Bits and bobs that’ve gone live since our last Release Notes...
YouTube is now available in...: Arabic, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovenian, Ukrainian and Vietnamese!
Four new countries get YouTube Partner Program: The Partner Program continued its expansion this quarter, with launches in Argentina, Sweden, New Zealand and the Czech Republic. That makes 21 countries in which people can make money from their videos. For more information about partnerships, click here.
Crossfades, wipes and slides: The video editor lets you combine and trim your videos right on YouTube.com, without installing any software. Now you can add transitions, like crossfades and wipes, between video clips. Just select the transitions tab in the media picker, drag the transition and drop it between any two videos in the storyboard.
MySpace Autoshare: Automatically share your YouTube activities on your MySpace account (you can already do this on your Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, Reader and Orkut accounts). To hook this up, go to Account > ActivitySharing and click “Connect accounts” next to the MySpace logo.
More filtering for charts: YouTube Charts can now be filtered by categories such as Comedy, Gaming and Pets & Animals, in addition to time and popularity "slices." We also show more results (20) per page.
Improved screen reader accessibility for YouTube player: One of our engineering interns spent part of his summer improving video accessibility for visually impaired people. If you use a screen reader that supports Flash, we hope you'll find it easier to enjoy videos on YouTube now. We've also added some more captioning features to the YouTube Data API. You can list tracks, request auto-timing, and download the speech recognition captions for videos that you own.
Shows in France: If you’re a YouTube viewer in France, now you can watch full-length TV shows, like BFMTV: Bourdin Direct and Britain’s Got Talent. Check out the page here.
HD and CC badges on search results page: When you search for a video on YouTube, the search results now show HD and CC (Closed Caption) badges, in addition to the NEW, CHANNEL and PLAYLIST badges that already exist. If you click on the badge, it will filter out results that don’t fall under that category.
“Add-to playlist” widget: The [+] button on video thumbnails in search results now includes a menu that allows you to add the video to any one of your playlists or start a new playlist. Additionally, the "save to" button below the video is being renamed "add to" and will have the same functionality.
Visited video styling on search results and video pages: Browsers help people remember links they have previously clicked on by giving them a different color, the standard generally being that links are in blue and visited links are in purple. Many sites, including YouTube, opt to make all links blue regardless of visited state to give a more consistent look to the site and better reflect its dynamic nature. However, having a visited state is specifically useful when exhaustively exploring search results or related videos, and so we are launching a new style for thumbnails and links to videos in related and search results: the thumbnail for visited videos is slightly grayed, and the link color has changed. This should help you explore the site deeper without going in circles.
The YouTube Team
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Bits and bobs that’ve gone live since our last Release Notes...
Remember high school chemistry? Beakers, test tubes, Bunsen burners...aqueous solution dilutions? Alright, so maybe the recall isn’t as strong on the last one. Hypothetically speaking, our product teams have never left that lab. They’ve been hard at work, testing away to find what’s effective in getting your videos watched – whether you’re a partner or an advertiser.
This past spring, we looked closely at our promotion tools, including Promoted Videos, to see what would happen in the ‘petri dish of promotion.’ Our team selected 20 partner videos who upload fresh videos regularly and then we drove as many views to them as possible with a cost per view (CPV) of $0.03. Guess what they found?
Conclusion #1: Promotion at $0.03 per view increases views per day by 30x when compared to two weeks prior to promotion. Thirty times? That’s a steal at three pennies for each view.
Conclusion #2: Partners in the test got 46,000 subscriptions that were directly attributed to sessions with a Promoted Video click. The cost averaged out to be between $4-$6 a subscriber. In other words, promotion of content has a direct impact on growth of subscriptions.
Conclusion #3: Promotion of newer videos is far more successful than older videos. No ‘Aha Moment,' but the lesson here is to keep your content fresh.
Conclusion #4: Users are twice as likely to watch a second video by the partner when driven to the channel page rather than the watch page. Naturally, someone will want to watch more of your videos if you can get them where they can clearly select one. Getting that user to the channel page is half the battle. Investment in the channel once you have them there is the rest.
If our experiment had begun with the hypothesis that Promoted Videos drive views at scale at a low cost, we would have been proven correct. You make great content, so promote it. Big players on YouTube didn’t find success overnight, and we’re finding that - more than ever - promotion is key to getting your videos seen and shared.
Jay Akkad, Product Manager, recently watched “The Scientific Method.”
Sunday, September 26, 2010
It's one of the most-watched hours of TV every week, and now it’s coming to YouTube. 60 Minutes, CBS's long-standing, Emmy-award winning Sunday night news program, has started a YouTube channel to post stories from the show. Now, if you miss 60 Minutes on a Sunday night, you can tune in Monday morning and watch the stories on YouTube at youtube.com/60minutes.
But that's not all. The 60 Minutes team wants to hear your feedback on the issues and the people their correspondents cover. So we’re partnering in a new program called, “Ask 60 Minutes,” where you can engage directly with their correspondents. This week, we’re featuring correspondent Lara Logan’s story from the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, where she spent weeks with the 101st Airborne undergoing relentless attacks. The commanding officers in the piece all point to Pakistan as the staging area for attacks from foreign fighters – not only the Taliban, but Uzbeks, Chechens, Arabs and Pakistanis as well. Lara Logan wants to know what you think about the story:
Go to the 60 Minutes YouTube channel to upload a 60-second video with your thoughts, as well as vote on others responses. If you don’t want to use video, you can submit your feedback in text. 60 Minutes producers may broadcast some of the top-voted responses on TV (that's a weekly audience of 13 million!) or respond to them directly on their website, 60minutes.com.
Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched "Michael Jackson on 60 Minutes."
It was 50 years ago today that then-Senator from Massachusetts John F. Kennedy took on then-Vice President Richard Nixon in the first-ever general election presidential debate. The debate was a turning point not only for the 1960 election, but also for U.S. politics: an estimated 80 million people tuned in, and the debate set a new precedent for the use of television as a political communications tool. To celebrate the anniversary, we’ve partnered with the Kennedy Presidential Library to post the full, unabridged Nixon/Kennedy debate to YouTube.
