Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The loop is closed - Podcasts from my Nokia N90 transformer available
The videos shot with N90 play great on the iPod Video, the resolution is higher than that of the iTunes shows.
Video clips can now be aggregated into your iTunes. Subscribe to the Podcast feed from the video page sidebar.
I have slowly upgraded my blog to support video and now I introduce Podcasting. You can now subscribe to a podcast feed from the sidebar on the video page. This allows you to enjoy (over statement, read: torture yourself with) the videos I have shot with the Nokia N90 and posted using Lifeblog directly on your iPod Video, iTunes or other Podcast aggregators.
It is now possible for me to be a content producer and let my audience experience the content in a hassle free manner. The loop is closed; I think this is an amazing revolution. The seamlessness is fantastic and the technical quality is adequate. There is only one problem, which I alluded to in the intro, the narrative quality of my productions is awful, sorry, I hate post production....
Video has been something that fascinated me for a long time. Movies are something I always have enjoyed. When DV cameras started to appear in late 90's I did a bit of shooting, when Karen was born I went berserk and shot around 200GB or a bit over 1000 clips of her first 18th months. I once met movie maker who specialized in recording experiences, he would shoot bachelor parties, weddings etc. We did a daylong workshop. He thought me a very important lesson. Video should be shot in a start /stop manner, lots of short clips. No zooming, no panning to the next person or item in the narrative. With this lessons I thought I make a video about Karen’s first year on iMovie, I was all fired up...well that movie was never made. The 200 GB of video neatly imported into iMovie sits on a couple HD's on my Mac in our summer house in Finland. Later when video clip feature was introduced on the phones, I had another surge of enthusiasm, but now the quality was simply not good enough. This changed in the N90 where the quality is good 352 x 288, compared to the iTunes videos at 320 x 240. Many solid state video recorders shoot 640 x 480 in 30 fps (frames per second) so I expect this to be a reality in transformers in the future.
With these lessons, I knew that video and images should not be separated into two user experiences. Hence they sit side by side in Lifeblog. Videos for hobbyists are all about short clips or as I would prefer to call them, moving pictures. Once Lifeblog became a reality and I started liferecord, recording the little mundane things that happen in my life. I have repeatedly tried to record my life in video as I live it. This is very difficult, my friend and colleagues have all quietly laughed at me. My finding is that video as a narrative has to be time compressed to become interesting content. If one does not time compress the content turns out to be torture. I always laugh when I see the tourists walking around with their video cameras shooting everything. I know they will never watch it, and I suspect they will not edit it. It is too labor intensive. George Lucas said once movies are made in post production, unfortunately I suspect this is true. I hate postproduction it takes too much time!
What I would like to see next is dramatically simplified post production. I have learned that if I shoot video clips anytime from 5-15sec the individual clips are actually decent and I can often slot in a couple of retakes. If I then want to make a 'movie' or a 'story' about an experience, lets say a dinner or party I would shoot a series of 5-15sec clips during the experience. Lifeblog due to its chronological nature keeps the clips in time order, a good structure for lots of home video. What I am now acutely missing is a very simple form of clip merging. I would like to highlight the relevant clips in my timeline either on the mobile or on the PC and give a command 'Make movie'. This would open up a very simple video editor, merging the clips. I am lazy I would just select Save and a new item is created and placed after the last clip it contains. And it would be ready to be bogged or I could continue post production add a voice over, and provide that "Documentary" feel to it, maybe add some text. But in most cases the merging would be enough. This improvement alone would be a huge step forward in consumer content production. Instead of having 6 clips being 10 seconds long I would have a 1 minute movie. This might actually be a quite enjoyable and remove much of the torture we have come to learn from home videos. Until someone makes these features (Dear Nokia are you paying attention) you have to put up with my video torture. At the moment I am not willing to take the time to edit properly, I will share, now you can always stop subscribing to the podcast.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The virtual gigant Google moves into the physical world with Google Spaces
Google Spaces is the first push for Google in the physical world. It is a place where passing travellers can stop to get online. It is staffed with Googlers willing to help. They don their apps. But also let users check their mail. I was happy to see several reading Yahoo mail. The branding and mood was very different from what I have seen at their campus. No lava lamps or round balls to sit on. It will be interesting to see what the reaction of this will be, but I think it is a start of seeing the net gigants in the streetscene or where people live and move. My guess in two years we will see one of there virtual gigants on the giant billboards in Picadilly. This line of modern day phone booths is a compelling thought, where users could top up with new digital stuff and some nice ads while they pass by. When that happens we know the business has evolved to a new stage. I have followed the Google note into Wi-Fi networks. If that is a good strategy can be debated. I would not do it, but I an happy someone is pushing ubiquitious broadband. I will certainly use it!
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Klaus K is the coolest hotel in Helsinki
A hotel in the making. I made a real back stage tour with Marc Skvorc, the GM of Klaus K, the Bobcat was busy opening the atrium.
Finland got its first design hotel on Tuesday when the Klaus K hotel opened their doors to the public. Out of sure coincidence I was on a business trip and heard about the opening of the hotel. I have followed the re-make of Klaus Kurki to Klaus K as the manager is the former general manager of the very famous design hotel W at Union Square in New York. Marc has a great attention to detail and as a foreigner in Finland he can appriciate the beauty in Finnish design Finns often take for granted. My experience at the hotel was very good. The bed which Marc had raved about was very comfortable. I would have liked a down duvet like in Westin hotels Heavenly Beds. I was intrigued with the bathtub structure as they had moved the bathtub out of the wall with half a tile. This caused the water to flow down on the floor. There was drainedge but I am sceptical that this solution will work in the longrun. The service was great and friendly, unfortunately I arrived late and directly had a conference call so I had no chance to test the bar. Maybe next time. So if you want a cool experience in Helsinki check in at Klaus K. Congratulations to the team. You have worked hard to make this reality, I wish you all success, see you again.
At a later stage I hope to sample the food at the restuarants at Klaus K, but that will be another story...
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The new home entertainment center.
The 20' iMac struck of as a perfect piece to aggregate all personal home entertainment. What tipped me was frontrow. Long time ago I had the Performa 5300 with built in TV and that was already a good solution at the time. I got the wireless keyboard and one use case will be to Karen use it for her surfing. Having her compute in the living room is more social and the rest of up can enjoy music. I also really like how one can connect speakers in different rooms through AirTunes, this will bring music to the dining room.