDMI, the new standard also supports cable lengths of up to 328 feet. In other words: There’s really no more excuses for not connecting your PC to your TV, even if the two devices are located in different rooms of your house.

The excuse could well be the difficulty of running Cat 6 Ethernet cable throughout the house, so if you’re building new, put it in everywhere!



Jib Jab does 1 mill transactions a year.

Jib Jab does 1 mill transactions year –

Jib Jab – the incredibly creative guys responsible for “Our Land” during the Bush/Kerry campaign, have long discovered that:

JibJab created its direct-to-consumer model, which it rolled out in the fourth quarter of 2007, after the ad market failed to be as robust as it needed to support its business. In a video interview with CinemaTech blogger Scott Kirsner earlier this year, the co-founders said that advertising doesn’t work for online video. Instead, over the past several years JibJab has shifted to selling annual subscriptions that give its user unlimited access to its e-cards and “Starring You” products, while also accepting micropayments for individual digital downloads on iPhone and other devices.

It’s been my assertion for years that advertising isn’t going to support online media the way it did broadcast.



You Don’t Need A Website!

You Don’t Need A Website!

Interesting post about the many connections a project or marketing website needs:

Now, you might want to build a website that allows your customers to access your data (content, video, audio, text, graphics, pictures, etc.). But you will also need an easy way to supply their needs on smart phones, app phones, cell phones, landline phones, netbooks, notebooks, slates, tablets, iPads, iPods (separate because they are not flash compatible) and a whole host of other devices that are out there and that are yet to be invented. You’re going to have an App vs. WAP debate, and sadly, you’re going to decide that you need to create both consumer experiences. You might also have to supply your video to broadcast television, cable television, satellite television, on demand systems (online and offline), IPTV and even lowly YouTube. Audio may go to traditional radio, podcasts, online distributors, iTunes, Rhapsody, Pandora and a thousand others. This list of deliverables is not endless but it is frighteningly long and it is getting longer every day. And, it won’t come out of a website, it will come out of a database that can be accessed by a plurality of devices in a plurality of ways.

The most important part is that data – in a database.



Marketing Tips for Web Video Series

Marketing Tips for Web Video Series. Two views from creators of Compulsions and

The post from CompulsionTV’s own site does refer to the excellent article by Pam Kulick but also adds some additional insights.

The points made in both articles are applicable to any independent project be it film,web video, tv or music.

If you want to learn about Web series marketing challenges and how to surmount them, then you will enjoy this account of launching the Web series, Compulsions.  As the marketing lead for Compulsions, I can attest that they were formidable:

  • No brand sponsors or advertising partners
  • No Web TV Network Partner or distribution strategy
  • No marketing budget
  • No launch strategy
  • No clear-cut genre
  • Mediocre Web site
  • No previous Web series credentials for the creator
  • Eight episodes
  • Needed to launch by December 2009 for Streamy Award qualification (Holiday Season)



Is Television Advertising For Old People?

Is Television Advertising For Old People?

With a median age of 51, that makes more than half of those who watch prime time television are outside the desirable 18-45 demographic. More than half outside TV’s desired demographic. Hard to have a hit.

What does this mean for those content creators that rely on that distribution channel? Plan another approach; this one is nearing its use-by date!

So what does this mean for traditional content owners?

First, it means they are losing. They are losing their audience, which will ultimately translate into losing their revenue and relevance. If they do not commit to developing a meaningful audience off television, they will begin to lose their market capitalization.

Read on for implication two (Google and Apple are winning) and three (Technology is king over programming).




Autotranslation good enough for conversation?

Autotranslation good enough for everyday conversations?

Nothing specifically about production and postproduction other than translation has been one of those “difficult” things for computers to get right – like assisted editing! 🙂  Apply the right algorithms and enough example data (Google’s big advantage) and it can improve.

I do like the idea of language no longer being a barrier to communication.

How have the machines become so adept? Mostly by using new “statistical” techniques. Instead of trying to teach a program the rules of language, computer scientists locate massive corpora of online documents previously translated by humans — say, UN proceedings, which are routinely available in six different languages, or bilingual newspapers. Then they train cloud computers to recognize which words and phrases match up across tongues.

That’s why Google is leading the pack: It’s best at finding oodles of documents to train its cloud. This method also means that the more the Web grows, the better our multilingual machines will get.

Also takes away the need for a world language, if translation is good enough.



Rumblefish to sell songs for use in YouTube videos.

Rumblefish to sell songs for use in YouTube videos Smart move on Rumblefish’s part, and good for their artists

Rumblefish mostly represent independent musicians so you won’t find any major artists (or labels) in there, but there are about 35,000 songs to choose from, all with appropriately cleared licenses. This makes it good for YouTube videographers and additional revenue for the musicians.

Currently, YouTube videos that use music without a license can be deleted from the site, or can be partiallycovered with an ad that generates revenue for YouTube and the recording company.

Privately held Rumblefish, based in Portland, Ore., will be selling the licensed songs at its new website,

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