The web, of course, is the latest communications platform to change the way debates are run. In the last presidential election cycle, we partnered with CNN on the CNN/YouTube debates -- which gave everyone a chance to ask a question of presidential candidates -- and we’ve since launched Google Moderator, which allows citizens to submit and vote on questions presented to public officials on YouTube. For the 2010 midterm elections, we’re partnering with news agencies across the country for a series of debates. Here are a few of them that we’re launching today:
- Nevada: we’re partnering with the Nevada Broadcasters Association for a Senate debate on October 14 between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle. Submit your questions here.
- Iowa: we’re working with the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television for the October 21 gubernatorial debate between Governor Chet Culver and challenger Terry Branstad. Submit your questions here.
- Colorado: we’re partnering with KUSA 9 News and the Denver Post for a gubernatorial debate between Democrat John Hickenlooper, Republican Dan Maes and American Constution Party candidate Tom Tancredo on October 13. Submit your questions here.
- Connecticut: we're teaming up with WTNH and the Day of New London for a Senate debate between Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Richard Blumenthal, as well as a Gubernatorial debate between Tom Foley and Dan Malloy. Submit your questions for the Senate race here, and the Gubernatorial here.
- 10questions: We’ve also partnered with 10Questions.com, who used the Google Moderator API to build a platform for a web debates series across the country, in which candidates will submit their answers to the top-voted questions via YouTube videos. You’ll also see this platform in action in TV debates in both California and Georgia in the coming weeks.
More open, engaging political debates benefit voters, candidates, news agencies, and the political process. If you're a broadcaster, blogger, campaign or citizen looking to hold a debate in your city or state, check out our debate landing page for easy instructions on how to use Google Moderator to solicit and broadcast questions from voters via YouTube.
Steve Grove, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched Hardball isn’t just played at Fenway Park
Friday, September 24, 2010
Over the past few U.S. election cycles, Google and YouTube have have become catalysts for a more engaging, meaningful dialogue between citizens and government leaders. From asking questions of candidates to finding your polling place, our tools are helping to make elections and politics more personal and more democratic, and have opened up Washington, D.C. in exciting new ways.
With less than six weeks until the midterm elections, we wanted to hear from some of politics’ most creative minds about what innovation and democracy mean in 2010. So on Monday we’re joining forces with POLITICO to host an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where we’ll discuss the increasing contributions of technology to democracy and the political process.
As part of the event, top strategists from both political parties—Democratic strategist David Axelrod and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie—will answer questions and offer thoughts and predictions about the upcoming elections. Arianna Huffington will then moderate a panel about innovation in media, and will be joined by Becki Donatelli, Stephen Hayes, Nate Silver and Amy Walter. We’ll also demonstrate tools built for citizens and government officials using YouTube and Google Maps, and will be joined by our friends on the politics team at Facebook.
The panelists want to hear from you, so if you’d like to submit a question for any of them, you can do so at youtube.com/citizentube. You’ll also be able to watch the entire event live on YouTube on Monday.
As we approach the election homestretch, we’ll continue to develop useful ways for voters and campaigns to engage one another around the important issues in 2010.
Ginny Hunt, Elections and Public Sector Programs, recently watched “ John Legend and The Roots.”
It’s not every day you get an all-access pass to one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world and one of it’s most celebrated residents. So when Elmo, Sesame Street’s lovable red monster, offered to answer questions from the YouTube community, you seized the opportunity.
Thousands of you asked questions, ranging from “What would you do if you suddenly woke up and were purple?” to whether he would consider a tap dance routine with Ricky Gervais (who recently made a Sesame Street appearance). The result? A very entertaining YouTube interview. Watch it for yourself here:
Elmo now also holds the title for answering the most number of questions in any YouTube interview. He may be small but he can talk fast, rolling through over 20 questions in just 20 minutes. And his good humor shines through: almost every one of his answers is punctuated with his signature giggle.
Are there other characters you’d like the chance to interact with? Let us know in the comments and we’ll pass the info on to our friends at Sesame Street.
Ramya Raghavan, News and Public Interest Manager, recently watched “Will.i.am’s Song: What I am.”
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Our partners teach us something new everyday, whether it’s about science, art or cooking. Sometimes they even teach our team YouTube optimization tips and how to better promote a channel. In a series of monthly videos, we’re asking partners to talk about their top optimization tips for channels and are kicking this off with Betty from bettyskitchen. Betty joined the partner program last year and makes cooking videos with simple recipes ranging from cheddar jack whipped potatoes to healthy and natural granola bars, which all have one thing in common: they are incredibly delicious.
We asked Betty to show us how she uses metadata to increase her discoverability, choose her tags wisely, and come up with the perfect title. We hope you’ll find her recipe for metadata just as enjoyable as her steps to make buttercream frosting.
Let us know in the comments section of Betty’s video if you have great tips to share on using metadata or any other questions for Betty. We’d also love to hear how your videos have been impacted once you have used some of these tips to optimize your metadata.
Julie Kikla and Mahin Ibrahim, Account Managers, YouTube Partnerships recently watched “Baby Eating Watermelon.”
Tonight, John Legend and The Roots take the stage at Terminal 5 in New York City, in their first concert together since the release of their new album, Wake Up. The performance will be live streamed on YouTube at 9 p.m. (ET) at www.youtube.com/johnlegendvevo and directed by award-winning director Spike Lee.
Here’s John and ?uestlove from The Roots to tell you what the night will bring...
The evening will feature songs from the album – covers of ‘60s and ‘70s funk, soul and reggae-tinged hits with socially-conscious themes -– some John Legend classics and a few set list surprises. Watch Legend and ?uestlove discuss their album inspirations and check out their favorite videos here from their YouTube homepage curation earlier this week.
And if John and The Roots weren’t enough, they will be joined on stage throughout the evening by several special guests, including Estelle, Common, Melanie Fiona and who knows...perhaps an American Idol-turned-Dreamgirl.
This concert is part of the new “Unstaged” series brought to you by YouTube, American Express and Vevo. It will feature a pre-show from Spike, John, and ?uestlove that includes answers to the questions you tweeted earlier this week, along with the ability to choose your own camera angle, vote on which song they should play, and share comments with other fans via Twitter and Facebook.
