Shoot, capture, download, compress, encode, view. Repeat.
I must have done this sequence hundreds of times in these last few weeks, just to find out the result for each one of the possible combinations.
And even when you are good at producing good quality video clips that can play on most users computers you are still left with the issue of uploading, hosting and serving the video effectively to your potential viewers.
Though an increasing number of video distribution outlets has recently become available, hardly none provides the full feature set required for a video producer to shoot, capture, encode/compress, upload and serve in wildly accessible format your video masterpieces.
Eric Rice's Audioblog is one service that while having provided for a long while an excellent and easy to use web-based audio production facility has recently ventured into launching a complementary video publishing facility. Its prices are very accessible and a try-out is available to anyone.
Other online video publishing services like Vimeo, Veoh, Google Video, Ourmedia offer hosting and bandwidth but do not provide the integrated facilities to capture video straight from your webcam or mobile phone. JussPress and YouTube are more similar to Video Egg in that they both use Flash technology to capture, encode and deliver the video clips submitted.
Photo credit: Charis Tsevis
But here it is: a new personal video publishing service that just blows everything else out there in the dust.
The Video Egg Publisher, which I have reviewed here just a month ago, is a new web-based service (Windows-only for now - Mac support coming in weeks) that provides an ultra-smooth user experience and all the basic features needed to become an online video publisher without having to get a Ph.D. first.
The Flash-based VideoEgg Player, is a "playerless" solution that does not require any external video player software like Windows Media player or QuickTime to be installed.
Once you access your online Video Egg account, capturing a video clip already downloaded in your computer or shooting a live commentary of yourself via your camcorder or webcam is also as easy as making a couple of clicks.
But what is even more interesting is that I am not the only one appreciating the power and huge potential of this new tool. Six Apart, the company behind Movable Type and Typepad, two of the most popular blog publishing platforms (and the same ones utilized on this site to publish my content) has partnered with VideoEgg to offer video has an integral part of the blog publishing facilities offered to its customers.
This is why I have taken the time to seek out Kevin Sladek co-founder of VideoEgg, to connect with me online for a good conversation around this new technology and its present and upcoming features.
Listen here to the streaming audio of this good conversation or read the full transcript here below.
To listen, click the Play button just above and wait a few seconds
Robin Good: Hello everyone, here is Robin Good live from Rome in Italy and I have today one truly great guest, at least from my point of view. This is somebody I have wanted to talk to for some time because when it was two, three weeks ago he came that time that thanks to Chris Shipley and Demo conference where so many new interesting and fascinating products are announced and revealed to the public-at-large. There was a tool that I really fell in love with, and ever since I’ve wanted to talk to the people behind it and outside of a few e-mails I didn’t really get a chance to talk to these guys. But, let’s find out who’s the guy and what’s the fantastic tool that is made available to us. Hello, somebody over there!
Kevin Sladek: Good morning, Robin. It’s Kevin Sladek. How are you?
RG: I’m fine Kevin. Where are you sitting, which part of the world?
Kevin Sladek: Well, right this minute I’m in a very cloudy, somewhat rainy New Haven, Connecticut where VideoEgg, our company, is based, at least for the time being.
RG: And yes, VideoEgg if you have not heard about it is the brainchild of you, Kevin, or a team of great minds that work with you?
Kevin Sladek: VideoEgg is very much a product of a team of individuals. There are three founders that work together, kind of co-conceived it: myself, along with Matthew Sanchez and Dave Lerman, who are my other two partners.
RG: Great, and for all the ones of you that have not had an opportunity to read or better than that to try VideoEgg and what it can offer to you, Kevin, I’m sorry, I’m sure you’ve done this way too many times already, but can you give me the official public run down on VideoEgg Publisher and what it is all about?
