Many of you may think that Videomaker is a hardware and technique magazine. It is; however, we know that delivery is where you harvest the value of your work.
Most videomakers put a lot of time and money into their video projects, but if they never deliver them to an audience then the work was for naught. In fact, delivery is so important that we’re considering a new column to provide coverage on the topic.
Most of our readers deliver their tapes by hand or through the mail. They use store fronts, direct marketing, or mail order to sell their product. All of these methods involve getting a “hard copy” of the tape to the audience. Home movie enthusiasts and most wedding videographers actually hand their finished work to their viewers. Special interest video producers sell their tapes to mail order companies who then mail the tape to the viewers. Some of these producers also practice direct marketing, which also includes the postal system. Some successful special interest producers are lucky enough to have their tapes featured in video retail stores where they sell or rent their programs to the viewers.
But most of the video that we see is on broadcast and cable TV. As you know, these programs do not come to us in hard copy form; they arrive via airwaves and wires. Most of our readers don’t make use of this method of delivery because they can’t get past the cable and broadcast gatekeepers. TV executives have many programs to choose from and most videomakers have little if any access to these people.
Many of our readers are pursuing a new form of cable TV called leased access. We’ve written about this extensively and we even publish a newsletter on the topic, The Leased Access Report. As you may know, I am very enthusiastic about leased access because it allows videomakers to get their programs on cable TV simply by paying a fee. There is no need to convince a TV executive; the law mandates the availability of leased access time. To learn more about leased access, read “On the Air” in Videomaker‘s September 1994 issue or get a copy of The Leased Access Report.
In the past few weeks I’ve learned of yet another new way to distribute video: electronically. You must have all heard about the Internet by now. It’s hard to explain what this massive worldwide network of computers is all about, but one thing’s for sure: it’s happening and it’s happening big time. Thousands of people are establishing Internet accounts each week.
Thanks to a new program called Mosaic, the Internet is now as user-friendly as any Mac or Windows machine. Because it is so easy to use and readily available as freeware, Mosaic has started the metaphorical equivalent of a “raging fire on the Internet.” Many are afraid that it’s out of control.
For the most part, the Internet is an on-demand network. If you want something (text, software, audio clips or video), you search for it, locate it and then request that it be sent to your computer immediately. This process can take less than a second if you’re looking for text or as much as several hours if you’re downloading a very short video clip. Unfortunately, even very short video clips consist of extremely large compressed files; hence, they take a long time to download.
But telephone line speeds are increasing. The Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is 10 times faster than a 14.4 modem, and as video compression becomes more efficient, video will become easier to transmit in this fashion. Within a few years, the increase in efficiency of fiber optic cable will allow video to become as common on phone wires as voice is today. Video telephones will be just the beginning; you will be able to deliver your TV programs to a multitude of viewers, just like cable TV.
Some people are predicting that in the coming months the Internet is going to become the sight of a massive traffic jam as more people get on each day and transfer larger and larger files. A very interesting development called the multi-cast backbone (MBONE) provides a method to relieve this traffic jam. The way it works is very simple. Rather than sending one file to many individuals, on-demand and many different times, the MBONE allows files to be sent to many recipients at the same time. This really saves on the limited resource of bandwidth.
Within a few months we hope to have a World Wide Web server up and running here at Videomaker (http://www.videomaker.com). We’ll put many four-minute video segments online so that anyone can call in and download them. We expect that many of you will use this feature so we’ll try to multi-cast them weekly via the MBONE.
Is your head spinning?. Admittedly, this stuff is complex and changing fast. If you don’t understand all this right now, don’t worry–you will soon. If you’ve considered getting an Internet connection, stop considering and go do it. If you haven’t considered it, find someone to demonstrate Mosaic for you. That should convince you to take a trip down the information highway into the global village of cyberspace.
Matthew York is the Editor/Publisher of Videomaker magazine. Send e-mail to 71161,firstname.lastname@example.org.