January 09, 2014

Social filmmaking: Do people actually *want* to make videos together?

You’d think so, right? Weddings, concerts, school projects, etc. could all be made so much more interesting through varied points of view. And yet…

  • MixBit (the YouTube founders’ way to share & combine short clips) cratered, and I haven’t seen JumpCam (“Just start a video and invite others to add their own clips”) or Cameo (which enables easy pooling) take off.
  • I likewise haven’t seen much traction for WeVideoVidmaker, or other hosted collaborative video editors.
  • Groovideo made it easy to for groups of friends to contribute clips (e.g. to make a birthday card), but they died.
  • Vyclone, Streamweaver, and the Rashomon Project take an interesting approach, auto-aligning simultaneously shot clips (e.g. from a concert) to easily create a multi-cam shoot, but I’ve yet to see anyone I know use them.

The bigger question, of course, is how much do people want to make videos at all? I think it’s safe to say that…

  • Most people like to capture videos on their phones, and they’ll watch/show some of these via the phone.
  • Only a fraction of those people will upload even a fraction of those vids.
  • Only a fraction of those will get combined into multi-shot videos.
  • Instagram has helped far more people create multi-shot videos. (I’m less convinced that any appreciable number of people make rather than just watch Vines, but feel free to prove me wrong.)
  • Watching one’s own (often dull) footage to pull out good parts is laborious. Watching other people’s dull footage is likely even worse.

So, will we see widespread social filmmaking in the future? Will totally automated upload + automatic video creation move the needle? I’m curious to hear your take. Do you have a problem here that you care about having solved?

Posted by John Nack at 8:03 AM on January 09, 2014

Comments

  • Mylenium — 8:37 AM on January 09, 2014

    Just like on “real” movies – 80% of the success come from planning, pre-production and coordination. IMO that’s why this doesn’t work. When e.g. on a concert everybody shoots the same stuff no matter how many clips you end up with, they are all boring. And you summed up the rest of the issues quite well. Even the most hardened editor doesn’t want to look at endless hours of bad footage shot with professional cameras, so why should anyone even want to do it for clips from mobile phones, cheap photo cameras or whatever?

  • Steve — 10:14 AM on January 09, 2014

    I think Mylenium’s comment is spot on. The story matters most when putting together clips. If you want anyone to pay attention. We capture moments all the time but they are just moments. It doesn’t mean they are not interesting to watch. We share them and move on but a story needs to be thought out. Preproduction and coordination are some of the most overlooked parts of movie/video production. They shape the story to be told by the video, music, graphics, dialogue, etc. I guess I’m a little jaded because being involved in production you take it a little personal when people think it is magic or say can’t the computer just do it. Keep up the good work. I still love Adobe tools.

  • Rob — 11:54 AM on January 09, 2014

    While some brief, essentially unedited video is fine and fun to watch (good example: John’s videos of his sons), videos that hold the viewer’s interest for more than a minute or two and that can stand up to repeated viewings almost always require a lot of thoughtful editing–choosing the clips and still images, organizing them, correcting flaws in lighting or sound, adding music and editing cuts to match musical cues. It’s a significant creative commitment, quite the opposite of the kind of quick and dirty mashup that a lot of collaborative media efforts seem designed to foster.

  • Wayne — 12:48 PM on January 09, 2014

    It is somewhat humbling to see statistics in regard to video consumption on the internet. Currently YouTube is so dominant – to the point of having basically 98% of the views and then everybody else, including pure consumption sites like Hulu and Vevo. Well known “creative” sites like Vimeo don’t even register on the scale. (When were speaking of Billions of views)

    Apparently getting people to upload video onto the internet works if you make it free, easy and mostly stolen. Video collaboration is harder unless you create a pool in which people give up their legal rights to their own material and allow someone else to manipulate it. Then it isn’t just about effort and money it about egos and misuse of content that could present some incredibly difficult problems. I think it is a hard sell to the masses because most people are not content creators – even if they take videos with their phones on a daily basis.

    As bandwidth increases and the tools allow for realtime manipulation across networks I think professionals and “enthusiasts” are going to take great advantage of this. I can imagine a time though when a group of friends could get together and play music together in real time across continents and that would be very exciting. I think that is where collaboration is going to thrive in the future and it all about realtime events.

    Once bandwidth is not an issue and we can all stream in real time then there is some incredible potential for multicam viewing of events. You could join a streaming pool and people viewing could switch between all the different cameras that happen to be there at any given moment. Each viewers “edit” could be automatically saved as their watching and switching. Although I’m sure this will create a whole new set of legal/copyright problems for those 20,000 people streaming that Taylor Swift Concert from their phones directly to YouTube, but that is for another day.

  • abram — 12:33 PM on January 11, 2014

    Rashomon isn’t really imagined as a creative tool for social filmmaking per se. It’s a citizen-focused tool for the analysis of contestable events (human rights documentation, protests, &c.). Because these are difficult situations to predict, shaky handheld mobile devices are often the only documentation that exists. Being able view multiple perspectives of these events simultaneously gets us closer to an accurate understanding of what happened.

  • Jason @ FilmmakingStuff — 9:26 PM on January 12, 2014

    It’s going to be like anything else. With lots of content being produced, the cream will rise to the top, eventually.

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