Solid prose conveys facts. An image can artfully establish a theme. But video empowers messaging with magic to fascinate an audience.
There’s a touring museum exhibit about Harry Houdini currently in San Francisco. During the first couple decades of the 20th century Houdini rapidly rose to fame leveraging multiple media forms availed by the day’s leading edge technologies such as photography and motion pictures. Here is one of many film documentations of escape by this great artist and athlete.
It’s a strikingly sophisticated clip especially considering its period. Multiple shots and angles are used including camera rigging into structures looking straight down for a cool and distinctive perspective. Sharpness, brightness and contrasts are clear and artful across all of these perspectives with precise framing of key elements including during both horizontal and vertical tracking shots. Key information is smoothly documented such as the rigor of Houdini being bound into a straight jacket and the thousands assembled to witness his escape.
While the video is mystifying, it also exhibits how Houdini’s aim was in fact largely to demystify magic and escape. While he concealed some of his techniques, he conveyed others including in books, another medium leveraged for his prominence. In addition to the spectacle of achieving what seems impossible, it was often the cleverness of how that’s done, or sheer athleticism as in this video, with which Houdini amazed audiences.
Video can be similarly leveraged in these first couple decades of the 21st century. Contemporary audiences realize that tricks are used for amazing effects that advance a story or underscore a fact. But still we allow ourselves to be amazed so that video can make a message resonate like by no other medium.
Market7 colleagues weary of me nagging with them with, “Can you please put something up on our company blog?” will from now on hear a different favorite phrase from me: “Why can’t you be more like David?” That’s in reference to our newest colleague, software engineer & blogger David Ackerman.
David starts with us as a contractor from Edmonton in what he himself phrases as a sort of “grand experiment” as to how well our software development can work across a 1,000 mile gap. A big part of our mutual determination to try it was spurred by David’s observation that the practice will help orient our own efforts to facilitate collaboration in video production, often across distances. Such deep thoughts, and overall documentation of the grand experiment, are being eloquently journaled by David on his blog http://www.dsackerman.com/.
So, enough of me yapping. Here’s some of David’s own wisdom from his blog, all compiled over just the past 48 hours:
There’s always a struggle between being comfortable and being free.
It’s an amazing time to be a software developer . . . we are the architects of the future, not simply building tools, but rather writing the binary-based rules that will effect the way we socialize, collaborate, create, and consume for years to come.
information can travel around the world in seconds. Does a programmer really need to be local these days to be effective?
extra discipline involved in making a telecommute situation work . . . Will it work? Who knows? What I do know is that I’ve got a company that’s doing great stuff and that’s willing to meet me half way on this new grand experiment
application for a home business license (especially for what I’m doing – nothing that creates loud noises, strange smells, etc.) is relatively pain free
I don’t have a lot of experience in video production (besides low budget music videos with gaudy effects), I found that I could grasp the necessary collaboration aspects fairly easily. The Market7 product is meant to bridge that gap between business types who want hard data about what’s going on and more creative types who don’t necessarily fit into easy schedules
a lot of trust was put in me right away, and that helped a lot in terms of making me comfortable working from afar. In my mind, it re-affirmed that, “Okay, we really are doing this thing.”
We really are doing this thing. Welcome David, great writing! We’ll get you up here in video soon too.
Back in October, Tim Siglin of StreamingMedia and Braintrust Digital came out to our engineering offices in San Francisco to learn more about video.Market7 in preparation for an upcoming review. When he left to spend some time trying out the service on his own, he did more than just kick the tires – he took us apart and put us back together again! We should have expected no less after the meticulous in-person meeting.
We are pleased that this discriminating shopper seems to have overall liked what he saw. Like many video producers who try video.Market7, Tim seemed especially taken with the annotative player, which he notes, “might be the best thing to come along [last] year.”
A huge thanks to Tim and also to Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen over at StreamingMedia for taking the time to check us out. Check out the review online and in the Dec/Jan issue.
People touting being online from airplanes is about as trite as people pointing out how we increasingly consume the video we want, when we want, where we want & on the device we want. I’m doing both here — is combining those observations even more trite, or kind of insightful? I’m not sure, so I’ll try to keep this brief.
Through the gap in the seats in front of me to my right a couple has swapped halfway through the flight so that each of them could watch The Hangover on the same in-flight VoD purchase in the seat’s screen.
Through the same gap on my left A guy is playing around with the Red interactive functionality on his screen while he’s got MTV up live in the screen’s corner by PiP.
Both of the guys next to me are using their iPhones to get online by WiFi. I haven’t seen them watch video on them, but they could.
& here I go making with the zeitgeist cliches (but it’s so true): wow we’re progressing from rapidly-extinguishing status quo of everyone being confined to whatever happens to be showing on the tube screens in the ceiling. In fact, my last NYC trip a couple months ago, on a different airline, the only electronic choices were to work on my laptop offline or tilt up my head to consume Mall Cop.