Category Archives: Film, TV & Video

Resources To Help Get Your Music In Films & TV

In a climate where many artists are struggling to find income streams every avenue helps and one area worth exploring is music placement in film and TV.

The ‘gatekeepers’ to these type of gigs are the music supervisors. The music supervisor is a person who coordinates the work of the composer, the editor, and sound mixers. Alternately, a person who researches, obtains rights to, and supplies songs for a production (namely films and television programs).

TV viewers (particularly those who are geeky about music) tend to notice what songs get used on shows, and those touches can be credited to the music supervisor.

If you want to find out who the music supervisor is on any given movie or TV show you might not have earmarked the Amazon owned Internet Movie Database as a go-to  music industry resource but the site is packed with info on cast and crew members, including music supervisors.

Look up movies that have really great soundtracks then scroll through the credits and you’ll find out the names of the person responsible for music supervision.

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YouTube vs. MySpace. Dont Believe the Hype

A lot of fuss yesterday caused by a sensationalist Guardian headline “YouTube Overtakes MySpace”. Writer Mark Sweney writes:

YouTube has established itself at the top of the league of the new generation of community websites by becoming even more popular than MySpace, according to research.
The video sharing site has taken a 3.9% share of global internet visits a day compared with 3.35% for MySpace, according to internet analysis company Alexa.”

youtube_logo

What the article fails to tell readers is that the figures were taken from the small percentage of Internet Explorer users who have the Amazon owned Alexa toolbar installed on their browser, hardly an exhaustive user demographic. A fact only Mashable and GigaOm seemed to notice.

Related Reading

YouTube vs MySpace (GigaOm)
YouTube Now More Popular Than MySpace (Mashable)
Who’s Video Is It Anyway? (BusinessWeek)
YouTube Is World’s Fastest Growing Website (Mashable)
MySpace’s Trip to the Top (Slashdot)

BitTorrent meets You Tube meets Tivo?

Here’s a great example of buzzword overkill. Tioti ( acronym: Tape It off the Internet) apparently started as an online joke back in November last year hyped as an electronic TV guide for the world – with links to BitTorrent files and also social applications for P2P discussion and sharing. The idea was taken seriously by some and went into proper development.

The homepage right now is little more than some basic info and the ubiquitous “give us your email address and we’ll tell you when we’re ready” invite box.

“Built using the robust J2EE Spring framework and making use of AJAX interface hotness, TIOTI brings Wiki-style content editing for you guys, plus tagging and RSS up the yazoo. We currently index 16,000+ TV shows – 88,000+ episodes – and we are matching everything up with an ever increasing number of content sources.”

tioti promises

So basically another You Tube wannabee with a bit of Tivo and BitTorrent thrown in for good measure. Throw in a site built on Ruby On Rails and Ajax, promised RSS feeds, IM and VOiP and you have a veritable quilt of Web 2.0 buzzwords.

Mashable.com have a more indepth look at the beta including screenshots. But there’s going to be thorny copyright issues for sure (as with You Tube). Om Malik mentioned the problems online video companies like Google Video and You Tube have with policing content earlier this year.

“I am not sure if this is a problem that is going to go away. Online video companies will have to figure out a policing mechanism… after all if CSI shows start showing up on Google video (not the store), Google’s partners at Viacom are not going to be too thrilled. Similarly SNL videos now for sale on iTunes store, available for free are going to become a headache of sorts for folks at You Tube.”
Related Reading

BitTorrent Meets YouTube (Mashable.com) July 14 2006
The RIAA Says No Dancing to Music on You Tube (TechDirt.com) June 14 2006
A Video Clip Goes Viral, and a TV Network Wants to Control It (NY Times) Feb 20 2006
Google, YouTube & the Darkside of Online Video (GigaOm.com) Jan 15 2006
What is Web 2.0 (oreillynet.com) Sept. 30 2005

The Video Search Challenge

I was given a good excuse today to put some of the newer video search options through a stiff user test. My wife is a massive fan of the Fox TV medical drama ‘House ‘. Starring as the lead character is English actor Hugh Lawrie. Back in the UK, Lawrie is more famous for his comedic character acting and plummy English public school accent.

Yahoo Video Search came up trumps with the clip I was looking for, in Russian, bizarrely

A culture shock for me then trying to take him seriously with the American accent that is layered on thickly for his latest character Dr. Gregory House, after spending years watching him make me laugh hysterically in ‘Jeeves and Wooster’. Getting to the point, I thought this would be an excellent challenge to try and find a clip from ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ to prove to my wife that yes indeed, he really was English.
We simply entered, Jeeves and Wooster in the search box and waited.

Engines Running…

Yahoo’s much vaunted updated video search was first. Four results and bingo, a clip with Hugh. Unbelievably the clip with him is from a Russian P.G Wodehouse fan site and is dubbed in Russian.
The AOL owned Singing Fish (also used by MSN for their video search) turned up two results, one a ringtone. Blinkx TV had nothing, their TV search and archive was limited to mainly US programmes. The new Google Video search option fared no better returning one result, a mention in a news clip.

Where too next ? Alta Vista and All The Web are both now owned by Yahoo and as such returned the same four results as their owners. And here’s where the options start to get thinner on the ground, outside of trawling P2P networks.

Talk of tentative connections (or is it degrees of separation, now we’re bombarded by social networks?). ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ was based on characters, Reginald Jeeves and Bertie Wooster from P.G Wodehouse books. He is the quintessential “gentleman’s personal gentleman” and is Wodehouse’s most famous character and also where search engine Ask Jeeves sourced their name.

Related

Yahoo and Blinkx Launch New Video Search Options [Buzzsonic News]
Search Battle Heads For Video [Wired.com]
Will Video Search Pay Off? [Internet News]
AOL Revamps Singing Fish Audio Video Search [Buzzsonic News]

BBC iPod Parody

UK TV writers David Wellington and Adrian Peters production firm Mantlepies were asked to come up with some sketches for comedian Armando Iannucci’s end of year TV show for the BBC, 2004: The Stupid Version.

A still from the iPod parody taken from the BBC show 2004-the Stupid Version
They came up with ‘iPod World’ a wry dig at the way the iPod is becoming ingrained into the fabric of society. 2004: The Stupid Version, was broadcast on BBC THREE, on New Year’s Eve. Its starting point is taking all the footage from the year and re-editing and re-voicing it to make it become something completely different.

Iannucci, talking on the BBC website said, “What’s been really heartening about making it was discovering lots of creative and funny people who do this sort of thing for a laugh, but in their homes or during the night in posh commercial editing suites. They then normally send these sorts of things out as virals on the internet.

What I wanted to do was bring some of them together and say to them, look, now you’ve got all the BBC’s resources at your disposal. If you need help, we’ll provide it. Don’t change what you do, just aim higher. And they did. I’ve always fiddled about with videotape anyway, so the programme was also an opportunity to get a few more of those jokes off my chest as well.”

View the clip here (in QuickTime .mov format) and grab it here (5.52MB) ( right click and save as-from Gizmodo).

Yahoo And Blinkx Launch New Video Search Options

Not one but two new search options for video content on the web were unveiled today only hours apart of each other. First out of the blocks was a “test phase” version of the previously hinted at Yahoo video search. The site went up on Wednesday and competes against pioneers like the AOL owned Singing Fish which was recently upgraded.

Yahoo unveiled their new video search option today

The Yahoo video search service lets users narrow their query results by file formats, such as AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, Windows Media and Real, by size and by duration (less or more than a minute). Users can also choose to filter results based on Internet top-level domains, so only results from .com Web sites would be listed, for example. Users can also choose to filter content unsuitable for minors from the search results.

Yahoo search executive Jeremy Zawodny had more to say on the company weblog. Why video? “The costs of producing video content have been steadily decreasing in recent years. Between the adoption of broadband Internet connections, and easier to use video editing software, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a lot more video content make its way on to the Internet. And what’s out there today is just the tip of the iceberg.”

He continues to explain: “It’s often not easy for a web crawler to find downloadable and streaming video content. Unlike web images and most audio files, videos aren’t always easy to discover. When we started thinking about how to make it easier for anyone to expose video and other rich media content, one of the first things we thought of was podcasting and RSS. Podcasting uses RSS Enclosures to provide an audio file along with a news item or blog posting in an RSS feed. At the most basic level, this (new search option) is just a matter of pointing to a video instead of an MP3 file.”