Tune in for a memorable evening of musical collaboration and surprise guests, with a legendary director at the helm – all live from New York City.
Not at your computer tonight? Check back on the same channel for the archived highlights.
Dana Vetter, Music Manager, Marketing Programs, recently watched “Dar karta su Justin'u Bieber'iu :D.”
Labels: unstaged live streaming music
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Brooklyn-based Conrad Ventur makes installations from YouTube videos and currently has a show at MoMA PS1, running through October 18, 2010. Learn more about this video artiste...
1) How do you use video in your art?
I use video in my art in two different ways. First, I find older recordings that I incorporate into installation. I really love archive performances by singers and work with these as material in my art. Secondly, I also direct and shoot videos myself. In these works, I'm essentially re-filming or re-staging underground films from the ’60s using the same actors that appeared in them the first time around. Some of these are Jack Smith and Andy Warhol films. My upcoming projects use some of these actors in stories that are non-quotational.
2) How do you use YouTube in your art?
For the last few years, I've enjoyed browsing YouTube. A video will attract my attention if it's an old recording that may have originally been meant for live television broadcast -- I like LIVE recordings mainly. I'm drawn to recordings that might have the potential to appeal to the collective memory of a larger audience. I take those videos and then project them through new-age crystal prisms or onto mirror balls in order to change the way the video content affects the viewer. I like my art to be more of an experience for the audience. It's best to see it in person.
3) What are you trying to convey through the installation currently at MoMA PS1?
In the installation at MoMA PS1, the curators and I decided to show a three channel video piece that we situated in the lower level of the museum. It's in an unexpected, small room. It's a bit of a surprise for museum-goers when they encounter these three recordings of the singer Shirley Bassey. It's the same song, “This Is My Life,” that she performed in three different decades of her life. Each has its own projector, and the three play at the same time on a continuous loop: the young Shirley singing with the old Shirley, singing a song about her life. Rotating prisms are situated in front of each projector lens. The videos are projected directly through these prisms. Thus, the room becomes a kaleidoscope that you walk into. It's a swirling, refracted, multiplied space that came from the collective (and ever-changing) catalogue of YouTube.
4) If you were to create this installation in 100 years, based on the music icons of today, who/which videos would you include and why?
If in 100 years I could look back and see how the careers and lives of contemporary singers unfold, I would choose live recordings of Micheal Jackson to use in an installation. Most importantly, in 100 years, the varnish will rub off and we'll be able to see clearly how the march of time resonates with the myth of MJ. He was a tremendous talent and was extremely generous to his audiences as a performer. His untimely death is an unfortunate bookend to a life lived in the spotlight which we all are familiar with in some way. An installation would be an interesting format to tell his story in a way that appeals to the audience's senses on many levels.
5) What are your top 5 videos of all time on the site?
I'm always looking for new material to capture my imagination. Here are a few that I like:
You can subscribe to Conrad Ventur’s YouTube channel here.
If you've ever been to the Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Texas (where you can order fried pickles and other delicacies directly to your seat!), you know the Alamo team has a unique knack for programming. In addition to bringing Texans major motion pictures, Alamo theaters play Mad Men on Sundays, host Glee sing-a-longs and coordinate other quirky community events (isn't it time someone brings the Alamo to San Francisco...hint, hint?). The Alamo team is also behind Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the U.S., which kicks off in Austin, Texas tomorrow. There, genre movie lovers can find horror, fantasy and sci-fi films from around the world.
To celebrate tomorrow's launch, Fantastic Fest programmers are curating the YouTube homepage with a collection of short films from filmmakers who have played at past festivals. Featuring incredible special effects and offbeat comedy, the line-up is as varied as the Fantastic Fest itself.
To learn more about the programming choices, check out this video from Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League:
Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager, recently watched "Sesame Street: Katy Perry Song: Hot and Cold."
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
As a partner, you have probably asked yourself, “How can I make my videos more discoverable?” “Is it kosher to ask for subscribers?” and “What’s the most effective way to use annotations?” Well, after almost three years since the Partner Program launched, we want to answer some of your questions and offer tips on how you can use YouTube’s arsenal of tools to become a truly great partner.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature a series of blog posts with advice and actionable suggestions regarding what has helped partners be successful on YouTube. You can search the 'tips for partners' label to find the full series. As always, we want your feedback. If there are things we are missing, or other optimization tips you want us to cover, let us know via the comments section in this post.
To kick off our series, we will be covering the first and most important step to increasing awareness of your videos: metadata, which is near and dear to all of our hearts. Find out what YouTube defines as metadata and read on for ways to come up with new tags and descriptions.
Words, Words, Words
YouTube is the second largest search engine, so don’t get lost in the mix, let people find you. Our algorithms are good, but they can only read, they can’t watch your videos. So in order to properly classify your video and index it for search, we need your help.
- Have a basic understanding of how we index our search results so you know how we crawl and index your video. Use our tools to your videos’ advantage.
- Titles, tags and rich descriptions (all categorized as metadata) will help your discoverability and increase CPMs. Descriptions can include up to 5,000 characters, tags can be 120 characters. Make a goal to use every one of these limits for each of your videos.
- The more words you include in your description, the higher your chances of being discovered by searchers, which means the larger your audience can grow, and the more potential revenue you can earn.
- Use our Keyword Tool to expand on or update your tags. It will give you good suggestions for related queries. You can also check out the Google Insights for Search tool built for online advertisers.
- Don’t just include tags upon video upload. If you have a popular video that continues to get views over time, update your tags regularly to take advantage of new searches. Online search behavior is always changing, so your tags should change along with it.
- If you have a transcript available, make sure to upload it and turn on captions. This can help your discoverability as it will give us more data points to index your video.
- Users hate spam. Google hates spam. Spammy tags and thumbnails may help increase views in the very short term, but our algorithm will catch on and punish you for spam. Long term, you want your users searching for videos to find what they are looking for and to associate your channel with accurate information.
- Don’t repeat words in your description or title, this will not help you. Rather use different words and variations that users might search on to find your video.
Julie Kikla and Mahin Ibrahim, Account Managers, YouTube Partnerships recently watched “Triple Backflip - 60 foot Rope Swing!”
