Posts about tv

The damned Thanksgiving eve stories

This is one of those mornings when I want to throw the TV out the window. The lead story is that the roads and airports will be crowded this morning. Now that’s news! And it’s team coverage everywhere as correspondents stand in airports and on road reporting absolutely nothing there but providing mere atmospherics as they recite meaningless statistics from various agencies: “…more Americans than ever are on the move this Thanksgiving…” They are telling us absolutely nothing we don’t already know. This is journalism?

And then comes Friday, when they will give us the big news: Stores will be crowded.

It’s the no-shit season on TV news.

My video education

I’m trying to improve my video but I need to learn a lot more. So please teach me.

I bought a lighting kit for my house (obnoxious but true) and it greatly improved the image in the video I put up yesterday (versus this rushed job in Daylife‘s offices, in front of a very red wall). But if there’s more I should be doing, please tell me.

I also bought a new microphone for my MacBook Pro: the much-recommended Snowball. It improved the audio quality and reduced the background noise problems I’ve had before, but the levels were still low even though I pumped it up to the maximum. In yesterday’s video, I had to raise my levels and lower Brian Williams in the iMovie editing process, and it was still off. Suggestions? If you say I should buy something, what?

The video can still get choppy, with my voice getting out of sync with the image (even when I’m not talking a mile a minute). I recorded the video directly on my Mac in iMovie, which makes it very easy to cut the piece. Suggestions?

I tried various levels of quality for exporting and uploading the video in quicktime and MP4. Suggestions here, too? What standards should I use?

I then uploaded the video through a bunch of hosts. Still learning the pros and cons but here’s what I know so far, with links to each version of my video:

* Blip.tv is very good. Image quality appeared to beat YouTube’s. The player (embedded in the post below) couldn’t be cleaner: just a screen. I wish at the end of the video that it would give viewers some of the choices YouTube viewers get — especially to share or embed the video. I’ll also note that the traffic from Blip itself to the video is respectable — in the hundreds yesterday afternoon alone. I could see that on their very good stats report. And I was very happy to see that they even able podcasting feeds of the video (though I couldn’t get that to work for me).

* YouTube remains very easy but the quality was lower.

* Revver enables advertising and a revenue share. We like that.
So here’s the Revver player:

* Motionbox has a very nice new interface showing you a slider with thumbnails and the ability to select and link directly into any part of the video:

* I put it up on Veoh but don’t know much about it yet. Their player:

* I put the video up on Brightcove (where I serve on the advisory board) but I have to say it was a very complicated process: had to download a special encoding and uploading ap and go through many screens to figure out how to get a video attached to a player. There is a lot of power there — too much for most, I fear. Its player:

I didn’t even get around to putting it up on Google video or Archive.org or putting it out as a torrent.

With all these options, it’s quite remarkable that any of us can broadcast to the world easily, instantly, with no cost and even with some revenue. This is what will fuel the revolution!

Oh, and if you have any suggestions on content — on substance over style — I’m happy to hear most of those, too.

: And after doing all this, I am sick of hearing and seeing myself. It finally happened.

The condescending interactivity of network news

When the networks try to interact with us, the result is too often condescending: They tell us to give them our news images (rather than just linking to us). They put on a ‘Free Speech’ segment but quickly tire of it. Or they read insipid letters from us and act is if they have heard the voice of the people — they haven’t. And they don’t even give us the respect to enter into a dialog. In my latest video experiment, I show you excerpts from the letters Brian Williams read last week on the NBC Nightly News and add my two cents:

Media mogul moment

John Bracken says I may have made it onto South Park:

Tonight’s South Park episode, Stanley’s Cup, opens with Stan applying with the South Park Gazette’s grey haired “Mr. Jarvis” for a job as a delivery boy. There is no indication that the South Park Jarvis “gets it” or if he is as concerned with the future of newspapers as is the real life Jersey version.

If it’s me, I’m honored. I hope they have me laying off Stan soon. Cutbacks, you know. Market realities.

My previous brush with prime-time infamy: The network executive on Murphy Brown warned her away from that critic Jeff Jarvis, when I was one on TV Guide: “That Jeff Jarvis,” he said, “he’s a bottomless pit of hate.”

I’m so proud.

Al Jazeera TV

I’m watching the new Al Jazeera English channel but it’s not easy. Go here and keep refreshing the 15-minute free sample.

It’s foolish that they try to charge a monthly fee for watching the stream and even more foolish that they based the business on getting cable carriage. If they’d just put the channel up online, they’d be getting a huge audience today.

The channel is quite slick and certainly comes from a different perspective. And, oh, they’re trying so hard to go against stereotype — in the first few minutes I watched, I saw some travel piece going through a Jewish neighborhood in Israel/Palestine, I think, and a promotion flashing images of Katz’s Deli in New York. I’ll have to watch a lot more to parse the political and cultural references and news coverage. But they’re not making that easy.

Pakistan for laughs

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is appearing on Jon Stewart’s show Tuesday night. Even Stewart seems amazed. Is it because Stewart is a worldwide media kingmaker? Is it because Musharraf plans to announce where bin Laden has been hiding. Is it because even sympathetic dictators have a sense of humor? No, it’s because he’s plugging a book.

What could possibly go wrong?

On the day of the worst air crash in years, the Emmys begin tonight with Conan O’Brien crashing on an airplane and ending up on Lost. “What could possibly go wrong?” he asks. That. Otherwise a cute gag: dropping in on Office, House, South Park — where Tom Cruise is in the closet — and Dateline catching predators (proving that Dateline is nothing but entertainment). Bad timing, nonetheless.

: LATER: LostRemote says the GM of the NBC station in Lexington was horrified. They should have at least warned him.

: Also on Lost Remote, Steve Safran wonders whether the FCC will go after the Emmys for being “ass over tit.”

U.S. class, U.K. crass

Ain’t this just a loverly turn:

This year’s Emmy Awards, to be held on August 27 in Los Angeles, prove that British television executives have become astonishingly good at selling Americans the shamelessly downmarket fare that we once imported from the US.

In the reality competitions category, three of the five nominations are of British origin: American Idol, the creation of Simon Fuller, with Simon Cowell on the panel of judges; Dancing With The Stars, an overhauled version of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing; and Survivor, the brainchild of British expat Mark Burnett.

In contrast, the highbrow categories are full of American shows popular in Britain, such as The Sopranos, 24 and The West Wing. . . .

We’ve outclassed the cousins.