My excellent friend ActionGirl hung out with me today. We did a dual-channel livecast using

Livecasting, if you’re not familiar, is one of the newest internet fads, but it’s also NOT new. Technology has advanced to the point that the average joe has the ability to broadcast his or her life effortlessly and without cost (except for the obvious costs of computer, webcam, broadband connection, etc).

Similar to quasi-scripted MSM shows like MTV’s “The Real World”, people now have the ability to leave a camera running and pointed at them as they go about their daily business. Some people livecast from work. Some people livecast from home. Some people livecast on the move with EV-DO modem cards and laptops, like Sarah and Lisa do on

I became intersted in livecasting after watching Drew Olanoff‘s feed from PodCamp Philly. It was fun watching Drew roam the hallways and run into conference attendees and presenters. There was something cool about interacting with this live show that was going on, NOW. 🙂 It was different because you could actually affect the course of the show, assuming the host was monitoring the text chat room. It was different because you could call your friends that you saw in the background and have them come over and talk to you on camera. It was cool because you were receiving information RIGHT NOW, just like everyone that was actually in Philadelphia for the conference.

So I wanted to check it out, and ActionGirl was down to experiment with me….. um…. was down to join me in my livecasting experiment. 🙂

We started out outdoors, utilizing free WiFi in the area. We were streaming about one frame per five seconds. Our video was choppy and our audio wasn’t much better. Some glitch occurred where ActionGirl had bars of wireless signal, yet was unable to connect to the internet at all. Strange. Next, I tried receiving signal via my EV-DO modem card and sharing my internet connection with ActionGirl via airport. That was really slow, but I’ve never tried that before, and I think it was due to my card not connecting properly. I didn’t have this diagnostics entry in my taskbar that I should have had, so I don’t figure the card was functioning optimally at that point.

We retired indoors and used WiFi connections to stream from each of our macbooks. Connection was quick, and I was able to embed both of our streams plus a text chat on one page and run that from my site. I later added our friend Chris’ stream, so we had three simultaneous live streams on the page.

Livecasting is tough to do properly, IMO, without monitoring your chat room(s). I suppose there IS no ‘proper’ way to livecast, since it’s really “anything goes”, but in order to interact with your audience, you have to read what they’re typing to you. If you’re not planning to interact with them, clearly, you don’t have to bother with that. I found myself responding late to comments because while we were saying something, the text chat was scrolling up and I’d have to read up to notice what people said minutes before.

I think the audience is as important as the host… Meaning that if you have the right audience, even if that’s ‘only’ one or two people who actually know you or are genuinely interested in what you do, livecasting can be a fun and rewarding experience. The best times today were when our friends were on, even just for a few minutes, and we got to interact with them and answer their questions. OTOH, when the audience isn’t prime, it’s tough, if not impossible to get revved up to deliver your best ‘performance’.

For me, *teamwork* is key. I’m not interested in doing my own solo livecast. If I know I’m going to be around interesting people or at an event that would be of interest to people I know, then I’m glad to broadcast it. It also helps if you actually like and enjoy the person you’re livecasting with so you know that even if NOBODY shows up, you’re going to have a good time that day. 🙂

Eventually, we called it a night. I felt pretty exhausted by then, actually. When we shut our feeds down, it actually felt strange to me to NOT be on camera. Once we came inside, we were on from around 6pm to 9pm, and even that felt like an eternity. I’m not sure how (or why) people do that during their every waking hour. I guess you have to be the type of person that enjoys random people interacting with you. I suppose some people do it for the fame or notoriety.

I don’t know that there’s going to be a way to monetize lifecasting. I experimented with product placement, including beverages and t-shirts. It’s tough to do well, live, trying to get products in front of a tiny webcam lens in the optimal size, focus and location. Still… A lot of people like to broadcast their lives, and a lot of people like to watch those broadcasts, so we’ll see where this fad takes us next. 🙂

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor •

2007 Broadband Emmy Awards

NATAS + MySpace = 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards

National Television Academy press release

LOS ANGELES – January 8, 2007 – MySpace, the world’s leading lifestyle portal, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, presenters of the coveted Emmy® Awards, today announced they have joined forces to honor premium broadband content on the Internet. MySpace will serve as the exclusive online partner of the Broadband Emmy Award submissions, empowering video producers and filmmakers to submit self-generated content for consideration through the official MySpace Emmy profile at

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences debuted its first Emmy Award for content distributed via broadband and portable delivery last year and honored creators in four categories. This year, The Academy will triple the number, honoring creators in 12 categories in four content areas: Entertainment, Sports, News & Information, and Public & Community Service. In addition, high school students are eligible for the National Television Student Awards for Excellence for broadband-delivered content in all seven student categories. Read entire NTA press release…

Now THIS is going to be interesting. 😀

[Full Disclosure: I am a NATAS Emmy Judge as well as an International Emmy Judge]

There are several ongoing debates within the community of people and groups who make videos and post their created content on the Internet. One of them is “what is and what is _not_ a video blog”. There’s another debate about videos posted in “closed” environments vs those posted in ways that make them accessible to whomever happens to be searching the net for video content. A MAJOR debate is what aggregators should and should not be doing with RSS feeds from either content creators or hosting sites.