There is perhaps no other country in the world that has undergone more change or been under more scrutiny in the past decade than Iraq. The draw-down of U.S. troops and a recent election that has yet to produce a formal government have left Iraq in a state of flux. The country’s destiny has implications not just for the Arab world, but for the world at large.
That’s why, in partnership with the Arabic-language television network, Al Arabiya, we’re launching “Iraq Looks Forward,” a series of interviews on YouTube in which Iraqi leaders answer your questions about the future of the country. This is your chance to engage directly with top Iraqi officials, so visit youtube.com/alarabiya to submit your questions and vote on which you think should be asked.
A selection of the top-voted questions will be posted to sitting Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Barham Salih, and others.
The deadline for submitting questions is Monday, September 27.
Olivia Ma, News Manager, recently watched “Tony Blair on Iraq and Iran - The View”
Update: Former sitting Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has also confirmed his participation in this interview series.
About a month ago, as part of our series of blogs about human rights and video with WITNESS.org, we asked for your thoughts and ideas on some of the key topics on the future of video activism. Now we're responding to some of your top-voted questions and comments within the Moderator series we set up to facilitate the discussion. We've picked out some of the top-rated responses below, and to see the full discussion on privacy, impact, and classification of human rights videos online, click here.
But the conversation only grows from here. This week, we've gathered with around 300 activists, nonprofits, and thought leaders in Budapest for Internet at Liberty 2010, a conference that Google is sponsoring in conjunction with the Central Europeon University to examine key issues in online free expression. We've been collecting your thoughts on how to keep the Internet safe for online free expression in another Moderator series; many of your ideas will be discussed in the panels and discussions that take place in Hungary. The conference will be live streamed, and we'll post videos of the session to a special YouTube channel dedicated to the discussions that take place.
People everywhere use platforms like YouTube to share their stories with the world every day. Sometimes those stories are as simple as an idea, a thought or a diary of life through your eyes; other times, those stories expose abuses of power or human rights violations in ways that are changing how justice is served around the world. Whatever you decide to use the web for, we believe it's vital to a free society to keep the Internet open, and it's through discussions like these that we can continue to teach each other how to do so.
Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, YouTube, and Sameer Padania for WITNESS
"Human Rights issues are always political and legal issues. If a special status should be given to this kind of content, the servers where this content would be stored must be located in a "safe" location, thus protecting them from governments."
Acetal, Mexico City, Mex
SG: Agreed. Google's servers are protected and have the highest standards of security. Other organizations work to protect servers and use software such as Tor (mentioned by Zoasterboy, above) to keep content safe by relaying it to several different nodes on the network.
SP: It's crucial that important human rights content is kept safe, secure and free from interference or the likelihood of takedown. For that reason, we always advise people we work with to try - where possible - to upload their content to at least a couple of different trusted sites, so that there is always a backup somewhere.
"When uploading a video to YouTube the user should be given the option to blur all faces in the video (as detected by face detection software) and preview the video to verify before making public."
Zoasterboy, Washington State
SG: I like this idea. Not currently on our product roadmap, but it's something we've discussed.
SP: Likewise - great idea, and would help activists enormously. WITNESS and other activists are looking at issues like these at the Open Video Conference in NYC from October 1-3, which includes workshops and a hackday.
"More stories the better - desensitization will wear off and be overpowered by the awareness of the plights of people. Provide background context for people who wish to drill down and communication avenues for people to make leaders aware."
xicubed, Boise, ID
"There should be a system that displays human rights issues that are in need of help built into social networking sites, perhaps through an API, via some sort of dynamic node based distribution system, like Tor."
Zoasterboy, Washington State
SG: Interesting idea - would love to hear more about your thinking. Currently, it's not possible to publicly track where someone uploaded a YouTube video from, unless they choose to geo-tag their video. But protecting distribution pipes to push the video out is smart, and we're big fans of what Tor can do. One of the benefits of YouTube is that your username can be anything you like - so you can keep your identity anonymous. For more information on privacy at Google, click here: http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy.html
SP: It's becoming more important, the more content there is available, to find ways to get important human rights content to the eyes that need to see it - and to get it into new and diverse contexts so that more people can engage with it and act on it. It would be great to make it easy to feed human rights video and its related background information to people using different social networks around the world, without making it intrusive or insensitive, and in a way that maximises security.
"Threats to humans rights are urgency issues and they have different importance to different groups. Government murdering = International. Government inaction = National. Missing child = Regional. Missing pet = Local. Only examples."
Daniel de Souza Telles, Baixo Guandu, Brasil
SG: So true. All politics is local, as they say. And context is so important: in each of these cases, surfacing useful contextual videos around each story gives the audience a broader understanding of the conflict and why it matters to them. On YouTube, we've been looking more deeply into our curator community -- people who are great at discovering good videos, or grouping content into very useful playlists, channels, etc. -- to see if we can better harness this data to serve more robust sets of content in our search results.
SP: What the internet has shown about human rights is that issues in the past that we thought were only relevant to local people actually sometimes resonate with people around the world in surprising ways, and video makes these connections even more powerfully.
"Does YouTube offer any translation support? It seems like one of the main barriers to some videos' uptake would be linguistic, and perhaps in the submission process users could request basic assistance via a third-party partner like WITNESS."
SG: We do offer some automated translation support... if your video is in English, you can use the auto-captions feature to pull a text caption set for the video, and then use our auto-translate service to translate to other languages. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. As for auto-captions for other languages, we're not there yet -- but hope to be soon.
SP: One other way I think it might be possible to do this is to use Google Sidewiki - you can add information about the page you are viewing, and that could be, in the case of a video, a synopsis or even a transcript in another language. It's becoming more and more important to translate cultural contexts for each other - what someone in Iran takes from a human rights video from Tehran might be very different from what someone in China or Colombia or California would take - so using tools like Sidewiki could help provide more detailed context or explanation in other languages that the uploader might not include themselves.
"Desensitization is inevitable as it increases with the number of views of violence. Also, the number of views a video has will (probably) decrease the likelihood that a person will help (bystander effect). Limit views per user, don't display total."
Zoasterboy, Washington State
"Images, soundbytes, and video clips of disaster and human tragedy cycle repeatedly. Some get repeated to the point that they lose their meaning. Allow viewers to deprioritize such media and replace it with something new, but contextual."
