A few years ago, I uploaded my first Home Office Tour after on a New Year’s Day “Subservient Chris” request. This exploration has since become an annual tradition, with me having skipped only one year (and being kindly lambasted for doing so).
For years, individuals from this community have been asking for a complete house tour – and I’ve been reluctant to give it, if only because I didn’t think it’d be all that interesting. Well, today might mark another annual tradition – a complete home video tour on my birthday.
While the home office tour was simply put online for immediate digestion, I decided to go a step further with the house tour and make it available for rental only. I did this for a few reasons: (1) to make it truly special, (2) because there’s a real value to it, (3) because it’s my birthday and I can.
For a fee, you can watch the house tour video on YouTube – though we’re still trying to figure out how to support the international community, so another viewing option should be made available soon. I’d like to (honestly) create a universal iOS app for the video and make it available at a lower price point, too – but I have no skill as a programmer / developer, so that idea will likely have to wait. We’re also going to make this available on DVD – and that link will be added to the viewing options in this post when it’s ready to go. I’m not sure anybody would really buy it, but… stranger things have happened.
Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HpEBmWrQzc
If you’re watching from outside the United States, you can find it here: http://movielocker.com/8108
If this effort isn’t seen as “successful” over the next year, it probably won’t happen again. I’d like to say I made enough from the idea to cover my mortgage for a month, though. That would be one helluva birthday present!
I’ve been a Netflix subscriber from damn near day one.
I’ve certainly appreciated having the service there as an entertainment alternative long before video streaming was a remote possibility. I’d have three DVDs out at a time and often forget I was holding onto them for months on end. You could say that I’ve wasted a lot of money on Netflix – far more than I would have spent at a local video rental store.
So, last year, I decided to drop the 3-disc option and go with the 1-disc plan plus the on-demand streaming – even though the streaming selection was seemingly stunted (though nowhere as bad as Hulu’s lackluster movie library). For the most part, that’s worked out well – but I still feel like I’m overpaying for media that I’m not remembering to digest.
This morning, news came down the pike (yes, pike – not pipe) that Netflix is staging new subscription plans for us. Yippee? Nope.
There are now 2 DVD-Only plans:
- $8 a month for one disc at a time
- $12 a month for two discs at a time
Now there’s a separate option:
- Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $8 a month
They think that this change “is a terrific value.” I think it’s a load of shit. This is “forcing” me to drop their disc-only plan altogether (based on my patterns). When I want to rent a DVD, I’ll simply make an online reservation for my local Redbox station. I’d be tempted to drop the Netflix streaming plan if there were a viable alternative elsewhere – but judging by how many documentaries my girlfriend loves to watch, that’s not practical.
I guess at the end of the day, I’m going to be spending less money with Netflix (by $2). Thanks?
There are a million guides out there that will tell you what frame rate, bit rate, codec, and editing software to use. These tips are excellent and should be followed to create as professional a broadcast or podcast as possible. Unfortunately, there are some common traits among amateur web video that find their way in to otherwise perfect productions. Here are five things to avoid when producing web video:
If you’ve got a camera on you, it’s also on everything behind you. As a rule of thumb, everything the camera is or might be pointed at should be treated like a movie or television set. If you film out of your bedroom, take five minutes prior to hitting the record button to make the bed and arrange things around the room to look as open and uncluttered as possible. What may be a typical room to you will look like a terrible mess on camera. Viewers have a tendency to imagine the whole room based on the little section they see. If that little piece isn’t right, the whole space may as well be a cluttered mess.
Video made for the web is compressed and compression does funny things to video. If you have a habit of holding the video camera with your hand and pointing it at yourself or your subject, break it. Invest in a tripod or mount that keeps the background as still as possible. This will not only improve the way your video looks after compression, but it will also improve your subject’s appearance. Each frame is given a certain allotment in terms of bits to generate the image. If little has changed from the frame before it, those bits can be used to make what is moving in the shot look smoother.
Lighting is essential to good web video. If you use a low-watt table lamp that looks alright in person, you can bet the video will prove otherwise. It’s better to have lighting that is a bit too bright than a bit too dark. Artifacts, which appear as colored specks or scattered snow, show up much more in a dark shooting environment. Give your subject some light, and if you want to make things look dark and dreary, you can do it in post using a video editing program.
Low or Inconsistent Audio
Most decent video editing programs out there will include audio controls. If you can’t actually affix a virtual audio processor and/or compressor to the audio track, take the time to normalize the audio to a reasonable volume. Audio normalization is one of the fastest and most effective ways to turn mediocre video in to something more professional. If you have the means, work out a system to mic your subject to get the best audio possible. Built-in microphones on smartphones and camcorders can work, but you are far more likely to get good results with an external mic. Because many viewers actually listen more than watch web programs, poor audio may be one of the most important things to avoid when producing web video.
Bad Camera Placement
The subject you are filming should be front and center on screen. If your web video has someone’s head at the bottom of the frame with a large space between the top of their head and the ceiling of the video, you should consider repositioning either the subject or the camera. As a rule of thumb, allow no more than 10% of the total height of the video to show space over the head of your host. If you film at a wide angle from across the room, make sure that it’s clear the person doing the majority of the speaking is the focus of the shot. No mater how cool your set is, your production will suffer if it doesn’t revolve around the subject.