Video blogging has just busted out into the national spotlight.
Heather Green in the new issue of Business Week: Online Video: The Sequel. Video blogs are proliferating, thanks to improved distribution technology, and mainstream companies are taking notice. I managed to get a plug in there for Ourmedia:
Welcome to the latest Net phenomenon: video blogs, or what some folks call vlogs. Thousands of ordinary (and some downright nutty) people have begun posting a cornucopia of video fare online, from self-indulgent art clips and earnest citizen journalism to sly political commentary (see BW Online, 12/29/04, “Let a Million Videos Bloom Online“). Experimentation is the rule, and eccentrics outnumber serious practitioners.
But amid the chaos, glimpses of a commercial future are starting to emerge, including a revival of online video distribution, using vlogs to sell ads, and corporate sites designed to reach out to customers and suppliers. …
The vlog phenomenon has stirred up a wave of creativity at grassroots groups and companies alike. Online video sites, such as Undergroundfilm, are adding blogging sections. Ourmedia, an online showcase for digital content, is expected to launch early this month [January]. It will provide free storage and blogging room for creative types such as New York indie musician Sam Bisbee, whose music video will be available for free. “You see video bubbling up all over the Web,” says J.D. Lasica, who runs Ourmedia. “My thought was to gather it all in one place.”
Here’s Heather’s companion piece, Let a Million Videos Bloom Online. The grassroots movement to post visual blogs makes astonishing viewing, and vlogs’ rising audiences may give them an increasing impact. Excerpt:
In Boston, Steve Garfield is practicing his own brand of citizen journalism. His video reports at stevegarfield.blogs.com/videoblog are as local as they come, ranging from coverage of this summer’s Democratic National Convention to a video of a downed power line on his street. At human-dog.com, run by Chris Weagel, a St. Clair Shores (Mich.) video producer, visitors can watch a spare, silent film showing an anonymous person removing a John Kerry yard sign from its metal posts after the Presidential election and taping an upside-down flag in its place.
Ryan Hodson, a 25-year-old film editor, specializes in videos that mingle the absurd with oddly touching insights. In one clip, she tours her house. In the kitchen, the camera focuses on a pot on a stove as Hodson describes the night her roommate tried to cook Dinty Moore Stew without — as the camera pans up to recreate — pouring the food out of the can. In another video, she created split-screen montages of her brother racing bicycles, showing him crashing, and then out ahead of the pack.
The trio are among the pioneers spearheading a fast-evolving grassroots movement. It’s an amazing process to watch as creative pockets begin to interact around the country. Garfield, Hodson, and Weagel are all part of a Yahoo! (YHOO ) group dedicated to video blogging that was formed in June by Jay Dedman, a New Yorker who works at a public-access TV station.
In turn, that Yahoo group began working in late summer with Ourmedia, a new site backed by a who’s who of bloggers and grassroots media advocates. Intended to be a showplace for digital content, Ourmedia is being given free storage space by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library backed by the entrepreneur Brewster Kahle.
Ourmedia is also tapping into the publishing and copyright licensing tools developed by Creative Commons, another grassroots nonprofit founded by Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford Law School professor and one of America’s best known commentators on intellectual-property issues.
The links among the various groups don’t stop there. Yahoo, which unveiled a video search service earlier this month, is working with Ourmedia, Creative Commons, and commercial sites such as indie-film service AtomFilms to develop a video version of Really Simple Syndication, or RSS.
We’ll see what Jay has to say, but you couldn’t really ask for a more glowing pair of articles. (And Heather’s the bomb.)