SG: I agree context matters... the "related videos" section helps users get beyond just the clip itself to contextualize -- but good curators of human rights videos are the best sources of relevant content on particular human rights issues.
SP: This is all about providing context, both when you upload videos, and when you share them - whether that's by forwarding, tweeting, or blogging - and as ever, have an audience in mind. I'm intrigued by the idea of replacing the video with something else contextual rather than being able to filter it out - this could mean being able to drill deeper, into eyewitness footage or interviews, or expert analysis, for example. Also, it's not a magic bullet, but it often helps if the video is linked to some way to take action or help - for example by contacting your representative, signing a petition, or translating the video into a language you speak. And on the violence issue, it's good to bear in mind that not all human rights videos depict violence or disaster directly - the majority of those we encounter at WITNESS are of testimonies about abuses, or campaign demands from activists themselves.
"Already at the upload process: a checkbox labelled "human rights content", and if checked, it will ask the poster e.g. if it could be important to blur faces and gives hints how to do it, or if in general it can be dangerous for others to post this."
SP: It's a great idea, similar to what Zoasterboy suggests above - and it would be a great asset for activists everywhere to be able to mark their videos as human rights videos, and to be able to protect the identities of those they filmed, not just on YouTube, but on any video platform. The only concern I'd have is that once human rights is an official category, although it might be easier to protect, it might also be easier to block it out.
Pagecrafter, Eugene, OR
SP: I think creating a human rights channel is definitely a good idea and would provide much-needed visibility to a lot of human rights issues - but I think you should still be able to find the content in other places and in other ways outside of that channel. Good curation is key. As for the idea of signalling the possibility of harm, it makes a lot of sense to make sure uploaders understand the potential harm they can do by uploading videos into the public domain without getting consent, and protecting identities where necessary, and viewers need to understand the nature of what they're watching and what, if anything, they can do.
"Think mobile under censorship: In countries like mine, Cuba; people can't practically surf the web, but they shared info phone to phone using Bluetooth. So including a downloadable share-ready version for mobile to mobile will be great."
PolO, Corpus Christi, TX
A comment from calabarboy.com on the blog post:
"I think Human Rights Video deserves a special status globally. To think that this is about restoring the dignity of the human person and fight against all forms of oppression. I cannot begin to assume what that status should be, but the technical persons can come up with the appropriate terms. For every human rights footage, to ensure that we don't get desensitized, there must be an ensuing lively discussion that follows and a consequent broadcast on reliable global media, where policy makers can be confronted with the need to take action."
SP: These are great points - discussion and action doesn't just happen online, and finding creative ways of getting videos from online spaces to people who can't access the internet easily is more important than ever - especially in repressive environments. As for the media, now that videos from YouTube and elsewhere are more and more part of mainstream news reporting, media have an important role to play in providing context [DELETED] on human rights footage and pursuing accountability. That said, it would be pretty eye-opening to see policy-makers' responses to important human rights videos directly on YouTube too, as well as on the television.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Ben Patterson. Ben is the founder of DashGo, Inc., a digital marketing and distribution platform servicing music, video and podcast content. Clients include Weezer, This American Life and Delicious Vinyl. Last week Weezer launched its new album, Hurley, with the YouTube community.
It all started at VidCon.
VidCon is an event I attended this past July. My company, DashGo, markets, distributes and manages catalogs for indie labels and bands, and the vast majority of our content is audio. VidCon was eye-opening: an army of YouTube content creators--some meeting for the first time following years of online sharing and collaboration--pumped energy into the room. In panel discussions, everyone credited their success to two entities: YouTube and other YouTube users.
One of my clients is Weezer, an alternative-rock band known for hits, including “Buddy Holly,” “Beverly Hills” and “Pork & Beans.” Weezer's always been a fan of innovation and collaboration and is no stranger to YouTube. Back in 2008, Weezer went on a Hootenanny tour, inviting fans to perform alongside them with whatever instruments they could play. Rivers Cuomo, lead singer, co-wrote a song with hundreds of YouTube content creators in a project called "Let's Write a Sawng." And, of course, Weezer invited a number of YouTube content creators to appear in their own "Pork and Beans" video, a video viewed over 20 million times.
Weezer was getting ready to launch their new album, Hurley. Our concept for the band this time was simple. Instead of inviting YouTube content creators to invade a Weezer video, we’d flip the tables. Rather than make our own video a needle in the haystack we decided to build a whole stack of needles. First we all asked our friends and co-workers about their favorite YouTube content creators. We asked fans on Twitter and Facebook who they liked on YouTube. Then I sent an email to the dozens of recommended YouTube content creators letting them know Weezer was interested in participating in their programs. Acting, performance, interview, make-up, comedy--whatever they wanted Weezer to do, Weezer was game.
The response was overwhelming, especially considering I sent the request out six days before shooting was to begin. Two weeks later, the shooting was done and each YouTube partner prepared his or her own video. Weezer wouldn't see anything until the videos went live on 9/14.
We were amazed by the range of creativity. The Gregory Brothers AutoTuned Weezer's "Memories." Weezer got to cover StSanders' "Kiss Shreds,” a band favorite, and the Magic Hugs guys brought them back to their days as a brand new band. Four of the videos made it into the Top 20 chart within 24 hours. We were also featured on YouTube’s Music Tuesday showcase.
Weezer reached more than 10 million folks if you count the aggregate number of subscribers of the participating content creators. That's more than triple the ratings of most late night talk shows. Ray William Johnson alone gets more viewers per episode than Comedy Central's Tosh.0. And best of all, the new album Hurley hit the top 10 on iTunes charts and #1 on Amazon MP3.
Of course, none of this would be possible without all of the content creators who invited Weezer into their channels. A huge thanks to them and their fans for letting Weezer into your house for the day. And we thought you’d enjoy this outtake:
Serena Satyasai, Marketing Manager, recently watched “I spanked Weezer.”
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Guggenheim has spoken: the shortlist for YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video will now go in front of the jury, and is available to view at youtube.com/play.
It’s been a busy summer. More than 23,000 videos, from 91 countries, were submitted for YouTube Play, and the Guggenheim has picked 125 to make up the shortlist.
