Operator 11 has taken video sharing and webcasting to the next level. Whereas websites such as youtube, google video, myspace and facebook all allow you to upload and share videos this one allows you two additional features.
The first dfference can be spotted when you sign up and arrive at the profile page. Rather than have text dialogue boxes you are offered a set of questions. You are expected to respond to these with a video message. You can describe who you are, what films and television you like, what books and interests you have.
As a result your status as a lurker has already been compromised. People see you and you see them. That’s just the first step.
It’s whilst watching The Old Grey Video test that I saw the great potential that this website has. It allows you to switch between webcams in different countries. What this means is that the presenter presents the show and tells everyone about the program before introducing his guests, at which point he switches from his camera to that of one of the guests. As a result of this technology a video dialogue between individuals is possible.
You may deal with video content in a number of ways. The first of these is that you start a show and just talk until you run out of things to say before quitting the show and stopping the livestream. The second option is to go into the video library. Here you can see your old shows and comments, you can upload video clips with a size limit of 200 megabytes, plenty for video inserts. The third option is to record some video straight from the computer to the website.
Once this step is complete the fun may really begin. You go to create a show and have the choice between starting the show immediately or scheduling it for another time of day. If you start the show immediatly then a few people may hear about the show but there’s a good chance that the viewership is low. A second option is that you schedule the show for a different time and day. As a result of this you may tell your friends that at a specific time you will have a live show.
Now that the first two steps are done and that your show is about to start you start preparing your inserts and making sure that your guest video streams are ready. The clips which you had selected earlier and uploaded are now all in the video library. You may select up to 9 video streams ready for play out when you chose to cue them. Assuming you’ve had a show for a while you may roll the intro clip introducing the show. You may select a second source, for example your camera and press cue. What the cue does is tell the website’s software that the next source should be your camera. Once the intro finishes rolling you’re on, telling the world about your show and during this time you’re going to go to select another source, for example some interview from the street. You cue that source and select to broadcast that stream. The camera’s off you and you’ve got time to prepare the next clip.
When preparing the clips you can preview them, making sure that it’s the right clip. Once that’s done you cue that as the next video. As long as the clips are long enough in duration you can keep switching from clip to clip. If you’ve got more videos than sources simply replace a video you’ve already played with another one.
Whilst I have not yet had the chance to switch between live sources through this software I have watched how it is used. Already I’ve found that there are three or four social groups that are part of the system. As one group of friends sit in one apartment another individual is watching them. If he choses to he can go into the “live” room. Once he’s in there the “director” can see the video stream coming in whilst the guest can make a request to be on camera or to play a video clip. That’s the business end of this software because that’s what allows conversations to occur between indivudals. At times this may be between two people but at other times this may be between a cluster of live feeds. As a result you can talk to anyone around the world about any topic. It’s great.
In the past few hours of use I have seen computer gaming shows, teens talking to other teens, cats playing with string and walking on ledges. I have seen people play music on request and live events in various parts of the world. As a result there is an interesting diversity of programs on offer.
It’s also a great learning experience. Having done vision mixing, directing, studio camera operator and insert editor with full production crews mainly for my university course I find this environment is quite complete. It’s a simple but powerful user interface and I should be giving it a proper try out at 8pm British summer time, 12am PST. The show will be called twitter vox and should discuss the twitter phenomenon.
An additional bonus is the fact that you can plug a dv input into your laptop and the source will be recognised as a result of which you can get a much higher quality video image, aside from pixelation. Better than not seeing anything.
Overall I think this is one of the most interesting video sites I’ve seen in a long time and i plan on using it to it’s full potential.