Kevin Sladek: Absolutely Robin. The VideoEgg Publisher is all about one thing: making it tremendously simple for everyday internet users to post video online. It’s a small browser plug-in that can be integrated into essentially any website, and it extends the browsers that it is installed into with very easy-to-use but very powerful video posting and simple editing capabilities. The idea is to build a universal video adapter that can live in web pages like personal sites and blogging sites, auction sites, the type of web pages where people are currently posting photos, but potentially want to share more and richer information. The plug-in can live right in those web contexts, and then receive any kind of video you throw at it, whether it’s the obscure source files that come actually straight off your digital point-and-shoot camera, and there are dozens of those, or the web cam feed that’s connected to your computer or the digital camcorder that you use and take with you on your vacation or even from mobile devices like cellular telephones and PDA’s that are now shooting video. The publisher can take all of these and very easily give you some basic trimming tools and allow you to put those things right into your blog posts, auction listings, personal websites.
RG: And I must witness to that, that this is really true. And more than that, the actual process of making this happen is so tremendously easy that there are no amount of words that can really describe this because it’s gonna always sound like a marketing tagline or teaser that it is very simple.
But it is indeed a one-click thing. You connect with your Firewire, with your digital camcorder as Kevin just said, or even your normal web cam connected to your USB, you go to the page where VideoEgg Publisher can now, already now, be accessed for free to be tried out and you just select your source if it’s a file, a web cam, or whatever again that is, and you can start recording just immediately.
And the moment you stop the recording function you’re recording is there, ready to be published and shared on your own personal web pages or somewhere else.
So my compliments, really, because I thought outside of a few little things this is really what many, many people have been looking for, and it does make it extremely easy for everyone to get through. So, my sincere compliments, that’s truly an achievement for which I’m thankful and I just wanted to get you here, even just to say this face-to-face!
Kevin Sladek: Well, Robin, thank you. Those are very kind words and very appreciated. We’ve spent many months working on the product and it’s wonderful to hear that you’re impressed with it. So, thank you very much.
RG: Yes, I was very impressed and I would like in fact that you guys get out of trial-mode and into real mode so we can in fact use it really! The problem for now is for the ones who have had the opportunity to try it out is if you go to www.videoegg, E-G-G dot com, you, by following the links though not very prominently placed, you can find eventually a tryout page in which you can in after having installed a small plug-in, get your recordings, your video recordings done right there on the page. Now, those recordings are placed and hosted on VideoEgg’s servers, and for now in this trial-mode the company’s in, the small print says that they’re going to be there for thirty days and then they are going to go away. So, what me as a novice, an ignorant, a new customer, a potential customer for VideoEgg is looking for is when can we keep them there for longer and how much is it going to cost us?
Kevin Sladek: Well Robin those are very good questions. You’ll be excited to know a few things.
First, that the first major blogging service to be offering VideoEgg Publisher functionality to their users will be launching that feature as a feature preview on Monday of next week (ndr: yesterday). And I can’t tell you at this point which one, but I would urge to you take a look at the press releases coming out of the Blog-on Conference in New York City on Monday and Tuesday, and in one of those releases on the first day you will see us talking about our first feature preview integration with one of the major blogging properties on the web.
Also, you’ll be excited to know that changes are in store as well for VideoEgg.com in the very near future and I think you’ll be very pleased with what we have available for you there.
RG: So, some things are coming Monday, from some of the familiar names out there on the blogosphere I understand. And, some more is coming next from you guys yourself. And when is that going to be?
Kevin Sladek: Well Robin that’s a very good question. I would look over the next couple of weeks here to see some exciting changes at VideoEgg.com.
We’re not quite ready to announce them yet, but like I said, I think you’ll find them very much to your liking.
RG: Well I look forward to that. Let’s see if I can extract anything else out of this secret cage. Anything you would like to share with me and the listeners about the business model you are going to work around?
Kevin Sladek: Well Robin, many of those details have not yet been made public, but I can say this, that there should be options available for just about everyone that is interested in using this service.
We’re really excited to turn on anyone who wants to use video in this new, simple way. We want to make sure they have the opportunity to do it. So, there are a number of approaches that hopefully should allow people all across the web in all sorts of ways to use this product.
RG: Well “options” is the name of the game. I won’t get tired of saying that, so I am very glad to hear that you are looking into different ways and options for people to use that service. What about those poor Mac’s and Linux guys? Are they going to be part of the party soon?