In there, you’ll find submissions from students, video artists, photographers, filmmakers, composers, video game programmers, an American Women’s Chess Champion, a comedy improv group, a Swedish rock band, a South African hip-hop group, an Australian electronic music producer – and a lot more.
It’s now down to the YouTube Play jury to pick up to 20 videos for a special presentation at the Guggenheim Museum on October 21. Here is one of the jurors, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, to explain why he thinks YouTube is important in the art world today:
The videos selected by the jury will be on view to the public from October 22 through 24 in the Tower 2 Gallery of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, at kiosks at the Guggenheim Museums in Bilbao, Berlin and Venice, and available to a worldwide audience on the YouTube Play channel.
Tom Pursey, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “Luis.”
You asked, and he answered: see President Bill Clinton in our latest YouTube Interview on CitizenTube:
Tomorrow, the former President launches his sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York, where he’ll bring together CEO’s, philanthropists, nonprofits, and political leaders all in once place to make “commitments” to fund ideas and organizations who are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems. The focus areas of the meeting are empowering women and girls, market-based solutions to problems, access to modern technology, and harnessing human potential.
You have the opportunity to join the discussion at CGI, via a special Moderator series they have set up on their YouTube channel. Hear more from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and submit your questions now.
Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched, “Join the Conversation at #CGI2010”
The call went out. People responded. The gallery is up. Editors are editing. It’s Life in a Day, and who’s behind it? Well, you are, most importantly. Along with Ridley Scott and Kevin McDonald, of course. But the project has also been a unique sponsorship opportunity for LG, and when you’re a large brand with a plethora of sponsorship options, you want to stand behind something that reaches out and grabs people.
The Life in a Day project is entirely based on capturing a single day on earth through the eyes of thousands of different people around the world. We sat down with LG’s Brand Manager, Jackie Pyo, to talk about why LG chose to partner with Life in a Day.
1) Life in a Day promises to be one of YouTube's largest global experiments. How did LG come to be involved in the project?
LG is always looking out for innovative projects and ground-breaking ideas that support our company vision that technology can make life better – that it can make life good. YouTube is a company that uses technology to help people learn more about each other, build better relationships with one and other and, in doing so, ultimately enrich our lives.
When we first heard about the Life in a Day project we knew immediately that this was going to be a chance to bring our company vision to life and deliver something special to millions of people around the world. What started as just the seed of an idea has grown into one of our most exciting partnerships to date. Because we were involved at the very beginning, we’ve been able to work collaboratively with YouTube to shape the direction of the project and help to make Life in a Day a fantastic success, while staying true to the core essence of the LG brand.
2) LG has done many other sponsorships in the past, from New Year's Eve 2008 fireworks in London to Formula 1 racing. Why did this particular partnership make sense, and how does Life in a Day differ from other sponsorships you've done?
Other sponsorships we’ve done in the past, and are doing today, all associate LG with phenomenal properties – properties people love – that help us connect with people on an intimate, emotional level. Life in a Day is no exception, but the difference between Life in a Day and our other marketing activities is that it has never been done before – the journey is new both for LG and for the people who join in. In this respect, it’s a completely new path for LG and we hope we can show people what we really stand for along the way.
3) Tell us a little about LG's values as a company and how you've maintained those through other marketing efforts.
Our brand has four core values: Humanity, Pleasure, Curiosity and an Optimistic Energy. So, whenever we do any marketing we always ask ourselves, “Is it truly representative of ‘Life’s Good’?” It’s our litmus test for everything we do.
4) From the Life in a Day Gallery launch, the LG page talks about how you hope to reach YouTube users on a personal level. What kind of user engagement are you hoping to achieve?
We wanted to present the Life in a Day Gallery because we were fascinated not only by the sheer volume of entries the project received, but the way the entries were tagged. Each of the 80,000 entries has its own story, and no one story is more or less important than the next. We worked with YouTube to create the Gallery to showcase all the entries in one place. These personal, emotional stories – the entries – are important to us. It’s what excited us most about the project. The Gallery brings the stories to the users, and the users to the stories. That’s the real emotional engagement – between the people in the films and the people watching the films. Our role, in facilitating this emotional engagement, provides LG with a great opportunity to engage with both the participants and the viewers on a personal level.
What really surprised us with the tagging is that so many videos were illustrating positive messages. Thousands of people wanted to tell the world about the good things in life. To celebrate this we created the Smile Gallery, but we also want to give these people the chance to create a video about their favorite “Life’s Good When…” moment in a LG promotion we’ll be running towards the end of October. By running our own promotion, people won’t just be learning more about our brand, but they’ll actually be relating the positive experiences of their lives to our brand expression of Life’s Good – this is a really interesting prospect for our brand and something we’re very excited about.
5) Anything else to note about the project?
Like any brand, LG has always looked at YouTube almost like a window – a window to an engaged audience. We shouldn’t forget that YouTube is still only 5 years old, and lots of brands tend to rush into new platforms without thinking about how they’re actually adding value. We didn’t want to do that, so we always looked on and just wanted to wait for the right opportunity; an opportunity that worked for LG, worked for YouTube, but most importantly an opportunity that in some way would improve the lives of the YouTube community. The YouTube community has already embraced it with open arms and we’re really excited to see how Kevin interprets all the footage.
Kate Rose, Communications Associate, recently watched "DominoStudios - Life in a Day"
Friday, September 17, 2010
Whether you’re looking for a video of your kid’s first day of kindergarten, instructions on how to dance the waltz, the latest upload from a hot YouTube star, or a favorite Hollywood movie or a global sporting event, we’re committed to growing our content library and global footprint to make more of the world’s video available to you.
Today, we’re pleased to welcome two new additions to our leadership team who will help us continue to expand our offerings for users. These new leaders will have many external touchpoints, so we wanted to take the unusual step of using our blog to announce them.
Dean Gilbert is joining us as YouTube’s new Global Head of Content and will oversee our global content team as we work to expand our existing relationships and forge new ones. A veteran of the cable industry, Dean’s leadership roles have included serving as Executive Vice President and General Manager of @ Home Network. Over the last four years, Dean has provided leadership at Google across across a wide range of media products, including Google TV, YouTube and Google TV Ads.
