An opportunity is on the horizon for video creators. In just a few short years, the way we distribute or share our video has become easier and less costly. Tapes are expensive to mail, time-consuming to duplicate, cumbersome to handle and bulky to store. The DVD is more affordable to mail, quick to copy, elegant to handle and easy to store. But the Internet has presented us with a series of promises to make video distribution even cheaper and easier.
Since most ISPs limit the size of attachments, sending video files as e-mail attachments has not proven popular. Remember all the fuss about streaming video? This remains inferior to watching a show on a television. While watching TV, we press the channel button and within a second or two, the video appears. When we click on a Web page to start a streaming video, we wait a long time for a low-resolution image.
Now there’s a new way: vidcasting, which is a podcast with moving images. Podcasting is a new method of distributing audio files via the Internet that allows users to subscribe to an "RSS feed" which sends new audio files automatically to the user’s computer. In late 2004, podcasting was adapted for audio files and has grown faster than anyone would have predicted. During early 2005, the number of podcasts jumped 25-fold to more than 5,000 feeds. Vidcasting, however, is very, very new. As of July 2005, there were just a few dozen vidcasts. This is all so new that the terminology has not been formulated. In fact, you are among the first people to read the word "vidcast."
A vidcast is a computer video file automatically delivered via an RSS feed. Perhaps it is easier to think of vidcasting as a digital video recorder for your computer. Like TiVo and its ilk, DVRs capture live TV programming so you can watch them when you choose. Most vidcasts are "no click-wait" and the video is full screen, full motion. Since video files are very large and take a lot of time to download, this "no click-wait" feature will dramatically increase the quality and the volume of video transmitted over the Web.
In the coming months you will hear more about vidcasting. Just like DVRs, vidcasts will revolutionize the way we watch TV. This is great news for video producers, who will be able to reach more viewers that may be willing to purchase their creations. This is also great news for TV viewers, who will have more control over what they watch.
Vidcasting is a grassroots movement made up of independent video producers. Vidcasting’s promise is to democratize television by allowing video creators to offer their products directly to viewers.
For many of you, this entire column was a lot to digest. To learn more about Vidcasting and to keep up to date, visit our new web site, www.vidcaster.net.
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor