Brisbane From the River, at Night

While in Brisbane recently for the Association of Internet Researchers annual gig Seth took me on a wander. We ended up at New

Network Literacies Lecture

Just thought I’d post a video and a pdf of the slides for a lecture I gave a couple of weeks ago. It is called “Th

A Nearby Different Blog

I’ve started a very occasional cycling blog. Because the rants of a middle aged lycra clad man should be kept somewhere

MCD Studio

The Media Communication Design Studio (hereafter MCD Studio) is the name we have come up with to label the project based, netw

While On YouTube

I’ll leave it to others to write the no doubt numerous words that will appear shortly about YouTube. Revolution? Bah, hu

The Sand Pit

Well, several years ago I started a video blog. I wrote some essays about hypertextual video (well, softvideo – Sawhney, Balcom and Smith’s “Hypercafe” paper remains one of the more intelligent and prescient discussions of hypervideo) and watched and waited. Then Jay Dedman and his partners in crime bought along some professional video skills, North American ‘can do’ in spades, and established the videoblogging list. We now have, at most recent count, three ‘how to’ books, YouTube and who knows how many video bloggers.

So, video blogging and the web at the moment is pretty much where writing and the web was c. 1995. There were some hypertext authors writing hypertext, but the biggest (and most naive) buzz was amongst writers who were discovering that they could publish their short stories, poetry, novellas, and yes, even novels, via the web. Publishers be damned! (was the faint cry). These authors were a bit concerned when links were explained to them. The thought that readers might read in anything other than a canonical order seemed rude, if not provocative, and writing within the space (and time) of hypertext was for geeks, nerds, or a small group of writers who obviously weren’t real writers since their rent was actually paid by their university positions. So the web as a specific medium with its own peculiar, immanent affordances, remained estranged from literature and become a delivery environment for the word. (And so we saw the first rise of traditional media oligopolies bite the ‘e’ bullet with ebooks the brave new future of literature.)

Then along came blogs. First as a blip, then a wave which has now become a tsunami. Blogs are the first popular writing medium that has emerged that has embraced deeply the immanent qualities and affordances of the web as a hypertextual medium. It took a few years to evolve, and a few more to make general common sense. (It is not that different to the invention of the printing press and then the rise of the vernacular novel. It was one thing to print Bibles, but look what’s happened once people figured out the other things that could be done – the role of the pamphlet, for example, in the French Revolution is significant.)

So here we are before the babel of YouTube. The ‘industry’ is deeply suspicious, and not just because of copyright. (If you pay ten million dollars for Tom Cruise and several more million to light, shoot, and post produce to a ‘professional’ standard his face do do you really want the film appearing pixellated and not being able to separate the make up from compression artefacts?) But also rapidly coming on board. There are now numerous tv shows that are providing podcasts of episodes or segments as teasers and tie ins to the broadcast material, and of course the iTunes monster is busy building a legitimate beach head for the distribution of existing AV content via the net.

Note the words – “existing video content”. Just as authors thought back in the mid ’90s about words and writing so 2006 is the year in which traditional video (television, video makers, wannabe’s and coodabeens) finally found the web, got over size (“what do you mean pixels, our screens are metres man!”), figured out some data rates (courtesy of the iPod which, like television before it has settled all that by having hardware defined requirements) and are now realising its potential in spite of it not being full screen, full motion and the rest of it.

So, in about five years we’ll have moved on, finally. And video will be as text is now. Linked, linkable, and we’ll ‘write’ video inside the space of the network.