This is New Media Interchange where we talk about the media world beyond mainstream television and radio, including podcasting, YouTube, live streaming, gaming and more.
NMI is Hosted by Douglas E. Welch, pioneer podcaster, blogger and writer.
In today’ show…
- YouTube Launches Its Twitch Competitor, YouTube Gaming
- Does Autoplay Video Force Gruesome Content onto Users
IN THE NEWS
It isn’t every day that a new media service decides to change one of its most fundamental features, but Instagram did just that this week when it removed the requirement of only posting photos and video in a square format. This, once defining, feature of Instagram finally fell victim to the sites own popularity, I believe. Users had discovered long ago how to use 3rd party applications to allow them to post full frame photos to Instagram when they wished. This resulted in lower resolution images with forced white space borders that weren’t optimally shown in the Instagram interface and a reduced user experience for everyone.
The inclusion of video in Instagram provided another push. Despite the pressure to move to vertical video as I mentioned in last week’s episode. trying to fit any video into a square format was troublesome at best and ugly at worst. With this change users can now post full frame, widescreen video. I welcome this change as I had been struggling on how to repurpose my other video content on Instagram. Often I would have to forgo even posting a sample, due to the inability to fit it into the square format.
It is good to see a large service like Instagram recognizing when it is time to change even such a defining aspect of their service in a move to better serve both their users and the advertisers that might be trying to reach them. For me, I have a couple of other changes I would like to see, including a more usable and shareable web version of the service and the ability to include clickable links in photo descriptions. These recent changes give me some hope of seeing these in the future.
Is Virtual Reality the Future, Or Just a Passing Fad? asks Drew Millard in an excellent article for Vice this week. He takes his recent visit to Virtual Reality Los Angeles Spring Expo (VRLA) to discuss what he sees as the current state of the art for virtual reality and the its possibilities for the future.
“VR technology is not that outlandish when you think of it as a pair of headphones, but for your eyes, and that VR is much, much more accessible than people probably realize.“
Millard details several of the available technologies and a variety of the VR experiences on display at the event including World War Toons,
“a VR first-person shooter featuring cartoonish World War II soldiers battling in realistic European maps.”
…and more immersive, artistic experiences like Shape Space by Kevin Mack,
“a 90-second long journey in which abstract, three-dimensional sculptures pass through the viewer as if they were clouds. It’s a wholly zen sensation, offering the user the opportunity to drift through a surreal space, disembodied.”
In followups to previous New Media Interchange stories,
It looks like cordcutting is hurting more than just overall cable subscribership, according to a recent article in Talking New Media. While some premium channels like HBO and Showtime have decided to provide ala carte , over-the-top access to their services other, cable only, channels are struggling.
In the days when channel surfing was the norm, channels like A&E, Food Network and others would benefit from simply being available when nothing else was on. In an ala carte, binge-watching, on-demand world, though, these channels don’t have as much to offer and might not necessarily have the quality of content that viewers will actively seek out and subscribe to. They might be the largest casualty of cordcutting we see in the coming months. Like silent film stars that couldn’t cross over into talkies, many cable-only channels might end up disappearing as the entertainment landscape changes around them.
Live streaming — and especially live streaming of games — continues apace with the new app , Mirrativ, which allows users to stream the displays from their mobile devices directly to other mobile users and the web. This is another step forward in the mobile live streaming world, following closely on the heels of both Meerkat and Periscope. but adds the new twist of expanding the streams to gameplay, apps and whatever mobie apps the user might wish to share.
In virtual reality news, the HTC Vive Vr headset was originally set to be the first VR headset to market. ahead of both the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus devices. A new press release from HTC says that might not be the case, though. The Vive is now scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2016 instead of the last quarter of 2015, which was originally announced. This will be around the same time as the Oculus and Sony devices.
Last week I mentioned the issues involved with freebooting on Facebook, a problem where users download copyrighted content from other creators and upload it to their own channel — often garnering larger viewership than the original video.
This week Facebook announced new systems are being developed in coordination with their partner Audible Magic, which is already used to look for audio matches to copyrighted material to prevent it from being uploaded to the service
The Facebook blog post is rather vague on exactly how this new service ill work or what it will provide to content creators, but it appears it will not be automatic like YouTube’s Content ID, but require intervention and management by content creators.
Still, it is good to see some movement on Facebook’s part to prevent what has become a widespread problem on the service and caused much complaint from users and content creators. It was clear that Facebook had to do something about the issue after it was basically “called out” by VidCon Founder Hank Green in his blog post “Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video” posted last month.
Hardware Hot List
In this week’s Hardware Hotlist I have 2 reviews of a microphone that is quite ubiquitous in the new media production world — The Rode VideoMic Pro. As I have discussed in the past, great audio is so important for your video projects and can make or break your video. One typical device for getting great audio out in the field is a shotgun microphone, These are the long and often large microphones you see being held above actors heads in behind the scenes footage, often at the end of a long pole.
Shotgun mics are designed to be highly directional, excluding extraneous sound from side while focusing on the audio source directly in front of the microphone. This can improve audio quality greatly in situations like conference show floors, clubs or on the street recording.
Rode captured the low-end shotgun market with the Rode VideoMic a few years ago and with the newer, and expanded, VideoMic Pro. In the first video, Doug Dugdale from LearningDSLRVideo.com compares the VideoMic Pro to a another typical shotgun mic, the Shure VP83. His tests and examples are pretty extensive and also test for RF interference from cell phones for each microphone.
The second video is a complete review of the Rode VideoMic Pro from Phenomenal Creations, along with some setup advice and real world examples.
I especially like seeing and hearing the mic work out in the real world and the effects of the various settings provided on the microphone. For me, hands-on, real world usage always shows off the best and worst qualities of any device, even more than detailed, in office, reviews.
If you are looking for a shotgun mic to improve your new media productions, check out these reviews and demos. You might find that the Rode VideoMic Pro would work well for you, but you also find some recommendations for other mics that might better serve your purposes and budget.
In The Classroom
In new media, we can often get bogged down in all the logistics involved — cameras, microphone, video codecs, online services and more. Today’s In the Classroom video leaves that all behind to focus on some of the techniques used to make great narrative videos — camera movement.
This video, from The Slanted Lens — Camera Movement Tutorial: How To Create Emotion — gives you visual examples of a variety of camera moves, what emotions those moves convey and also puts a name to typical camera moves so that you and your crew can use a common vocabulary when shooting your productions.
My wife, who teaches screenwriting for a living, thought the examples were great to share with her students in order to introduce them to the language of film production so that they might better convey their thoughts in their scripts.
You can watch the entire video and more great videos from The Slanted Lens on their YouTube Channel. You’ll find a link in the show notes.
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