Search results show a thumbnail of the video, the name of the file, screen size, length in seconds, and size in MB with 20 results per page by default (though this is customizable from 10-100).

Video search is nothing new, the Yahoo owned Alta Vista and All The Web search engines have offered a video search option for years though the technology has improved. Yahoo are now deploying a method called “Media RSS”.

Media RSS is a new RSS module that supplements the enclosure capabilities of RSS 2.0. Enclosures in RSS are already being used to syndicate audio files (Podcasting) and images. Media RSS extends enclosures to handle other media types, such as short films or TV, in addition to providing additional metadata with the media.

Only hours later Blinkx released the Beta version of Blinkx TV, which allows you to search the web for video and audio clips. Blinkx had previously been known for its downloadable desktop search app which actually beat Google’s similar offering to market in the summer. According to media sources search giant Google is courting broadcasters and cable networks with a new technology that would do for television what it has already done for the Internet: sort through and reveal needles of video clips from within the haystack archives of major network TV shows. Microsoft is also developing a search engine for video.

Blog search engine Blogdigger recently revealed a media search option on their site, enabling users to specify media files in five different classes: audio:, video:, image:, torrent: and text ( a catch all including things like PDF, ZIP or Microsoft Word documents) that Blogdigger indexes from the RSS feeds used on blogs like us here at MBN24. Both Compaq and IBM have been working low key on multimedia search options for a while now too.

Related Reading

Yahoo Launches Video Search, New RSS Format [ResearchBuzz.com]
Blinkx Unveils Video Search Engine [CNet News]
Striking up Digital Video Search [CNet News]
At Yahoo, Signs Point to a Bigger Media Move [CNet News]
Search Meets TV [SearchEngineWatch.com]
TV and Search Merge [BattelleMedia.com]
AOL Revamps SingingFish Audio Video Search [MusicbizNews24.com]
Google Audio Search [Oristus.com]

More P2P TV On the Way

A German television development company is planning to launch free viewing on the internet with the help of a revolutionary Web service that aims to give viewers access to any programme they want from almost anywhere in the world. Viewers will need little more than a television connected to a computer. The computer will be set up to upload a chosen television programme on to the internet, where other viewers will be able to download and broadcast it on their own sets almost instantaneously.
Cybersky hope to bring P2P TV to the masses in the new year

Cybersky hopes to do for live television programming what Napster and Kazaa did for music and movies. Television software engineer Guido Ciburski teamed up with Petra Bauersachs, his partner at their small TV technology company in the southern German town of Koblenz and has been developing the service for three years. At the end of January, the company, TC Unterhaltungselektronic, will unveil the service which will, says Ciburski, enable broadband users to distribute video programmes free, and exchange them with others on a platform similar to the peer-to-peer file sharing of Grokster and Kazaa.

Cybersky could shake up the television industry in the same way Kazaa and Grokster shook up the music and film industry. The legal departments of German broadcasters are already monitoring the software’s progress and legal analysts say Cybersky’s potential for trading licensed programming could open up another front line in the court battles that have dogged file-sharing software since the days of Napster.

In an interview with the Independent newspaper in the UK Mr. Ciburski refused to divulge how he developed the technology: “That would be giving away the vital secret,” he said. “All I can say is that without broadband it would have been difficult.” In practice, cyberspace should allow fans of programmes such as The Office to go on holiday in Hawaii and still get the show fed live into their hotel bedside laptop with only a five-to 10-second delay.

Mr Ciburski says he circumvented the overload problems that have affected video-streaming applications by developing software that relies on what is called “peer-to-peer networking” technology. He adds: “Instead of using our own servers to distribute programmes, we will be giving the job to the computers of Cybersky’s subscribers.”

After downloading Cybersky software, users, with the help of a TV card or Webcam, a DSL connection and a connector between their television and computer, will be able to upload the programming they are watching onto a sharing platform. It sounds like a cross between Tivo and BitTorrent and the prospect of anybody with a PC being able to redistribute “The Simpsons” and “Sex in the City” is going to give television executives nightmares, certainly in the light of recent MPAA activity.

Related Reading
P2P Television? [We-Make-Money-Not-Art.com]
Global TV Shakes up Industry [DW-World.de]
Coming to Your Home Soon: Free Television Shows via the Internet [the Independent]
Peoples Television [MSNBC]
CyberSky FAQ [TVToon.de]
P2P Internet Television or Bit Torrent Copycat? [Unmediated.org]
Atzio P2P Television [Atzio.com]
P2P+RSS Are the Future of TV Broadcasting [MasterNewMedia.org]
P2P TV [PortlandPhoenix.com]
Anybody Can Be TV: How P2P Home Video will Challenge The Network News [Planetwork Journal]

AOL Revamps Singingfish Audio Video Search

In reaction to rumours that search leaders Google, along with Yahoo and MSN were busy improving the multimedia search capabilities of their own search engines Time Warner’s AOL announced that they had improved the service of their Singingfish audio video search engine to cater for the increasing user base of their year old acquisition.

Singingfish.com Audio and Visual search engine from AOL

Singingfish, which until now has remained backstage and focused on licensing its technology to other companies, will move toward the spotlight to position itself as a player in the multimedia search space. “We’re introducing Singingfish as a destination site for the first time,” said Karen Howe, Singingfish’s vice president and general manager.

Singingfish wants to attract feedback from users and learn from usage patterns in order to take that insight and base multimedia search innovations on it, she said. “We want to push the envelope over what you can do with audio and video search,” she said in an interview with Digit Online.

According to AOL, search queries had risen dramatically from a few thousand to around 700,000 per day and they are indexing around 14 million multimedia files in various formats (both streaming and normal) like Windows Media, Real Audio, QuickTime and MP3. This figure doesn’t take into account the queries Singingfish technology handles for clients such as Microsoft and RealNetworks, which if counted would increase the volume to about 7 million queries per day.

Older alternatives like AltaVista and AllTheWeb have offered advanced audio-video search options for a few years now and are both owned by Yahoo though they both may well be integrated into Yahoo’s Inktomi search results in the future.

AOL bought Seattle based SingingFish from Paris-based consumer electronics company Thomson in November 2003 for an undisclosed amount. Thomson, famously, alongside the German based Fraunhofer were behind the development of the MP3 format. .

Related Reading

SingingFish Pushes Multi Media Search [DigitMag.co.uk]
SingingFish Unveils MultiMedia Search Tool [PCWorld.com]
Singingfish Floats New Multimedia Search [InternetNews.com]
Google is Listening:Searching Audio [Forret.com]
Legal Download Search Engine GoFish to Launch Monday [MusicbizNews24.com]
Striking up Digital Video Search [CNetNews]
Google Audio Search [Oristus.com]
AOL Buys Singingfish, Rolls Out More Search Changes [SearchEngineNews.com]
Lycos MultiMedia Search [Lycos.com]
Exploseek [Exploseek.com]
the Bit Torrent File Search Engine [Yotoshi.com]

MPAA Eyes Internet2 P2P Traffic

The MPAA, better known as the Motion Picture Association of America ( a conglomerate of Universal Studios, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, MGM, 20th CenturyFox and Paramount ) have been having talks with the ultra high speed Internet2 consortium according to CNet News today.
Internet2 Interest the MPAA
The MPAA are hoping both to test next-generation video delivery projects and to monitor peer-to-peer piracy on the ultra high-speed network. Internet2 is essentially a vastly faster version of the Internet, “run by a consortium led by 207 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, accelerating the creation of tomorrow’s Internet.” (according to the i2 website).

One of the applications that i2 have been working on is the Digital Video Initiative who have been working on a new generation of digital video applications that take full advantage of the potential of high performance networks.

Not surprisingly, student file-swapping traffic has also has found its way onto the network, and in the light of lawsuits announced this week by the film body and a more vigorous anti file sharing stance, the MPAA are taking a serious look at the connotations superfast bandwidth brings for digital delivery, legal and illegal files. Using ordinary broadband connections, movies can take many hours to download, particularly if a network is congested. In tests earlier in the year researchers from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and Geneva-based CERN transferred data across nearly 11,000 kilometers at an average speed of 6.25 gigabits per second. The achieved speed is about 10,000 times faster than a typical home broadband connection according to CERN.

