Takedown Notice! — In Which I Enforce My Copyright

10 minutes ago I got a Google Alert letting me know that Two Night Stand had been posted on Dailymotion. I went to the page, and the movie was there, posted by someone else. Now, I give that movie away to anyone who wants it, and Dailymotion seems like a fine place to have the video posted, but I don’t want it posted under someone else’s username. That’s re-distribution, and I don’t cotton to it. It’s nice that this person is interested enough to share the movie, but you can do that by embedding the video from any of the dozen or so sites where the film is legally available.

So I sent my First Takedown Notice Ever. Dailymotion has a very easy to find form and I told them I wanted my movie removed. I got an email back within a minute or two letting me know it was gone from the site. I checked, and it is indeed removed. I was really impressed. Thanks Dailymotion!

Vuze Improves

I had some troubles with Vuze (the peer-to-peer-video part, not the excellent part formerly known as Azureus) in the past, but last week I used it to submit my entry for the OpenCut competition and I saw some real improvement. For some reason my video was not compatible with Vuze’s re-encoding software, so you can’t just hit play and have it start as it downloads. I think that’s because it’s 1080p, and as far as I can tell most of their HD stuff is 720p. But I’m not really sure. Either way, Vuze seems perfectly happy to keep my 280 MB QT file on their servers and send it to anyone who wants it. I uploaded Two Night Stand, and it was re-encoded by Vuze, and it seems like great quality.

To download the full version visit vuze.com

Vimeo still has them beat as far as I’m concerned. You don’t need special software to download or watch anything from Vimeo. Of course it remains to be seen if Vimeo can keep paying for all that bandwidth. Vuze gets to exploit its users’ bandwidth, which obviously saves a lot of money. But if the cable and telephone companies change their business models and start charging residential customers for their bandwidth usage you can be sure Vuze won’t be quite so attractive.

YouTube Gets Better

The mystery is over. YouTube, in another in a long series of overdue moves, has revealed some real information about how people find your YouTube videos. In my case, it turns out that my most popular videos happen to be declared “related” to some other, more popular videos. I’ve never questioned the success of the “Bad Webcam Sex” video, which is naturally connected to all kinds of filth that people are mistakenly looking for on YouTube instead of the entire rest of the Internet. What really surprised me was the sudden and unexpected rise of viewers for Two Night Stand. I’ve now learned that nearly 50% of the traffic comes from being “related” to a video called “Fake Wife Swap” which was made for one of those 24-hour film festival challenges. 90% of Two Night Stand viewers come from related videos.

The other big change—which still hasn’t quite worked itself out yet—is the so-called “high quality” option for YouTube videos. On certain videos (the criteria isn’t at all clear to me) you can add &fmt=6 to the URL and get a significantly better video. Unfortunately I don’t know what you have to upload in order to get the higher quality. Is it a higher resolution, or a higher bitrate that I should be going for? Adding &fmt=6 to most videos gets you the usual blender-set-on-purée look. Some guidance from YouTube would be nice.

UPDATE: Brian Gary has an article at kenstone.net explaining the best settings to use to take advantage of YouTube’s higher quality options.

Vuze Trouble

I use Azureus quite a bit when I want to download something quickly thanks to the bandwidth of thousands of my friends. In an effort to become legitimate, Azureus has launched a streaming service called Vuze that encourages distribution of HD content. I don’t have any HD content to share right now, but on the web, 640×480 is pretty high-res. So I decided to upload a few things and try it out. I started with Getting Laid Tonight. Everything happens very quickly. Upload is as fast as you can make it, and the download is too. But the audio was a few seconds out of sync. I’ve had trouble with Getting Laid Tonight in the past because the fully cropped video is a non-standard size. That might have been the problem. So I tried the Brad Wood music video. The sync was fine, but the compression destroyed the music quality. Everything sounds over-modulated. I’ve removed both videos from the “content network” but I’ll try out a few other things. I’m mainly interested in this for the distribution of my animated series. I’m going to create it in HD, so this could be a good way to distribute the HD video.

The Tyranny of the Thumbnail

It just highlights how ridiculous it is that YouTube gives only 3 options for a thumbnail. The thumbnail is the poster for your movie. It is essentially the entire advertising campaign. How hard would it be to give us the option of choosing any frame from the video as the thumbnail? It’s not 1995, we have this technology.

More YouTube Thumbnail Data

Last June I noticed a trend caused by the arbitrarily assigned thumbnails on my Truth @ 15fps YouTube videos. Videos with Jennie thumbnails got almost 7 times more views than videos with Kyle thumbnails.

Now that we’re allowed to choose from 3 options for thumbnails, I’ve switched all the Truth @ 15fps videos to Jennie thumbnails (with the exception of the first one which Jennie’s not in) which has raised the average of those videos to 5,765. Although the other ones still lead with an average of 29,700, the difference is closer to 5 times as much now. Since last June, the Bad Webcam Sex video views have doubled to over 2 million.