Robert Kyncl is joining us as our new Global Head of TV and Film Entertainment. Robert comes to YouTube from Netflix, where he was Vice President of Content Acquisitions, spearheading the company’s content acquisition strategy for streaming TV shows and movies over the Internet. He was also instrumental in transitioning Netflix’s business from DVD-by-mail to streaming. In his new role, Robert will build our content partner presence in Hollywood, overseeing our content partnerships across the studios, broadcasters, cable networks, talent agencies and new media companies. Chris Maxcy will continue his executive leadership role as Global Head of Music and Games, focusing on our global music business.
The means of creation, consumption and distribution have permanently changed, giving rise to the most diverse set of faces and voices ever seen or heard in human history. By expanding our content partnerships worldwide, we’ll ensure that YouTube remains the best place for our users to see, hear and discover this richness of talent. These leadership additions will help to pave the way.
Salar Kamangar, Co-Head of YouTube
In perhaps no other time in human history have there been so many different views of what the word democracy means. And that’s what makes our second Democracy Video Challenge so fascinating: over 700 people around the world submitted videos to the contest, answering the prompt “Democracy is...” And last week, the six winners of the contest -- selected by a panel of judges and then voted on by the YouTube community -- were honored at an awards ceremony with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C.
The six winners came from all over the world: Juan Pablo Patiño is from Colombia, Yared Shumete is from Ethiopia, Anup Poudel is from Nepal, Joel Marsden is from Spain, Farbod Khoshtinat is from Iran, and Adhyatmika is from Indonesia. Click here for some footage from the winners meeting with Secretary Clinton, and here’s a playlist of their winning videos (which are also spotlighted on our homepage today):
What do you think democracy is? Join the discussion in the comments section of these videos.
Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched “Democracy has a new challenge.”
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
In this new series, YouTube users take you behind the scenes of a video they’ve made and explain, in their own words, how the video came to be and what they hope it achieves. First up, TED Curator Chris Anderson captures the stark faces he encountered on a recent trip to a ravaged area of Pakistan.
When Jacqueline Novogratz and I returned last week from a visit to Pakistan's flood-hit areas, we couldn't get out of our heads the faces of the people we'd seen -- in equal measures beautiful... haunting... hopeless... hopeful... These faces are the best possible answer to the troubling indifference so much of the world has shown in response to this crisis, which by any objective measure is one of the worst this century.
We wanted to spread the word about what we'd seen, so we wrote to one of our heroes, Peter Gabriel, and he generously agreed to let us use an unforgettable song of his as the soundtrack to a video that will show you the people we met.
Every one of these people has lost almost everything they own: their homes, their possessions, their animals...in most cases, all but the clothes they're wearing. Please stop what you're doing for five minutes, take a deep breath, sit down next to someone you care about, click the full-screen button below the video, and then press play.
Chris Anderson, Curator of TED
This post is part of the “BizBlog Series". Check back each week to see articles about partners and advertisers on YouTube, or search under the label "BizBlog".
For E.C. Hundley, his dream had four wheels, an engine, and a smooth ride. As the proprietor of Everything Carts in Martinsville, Va., E.C. built a business that custom assembles souped-up, street-legal golf carts. He also sells cart accessories online, and his business now employs eight people. With your dream, some hard work, guile and a penchant for online marketing, you can do something like this, too.
Did you get your business online from the start?
Oddly enough, we started out as a local retail store, and we never thought about taking our business online. After the first 8 months, we were going broke with just one employee, and I figured we had to do something if we were going to survive.
So you took your business online just to keep it alive.
Yes. At that point we had maybe $1,500 in inventory sitting on the shelf, so we started putting some of it on eBay. We then got with a friend who’s a web designer, and he built our website. Since then we have revamped the site about four times to make it friendly for our customers. It saved our business.
How much of your business comes from people finding you on the web, compared to other channels?
Our direct web activity is about 70% of our sales. Most of the rest is via telephone, and we also promote our business via a print catalog.
Tell us about your YouTube channel. What kind of videos do you make, and how do they help your customers?
I help people with installation of the products we sell. Our call volume had gotten really high on some of our products, so helping people over the phone was taking a lot of time. Then I remembered watching a Photoshop tutorial on YouTube, and I thought to myself this is the answer to our problem. So we started shooting a few how-to videos and posted them on our YouTube channel, and soon those calls stopped completely.
Do the videos help you sell more, too?
Yes. The videos also help us earn new business, because our customers can see that we know the products we sell, and they can buy with confidence.
What are your future plans for online video?
With the success we’ve had with the few videos we have done, we have now built a studio just for shooting how-to videos. This way the customer can see how the products are installed and get a better idea of how it is going to look. One of the toughest parts of selling a product online is that the customer usually just gets to see a picture of what they’re interested in. With video they get a better idea of the real look and size. It is the closest thing you can get to seeing, touching, feeling the product.
That’s the real power of video, isn’t it? How hard was it to get started building a YouTube channel?
It was the easiest Internet task we had ever done. It’s pretty easy and inexpensive to make good-looking videos today, too.
The main advantage of producing online videos, especially for an online business, is it makes your business real. Customers need to see that your company has real people behind the website.
Eric Meyerson, Video Business Marketing Lead recently watched "1981 primitive Internet report on KRON"
Sunday, September 12, 2010
From U2 to the Indian Premier League to the White House to E3, we've worked closely with our partners to give you a front row seat to a wide array of live events. Today and tomorrow, tune in as we open a new chapter of YouTube live streaming. Starting at 8:00 a.m. PT, we will begin a limited trial of a new live streaming platform in conjunction with four of our partners: Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom and Young Hollywood.
This new platform integrates live streaming directly into YouTube channels; all broadcasters need is a webcam or external USB/FireWire camera. Included in the test is a “Live Comments” module which lets you engage with the broadcaster and the broader YouTube community. For the purpose of the trial, this offering will only be available today and tomorrow. Based on the results of this initial test, we’ll evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide.
Check out all the live broadcasts via the interactive schedule below, and feel free to share this schedule across the web via the embed functionality. Bear with us as we test this new platform as there may be some bumps along the way. Please share your feedback in the comments section below (though note that the section is moderated due to spam). Thanks!
