Don’t you just hate it when you blog and for some reason your post disappears into oblivion? Here’s my rewrite…
Working on my next major research paper on “Blogs & how they make you buy stuff” (ok, that’s so not going to be the title), I chance upon the ever-shifting podcast charts on the iTunes music store. An amazing variety of videocasts are now available, all very interesting and very high in production quality.
While the cost of video production has gone down considerably, what intrigues me is how some of the more frequent, high quality shows are able to sustain themselves. Most of the high quality videocasts are obviously sponsored by corporations or lifted from existing TV shows (e.g. DigitalLife TV, Bollywood Report from WahIndia, The Living Kitchen Cooking Show, etc), but what about the independently produced ones?
Let’s simply assume that it takes money to account for the time and effort in producing these videocasts. Where do these independent videocasters get the finances to keep going? Are there alternative sources of income or some kind of return of investment to these shows? Is “labor of love” enough to explain how it works? Strange as it seems, I did some preliminary investigations…
Tiki Bar TV
Currently no. 1 on the iTunes podcast chart is new weekly video cast that features barflies, lounge lizards and swingers, called Tiki Bar TV. This explicitly educational show is so hypnotically entertaining, it reminds me of Monty Python combined with the Playboy Channel plus the Food Network. As the title suggests, its about entertainment and making cocktails. Characters include Lala, the cocktail babe; Johnny Johnny, mixer of ‘forbidden drinks’; and Doctor Tiki, who is a PhD and MD in Tiki (or “cocktologist” from his blog profile). According PodcastingNews, Tiki Bar TV’s Reginald Hornstein said that “when we came across video podcasting, we found much of it strange, some funny, some inspiring and a good deal total crap. We certainly fit one of these categories.” From the sound of it, it looks like they are doing this because they’ve always wanted to do it. Motivation: Labor of Love (perhaps also a convenient reason for more drinks?)
RocketBoom is a three minute daily videoblog based in New York City, covering a wide range of information and commentary from top news stories to quirky internet culture. Releasing each new clip at 9am EST, Monday through Friday, each show has heavy emphasis on international arts, technology and weblog drama. CBS news made a report on RocketBoom (Aug. 19, 2005) when it first made the
airwaves netwave. From there, I learnt that it was vlogger Andrew Baron who created RocketBoom as well as how Amanda Congdon was actually picked from hundreds of aspiring actresses who applied to put on the daily blog. To answer my question, Andrew claimed that production costs for Rocketboom is kept low, since they use just the basics, namely a camera, computer, table, chair and a map that hangs behind the set. He even goes on to reveal that it costs somewhere around $25 a day to produce the videocast! Motivation: Labor of Love (-$25 daily w/ possible +ve income if they added ads)
90 Second Challenge
90 Second Challenge is more straightforward to me since it invites submissions from across Bristol, UK to make digital media. It could be a film, mobile phone game, Flash or 3-D animation, Internet viral, stop-motion, a photography slideshow, audio track or VJ set. Everyone is welcome to have a go. It features workshops, work-in-progress screenings, online resources and master-classes. Apparently there will even be a “dating agency” to help you find partners to work with if so required! The project is happening as part of Electric Pavilion, a Creative Bristol 2005 initiative, which is sponsored by the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. Motivation: Sponsorship + Collective effort (based on user submissions = produser)
There’re obviously too many videocasts to feature at this point, so I’m merely reviewing those that took my fancy. I’d be grateful if anyone could tell me how independent videocasters survive if not for sponsorship. The key seems to be keeping it to an efficent workflow which reduces production costs. Tips and suggestions on videocasting on the cheap are highly welcomed. In the mean time, here are BBC’s Good Shooting Guide and Apple’s Seven Steps to Videocasting for all videocaster wannabes.