What’s interesting me today though, is my film Two Night Stand, which at 18 minutes is a tough sell for YouTube. They don’t even let people upload videos longer than 10 minutes anymore. I managed to get a director account before they imposed that limitation though, so I got grandfathered in. Here are my thumbnail options:
When I uploaded it in July 2006, the only option was the middle one. I switched it to the left-hand one a few months ago, and hits have gone up considerably since then. People commenting who have actually watched it all the way through are way up too, which is the most important thing to me. As of today, the video is at 97,506 views, which is way more than even Getting Laid Tonight, which is both short and has a suggestive title. The main difference I see between the two thumbnails is that rather than just a shirtless Chris in the original one, you get an indication that there may be a naked lady under those sheets in the left-hand option. It’s a lesson for the kids out there.

Never Let Them Go!

I lost my domain name, kylegilman.com a little more than 2 years ago. I had a registrar who didn’t automatically renew after the first year, and I forgot to do the manual payment. So it went into the redemption period, a murky backwater of domain names where you can pay exorbitant amounts of money to “manually” renew the domain name you paid $5 for originally. I decided to let it expire because as far as I could tell it was of no interest to anyone else in the world. There are at least 2 other Kyle Gilmans out there, but they seem to be youngins without an active, commercial Internet presence. So I didn’t expect any trouble.


But it turns out there are unscrupulous people out there who figure an easy way to make a buck is to snap up any expiring domain names they can get their hands on in the hope that a couple of them will be worth a lot of money to someone. One of these Internet parasites registered my domain before I could get at it, probably using some form of domain “backorder” which automatically registers the domain as soon as it becomes available. So I contacted the fellow and offered $25, which I considered the approximate worth of my domain to me. I was originally told that the minimum bid was $99 which I understandably laughed at. He eventually came down to $40, but by this time I had already registered kylegilman.net and only wanted to make sure he lost money on the deal. I figured even $40 could net him a couple bucks so I decided to wait it out another year. That year came and went and the domain got renewed.

Finally this year I noticed the domain was expiring. So I quickly headed over to godaddy.com and placed a $18.99 backorder on kylegilman.com, assuming that nobody would bother registering it again, and that I was safe anyway because I had a backorder.

But no. Godaddy failed me. Someone else grabbed it before me. There’s something like a 3 hour window when domains are deleted and there’s really no way to know which domain stealing service is going to get it first. So I will wait another year and see what happens then. Some day it will be mine again.

Weird update:Yesterday I got an email from Godaddy telling me kylegilman.com had been transferred to Godaddy. I thought that was a strange coincidence but figured this domain pirate probably uses some other service to steal the domains then transfers them to Godaddy to hang onto/sell them. This morning I did a whois search to find out who the bastard was, and was surprised to find the following entry:

Kyle Gilman
684 DeGraw St #2
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Created on: 05-Dec-07
Expires on: 05-Dec-08
Last Updated on: 06-Dec-07

The bastard is me! Now if you go to kylegilman.com it redirects to kylegilman.net, just like cameranoiseproductions.com, fictumentary.com, and twonightstand.com. Our long national nightmare is over!

Leopard, Vista, Doesn’t Matter

The big computer news this week is the release of Apple’s “Leopard” operating system. So every tech journalist is dutifully stacking it up against the underwhelming release of Windows Vista earlier this year. But at this point does the OS really mean anything to anyone? Having spent a year with a computer running both Windows XP and Tiger I can say for certain that the features of the OS make no difference to me. They both are no more or less than a way to run applications. They both run them with a minimum of fuss. The user interfaces to me are essentially interchangeable. One has a dock, one has a taskbar. On my Windows keyboard, one uses the Ctrl button for most keyboard commands, the other uses the Alt key. All the other differences make no difference to my productivity or happiness. I run Tiger for Final Cut Studio, and XP for everything else. And lately the majority of my days are spent using Firefox, which is the same in every operating system.

Don’t get me wrong. In the past, operating systems have made huge differences in my productivity. Does anyone remember how horrendous the Mac OS was right before OS X? It might have been groundbreaking in 1984, but compared to Windows 98 it was junk. Windows 98 was not so hot itself. Windows XP was a real step forward in stability, if nothing else. But what is Vista going to get me that XP doesn’t do for me now? I installed the 64-bit version of XP when I first bought this 64-bit computer, but it was too much hassle to track down new 64-bit drivers for everything, and Avid Xpress Pro didn’t run on it, which was the real deal breaker. So I’m still running the 32-bit version and it’s just great. Vista sounds like just another hassle for no apparent benefit. Leopard probably wouldn’t be a hassle, but I don’t think it’s going to wow me once I’m forced to upgrade when Apple decides that FCP can’t run in Tiger anymore.

YouTube Continues To Deny Me Revenue

I was briefly excited today because Google Adsense announced a YouTube component. But it wasn’t available until a few hours ago so the anticipation made me think it would be better than it is. It turns out you can only get content from chosen “partners” just like on regular YouTube. So it’s just another way for those same people who already get money from YouTube to get money from other websites. Of course, if my visitors click on the ads I get a cut now too, so that’s nice, but I’d like to generate revenue from my own content, not from lonelygirl15’s. Revver has been doing this for a long time and I’ve made some good money from them so far, but my viewers on YouTube dwarf the Revver viewers. We’re talking over 2 million views. My content is legit, and Revver has no trouble verifying that. Why can’t YouTube start allowing any clearly legitimate content be monetized? If they can put ads on more video pages they will earn more money. It’s that simple. Anyway, here’s what the new YouTube/AdSense player looks like. Have fun watching other people’s videos.

So far all the ads are “Gilman” based with no other context. Way to go guys!