Yet another daily debate is “what is QUALITY content?” or perhaps “what makes a show popular” or “what makes a show _good_”. The problem, IMO, with making distinctions about what constitutes a popular show is that depending on where you look and how you look at it, shows that get similar amounts of hits can be spun to look like either one is more “successful”. There is no agreed-upon site that can actually track site date consistently and accurately.

This makes sense, because there’s no bottleneck… Meda that goes to the internet goes straight out. It doesn’t have to go through EPs, producers, editors, quality control, legal, studios, stations, channels, local distribution points, cable boxes, televisions. There’s nowhere you can go and say “this show delivered 80,000 units through here and that show delivered 50,000 units, so the first show has more viewership for this period.

On top of that, there are several ways to get data from a site. If someone goes to my web site, they might view a page and then not view the video. They might open the page but not read anything on it at all. They might bypass the main page because they linked to a permalink for one post. They might not hit my site’s pages at all if they subscribe to my videos in RSS. They might not hit the RSS more than once if they are downloading the videos and watching them offline. So… if one site uses page hits to judge popularity and another site uses video downloads, they’re going to see things completely differently, even looking at the exact same site. If you have to have a particular widget installed to count in the rankings, you can forget it entirely as far as accuracy. Anyone who hits the site without being “part of the program” doesn’t count in the stats.

Anyway, I doubt the 2007 Broadband Emmy Awards will have anything to do with page hits and downloads. The Emmys in general are about quality content and quality production values. That’s what makes this contest interesting. MSM (Main Stream Media) is now getting involved in putting clips on the internet in mass quantities. All of a sudden, there are videos on MySpace with laugh-tracks. :/ All of a sudden, a “new” show appears with 30 episodes uploaded on the same day! :/ Reading the eligibility requirements for the MySpace contest, “Repurposed material originally produced for traditional media is not eligible”. That’s good, because cutting three minutes out of a professionally produced, shot and edited piece shouldn’t put you in position to compete with someone that made their video specifically for the internet. That doesn’t mean the internet piece isn’t well done or professionally produced, but it’s apples vs. oranges.

The first category open for submissions is “Entertainment”. It’s open right now, and “News & Documentary” opens on Feb. 26th. They both close on March 26, and finalists will be notified in April.

As usual, make sure you read the fine print in contests or even when you choose a hosting service to upload your videos to. Check out these terms of service in The Rules of the MySpace My Emmy contest:

By entering the Contest, you grant Sponsors a perpetual, fully-paid, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, display, sub-license, exhibit, transmit, broadcast, televise, digitize, otherwise use, and permit others to use and perform throughout the universe the Material (including without limitation, the underlying intellectual property therein to the extent necessary to exploit Material) in any manner, form, or format now or hereinafter created, including, but not limited to, on the Internet, and for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising or promotion of Sponsors and their services, all without further consent from or payment to you. The completion, expiration and/or termination of the Contest shall not affect Sponsors’ rights regarding Materials or Sponsors’ other rights hereunder. Sponsors shall have, forever and throughout the universe, the right to use such Material in any manner as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, including without limitation, the right to make changes, alterations, cuts, edits, interpolations, deletions and eliminations into and from such Material and the right to package such Material with those rendered by other Entrants in connection with the exploitation of such Material, all without further consent from or payment to you.

That’s fantastic! Look how progressive those terms are! Throughout the universe! 😀 Wow! They must know something we don’t know about pending space travel. Anyway… here’s the link to the Broadband Rules from MyEmmy.TV. If you’re willing to pay the $400 entry fee, you can skip all the TOS shenanigans and soul-selling.

The MyEmmy.TV page also includes the Judging Procedures & Criteria:


Content, Creativity and Execution are the primary standards for judging. Each criterion is given equal weight.

Judges will focus on the clarity of presentation of information, as well as the visual impact of the entry. Judges can also give weight to the entrant’s utilization of “broadband” capabilities, (e.g., interactivity, and viewers’ choice of images). Although any entry originally produced for “broadband” transmission is eligible to compete, the more the web’s capabilities are demonstrated in the production, the better the chances may be for winning.

Advocacy and presentation of strong points of view are eligible for award consideration. “Self-published” work by individuals as well as production entities is also eligible for consideration.
All “Broadband” entries/URLs will be viewed at home and judged in one round to determine the nominees and winner. Judging panels will consist of content experts rather than technicians. There will be separate panels for each category, although there may be an overlap with some judges serving on more than one panel. Judges vote via secret ballot using a scale of 10 for the highest and 1 for the lowest rating in each area (Content, Creativity, and Execution), for a total of 30 possible points.

