A big – but expected – announcement from Twitter today. Group messaging is here:
30 seconds of Twitter video
Possibly more interesting from a journalistic point of view is the fact that they're adding video natively into Twitter apps:
Our unique mobile video camera and inline editing experience lets you capture and share videos up to 30 seconds in an instant. Twitter for iPhone users will be able to upload videos from the camera roll as well (a feature that will be available on our Android app soon). Here’s more information on the new mobile video camera.
These features are being rolled out to users over the next few days. Video should get a lot of traction fast - as photos did when they were added. Group messaging? There's a lot of competition out there. Let's see if Twitter can make its offering compelling, without having to make it a separate app.
YouTube. Media organisations are still overlooking YouTubers in the same way as they overlooked Vice, Buzzfeed et al. But there are serious non-mainstream publishers on there doing things differently.
It's not just YouTube - there's an entire culture of online video that's going unreported by most mainstream media - including the whole Twitch.tv gaming video industry. There are media businesses and celebrities growing here that look so different to what we think of as journalism that people aren't joining the dots - yet.
@ilicco The whole "let's play" / Twitch / game video celeb culture thing is fascinating, and under-reported.
The one reason I keep doing what I do for a living (whatever the hell that is, as it seems to change every few months right now...) is that new technology is enabling such different forms of storytelling and, as a natural storyteller of sorts, how can you not get all excited and want to be involved with that?
Take this video, which has been doing the rounds over the last few days:
Sure - it's an advert for GoPro cameras - but that's just fine with me, because their kit has enabled this sort of storytelling. Or, at least, made the costs involved much, much lower.
News organizations have learned that the traditional television model doesn't pay online. It costs too much to shoot and produce, and requires too much from their reporters, who didn't get into the business to be TV stars. More important, readers aren't interested, which means advertisers aren't satisfied.
My goodness. Taking a format from an entirely different medium, adding a high cost base and assuming it'll all work isn't a recipe for success? Who knew?
This all came about at the last TEDxBrighton. Thibault - whom I'd first met when he was working with Brilliant Noise - has recently joined Realmac, and I was singing the praises of Ember to him, as I'd recently discovered it. Would I appear in a video promoting it? Yes, I said. And promptly forgot about it.
It was a fascinating insight into how talented filmmakers construct the narrative of a video like this. And it actually makes my life seem significantly more cool than it actually is. (Hazel is exactly that cute, though - and demands her appearance fees paid in Duplo).
All in all, a worthwhile experience, in the service of a worthwhile piece of software. It's probably the only advert I'll ever appear in, but I did enjoy the process.
Years ago, I was obsessed with the fact that journalists focus on kit quality over content quality when it comes to doing multimedia work. Nothing I've done in the last couple of years has suggested to me that this has become any better as an issue. The quality you can get out of your mobile phone is astonishing compared to what mid-range dedicated cameras were doing a decade ago. Concentrate on doing great work with your phone, and upgrade when you hit its limitations.
And when I say "concentrate", think about how you can do better work with it.
Here's a wonderful example from Apple of what the iPhone can achieve when used cleverly:
What's even more interesting is that there's a behind the scenes video showing how it was all done:
Now there's some serious kit in there - some of it to allow it all to be shot in one day, yet directed by one guy (Jake Scott - the son of Ridley Scott, who directed the first ever Mac ad, fact fans). But the majority of it is just dedicated to helping keep the phone more steady - or to allow it to move more smoothly. You can get a bunch of the way there with just a Glif and a GorillaPod. But there's also hand-holding, but thoughtful, two-handed hand-holding.
For a touch more inspiration, they've also done a behind the scenes on a Burberry fashion show captured with an iPhone 5s:
Stop worrying about the kit. It's all about the content quality.
That was quite a week - only three working days, marking to finish, four separate lectures or workshops and a whole day's filming. No wonder I haven't been posting.
Now, about that filming. Several years back, as still cameras started doing better and better video, I was tracking the trend eagerly, as part of my remit in my old job of looking at what tools our journalists should be using.
On Tuesday, I found myself being filmed for much of the day - and this is what the cameras looked like:
I mentioned this to Frit and she said that a significant proportion of serious film-makers she knows are now using DSLRs for their shooting rather than "proper" video cameras.
Convergence is a fascinating thing. Coupling this with the thoughts on the rise of the networked camera - or camera phone - and the fall of the standalone camera, you do wonder if we're going to end up with just two major categories of camera in use for the vast majority of people: the phone, and the serious DSLR/CSC with video capabilities...
Don't read any more posts with headlines like this one - because nobody really knows yet
Get out there, experiment with it and find your own uses for it.
Social media tools like this take a long time to find their footing and become useful. Facebook existed for years without the news feed that we now think is the heart of the service. Instagram started off as a game called Burbn. Twitter's hashtags, @replies and retweets? All ideas created by the users and initially resisted by Twitter itself. Nobody knows exactly what a new tool will become in its early stages - least of all the people creating the service.
Look at Twitter's similar video service Vine: it's been out for five months, and only now are interesting uses of it beginning to emerge. Look at the work my friends at Brilliant Noise are doing with Vine, for example. That comes from experimenting with an open mind, not reading click-bait posts in the first few days.
I have in my possession, for the time being, a Nokia Lumia 920, courtesy of some work I'm doing for Brilliant Noise. It's a robust, elegant phone, with an interesting OS, and some excellent optics. It's been interesting pushing myself our of my iPhone comfort zone and trying something different for a while.
One thing I really wanted to do was push its photographic and video capabilities a little. While I was out walking my daughter over the weekend, I grabbed some footage around Shoreham Beach, just to see how the camera performs in video mode. One nice touch that Windows Phone 8 offers is the ability to automatically upload any videos you shoot to SkyDrive, without any manual intervention. That makes my notion reporting workflow pretty simple - both photos and videos are set to upload directly to SkyDrive when the phone's on WiFi. I have the SkyDrive app on my Mac, so within a few minutes of walking in the front door, I had the files on my computer. I imported them straight into iMovie, and edited them together "as is", with no exposure changed. I applied a little stabilisation, as it was a cold day and my hand was shaking, but otherwise you're seeing the footage straight out of the phone: