Online video is a huge growth sector, and is transforming the web from a static landscape of words and still-images into a whole new world of Internet TV. But while now is a great time to make your mark in this new and exciting field, it's sometimes hard to know where to begin. A new totally free resource changes makes things a whole lot easier though, offering you step-by-step guidance on creating, publishing and even promoting your Internet television content.
Make Internet TV is the latest project of the non-profit Participatory Culture Foundation, creators of the excellent, free Democracy media player. In a series of great-looking, easy-to-digest tutorials they have created a must-see resource that guides you through the entire Internet TV authoring process.
Featuring bite-sized tutorials on every aspect of the production and post-production process, a growing number of screencasts and the chance to contribute your own web video know-how, Make Internet TV is essentially a free, open film school for anyone interested in trying their hand at creating web video.
Right from the Make Internet TV home-page you can take a step-by-step guided tour through everything you need to know, or dive straight into one of six chapters on different aspects of getting your web video made, shared and talked about. These chapters are divided up under the following headings:
In my full review of this comprehensive resource, I talk you through the great learning content available now, and the exciting prospects that this open, participatory project has ahead of it.
Make Internet TV is a long-overdue resource that does a great job of tackling the entire web video process, from beginning to end. Until now there have been lots of great articles, tools and services put together to make your web-video-making life easier, but finding them isn't always easy when they are scattered across the web.
The most significant thing about Make Internet TV is that everything the budding web-videographer might want to know has been gathered in one place, and made both accessible to beginners, yet modular enough that more experienced visitors can skip to the exact information they are looking for.
Each of the six chapters that make up the Make Internet TV guide are further subdivided into sections, and it is possible to follow them one-at-a-time, building up your knowledge in a linear way, or just skip to the exact resource that matches your needs. This is a well-thought-through approach to information design, and there is little chance of anyone getting lost in what is a very easy-to-navigate website.
There is a lot of well-written, carefully researched content to be found in the six chapters of the Make Internet TV guide, and while a lot of it is aimed squarely at those taking their first steps into the world of web video, there is still information likely to be of interest to more experienced readers.
Among the highlights of the text, image-based and video content available in the guide, I particularly liked:
With that said all of the content that I looked through was of a really high quality and explained in clear, concise terms that won't confuse newcomers to the web video field. It's clear that a lot of time has been spent getting the pitch and tone of the articles just right, and it has worked out well. Beginners are unlikely to feel patronized by any of the content, which is presented in a light-hearted but informative way, and more experienced readers can skip easily ahead to the sections of most interest to them.
The Participatory Culture team have done a great job of making the MITV website not only very easy to navigate, but great looking too. The overall look of the site manages to skirt between pleasant minimalism and a friendly Web 2.0 style design.
This makes for clear, attractive icons and menus that guide you through your navigation of the Make Internet TV experience. From the opening page you are presented with the categories in both navigation bar and icon form, and from there, as you check out the individual tutorials, your options are made very clear to you in a refreshingly visual way.
In addition to nicely chunked text supported by well-chosen images, each sub-section of the tutorials gives you the opportunity to branch off into further detail by clicking on a 'learn more' button. This gives you a choice between skimming the key facts and information, or dipping into more in-depth breakdowns about specific aspects of the production and post-production process.
Support is also built right into Make Internet TV, and every page has the option to click on an 'Stuck - click here' button, which will take you through to the user forums where you can get specific advice and help from the MITV community.
Even then, if the six chapters of tutorials all seem like too much to take on at once, you are given the nice feature of an 'I'm feeling overwhelmed' button, which takes you to an even more pared-down version of the guide entitled 'Four steps to publish'.
Here, from a single page, you can navigate to the bare essentials of Internet TV publishing, carved up nicely into four easy sections:
But those who want more detailed answers won't go home empty-handed either. While I personally know my way around a lot of the technical side of the web video production process, I found some really useful insights in the sections of licensing your video and how to effectively promote it on the web.
Whatever your level of experience or skill, there is likely to be material that will be of interest to you in the Make Internet TV guide. And if you really do know it all, there are plentiful opportunities to help out those that don't.
If you aren't familiar with the Creative Commons, you might want to check out the Robin Good team's remix of a video introduction to the service, or take a look at my earlier coverage of founding member Lawrence Lessig and his thoughts on the evolving remix culture.
In the case of Make Internet TV, all content on the website is licensed under the Attribution Share-Alike license, which allows you to freely copy, transmit, distribute and remix anything you find there, so long as you agree to give attribution where it's due, and share any derivative works under the same conditions.
In keeping with its open licensing policy Make Internet Video also places great stress on becoming an open, community-driven platform for practicing and aspiring web videographers. At the heart of this endeavor is the MITV Wiki.
If you think of the main Make Internet TV website as a well-honed, tightly-focused distillation of the essentials you'll need in publishing and promoting your web videos, the MITV Wiki is its more freeform, user-driven counterpart. Throughout the main guide there are links to the wiki, which is a place where anyone can share techniques, links and resources connected to making Internet TV.
Included in the wiki you will find::
In this respect Make Internet TV goes well beyond being a learning resource for those looking to brush up their web video skills, and extends to offering a networked community of practitioners exchanging ideas and advice on best practices and approaches.
If you want to share your web video advice with a growing community, and maybe get yourself some nice publicity in for the bargain, you can find out about exactly what they are looking for at the MITV Wiki. In brief, they are looking for people to submit video that is:
In addition to being to help out your fellow web-videographers, this strikes me as a great way to get attention for your own work, build your reputation and drive traffic back to your website, from what is likely to be a well-visited resource.
Make Internet TV is a long overdue, valuable resource for anyone wanting to get involved in making, publishing and publicizing web video. Taking you by the hand and leading you through the entire process, from start to finish, Make Internet TV will teach you all of the essentials, including the process of:
Whether you have no experience at all, and want to be guided through the process step-by-step, or you have specific things that you would like to learn, Make Internet TV has made it very easy for you to quickly locate bite-sized, well-presented tutorials that feature useful screencast tutorials.
Furthermore, Make Internet TV features a steadily growing community, and is actively seeking contributions from those making use of the service. In addition to an open-to-all project wiki, there is currently an open call for video tutorials on the subject of Internet TV.
As such, Make Internet TV is not just a great resource, but also the seed of a very useful community, supporting one another's web video efforts with advice, tips and discussion.
If you have been waiting to get your feet wet and want to try out making some Internet TV of your own, you now have all of the resources you could possibly need to get started.
Go Learn. Go create.
If you would like to read more about Make Internet TV, you might want to check out the following links:
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Originally written by Michael Pick for Master New Media and originally published as: "Internet Television Resource Shows You How To Create, Publish And Promote Your Online Video: Make Internet TV Is Here"