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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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I watched Tantek’s presentation Take Back Your Web from Beyond Tellerrand during lunch. Great presentation. From it I added Mattias Ott’s blog post and this one by Aaron Parecki to Unmark to read later. Via Jeremy Keith.

My favorite video on YouTube so far this year

The Creek, by Rolf Nylinder is my favorite video on YouTube so far this year.

The techniques and tools are all invisible lending way to only the story. I try to explain this to those whose videos I respect but that could be improved. So typically on YouTube it is about the gear. The drone shot looks like a drone shot. In this video, the drone is yet a tool that helps to tell the story. You hardly notice it is a drone shot.

The sound editing is also so, so good.

There is no greater compliment I can pay Rolf Nylinder except to say that I wish I had made this video. And that this video now sits directly next to another favorite of mine, The Arctic by Tim Kellner.

New ways to monetize on YouTube

Announcements are beginning to pour out while VidCon is happening.

YouTube:

The number of creators earning five figures a year is up by 35 percent and the number of creators earning six figures is up by 40 percent. As in previous years, the vast majority of the revenue is coming from our advertising partners. We’ll continue investing here, but we also want to think beyond ads. Creators should have as many ways and opportunities to make money as possible.

They’re announcing several; merch, channel memberships, premiers. Very smart.

(Also, worth noting, the timing of Instagram’s announcement. Just prior to VidCon. I hadn’t thought of that at the time.)

Early thoughts on IGTV

Instagram launched what some are calling a direct competitor to YouTube, IGTV.

First, I’ll start by listing some reasons I think this is the perfect time for Instagram to have launched this product.

  • Smartphones are just beginning to get real horsepower and amazing battery life to enable this kind of experience and the amount of time people will want to watch longform video on their phones.
  • Portrait video is no longer thought about as terrible. Even by pros.
  • YouTube hasn’t innovated nearly enough with video formats. They’ve supported 180, 360, VR, etc. but haven’t messed much with things that work best on mobile phones like portrait video when maybe they should have been.
  • “Content creators” now have powerful mobile tool sets even more than they did before.
  • Instagram has 1B monthly active users. Content creators cannot dismiss this platform flippantly.

Second, I’ll list why I don’t think this will kill YouTube – but why it might move some of the content creators onto this platform.

  • Portrait video is intimate. So for things like “talking head” videos, make-up tips, and sharing an adventure, or vlogging it may even be better than YouTube for these things. For this reason, a lot of this type of content may move from YouTube to IGTV.
  • That being said, YouTube doesn’t make their bread and butter on these videos – nor even on vloggers. Though these internet celebrities suck up a lot of the oxygen around YouTube news (meaning, they get headlines)… by far YouTube is the video search engine. No time soon will you be fixing your toilets plumbing with a video from IGTV. YouTube’s business won’t be hurt much at all by losing vloggers or “Vine-like” funny videos to IGTV. In fact, it may help with issues like Logan Paul.
  • Tablet and TV — YouTube is saturated into the market of available devices. They are built into TVs, TV-connected devices like Alexa (I think?), Apple TV, Roku, etc. They also work on iPad. IGTV will never be on iPad and may not ever be on TVs. This is a smartphone medium.
  • Search Index – If you do a Google search for “Jeff Bezos interview” or “New Tesla commercial” or “Star Wars movie trailer” or “How Air Conditioning works” you will land on YouTube. And that will be that way for years to come.

Third, here are my general thoughts on the app experience:

  • Coming from Instagram Stories some of the gestures are odd. But I think I’ll get used to them.
  • I wish there was a quick way to pause or mute a video but it seems at least 2, if not 3, taps away from anywhere.
  • Discover-ability will need to improve. At current, you can only see the thumbnails for 4 popular videos at a time. Compare to Instagram’s Explore area, where you can quickly see dozens.
  • It eats battery. But, as I said above, I think the timing is right. Phones are going to greatly improve CPU which will help battery life.

Overall, I think IGTV is a great app and a good move for Instagram to make. I’m also happy that it is a separate app. While I believe that “creation apps” like Boomerang and Hyperlapse could have been strictly within Instagram’s main app – I believe consumption apps like IGTV belong outside of it.

Dan Kimbrough, a videographer, shared his thoughts on IGTV on his blog. I disagree with him on one point though. He says this is only important for those with Instagram or Facebook audiences. He writes:

Again, I’m talking about those who’s audience base comes from Instagram, not YouTubers or Facebook. If YouTube is your home base, this won’t matter to you today.