Absolutely, at VideoEgg we’re truly about inclusion and as broad a compatibility matrix as possible. We’re excited to be launching our Mac plug-in in just the next little bit here, it’s currently finishing its validation phase. And a Linux version is coming as well. So rest assured that our goal, and we’re going after it very aggressively, is to have this plug-in available for users on all operating systems with every major browser and dealing with absolutely as much of the video space as we can. The video space is always growing, and it’s a large challenge. We’ve taken a large chunk out of it already and our team continues to work so that every day as there’s new cameras and new codex hit the market, so that we can stay on the front of that curve.
RG: In fact we may lose some degree of complexity of the tool because when tools are so great and look so easy, they seem, you know, there’s no work to this. You just do this and it works.
But really the complexity of the engine behind it... must be quite amazing for VideoEgg to be able to deal with all of those different video file formats and rates and so on which are a true complexity.. and no matter what they say that this is the age of video, it is indeed that it is still very, very bloody difficult to make it happen for the average person on the streets.
So, thank you guys for doing this.
And I do have a specific one feature request, probably after all your answers, you will probably say “oh, sure, that is already on our list,” but I can not refrain from asking if it is really indeed on that list, and that is, will I be able not only to record or upload existing video that I’ve shot, which then gets converted to your very effective and efficient Flash final delivery format, but would I be able also to get a copy or a URL where I can download my converted video that has come out of VideoEgg?
Kevin Sladek: I want to make sure I understand the question accurately; so you would like the video to be available again for further editing? Is that the future that you’re interested in?
RG: No, not exactly, not for further editing. I see that when I have my video up on VideoEgg I can place a snippet of code on my page and streams almost immediately if I have a broadband connection. But let’s say I want to put this video on a CD or send it to someone, for him or her offline. Will there be a way to do that?
Kevin Sladek: Well Robin, that’s a very interesting question. So, there are some features in the works that may go some way to resolving it, but I will admit that at this point we hadn’t yet considered how you can best make a video available for local storage or local transmission.
Most of the solutions that we’ve been looking at are internet based, so that’s a terrific suggestion. Thank you for making it.
Just as a note, in the future please, please, and this goes for you and anyone who has listened to this, any of your listeners, we always love feedback. We want to hear what the users think of the product we’ve built, and we want to hear your ideas to make it better. This is part of our commitment to making things easy and simple and we love hearing all suggestions. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us at VideoEgg.com. There’s a very easy form where you can just pop on over, enter your comments, thoughts, suggestions, and questions, and know that we reply absolutely every one of them and reply to as many as we can.
RG: Kevin, what do you think are the type of applications that you see driving options of this kind of technology that you’re bringing to the market?
Kevin Sladek: Robin, do you mean applications in web services applications? What sort of things will people want to do online or applications in a desktop sense?
RG: What kind of uses outside of the early neophyte adopters who will be driven by their ego to show themselves and to try out the new thing, but, you know, like early user of desktop publishing or any new tool they don’t really know how to use, they just want to show off a bit? And, you’re going to get a lot of this in the beginning. But, if we look a little bit beyond that, what do you think are the actual specific uses or some of them that you guys have thought of that could drive strong and specific induction in some unique directions? That is, next to video blogging per say, which is can in itself be applied to specific directions, what would be some of those that you see benefiting themselves particularly from the addition of video?
Kevin Sladek: I understand your question, thank you for the clarification. So we see several of the current mainstream web services as being key opportunities for people using videos. One of the first that comes to mind is the online marketplace, the online auction business segment.
A tremendous number of users are currently going online to sell things and are posting quite a few photos and writing long descriptions. What we’ve found in some trials that we’ve run on the E-bay auction site, that video has a very powerful impact in this segment.
For example, we did a trial, our most recent trial with twenty-two auction listings, eleven pairs of identical items. Half were listed with video, half were side-by-side listed without. The half with video sold for an average of 30% more than the half without, unless of course they were used items, and then they sold for an average of 70% more than the item that wasn’t sold with video.
So this is one example of the places where we see real power that video brings to bear that photos don’t necessarily have.
