Ads and Video Blogs

I am going to write the essay that I’ve ranted about for two years. Why tv shows us most of what we need to know about multilinear narrative. Then I’ll write the essay about why ads are easily the clearest beginning point for thinking about videblogging.

The link below is a qtml (QuickTime Media Link) which you can make using QuickTime pro (buy the forthcoming O’Reilly video blog hacks book to find out how). Follow it to launch an Australian tv ad for beer that is very popular on blogs, via email etc. It will open in QT player and take up your screen for you (what the heck). There’s a story about it in todays quality broadsheet (the link will die quickly since they lock up the archive behind a free subscription system).

This is not viral advertising. But it is an example of how short content works well online. Since, as reported, the company is happy about it being distributed like this, I’m assuming someone somewhere is not enforcing their existing copyright – after all, for some things it makes sense for them to be allowed to spread. It’s a good ad, the one prior to this, in the same series, I think is better only because it mocks beer ads rather than British Airways and Lord of the Rings.

Oh, the movie: 10.6MB, QuickTime 6 or better.

Paternalistic Teaching

Various students have been struggling with the technical aspects of the semester. Given that the theory side has been very under developed I’m not sure where we’d be if we were also doing a major reading a week. I sent an email to everyone today along the lines of indicating that if you were still having basic problems to think about why.

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the students who struggle routinely sit where they can’t see the project screen properly. I think this is unconscious on their behalf. They don’t want to have to watch what I do, they don’t see a connection between watching it get done and then doing it themselves, and so they more or less hide. Not a good strategy.

But I also said that if they hadn’t yet read the help as provided, asked me a specific question (along the lines of I added this file and when I view it all I see is a QuickTime question mark rather than “it isn’t working” which I pointed out is not a question), or asked a class member who can do it to sit down with them outside of class to actually help them then:

Until you’ve done all (3) of these you haven’t taken responsibility for your own learning. This means you still think that my job is to provide answers to the things you can’t do. That is not my job. :-)

Now the problem with this is that one the one hand I am encouraging them (the above quote is sent in week 8 of a 13 week semester, it is gloves off but it isn’t the only table side manner used!) to be responsible self learners, yet on the other I’m telling them how. I did preface the email with a comment about sounding rather Protestant (something about work as merit springs to mind) but there remains an odour of paternalism here which is at odds with the object.

On the other hand teaching remains a power relationship, no matter what the methodology, or have I got the wrong end of the stick there?

Soundtrack Here and There

Kristian Nilsson has used a rhizome movie to make Soundtrack Here and There. It is (legal – up to a point) footage from a The Soundtrack of Our Lives gig in Malmö, this is loaded into the right video pane, while the video in the left pane is actually Chuck Olsen’s (pirate) footage of a gig by the same group in Minneapolis. The soundtrack is ambient concert audience sound (I assume from Malmö), and mousing into each video triggers the soundtrack for the individual concert.

What I particularly like here is that someone has taken the opportunity implicit in the rhizome movies to load content from elsewhere and to have your work reflect/bounce off this in some manner. At the moment I think this is probably the most productive possibility for the current rhizome templates, they let you ‘quote’ and comment.

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WP Spam

All our our Media students have WP blogs. They have individual installations that are automatically seeded into their student accounts. The second year students are just starting to get spam storms. At the moment they don’t have any decent spam blocking software installed. I’m using Spam Karma which has certainly been effective (11,730 deleted spam comments), so I might need to set aside a lab where we all install this. Alternatives welcomed.

Ezedia QTi

This week I’m introducing Ezedia QTi to 45 odd undergraduates. (That’s ‘odd’ as in the colloquial way of referring to a round about number, not ‘odd’ as in peculiar. Then again…) Ezedia is a very simple point and click program for interactive QuickTime. The manual is very well laid out, and simple to understand, though it doesn’t provide much fodder in the ‘lets make something good’ department.

I’m very interested to see how things go in the classes. I have provided everyone with rhizome templates to play with and now if I give them some simple tools to make similar content themselves, I’m intrigued to see what they will want to do. The rhizome templates (I think) have the purpose of moving some alternative ideas about narrative, time, and time based media front and centre. On the other hand the templates all have predefined behaviours, which many have found limiting. So now, they can more or less branch out in the ways they wish.

QTi is not nearly as sophisticated as LiveStage, but outside of doing things with variables and XML there isn’t a lot that you can’t do. It is more a case of getting your head into its behaviour model and using that.

Where Does a Rhizome Go?

Kate has made progress in the rhizome movie problem. The problem, at its simplest, is what on earth to do with them. It is all very well to suggest ‘malleable’ and ‘quotidian’ media, quite another to work out how you want to use it so that it is yours.

Australian International University

This is a spoof site which picks up a lot of our anxieties, concern, and contempt for the current direction of higher educatio

Weedy Blog

Some weeds are rhizomes. Rhizomes are structures I celebrate. My blogroll is full of weeds. I’m going to weed out the we

Rhizome Movies 1 to 5

Well, after making five rhizome movie templates I thought it would be useful to just write a blog post that collates them into the one location. This is it.

For each template there is a readme.txt file, which is a set of simple instructions. You need to edit the xml file so they point to your content, then upload the xml and the rhizome movie to your site (where your content should already be). You publish the rhizome movie in exactly the same way as any other video.

You can rename the movie but you cannot rename the xml.

They are ‘rhizome movies’ because of their method of distribution and construction. They are templates for possible movies, distributed under a Creative Commons licence to let others produce work that is, in a minor stuttering way, networked multilinear video. Though YMMV.

rhizome one
This is the first one. It loads two separate videos alongside each other, each loops continuously.

rhizome two
This one adds a controller (pause, play etc) for each of the two video windows inside the movie.

rhizome three
From memory this one retains the video controllers but now adds a third track into the rhizome movie. This third track is for a sound track (it will not be visible in the movie) and this sound track will play continuously regardless of what is going on with the video.

rhizome four
This has two videos and one sound track, like three. But now when you mouse into the video the other video pane speeds up. It also mutes the current video pane and turns volume on for the one that gets faster.

rhizome five
The last one to date. This is the reverse of four. Instead of speeding up videos it now slows the video. Like four (and three) there is a soundtrack that will play on at normal speed regardless of everything else.

The files:

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Another Torrent Thing

Broadcast Machine is another system that combines torrent features with the possibility of creating your own ‘channel’, which I think is another way of saying syndicated feed. I haven’t looked into it (mainly because these systems will never be allowed to run on a university network due to their potential for abuse – aka downloading of pirated content) but I assume that participatory culture dot org maintains some infrastructure/systems that facilitates all this.

We have already arrived at viable online delivery of HD content, if you’re happy to wait. Now is the time for the format/system wars, or what the venture capitalists would recognise as market share.


Think I have found the system I will be using in Honours in 2006 (I’ve been appointed acting honours coordinator – the brief is simple, bums on seats).


Patchouli is something you stick on your server and lets you capture, compress and publish video to a blog. This is seriously nice. Unfortunately my server is still running OS X 10.2 so I can’t install, and also I think it might need DotClear as the blog engine (where documentation is in French). It is in beta, is available, and this is a seriously excellent first step to integrated tools for video blogging.