The folks behind the open-source video player Miro today launched VideoWTF, a site that aims to be something like a Yahoo Answers for the production side of all things newteevee. Don’t know what kind of camera to get? Unsure about whether to shoot interlaced or progressive? Looking for a place to chime in on the pros and cons of various MP4 flavors? Then VideoWTF is definitely worth checking out.
The site is built on Stack Overflow, an open-source CMS that combines Wiki-like functionality with a collaborative Q&A approach. In other words, anyone can post questions, provide answers, and vote on both — and everything can be edited to perfection. Stack Overflow has become really popular with programmers ever since it launched about a year ago, and the Miro folks believe that this format will be useful to video makers as well.
To be sure, there’s hardly a shortage of places to go and geek out about the technical aspects of making video. Any Google search about specific formats or gear will lead you to dozens of specialized forum posts from sites like Doom9.org or DVCreators.net. However, chances are that the answer you’re looking for is hidden somewhere in a passionate back-and-forth that spreads over 40 forum pages. And usually the answer is from 1999, specific to an application or camera that hasn’t been available for ages. It’s a frustrating experience. Trust us, we’ve been there.
VideoWTF tries to avoid this by relying on Stack Overflow, which features more of a Wiki-like approach to problem solving. Questions as well as answers can be edited, and ideally, the best answer gets voted up, so you won’t have to read through dozens of replies before finding something useful. Stack Overflow is developed by Joel Spolsky of Joel on Software fame and Coding Horror blogger Jeff Atwood. “They just started making it available as a service to other organizations for other topics, so we jumped at the chance to create a similar resource for video creators,” explained Nicholas Reville from the Participatory Culture Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Miro.
The site is still in its infancy and currently only features about a dozen or so questions, ranging from licensing options for documentaries to the best encoding settings for iPhone videos to the pros and cons of wireless microphones. Reville hopes VideoWTF will eventually grow into a strong community for online video makers. He said the site aims to be complementary to Make Internet TV, a site launched about two years ago by the same team that features text and video how-tos.