There are other instances, of course, the tremendous popularity of online personals and the power video has in that space we think represents a real opportunity, as well as many of the more standard classifieds listings.
Things like job resumes on job sites, when you’re looking for new employment.
It’s possible with the VideoEgg Publisher for an applicant to actually have a video supplement to their resume, to introduce him or herself to their new employer in the first few minutes; in fact the employer first sees their resume.
There are a number of places like those that we think video has a real and tangible impact that reaches beyond the technorati who are in the blogging and social media spaces, and it gets quite actually into mainstream culture and use, and we’re excited to see all of that happening.
RG: Fantastic, that’s an interesting answer and exactly what I was looking for. So is there next to the publishing platform some kind of ideal partners, or what would be the traits of what you would see as ideal partners to bring your technology to the widest audience possible?
Kevin Sladek: Our ideal partners are anyone, big or small, who has users that they want to give the ability to post video. We are excited to make this solution available in as many places and in as many ways as possible. Because that is the way we are going to learn, just like everyone else, how this new video Internet that's beginning to form is going to look. We know that there are uses that and we know that there features that we have not yet developed and we are very eager about all of them.
So we are eager to get this up in as many places as possible. Big guys and small guys alike.
RG: Thanks to Kevin Sladek for introducing and explaining a bit more the potential and unique value that Video EGG Publisher, a tool that allows you to record, post and at very low-cost distribute your content... well we don't know...we know there are going to be a number of options that we are going to discover next week and in the coming weeks when these new features are going to be announced.
I want to thank Kevin and his team for bringing the tool to the market. I invite you to go to www.videoegg.com and try it out now completely for free.
I leave you the microphone for the closing remarks and whatever you want to tell our listeners about VideoEgg that they have not yet discovered during this short conversation.
From Robin Good here in Rome this is all for today, cause I want to the guy about this incredible tool...I have some ideas and I can't wait to talk to him about it.
Ciao from Roma and over to you Kevin!
Kevin Sladek: Oh Robin, thank you so very much. It's been a pleasure to talk to you today. On behalf of the entire Video Egg team thank you again for having us, we really appreciate the opportunity to come on to your program and to talk about this things.
You can try the Video Egg Publisher right now, at absolutely no cost. Just head to: http://www.videoegg.com/Publisher.html and have your webcam or camcorder connected to your PC.
With the try-out you shoot, capture and upload any video you want. Once you play it, you get a unique URL which you can bookmark and share with others.
This is a "demo" evaluation offered by the Video Egg Publisher and not the final implementation.
The Video Egg Publisher site states that the videos you upload and publish online will be kept available for others to view only for 30 days.
Whether this is a business model that will then require some fee to host your videos any longer or if it is just a temporary measure to fend off hordes of video publishers starving for such a usable solution I don't know.
What I can say for sure is that nonetheless the few shortcomings (2-minutes present recording limit + no RSS feed with enclosures is output making it for now non-viable for creating video-feeds that include your clips) this is the best and most complete personal video publishing solution that I have seen to date.
Hats to the Egg for a truly cool service!
Users interested in posting videos with VideoEgg Publisher to their TypePad blogs can go to: http://typepad.videoegg.com. The service will be available for free to TypePad users and accessible directly from the VideoEgg and Six Apart websites. For more information on the VideoEgg Publisher, visit: http://www.videoegg.com.
(As of now I can't see the new facility within my Typepad account).
For more information, please see http://www.videoegg.com.
Free fully working try-out.
Worth of note the fact that also Serious Magic, Inc. of Folsom, CA, a leading developer of next-generation video communication software, has introduced Vlog It! to help bloggers quickly and easily create a video blog, or "vlog," in real time and has also announced a partnership with Six Apart.
Serious Magic will offer a free special edition of Vlog It for TypePad users. This version will allow users to create and post a video to their blog in minutes, as well as provide free video hosting for non-commercial use. For more versatile functionality, a full version of Vlog It will be available for purchase on November 3 at www.seriousmagic.com.
Robin Good - Kevin Sladek - [ Read more ]