Friday, January 26, 2007

Online Video Publishing

Once you have made your film you'll need to publish it somewhere. You could burn a whole bunch of DVDs and then sell them down the local farmers market but perhaps you might also want to publish it for the world to see online. You could host it on your own website, if you have one but there are advantages to publishing on a video publishing site.

If your film is large or lots of people watch it then this could cause you problems with the bandwidth of your website. It may simply stop working or your host might block you or charge you money.

Legality and ownership
There has been a lot of press about people uploading recorded TV channels or films to these sites. But of course this ownership issue also applies the other way around. By uploading files you could be giving away some of the rights to that material.

The legal situation is complicated because multiple countries are involved. What may seem legal in one could be illegal in another. It is best to read the details on each site carefully before uploading.

Billy Bragg had problems with sublicensing without royalties when he posted his songs online.

Features and formats
People have different software and hardware to connect to the Internet and different bandwidths so how do you decide what format to publish in? One way would be to look for films that are similar to yours and then upload in the same format. Another is to publish in several formats and the final option is to select a site which does the conversions for you. Many sites use flash to publish films as it means that they can ensure that they can be played back on a wide range of machines. As well as converting file formats some sites also allow direct upload from phones or video cameras. A useful feature provided is to be able to host your films on these publishing websites but then include a link or embed the video in your own pages or blog.

Searching, tags and channelsExample of tags as used in Flikr
Once you have your video listed, you want others to find it. Pretty much all these sites allow you to search the site for a keyword. The big search providers such as Google and yahoo also have video specific search options. Tags are for me one of the great Web 2.0 inventions. By allowing the users to tag a video its possible to see what the popular films are and it saves you from needing to guess what keywords to search for. This is also used by some sites such as You Tube to show similar films to the one you are watching. Finally channels are collections of films of a similar genre, type or format. Some sites allow the users to create their own channels and some have a set defined by the site administrator. Finally some sites provide feeds which people can subscribe to so they can see when you add new videos.

See also,,,

Developer APIs
Some sites allow developers to access the meta data about your films and produce new functionality. For example a developer might mix video with mapping to allow you to see films of a town before you visit it. Unless you have a specialist need, APIs are unlikely to factor into your decision. However we may see that the sites with APIs are those that become more popular and get more visitors as there are different ways people can access the films.

List of sites
Currently, the most famous of the publishing sites is YouTube but there's a very large number of other options, the more I investigated, the more I found. It's quite possible I've missed some.

A long running site, hosting films such as Angry Kid from Aardman. Atom films may pay you for your films or via advertising. You can upload or submit your films by DVD, CD or Tape through the post.

Google Video
Since the purchase of YouTube it has been suggested that Google Video will change to read only. Google is already levering the advantage of YouTube by including their films when you search.

Ifilm is one of the old boys of online video publishing and was bought by Viacom International in 2005. IFilm has tags, channels, favourites and because of their ownership has content from the MTV range of TV channels. Playback is via a Flash based player and the site provides code for linking or embedding films. As well as a large range of upload formats IFilm will take postal submissions. IFilms committee will decide if your film is worthy of inclusion.

iPace Online Services
iPace online services is a complete solution from Magix which allows you to utilise their video, audio and photo products to publish content on the web.

I-Tunes allows you to sell your work on their site but is currently only open for downloads in the USA and you have to be invited to join. The Mantis Parable is a recent example of an independant animator being invited to join ITunes.

Used to be The Venice Project and has been bought by the owners of Skype. This site is still in Beta and seems to focus on watching rather than creating content.

Owned by google, the one that's in the press at the moment. Fully featured: conversion to flash, channels, tags, favourites, comments and embedding.

Video Egg
Video Egg provides you with advertising revenue from your videos. It provided it's own control to display the videos and can be added into your favourite networking or blogging site.

Yahoo Video
Unsurprisingly a wide range of search options here. Also the ability to add favourites, reviews and tags.

Zudeo specialises in High definition videos and users can upload, download and comment on videos. Zudeo uses Azureus software to download files in a similar way to Bittorrent. The BBC are working with Zudeo on some public trials.

Others not reviewed include:

Other Links
Business Week report on Online Video sites.

A discussion on CGTalk about selling short films.

Shorts International are selling some short films on ITunes including some that were shown at this years London International Animation Festival including one of my favourites "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello Dir Anthony Lucas".


FleaCircusDirector said...

Rex says: watch out for the terms and conditions of video upload sites. Sometimes there are sneaky terms that allow the site to republish/make money from/ have copyright over your material.

FleaCircusDirector said...

From the BBC:
'YouTube founder Chad Hurley confirmed to the BBC that his team was working on a revenue-sharing mechanism that would "reward creativity". '

FleaCircusDirector said...

You can also post videos on Myspace

FleaCircusDirector said...

Blip TV has an opt in Advertising model that allows you to select who advertises and where in your film that appears.