Macromedia's video blog experiment

As Macromedia's DevCon draws to a close, CTO Jeremy Allaire reflects on a bold experiment in video blogging. As you'd expect, the results don't exhibit high production values. In his candid post-mortem, Jeremy writes:

A number of people commented that the value of the video was lost when the video comment was short and without substance. They say they'd rather read text. This underscores that video communications requires more than just a sound-byte for an astute technical audience. ... It also underscores that quality comes from content, and capturing meaningful thought on video requires good journalism.

Agreed. The video interviews at, for example, are beautifully done. You can view individual segments or whole interviews, and in each case, text transcriptions accompany the video. A lot of work goes into these, and the results are impressive.

On the other hand, I found value in the "scrappy" ad-hoc video blogs from Macromedia's conference too. For example, I've known of ColdFusion expert Ben Forta for years, but had no mental picture of him. Now, thanks to a brief video blog, I do. Likewise, the video of the Flash 6 Player's debut on the Sony Clie, shot on a webcam pointed at a large-screen projection, is rough, but the feeling of being there still comes through.

This is all of particular interest to me because I've played around with the Flash Communication Server enough to know how easy it is to cobble together an app that captures and plays back video. Serious video communication still seems intimidating to me. I like the idea that I can dip a toe in the water, annotating text with snippets of video just as I occasionally use still pictures in this blog.

Macromedia's Web service enumerating the video blogs was used by several folks who whipped up little applications based on that data. It was also fascinating to have Jeremy's postings show up in my RSS aggregator as ready-to-play video.

Doing this experiment in public was a risky move. It seems to have attracted some criticism, but I think on the whole it was a successful first effort that will be emulated and refined.

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