OK… So I see what’s going on now. 🙂 Myspace is holding a contest in which the winners will be sponsored to the official Emmy competition. There are going to be two levels of judging. You can skip one level altogether by paying the entry fee and going straight to . If my understanding after skimming the official entry rules is correct, as long as you made your content specifically for the internet, any level of professional involvement, time or money spent on the project is fine.

I’ll be interested to see what MySpace promotes to entrance in the actual Broadband Emmy Awards. Let’s see if any of the “mom & pop” user-generated content gets the nod over studio-produced work. I’ll refrain from mentioning any shows that I think could compete favorably… VERY favorably in the competition, just in case my region is involved in the judging and asks me to participate.

Either way, I think both the MySpace contest and the official Broadband Emmy Awards are fantastic ways for content creators to gain exposure and/or accolades. It’s definitely worth considering entering… whether it’s a video that was already done (since March 2nd, 2006) or one that you’re planning up until April 2007.

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor •

More Construction…

So now, for the umpteenth time, I’ve de-constructed my site. :/

I wanted to change the way my videos were served, so the first thing I did was add the vPIP (videos Playing In Place) plugin by Enric Teller. The plan was to have the videos pop up in whatever format was selected (flash, quicktime…).

At some point, I decided to put my videos on Brightcove. I like their ideas of “lineups” and “players” and “syndication”, so I thought I’d check it out. Apparently, they just added mac upload capability, and they use this beta “Brightcove Publishpod”. The first time I used it, I decided to send flv files up, and it just sat there @ 0% and never moved. I stopped the process, and decided to upload mp4s and MOVs. When you do that, you get an encoding layout that you have to fill in to your specifications. The suggested bit rate was 500kbps, so that’s what I used to encode to flash and upload the files… meaning I dropped an mp4 in the Publishpod and let it do its thing. I had noticed a check-box that said “delete flv when finished?”, and I thought that was really RETARDED, because the whole point was to CREATE flv files, not delete them.

What I didn’t know was that the Publishpod works in two sections. The first section, which takes a VEEEEEERY short time, is when they create an el-cheapo flv file ON.YOUR.COMPUTER in the same directory as the mp4 you dragged to the program… and then the second section, where it actually uploads that file to Brightcove. That’s why the progress was stuck @ 0%. There wasn’t anything to be done, because all they had to do was upload the file. When you put an mp4 in, the first 50% blazes by (as they create this flv file on your system), and then the rest of it takes a long time, because of the upload.

So when I looked at these videos, they stuttered the whole way through, because even though it said 500 kbps was recommended, it didn’t LIMIT.THE.FILES to 500 kbps! :/ So the time was spent uploading files that were encoded @ 625 kbps that looked horrible and played even more horribly!

After that, I invested my time in making an On2 VP6 version of my first video. That looked WAAAAAAY better than the encode that the beta Publishpod made, and came in @ 512 kbps instead of 625 kbps. I’m trying an even lower data rate encode right now, because I’m not sure that being over 500 is going to work on Brightcove for lower-end computers or lower-end broadband subscribers.

I like the whole idea of the hierarchy that Brightcove has set up, so I’m going to stick with it and see what happens. In the meantime, I decided to see if there was any difference in putting the same video on Revver.

The Revver sign-up process was a little faster. The Revver upload process was A.WHOLE.LOT.FASTER!!! 😀 Apparently, Revver will accept mp4s of any data rate as long as the file size isn’t over 100 meg. While Brightcove asks for limited bandwith videos, and then doesn’t LIMIT the bandwidth of the videos in their beta publishpod application, Revver takes what you give it and actually encourages you to use the best quality files you can create! 😀 We’ll see how long it takes Revver to get to my video and approve it. There’s no approval period for Brightcove, apparently. I was able to play my videos immediately by placing their code on my site.

Anyway… Today’s been a learning experience with these “revenue-sharing” sites. Not that I actually intend to see any revenue, since I have about 30 viewers for my podcast, but it’ll be interesting to see the differences between how Revver and Brightcove deal with the same videos.

Reinventing Television: Geek Entertainment Television

This week, Jonny’s guest speaker on Reinventing Television was Eddie Codel, producer and co-founder of Geek Entertainment TV (GETV).

==> Watch The Video! <== ==> “Read The Text Chat <== The show uses webcams and tele-conferencing to bring people together to discuss cutting-edge issues in video blogging. Air-time is Thursday nights @ 10pm EST. You don't need a webcam to be involved... just a broadband connection & browser to see the video and a telephone to call the toll-free conference number to listen in. Tags: , , , , , , ,

Reinventing Television

Last night, I checked out Reinventing Television, hosted by Jonny Goldstein, with special guest Bre Pettis.

==> Watch The Video! <== The show uses webcams and tele-conferencing to bring people together to discuss cutting-edge issues in video blogging. Air-time is Thursday nights @ 10pm EST. You don't need a webcam to be involved... just a broadband connection & browser to see the video and a telephone to call the toll-free conference number to listen in. I definitely learned a few things I didn't know and I'm looking forward to next week's show, featuring Geek Entertainment TV.