“We’ve been working with Internet2 for a while to explore ways we can take advantage of delivering content at these extremely high speeds, and basically manage illegitimate content distribution at the same time,” said Chris Russell, the MPAA’s vice president of Internet standards and technology in the CNet article.

The MPAA has been talking with the research consortium for several months, with an eye toward possibly joining the Internet2 group as a member, or simply opening up a collaborative relationship. At least one studio, Warner Bros., is already a member of the group, as is the Napster online music service.

In the light of recent lawsuits by both the RIAA and the MPAA, there has been some concern at the involvement of both entertainment bodies in the role of P2P police. Also in the last year, more than 20 schools have signed up for deeply discounted access to music services such as Napster, MusicNet and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody.

Internet2 is part of the Abilene network, a proving ground for high-bandwidth technologies. The cross-country backbone is 10 gigabits per second, with the goal of offering 100 megabits per second of connectivity between every Abilene connected desktop. Speaking to Tech Republic recently Steve Corbato, the director of backbone network infrastructure for Internet2 said “Abilene has become a necessity for research universities,” and, “It’s not just about building a really fast network. University members rely on it to collaborate with colleagues and students around the world.”

To put that into more perspective a very fast broadband connection from Comcast for example would be around 3.5 megabits per second, a mere fraction of the Abilene target.

i2Hub Student File Sharing Network

One of the biggest groups of users on the Internet2 network is the supercharged student file sharing project, i2Hub. i2hub arose early this year as an on-campus alternative to older swapping services such as Kazaa, offering speeds that far outstripped its rivals.

To connect to this extremely fast network students need to download a free client from Direct Connect who’s website states, “Unlike other impersonal, server-driven file-sharing networks, Direct Connect offers a community-oriented, open, user-controlled network. Moreover, Direct Connect’s network architecture is built on a peer-to-peer foundation; users run, control, and maintain the network.”

Many colleges in the United States and Europe allow student communications to default to the Internet2 network, which connects universities at speeds much higher than the ordinary Internet can provide. The i2hub software takes advantage of this to let students at participating universities swap files using this bandwidth bonanza.

Related Reading

Hollywood Seeks Internet2 Tests [CNet News]
MPAA P2P File Share Weapon [P2PNet.net]
Internet2 Activities at Georgia Tech [Gatech.edu]
Internet2: File Swopping Heaven? [NewsFactor.com]
Internet2 at Stanford [Stanford.edu]
Colleges Shut Down the Network to P2P Users [Copyfutures]
the Internet2 Project [Cisco.com]
College P2P Use on the Decline? [ZDnet News]
Internet2:2004 and Beyond [Tech Republic]
Why the RIAA Targets College Students [Boycott-RIAA.com]

MTV Premier’s New Download Show

MTV US. launched a new ‘download’ TV show this week, tied in tightly with the network’s website. “Discover & Download’ offers free downloads of showcased bands, each track being a time limited download in Microsoft’s WMA format. My Chemical Romance, the Libertines and the Game are the featured bands this week.

mtvmashup

The format sounds alarmingly similar to Fuse TV’s ‘Daily Download’ show, which began back in June this year. The ‘Daily Download’ show replaced its daily music video countdown show and counts down America’s most downloaded tracks from legitimate download platforms.

MTV USA also aired another new show yesterday (Wednesday ). ‘MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups’ was launched in low key fashion and celebrates the art of the ‘mash-up’ ,an underground craze more popular in Europe with major coverage on XFM Radio in London and MTV Europe where the art of unofficial remixing enjoys a higher profile away from the claustrophobic grasp of the US. copyright police.

Related Links

US. TV Show Gives Away Downloads [MusicbizNews24.com]
‘Mash-ups’ Puts M Back In MTV [New York Daily News]
Video C [Video-C.co.uk]
Get Your Bootleg On [Getyourbootlegon.net]
DJs Mash It Up [EOnline.com]
Bootleg Culture [Salon.com]
Smells Like Teen Booty [Guardian Unlimited]