As much as I love online video, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think most of it is crap — crap I say! Shaky hand-held shots zoomed digitally, terrible lighting, no scripting or storyboarding and audio that sounds like it was recorded with a cell phone (which it often is). Don’t try to argue that the clip of your cat licking its privates is an attempt at making a Dogme 95 statement. Yes, it’s video, but it sure ain’t filmmaking.
Enter Make Internet TV, a newly released site from the Participatory Culture Foundation that also brought you the Miro, nee Democracy player, Broadcast Machine and other free, open-source alternatives to offerings from Microsoft, Apple and Google.
I got a sneak peek at it back in Austin during South by Southwest, and was impressed with the slick design, but now there’s actually lots of content. It will be particularly interesting to see how much activity the MITV Wiki attracts. It certainly achieves the goal of being a brief and simple tutorial to help people determine what they need, and need to know, in order to accomplish an online video project.
When people asked me how to get started in online video, I have been recommending Freevlog, which recently was redesigned. Freevlog has more video content, especially tutorials, and a larger community already in place, though I imagine there will be plenty of cross pollination between the two. Make Internet TV promises to post more video soon, but going forward I’ll be recommending them both.
Where Make Internet TV shines is in the explanations of actual filmmaking techniques — everything from the “vlogger hold” for interviews to three point lighting, dollying and homemade steadycams to editing tips for Windows Movie Maker.
It’s a laudable effort, and is part of a wider movement in online video circles – especially amongst those with previous experience in production – to improve the quality of citizen media through education. After all, now that anyone can theoretically compete with the studios and networks, the reality is that the hard part is crafting quality content that people will actually prefer to watch.