Archive for June 25th, 2007

A new kind of piracy

Our discussion about web-based TV series went well over at DVXUser. Recently YouTube announced some more sharing-revenue deals while I did a bit more research on Revver, which has been paying directors since last October for 40-20-40 on the videos that include their commercials. That’s 40% for the director, 40% for Revver and 20% for any sharer who links to the video.

Eventually, most of the biggest video sharing sites will pay for content, but there is a new problem arising. For example, if you are having an exclusive deal with Revver, or if you only personally manage the top-5 video sharing sites, there are always the people who will rip your video and post it elsewhere without the appropriate code. For example, if a user rips your Revver video and posts it on YouTube (even if it might already exist on YouTube or not), neither you or Revver will get the ads revenue. Eventually, because revenue sharing will be a big thing in the next few years, individuals will be hunted down not by the MPAA or the RIAA, but from other, fellow internet users and maybe the video sharing sites themselves.

The only way to go around the problem is to stay on top of your game for the top-10 video sharing sites and sell DVDs and higher-res versions of your videos on your own site (although Torrent will have a toll too on your newfound business if you are successful). It’s gonna hurt, and for the first time kids will feel how the MPAA feels right now. Nevertheless, you will need about 9 million views (on several different video sharing sites) to make about $50,000, and that’s not an easy feat.

Astronomy observatories and software

We visited Mt Hamilton east of San Jose yesterday. There are at least 4-5 big telescopes/observatories at the peak, belonging to the Berkeley university. Cool stuff.

I shot a bit of handheld video there, and when I came back home I took a shot with the Sony Vegas 7a Platinum. Well, it’s a pain in the ass to use that application, I am just not happy with the amount of polish it has (or lack of). For example, it won’t scene-detect HDV (while it does for plain DV, I had to use an external tool after the fact), its external capture app won’t do HDV at all, if you don’t specifically tell it to use transitions there is this ugly black screen between the shots (you can see those in my rough-cut video below), while the application uses lots of RAM when you simply add more media files on the Media placeholder (I am NOT talking about the timeline, that’s extra RAM), and finally, it is extremely slow playing back HDV when previewing (even in low quality setting — it is the only NLE in the market that is so slow previewing HDV video).

And when exporting, its dialogs are stupidly terrible. I have widescreen video, I want to export as widescreen in low-res, but it won’t let me have a custom resolution and set the anamorphic bit or not, it HAS to be QVGA anamorphic, which plays well on WMP/VLC, but other players and YouTube fuck it up and they render my 1.333-proportioned video as 1.000 (so it looked out of proportion on YouTube before I re-uploaded with the new format). It is an utterly ridiculous situation and re-enforces my opinion as to how much software sucks in general (update: I tried to force letterboxing as it won’t let me pick a custom resolution and that trick worked better, although their usability designers should definitely look at QuickTimePro’s UI for letterboxing).

iMovie, while it only has 1/20 of the features of Vegas, it is a joy to use (for its limited feature-set that is). Its UI just MAKES SENSE and does what the user EXPECTS (including the export settings). And no, the Vegas problems are not because of the too many features or because it was supposed to be a “pro” app, it is because it’s written and managed by idiots with no vision and without a sense of what’s LOGICAL. It is an incoherent app, it’s as simple as that. I have literally spent only 1 hour with Vegas using it since I installed it on Thursday (and I didn’t even write about my adventures on their support site trying to find updates), and I found (and confirmed by googling) what, 4-5 usability/technical problems already? How pathetic is that?

I am telling you people: software sucks. And when the software engineers don’t actually suck, the usability engineers do. Either way, most of the time users are screwed.