Tag Archives: Video

My First FlipCamHD video

I was at the Monster party at CES hanging out with the executives there (they sponsored a talk I did with Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk about how bloggers can survive and thrive in this crappy economy). A guy handed me a little bag. Inside was a business card and a Flip MinoHD. Turned around and it was Jonathan Kaplan, CEO of puredigital which makes the FlipCams.

I don’t accept gifts of more than $100 so will give this away as soon as I get one of my own but I did use the device to shoot some video of Diana Ross and I put it up on Facebook, which now supports HD video (I did a video with Chris Putnam who runs the Facebook video team where he explains what they did). The quality you see online (if you sign in) is pretty damn close to what I see on my screen here.

More HD videos ahead, especially as I go to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland at the end of the month.

UPDATE: my friend Chris Pirillo did a review of all three and likes the Creative Vado better.

Microsoft gets you singing with Songsmith (first video demo)

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Microsoft released a very cool app tonight called Songsmith. You sing to it. It builds music. I could write a lot more in text and you’d never get it, so instead, let’s discover it together in this first video demo, done in a hotel room at CES with the Songsmith team just a few minutes ago.

The video is two parts:

1. Introduction and discussion of what Songsmith does.
2. Demonstration of Songsmith. (Embedded here)

30 minutes at 12seconds.tv shows future of "reality based" tech startups

Welcome back after Christmas. Yesterday I visited Santa Cruz to shoot some surfers with Marc Silber, photographer, and to visit 12seconds.tv.

At first glance 12seconds.tv is a lame idea. But, most of you thought the same thing about Twitter. So, that first impression should be thrown in the recycling bin along with all the torn up wrapping paper from Christmas presents you received yesterday.

What is it? It’s a service that lets you upload or record videos 12 seconds at a time. Sort of a video Twitter. It’s gained a cult following around the world.

But forget all that.

In my 30-minute video interview I discover a few other reasons to pay attention to this team and this service and why this company shows the future of tech startups in our new “reality-based” economy (I split the video into two parts. Here’s part one and here’s part two).

1. This isn’t their day job. They all work other places during the day. But are building this on nights and weekends, which is why I visited the day after Christmas.
2. They are part of the new “reality economy” which is self funded until they find a revenue stream which is significant enough for them to live off of. Only then will they go for VC funding, if they need it at all.
3. They are using a “cloud bursting” architecture. All the videos are hosted on their own servers, but if one gets popular they move it, and all the traffic, over to Amazon.com’s web services, to protect their servers from being overloaded. This lets them serve a lot more people very efficiently and cheaply.
4. They use Twitter for everything. Customer service. Building community. TweetDeck is up on their screens and they use iPhones — even answering questions on Christmas day.
5. That lack of resources causes them to focus on one thing, and one thing only (I wish Podtech had learned that).
6. In the second part of the video they demo their new iPhone app which they charge for “if no one is going to pay for this why are we building it?”

Anyway, enjoy. You’ll also see Marc Silber shooting photos in the video and Jeremy Toeman explaining how he’s helping 12seconds with PR and strategy. From 12seconds.tv you see Jacob Knobel, lead developer, who, along with Sol Lipman and David Beach started 12seconds.tv (you see all three in the videos).

What do they mean by “reality based?” Well, they have already noticed that investors are looking at monetizeable ideas much more closely and are less likely to fund things that don’t have community support already and don’t have a good idea of how they’ll make money in two years.

Welcome to the new “reality based” tech startup. Anyone have any other examples?

The best gadget I stole in 2008

Maryam wanted a video camera. She asked her friends and they recommended the FlipCam. She thought it was safe from me. She got an ugly one (orange and white) just to make it very unlikely that I’d steal it. After all, if it isn’t an Apple product, or cool and black, it probably was safe from her geeky husband, right?

But I tried it out one day and found that it gave me a lot better quality that my Nokia cell phone with Qik.

Since that day I haven’t given it back. All the recent videos on my Kyte video channel are done with it.

So, now she wants it back. Hah, I think I’ll buy her one of the new HD ones. And me too.

One tip: you MUST use a monopod (which is what I’m doing) or a tripod with this. It is too small to hold steady otherwise.

Why do I love it? It uses AA batteries so I can either use rechargeables or, if those are dead, some of the AA’s in the freezer.

It has a little USB plug that swings out the side. It works with any computer. So, if I take video of my friends’ cute babies, I can give them that video right there. Oh, and the video works with Kyte, YouTube, Viddler, Facebook, and a bunch of other services too. No reformatting or work needed.

Hope a bunch of you find one of these under your Christmas tree.

One problem? The local BestBuy is sold out of the HD versions so you might need to buy them online.

Mike Arrington is talking about his experiences with the Flip and other small HD cameras on his Twitter account. For me, it might be ugly, but it is the best thing I’ve stolen from Maryam all year.

Facebook tears down part of its walled garden

Another thing that Facebook just released is embeddable videos. TechCrunch covers that part.

But they missed how important a change in direction this is for Facebook.

This means that I can embed videos on blogs from Facebook and make those videos available to everyone.

Facebook now is a YouTube competitor and one that has a huge advantage: you know a LOT about the people who publish the videos on Facebook due to their strict rules and the social network — you can click on each person who uploaded video and you can see who their friends are, which is very valuable to knowing whether the person who is publishing video is someone credible and who has authority with other people.

It also means that we no longer have to visit Facebook to interact with an important data type kept there.

To me that’s huge and worth underscoring. Will Facebook continue opening up its walled garden? Interesting to see this in light of Facebook’s other battle with Google over how it’ll open up its social graph data.

Fast Company’s video with Facebook’s Chris Putnam explains the new embedding system along with the new HD video quality they just turned on.

Nice to see Facebook opening up to the Web, though, and tearing down its walls. What do you think?

HD war breaks out as Facebook, YouTube deliver new features

Tonight an HD war online broke out. YouTube appears to have turned on HD video. Now Facebook jumps into the fray with true 720p HD 16:9 widescreen video. This is HUGE for those of us who have HD camcorders.

But also Vimeo and SmugMug have turned on HD video before.

Why is this important? Well, a bunch of people just received their Canon 5D Mark II cameras that do HD video. So does the Nikon D90. Look at the video that SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill did with his. That shows off SmugMug’s HD goodness.

Or look at Joi Ito’s videos from his 5D which use Vimeo’s video system.

Of course, we have exclusive video from Facebook which explains these features. Here’s a video with Chris Putnam, who runs the Facebook video team.

TechCrunch also covers the new Facebook features.

We’re trying to upload a 720p video to all of these services to see which ones have the best quality and features. Which one are you going to use if you have an HD camcorder? We should have a test video up soon.

UPDATE: this news has already started a long conversation on FriendFeed.

UPDATE 2: Chris Putnam, who was featured in my video, has posted a blog post about these changes and TechMeme has more posts about Facebook’s new video.

Close look at Vholdr, sports video camera

Vholdr is a sports video camera designed for sky diving, skateboarding, surfing, swimming, including on RC helicopters, etc. If you are into sports, you should check out this very cool camera, here’s a short video I filmed on Friday with the founder of the company, Marc Barros, who showed me how it all works. If you visit Vholdr’s site you’ll see a ton of video made by their users with these cameras.