Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Flash Video FAQ

What Flash video encoding solution is the best?

Figure it out yourself! L.A. video firm Roguish has gone to the trouble of allowing you to compare, side by side, different Flash codecs and encoders using a variety of different video content, from text over colour gradients, to water, to fire, to black & white 16mm. With the new Flash 8 codec becoming more and more of an option for internet video delivery it's a very handy little tool to have access to. Kudos to Roguish for putting that sort of information out there.

Australian Story Online - episode 2

The second of our Australian Story Online specials went up last night.

For three decades Peter Dawkins was the man Australian singers relied on to turn their music into chart-topping, record-breaking hits.

Then, at just 42 years of age, he walked into a doctor’s surgery complaining of various odd symptoms. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Last year, an extraordinary medical procedure that held hope of a better quality of life was offered to Dawkins, but there was a catch – it would cost $35k and Peter Dawkins 'simply didn’t have the money' after being unable to work for so long.

It was at that point the industry that he had done so much for returned the favour in a most unexpected way…

Friday, February 24, 2006

I have to admit, I'm feeling a bit this way at the moment...

Podcasting is IPTV's Killer App | DV.com

Franks Capria makes a pretty good point in this article from DV.com.

I agree that the iPod is a mediocre portable video device. The screen is too small and scratches too easily. I stand too far away from it on the treadmill at the gym. The battery life is too short, lacking the juice for a New York-to-Los Angeles flight. The click wheel, which is an awesome music controller, isn't nearly as intuitive as a video controller. But none of that really matters because I don't think of my iPod as a portable video device. It's an IPTV set-top box.

It's an interesting discussion, running through the current problems facing IPTV and Podcasting, how to create a Podcast and where the money is.

DV.com - Podcasting is IPTV's Killer App

As always, DV.com requires registration, but it's worth it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Australian Story Online - A week (almost) on.

So I drop in on Martin yesterday to get the lowdown on what I'm sure will be the waves of adulation from all involved given our victory on Monday night.


He makes a very good point.

"Last night we posted a full version of one of this country's top programs on the internet simultaneously to it being broadcast, and not a peep from anyone."

Comments were then made that if this had been a commercial channel the trade rags would have been buzzing with the news. But that's the joy of working for the national broadcaster.

TV catches the Net video bug | Tech News on ZDNet

After years of the internet being used to show TV programs, it looks like TV is going to start showing content created for the internet.

Because they need something to get the peoples back.

Ellis vs Whedon - count the nerdgasms

So anyway, last year Warren Ellis starts posting pictures (Ex. 1, Ex. 2, Ex .3, Ex. 4) taken by his loyal (and devout) readers from the San Diego Comic Book Convention. Some of the images were truly horrifying in a "cross-the-road-to-escape-even-looking-at-you-,-you-FREAK!!!" kind of way, but a lot of fun. So it comes as no surprise that Ellis posted the fact that the site for this year's Con had gone online.

Of course, that's when the fun began.

In response to Warren Ellis' statement that
"there are one hundred thousand hungry people out there who need to attend San Diego Comics Convention in order to walk right past all that comics shit and go straight to sniffing Brandon Routh’s cricketbox, sending bits of themselves to the cast of SERENITY and masturbating ferociously in the men’s stalls while wearing V FOR VENDETTA masks and discounted Hulk Hands."
the page got a response from one Joss Whedon, who was obviously sitting around his office trying to avoid writing the sequel to Serenity.

And thus it began.

"Who is this Ellis guy anyway? He thinks he all that cuz he wroted “Planety”. The facts is, KomiKon is AWESOME becuz people dress up like stuff — but nobody dresses like Warner Ellis, I guess, mister sour grapes. I talked to Sumner Glou and she said nobody ever mailed her body parts except for one time an arm and then a messenger brought her a thyroid gland but big deal, SERENDIPITY fans happen to be the most tastefullest fans who have extra or redundant body parts."

The back and forth went on with gay abandon.

To read the responses from those witnessing it you'd have thought God had dropped in on Lucifer's LJ site to hang some shit before suggesting they should sneak out for a beer later.

"Boys, boys… don’t fight! I have an idea! DO join up, and write some comics TOGETHER. Deliciously twisted plots and characters, touching moments of hilarity… it.. would… be… og… crap. Fangasm. Now I have to change."

"Holy Procrastination! I love it! Hey Joss, as long as you’re slackin’, come over to Whedonesque - we need more - uh - you!"

"I am in the same message thread as both Warren Ellis AND Joss Whedon. I am vicariously famous. Twice."

"Man, this is just ten different kinds off geek-borne happiness right here. Two of my favorite comic-mkaer-people trading teh funnay right in front of me. Thank God for strep."

And on it went.

Of course, the blogosphere went crazy, as it is wont to do.

I mention this in passing because I find it an interesting example of celebrity, the internet and geeks in general. No outrageous statements or insights, but I get the feeling that this will be of further interest to me down the track. With that in mind I continue this blog's stated purpose of being a poor man's del.icio.us so I know where to find it when it becomes relevant to something.

That is all.

Eddie gets it!?! (In other news, pigs to commence daily flights between Sydney and Melbourne.)

