vimeo open to the public - new constellations in the sky 07.15.2005, 1:13 PM
posted by ben vershbow
In February, I stumbled upon a wonderful new site for storing and sharing video clips, which, until recently, was being tested on closed beta. Now fully open to the public, Vimeo aims to do for short form video what Flickr does for photos, openly citing the photo-sharing phenom as inspiration. Right now, it's pretty basic. Create a free account and you can start uploading compressed clips (8MB weekly limit), adding tags, and browsing what other users have put up. Over time, I expect they'll start adding some Flickr-esque features (like in-house email, groups, video sets, calendar, favorites and who knows what else). When Vimeo first came onto my radar, they had an interesting feature that allowed you to string several clips together within a single tag, creating an ad hoc montage. They still say on their "about" page that "several clips can be played together to create a movie," but I could no longer figure out how to do that.
All in all, given how troublesome it can be to get video working on the web, Vimeo seems to be off to a very smooth start. Something I hope they figure out is how to make it easy for users to post video to blogs. If they could rig up a basic form that automatically embeds a clip into a blog post, it would be a tremendous boon to the incipient video blogging community. And if they could provide basic video editing tools, then they might have something really big on their hands. (I've posted here my inaugural upload to Vimeo - a column from the ruins at Caesaria, from my recent trip to Israel.)
Though just barely off the ground, I have a feeling that Vimeo could evolve into something serious. Another exciting launch is Odeo, the podcast hub. Taken together as a constellation, these three ventures - Flickr, Vimeo, and Odeo - are constructing the beginnings of a vast media commons, tiny when compared with the giant 20th century media industries, but maybe not for long (see post on the London bombings). Another recently launched site, ourmedia, seeks to create a similar kind of homebrew media repository, offering (through a partnership with the Internet Archive) to "host your media forever -- for free." But so far, I've been much more impressed with the the afore-mentioned image/video/sound trio. Different media present different challenges, and there's something to be said for doing one thing really well rather than trying to do everything sort of well. I've found ourmedia's interface frustrating. It's difficult to browse for media, and sometimes hard to open an item once you've found it. Flickr, Vimeo and Odeo all provide a dynamic tagging system, making it much easier for users to dig and explore. ourmedia has no such system. What ourmedia is exploring more intensively (and Odeo too) is the need for an editorial voice, maintaining a rotating roster of volunteer editors, whose duties, among other things, include constructing the site's homepage. Odeo, on the other hand, is more clearly descended from traditional broadcast media, namely radio. The site is organized into channels, each with its own signature mix of programming. But unlike a radio station, an Odeo channel has fluid boundaries. Listener's can pick and choose programs, constructing their own broadcast.
But ultimately, we can't leave it up to these sites to make selections for us. Flickr has its own blog where the site's creators draw attention to noteworthy material. But more interesting is Flickrzen, a blog posting regular "reportages" of the most compelling photos turning up on Flickr. Flickr Pix Photo Magazine is on a similar mission. Of course, with millions of photographs already on Flickr, and thousands pouring in as I write, it would be impossible for any single editorial body to exhaustively survey the whole repository. So there's definitely room for more of these curatorial ventures. They are the next step.
Alexandria on July 17, 2005 7:13 PM:
I agree that these sites will continue to evolve into something serious. I think that we are seeing the start of a big shift toward a participatory culture and these sites will provide people with the tools they need to get their message out.
I disagree that a site can't do photos, videos and audio as well as a site that is focused on one or the other. You should check out ArtistNow - I have been a member of this site for over 8 months and I think that they are proving that you can combine all of these media forms into one site and still make it easy to manage and share all of your media. ArtistNow members can Tag their Audio, Video and Images. I find this site to be a great place to network with other people who are involved in the Arts & Entertainment Industries.
It is great to see all of these sites creating the tools that allow us to share our work in new and exciting ways with people from around the world.
I look forward to seeing what's next!
ben vershbow on July 17, 2005 11:48 PM:
I certainly agree that a site can be multi-pronged, just think "ourmedia" has a long way to go. Thanks for pointing toward ArtistNow. Looks very interesting...
alex itin on July 19, 2005 5:42 PM:
Interesting idea, but there wasn't much to look at. I'll check out artistnow, though.
Mark Moore on October 26, 2005 11:53 PM:
I agree as well. The world is changing and blogs are evolving and becoming richer in their ability to captivate, inform, and gather a following. I have always wondered what would happen if the TV network broadcasters were eliminated. People would then pick up their popular TV broadcasts from something maybe like Google video. But, would news and information be spread into many smaller popular blogs? It's very possible and in that case video will need to be easily manufactured into something viewable by the mass media.
We have spent time at our company looking at the video editing process (as well as the upload and conversion problems). We are looking into a blogging capability and it's encouraging to see that people are looking for a simple online editing tool.
Yashi on November 5, 2005 2:14 PM:
You should check out our site Yashi.com. We previously owned MyVeo and have changed the name to Yashi. The site has over 70,000 videos uploaded by members from the date of this post and we're getting over 3,000 new videos uploaded everyday!