YouTube Goes Wide!

I remember when all my YouTube videos were encoded 4 frames out of sync. Times sure have changed. The YouTube video player is now widescreen, which is great because it really lets you get the full resolution of your widescreen videos, but it’s not so kind to older videos that haven’t been encoded in “high quality”, like the copy of Two Night Stand I uploaded in 2006. Embed codes still default to 4:3, but you can customize the size to whatever you want. Unfortunately the thumbnail seems to be letterboxed, so in a 16:9 player it ends up window-boxed.

Update Dec 6: Things have changed even more. Embed codes are now widescreen, and thumbnails are no longer windowboxed. Even better: 720p!!!!! If you’ve uploaded a 720p or higher video, add &ap=%2526fmt%3D22 to the end of the param value and embed src urls in the embed code and you can actually embed 720p YouTube videos on your website. To view 720p videos on YouTube, add &fmt=22 to the end of the url.

YouTube Partner Update

Three weeks in to my tenure as a YouTube “partner” displaying ads on my YouTube videos, I’m getting some reporting on Adsense. I’m averaging 1200 views, 10 clicks, and $2 per day. That’s significantly more than I’m earning with my website-based ads. I did finally add the Bad Webcam Sex video to the mix, so I’m sure that’s helping, although I think Two Night Stand is pulling in the most traffic right now.

Unfortunately, the ads that show up for Two Night Stand tend to be for bedroom night stands, which isn’t exactly relevant, but someone’s clicking on some of these ads.

Don’t Write Off Avid

Over the past couple months I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to check out two cutting-edge tapeless workflows, both of which seemed at first glance to be difficult to work with in Avid. First was the Arri D-21 with an S.two digital magazine. Before I had a chance to look at it I was actually told that it would not work with Avid. I was pretty sure there’s always a way to make anything work, so I went in and looked at it firsthand.

S.two’s system records to a heavy-duty hard drive array that can then be plugged into a fancy dock that processes the video and allows you to ingest into your computer via HD-SDI in real time. Essentially it turns a tapeless workflow into a tape workflow. You get deck control and everything. The one advantage FCP has over Avid in this workflow is that the mag automatically generates a FCP XML file that allows easy batch digitizing. What you get with Avid is more work for the Assistant Editor because you have to enter the start and stop times and names and whatnot manually. Why they didn’t use the cross-platform ALE format, I don’t know, but it’s really not a big issue. It’s just like working with tapes.

With the RED workflow there’s absolutely nothing anywhere close to “realtime” processing. What you get with RED is a lot of waiting. It’s like processing 35mm film. It takes time. For some projects this isn’t really a big deal, for others it is. RED and FCP have been like two peas in a pod from the beginning, but Avid is getting things worked out nicely. The disadvantage Avid has at the moment is that it doesn’t read metadata from QuickTime files. If you were to import any QT file into Avid, its timecode would always start at 01:00:00:00. But the new REDRushes, which comes with REDAlert can create an ALE for easy batch importing.

The situation as I see it right now with all these crazy workflows being introduced, is that all you’re still doing as an offline editor is generating a list of numbers for the conform. In most cases, Avid and FCP are equally good at doing that. And if you feel more free and comfortable to create and actually edit in Avid, you should be working in Avid, no matter what anyone says about how well FCP handles newer tapeless workflows. Of course, that’s assuming you have someone in the production—such as myself—who actually understands what’s going on under the hood.

Monetized HD Video Online

I just finished Time Travellin’ Episode One: “Robot Overlords”, my first new movie in a very long time. It’s also my first HD movie. I’ve edited a lot of stuff in HD over the past year or two, but nothing of my own. For the past few days I’ve been spreading the movie around the multitude of online video sites. My favorite is still Vimeo, because they have the best picture quality. But thanks to the limited amount of movement in each frame, this photo animation technique lends itself extremely well to video compression, so it looks pretty good even on YouTube (in “high quality” mode). But Vimeo doesn’t have any revenue sharing options. Call me crazy, but I’d like to make some money on my films. Vuze worked very well for me with Two Night Stand, but that was a kind of lucky fluke that I don’t plan on repeating. Of course I still uploaded it there, but the problem with Vuze is that it’s not something you can just embed in your website. You can embed a teaser clip, but in order to see the whole thing you have to download it in the Vuze client.

To download the full version visit

Obviously the reason they can afford to host HD video is that they’re using the Bittorrent network to share the bandwidth load. If Vuze switched to a web-based video distribution system they’d lose a lot of money on bandwidth costs and might not be so eager to share revenue with content creators.

I made a stand-alone website for this photoanimation technique and I had to choose one site to embed the videos with. I started with Revver, because I’ve earned about $120 from them in the past, and they have pretty good video quality. But all of that money came in a long time ago, and I’m not sure the drop-off has anything to do with the amount of traffic I’m getting. I feel like the quality of the advertising has changed, and fewer people are interested in clicking on the ads they’re showing.

I had a little experience with before, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it. I uploaded the new movie there, and I was really impressed. There are a lot of advertising options, the video quality is very good, and there are many, many customization options. I still don’t quite understand everything I can do, but I’m learning. There seems to be an option to upload your own encoded flash video, which I tried, but it wouldn’t load. I’m going to look into that more. But it also seems that they’re not resizing videos when they do the encode. I uploaded a 1280×720 H.264 QuickTime file and the flash file is still 1280×720. The bitrate is variable and hovers around 700 kb/s which seems good enough. I haven’t had enough traffic on blip to get any money yet, so I’ll report back on how that goes.

In other money-making news, I finally applied to be a YouTube “partner” so I could get ads shown next to my YouTube videos. I’m still getting 1,000 daily views on Two Night Stand there, so I’m hoping that brings in a little cash. I won’t get any reports from them for 60 days though, so it’s a mystery what kind of money that will bring in. I hadn’t applied before because they ask you how many videos you plan to post in the next month and I figured I wouldn’t qualify because I didn’t upload frequently enough. But I went for it, and they very quickly appoved the application. I’d say anyone holding off on applying should do it ASAP. What I love so far is the ability they give to brand your channel and video. I added logos for my main channel, and the 15framespersecond channel The scariest thing so far: you have to individually submit each video to turn on revenue sharing, and if it isn’t approved it will be removed from YouTube. I’ve enabled ads on all my videos except the 2.5-million-view Bad Webcam Sex video. I’m afraid they’ll think it’s dirty, even though it is very, very not dirty. The “high quality” YouTube videos are actually pretty good now, and it’s a long way from the old days when everything was blurry and four frames out of sync. And you can’t beat those traffic numbers. A few million views is nothing on YouTube, which is crazy.