Newly rewarded (the poisoned chalice perhaps?) CEO of Channel 9, the guy who was all over your TV screen for the last five or so years, Eddie McGuire has his say to "the Australian" about his long term views for the network now that he's got one of the most heavily scrutinised jobs in Australian television.

McGuire admits that while his initial concentration is short-term, his mind wanders over the big-picture issues. Attracting viewers back to FTA is one of them. "We have to be more nimble on our feet, keeping up with what people want," he says. "That can be difficult when on one hand you have people getting their television on tiny phone screens, while others put massive plasma screens on their walls. Television has always been about information and entertainment. Meeting both needs at the same time is the trick."

"I absolutely believe free-to-air television can maintain its mass audiences. There are still a lot of things that haven't changed. TV is interesting in that it's had an image of being new and flash for a long time, but it has also been very conservative.

"People my age have grown up with traditional television, but kids these days are into mobile services, watching television, texting and using the internet at the same time.

"They are now their own programmers, and the challenge is there to try to get that iPod generation to bring their ideas to us, so we can be their portal of choice. The trick is to be relevant to them again. That is not to say you're going to jettison the generation before them, but there's a mix there somewhere."

And that, of course, is the trick. Channel 9, the darling of the blue-rinse set over the last 20 or so years, has been accused before of dismissing younger viewers in favour of where the money was. So how does Channel 9 face this brave new world of Generation C while maintaining a link to audience members that have trouble dealing with their remote control? Moreover, given former Nine supremo Sam Chisholm said last year that his view of the future was TV, only smaller, will there be a change in thinking now that the iPods of Eddie's kids have his attention?

Maybe he could phone a friend.

All this is yet to come in our brave new post-Kerry TV world...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Welcome to the Super Bowl" | ESPN.com: Page 2

Bill Simmons runs through his experience at the NBA's All Star Weekend held in Houston, Texas. A fun read, written as only Simmons can. Make sure you read to the end to hear his story about sitting at the next table to M.J. and Charles Oakley in the bar at the Houston Four Seasons.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Australian Story Online - The first of many

Those who pay regular attention to KingLeonard - The Weblog will realise that things have been quite quiet of late. This has been as a result of;
And the first fruits of this week of work has paid off! Tonight we posted the first of what will hopefully be an ongoing series of Australian Story Broadband editions, including the entire program, extended interviews and Producer's notes.

I mentioned at the end of last year that we were working on this, and I made particular note of its importance, not from a viewer experience or as an enabler of "folksonomic interactivity", but from the publishing aspect. Well, while this episode has actually been quite a bitch to get done (albeit only taking a day or two from our end), the system is slowly being put into place to automate and streamline the process even further. Flash video plugins for our automated compression system are on order and further tweaks are being made to the ABC's publishing software. The issue here is to create a system that allows other program producers to create ongoing extended editions to allow viewers the opportunity to not only view the entire program at their leisure, but also see extra bits that just can't make it into the show due to the inherent shortcomings of scheduled content. By making this as simple and easy as possible it opens up all sorts of opportunities for these programs to get involved rather than be scared away by the prospect of "compression" and "servers".

Anyway, I took a few pictures to mark the occasion and here they are.

The "Fishbowl" - home of the Brains Trust.

Jessica Daly - She's the one looking after all the content. You can see Jess' small

screen debut at the start of the McInnes Pilot we produced late last year.

Tim Madden - Design Guru and all round genius,

telling his wife he's going to be home late.

Tim making sure the site is running before it goes live.

What better way to celebrate than wood fired pizzas.
"Ooh! Exotic Potato!"

I should mention, that guy with his back to the camera is
Martin Southgate, driving force behind the project
and uber-producer.

Martin and Jess check the site once it's live. Despite some misgivings from
certain southern naysayers, the Flash Server held its own through the peak
period following the show.

Jess "capturing the moment"

Martin and Tim checking the site through our "Off-Air" computer,
in the heart of the News Online offices.

The idea is that this computer shows us what people are seeing in their
homes and offices, beyond the boundaries of our proxy server.

So all in all a bit of a win. I'll be interested to hear feedback, which will no doubt begin tomorrow, but I think we did all right. Once again, kudos must go to Martin, Jess and Tim who have driven this project forward. Once it's fully operational I can see this being the start of big things for the future of the Corp online.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pay up or lose your TV, viewers told | smh.com.au

Not quite so drastic as it sounds. Basically it refers to consumers having to fork out up to $400 for a digital set-top box. Way to beat up a headline.

Nice to see the possibility of sanity prevailing and some of the restrictions that have plagued the Australian TV landscape being lifted. Just think, if they did we could actually start telling people what we produce, rather than just doing it anyway and kind of whistling distractedly whenever anyone scrutinises us.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lack of posts? - I've been away

I didn't think I'd mentioned this before heading off, but I've been away from any computer for the last week and a half, enjoying time off work up the coast with my beloved wife. No photos, no video, no inclination. Just rest and relaxation.

Not that anyone drops by here on purpose, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Hopefully more content once I'm back at work and we start producing Australian Story Online as a semi-regular project.