I disagree. And so does MKBHD who has 6M+ YouTube followers. Instagram’s 1B monthly active users (Dan cites 600M in his post but Instagram announced 1B MAUs yesterday) make it so that these creators cannot ignore this platform.

The Yard – March 2018

YouTube’s Most Popular Videos of 2017

Brandy Shaul writing for Adweek:

Collectively, the top 10 trending videos for 2017 have more than 633 million views and have been watched for over 40 million hours. The channels behind the top trending videos have more than 55 million subscribers in total.

The most popular videos on YouTube each year are seldom the most interesting. I find that the videos that are mildly popular, say with single millions of views or hundreds of thousands of views, are the most interesting to me. They have a broad enough audience that the creator is getting paid well and they generally are not flashes in the pan.

Independent interviews Mike Krieger of Instagram

Adrian Weckler interviewed Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram, for Independent.ie out of Dublin. Regarding longer form video Krieger replies:

What we have right now is a minute. If we introduce longer video, we have to make it fit into the flow of Instagram in a way that makes sense. I think what might point the way is the people who use video today on Instagram. I meet these digital creators who are producing video for Instagram and they’ll often do a short cut for their Instagram feed or for Stories and point to a longer video. Often that lives on other platforms because you just can’t post them on Instagram. But the idea of a teaser plus the full piece of content, if you were interested in it, might be a future piece.

I don’t know exactly what would make sense for longer form video on Instagram but so far they’ve been making great choices. I think just being able to play videos full-screen would be enough for me. I think it’d be just fine to see longer form video on my timeline with, perhaps, the first 15 seconds as a preview or something. But I’m unsure.

Another takeaway from this interview is how Instagram has always talked about how it ripped off Snapchat. I really love the candor. They have always come right out and said that Snapchat was first. And then they back up why they’ve brought that medium to Instagram. The reason he gives is both obvious and apt; because people were already doing it by creating second accounts to share more regularly on. Now they don’t have to do that.

 

VR180

Frank Rodriguez:

VR180 video focuses on what’s in front of you, are high resolution, and look great on desktop and on mobile.

I think this looks like an excellent format. As I’ve mentioned in the past, 360 video is very difficult to follow if there is a narrative. While 360 might be good to virtually put you somewhere, 180 will be better to help tell a story.

Rodriguez goes on to explain that VR180 is easier to create and can be much higher resolution. Me likey.

The Daily 360

The New York Times describes The Daily 360:

Times journalists around the world bring you a new 360 video every day.

I’ve watched a few of these and they are pretty cool.

I found this via Dan Kimbrough who adds:

The New York Times is doing a lot of cool things with 360 storytelling. 360 is a newfound passion of mine and it’s nice to see it used in a way that’s immersive and helps to tell a story, not just a gimmick.

I agree with Dan. 360 video shouldn’t be used for just any video. It is a new medium. Just like square-crop photos in Instagram, tweets, Stories, VR — all of these are different mediums with which we can tell a story. For me the main disconnect I’ve had with 360-degree video has been focus… where should I look? When a “normal” video is simply shot in 360 it is very tough to follow along. The New York Times is helping with this by adding their visual cues to two different areas in the video at a time. So if you spin around the text or caption is behind you as well. As Dan stated, this medium is supposed to be immersive. Its entire raison d’être is to put someone into a situation. And that seems to be how it is being used on The Daily 360.

I’ll be following along.

Clips

Apple:

Introducing Clips. A new iOS app for making and sharing fun videos with text, effects, graphics, and more.

I’ve been looking for an app like this for a long time. The Verge describes how I think I’ll use this app.

My best guess is because the default camera app is still something that’s supposed to be super simplistic (and accessible from the lock screen). And I think in some ways, this is a precursor to a consumer AR app, but Apple declined to answer questions around that. Clips seems like it could be the perfect app to use when iMovie is too much and the default camera app is not enough. The question is whether it will be the necessary stop between your phone’s camera and your favorite social network.

I’ve tried to edit a personal “vlog” (that I do not publish publicly) for a long time. And I did it using iMovie. But iMovie is too much for this. What I really want is Instagram Stories or Snapchat Stories in their own app. It looks like I’ll kind of sort of get that with Clips.

I don’t know why they didn’t just release it. Apple doesn’t usually announce things before they’re ready (I’m not counting operating system releases which require so much public testing). But I’ll be happy to get my hands on this next month.