Posts Tagged 'Guide'

3 Tips for Succesful Live Broadcating

Last night, Jeff Pulver and I broadcasted and recorded two short live shows from TLV and Frankfurt airport, en route to Stockholm. It was a lot of fun, we just opened a laptop and started broadcasting.

However, since we didn’t have a lot of viewers, it made us think about the means of increasing internet TV viewership in general, and particularly live broadcasting. Some of the things we found crucial:
1. Announce your show early enough, through blogs, Twitter and such.
2. Define a concrete topic to each show, so people would know what they are getting.
3. Find hosts that have good chemistry, so non scripted situations will flow and be as funny as the rehearsed ones.

We look forward to do several additional shows like these while in Stockholm – Hopefully with interesting and creative people from Podcamp.

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Weekend Links – Porn, Zombies, Players and Big Brothers

CinemaTech: Is Porn Industry an Indicator of How Quickly Mainstream Movies Will Go Digital? – probably is, though it will take longer for the others
The Business Of Online Video: RealNetworks Introduces New Player: We Already Have Too Many – totally agree, but give a good one which is not VLC player and I am happy.
NewTeeVee Β» Does Digital Fingerprinting Work?: An Investigative Report
– it seems that not really…
Help Izzy to make his wife happy – I watch his show, so I should at least help a bit πŸ™‚
And, last but not least – how to be a Zombie on the cheap:

Have a great weekend!
Kfir Pravda

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The Secrets of a Good Fiction Web Show (I) – The Plot

Producing a web show is a complex task. Usually we work without budget, and on top of our day job. The market is in its infancy, so it’s still a challenge to attract viewers. Many aspects of the format are not clear, such as interactivity, format, and length (a key point raised by Justin).

My approach to tackle these issues is that no one can beat a good story.

In this post I’ll share my thoughts on ways to create a compelling fiction episodic web show. Something to be desired (STBD) is an example of such a show – continuous story, with core characters.

The aim is to initiate an open brainstorming between new media producers, writers and actors, via the blogsphere, twitter, and all those nice 2.0 tools we have today.

The challenge

For me, the main challenge in writing dramatic web show is how to retain viewers in a continues story. I believe that the tool to do that is to create dramatic continuity and emotional attachment with the main characters.

How can we achieve that?

Here are the main elements :

Length– Justin wrote an eye opening post about his struggle with episode length and frequency. This issue is not only dramatic -it affects both production logistics and cost. I believe that length of a chapter is of importance – it shouldn’t be 20 seconds cause it is almost impossible to maintain a plot at this length, nor should it be half an hour due to budget constraints and viewers attention span. But the difference between 5 minutes episode to 10 minutes episode is not as important as the first 30-60 seconds. This time frame has to be very engaging in order to keep viewers watching. Both Something to be Desired and Galacticast are doing a great job in creating strong opening for each episode.

Cliffhanger – nothing new here. Cliffhanger is a must in my opinion at the end of each episode. This is the key to get viewers engaged with the show. It requires pre-planing of almost a whole season, or at least a block of episodes, but its importance cannot be overestimated. It is the link to the future of the story from viewers point of view.

Link to the past – some viewers didn’t follow the show from its beginning. it is extremely important to get them involved as soon as they see any episode. Some believe that additional information on the show’s website will do the job. I tend to disagree. I watch my shows on Democracy player, and others watch them on AppleTV, and on sites like Blip.tv. These viewers never get to the website. Furthermore, people want to be entertained, nothing else. We should make their life as easy as possible. I think that the best solution for this problem is “last week on…” clip at the beginning of every episode. Simple, cheap, and viewers already used to it.

Limited amount of characters and plot lines– we need to get people engaged quickly. In order to do that we should have minimal amount of lead characters. This will ease the process (and cut production costs). Supporting characters should always stay in the background, if at all.

Subtext – I am a sucker for subtext. That’s why I am such a big fan of “The Wire“. Subtext fills the characters, their relations, and the plot as a whole, with substance, and make the viewers think about what they see. However, it might be a personal fetish πŸ™‚ .

What are YOUR views on these topics? What else is needed plot-wise in order to create good fiction web show?

I’ve tagged this post with the word story. feel free to tag your relating posts in the same way.

For inspiration, here is a short video clip of Robert McKee talking about Chinatown script.

Video Games/Story MashUp

Recently I wrote a post about the importance of a good story, mentioning the amazing book by Robert Mckee with the same title.

Not long after that, Lance Weiler, an independent film producer, director and distributor, who directed movies such as Head Trauma and The Last Broadcast, published a great post about the relation between video games and movie scripts, discussing the same McKee book.

The post, written by M.Strange, and published at the Workbook Project blog, was a real eye opener, and simplified a lot of the concepts in the original book.

Here is a small example, comparing the idea of gradual increase in tension, with difficulty levels of Bosses in most video games:

intensity.png

I wanted to write about Lance for some time, as he is a multidisciplinary person with strong understanding of the power of social networks and online promotion. The Workbook project, one of zillion websites, is a great source for DYI filmmaking and thought leadership.

Lance, if you are reading this post – drop me a line, I’d love to e-mail interview you for my humble blog!

Here’s the song from M.Strange first movie, “We Are The Strange“:

Camera Considerations – Part I

I recently bought a professional video camera, in order to start producing web shows. I wanted to share with you some of my considerations when I chose my camera – you might find it useful:

Buy or rent – you can rent pro camcorder in every major city. The pros here are simple – you can get a great camera for a low price. However, god is in the details. You should first check the cost of rental as % of a brand new camera. For instance, I found that I can rent a camera for 250$ per week, while a new pro cam (though not HD) will cost me approx 1500$. Hence, if I buy a camera and use it for ~7 weeks, I am better off then renting one. Add to that the fact that with a rented camera you probably have a limited time experimenting (cause you won’t just rent it to play with it) and you see that in some cases it is better to buy one.

HD or not HD – HD is hyped a lot these days, and no one argues that the picture is as crisp as it can be. I decided to go SD. HD requires stronger editing computers. This is a major consideration, as I am going to use desktop for my editing. Also, as I am producing web and mobile content, it seems that HD is not my top priority. Due to the fact that HD is hyped, you can get a decent SD camera for a relatively low price.

Part II coming soon….


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