Joshua Siegel, Product Manager, and Christopher Hamilton, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched "Fun with Google Instant - We Didn't Start the Fire."
Friday, September 10, 2010
Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog
Like many friends in the Bay Area and across the country, I’ve been stunned by the images of raging fires in San Bruno. Nearly 40 structures have been destroyed and 120 damaged, with several fatalities and multiple injuries after the explosion of a gas line. More than 100 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters.
This disaster strikes close to home; our YouTube offices are about two miles away from the main gas explosion. We’re thankful that no Google employee was hurt, but remain concerned for the well-being of our neighbors in the area.
We are donating an initial amount of $50,000 to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter to help with relief efforts. We’re directing Googlers to the local blood drives today and will be hosting blood drives in our San Bruno, Mountain View and San Francisco offices early next week.
We’ve created this map to show the location of the explosion and highlight nearby shelters and resources. The map is open for collaboration and welcomes additional useful information. We encourage you to embed it in your website or blog. We are also exploring the possibility of obtaining updated imagery of the area to help responders visualize the scope of the disaster.
View San Bruno Gas Explosion in a larger map
Our hearts go out to our neighbors who have been affected by the explosion. We thank the firefighters and first responders who have been working tirelessly to contain the fires and help the residents of San Bruno. You can donate to help here.
Posted by Laszlo Bock, VP of People Operations
This post is part of the “BizBlog Series,” which was formally its own blog. Check back each week to see articles about partners and advertisers on YouTube, or search under the label 'BizBlog'.
What do you figure the Numa Numa guy knows about arts and literature? What about Tay Zonday’s knowledge of world history? Would you be willing to bet on whether Michael Buckley knows his geography? This week, Hasbro brings the world ‘You vs. YouTube’ Trivial Pursuit experiment, which asks players to do just that.
Hasbro has upgraded the old version of Trivial Pursuit to their ‘Bet You Know It’ edition, adding an interactive element where you bet on whether or not your opponents know the answer. In the ‘You vs. YouTube’ experiment, they’ve pitted the public against YouTube stars like the Davies-Carr brothers (from ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’) in a giant online tournament.
We’re excited about this at YouTube because it gives our partners a chance to shine, it provides users a fun gaming experience, and it gives Hasbro a chance to get the word out about their new game. Hasbro's Group Executive, Jane Ritson-Parsons, said of the online competition, "We know our consumers are online and watching as many of today’s stars are discovered online -- and many through YouTube — that we felt that a partnership with the world’s most popular video site would be a natural fit. It provides us with great context and relevance for our game introduction". In our opinion, they’ve done a number of innovative things from a marketing perspective:
- They evolved their product. Hasbro listened to their customers when they said the game questions were too hard or obscure, and tweaked their product accordingly. Questions were re-written, and they made the game more interactive through the ‘betting’ element.
- They recognized the power of viral video. Hasbro knew that YouTube stars have built an audience that resembles their own. By teaming up with our partners, they’ve added unique voices to their campaign. For example, on Michael Buckley’s channel, he talks about his ‘Trivial Pursuit Story’. Tay Zonday wrote a special song for the game. Gary Brolsma dances in his living room with friends during their Trivial Pursuit night. And the Davies-Carr brothers warn you to challenge them, or they’ll bite your finger...
- They share the love with the YouTube community. On the Trivial Pursuit channel, Hasbro has uploads of other partner videos discussing the challenge. Of particular note is mediocrefilms’ ‘REJECTED Trivial Pursuit Commercial’ By allowing other content creators to participate, they get a lot more reach into audiences they might not have considered directly targeting.Brand advertisers are starting to recognize the power of the YouTube community and popular partners.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
If you’ve made a buzzer-beating three-pointer, a bending free kick goal, a diving fingertip catch, a walk-off home run or a fantastic play in whatever your sport, this is the chance to show the world what you’ve got.
Today we kickoff the YouTube & SportsCenter Your Highlight program presented by AT&T -- the opportunity to have your great sports moment shown on SportsCenter (on TV!).
Go to ESPN’s YouTube channel, check out the rules and submit your great sports video before Tuesday, November 30. SportsCenter’s Emmy-winning producers will select the best videos, which will then be voted upon by the YouTube community. The winner will be flown to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for the taping of a special segment on SportsCenter.
Fall sports season is just about to get underway, and we’re hoping to see amazing plays from amateur hoop stars and gridiron heroes across the US. Even if you’re not submitting, come back to the channel to see a gallery of the best submissions throughout the fall.
Good luck and go get 'em.
Andrew Bangs, Sports Manager, recently watched “Scottie Pippen: The Ewing Dunk.”
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Today, Argentina becomes the 25th country to get its own version of YouTube. This means that Argentines will be able to more easily discover local talent like GuadalajaraMan, UESiglo21, farolatino, casiangeles or yoteloexplico, as well as view the most popular and most viewed videos in their country.
To experience the new site, head to the bottom of the page, click on the ‘Location’ tab, and select Argentina from the menu:
We’re also teaming up with local broadcasters to ensure that YouTube viewers, wherever you may be, can watch some of the best news, sports and public television videos being made in Argentina today. Such partners include Encuentro, America TV, Boca Juniors and TV Pública. Other Argentine video-makers can apply for partnership at www.youtube.com/partners.
We look forward to working with everyone in Argentina to make the YouTube community even bigger and brighter than it is today.
Autumn may be upon us soon at YouTube HQ, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about warmer weather, exotic locations and the thrill of getting away from it all. There’s no shortage of videos on YouTube to inspire travel plans, and our new program Vacationer Presented by NCL brings the best of our partners’ travel content into a single destination.
Whether you’re seriously planning the trip of a lifetime, or just need an excuse to do a little online escapism, Vacationer is packed with reports from authorities in the space, channels like Lonely Planet, National Geographic and the Travel Channel. After all, you don’t need to be following in Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps to enjoy his take on authentic eats in some of the world’s most memorable destinations.
If you do make plans for a cruise, a camping trip or even some close-to-home sightseeing, don’t forget to pack your camera, shoot your own video clips and post them on your YouTube channel. Launching The Vacationer reminds us that millions of people all over the planet turn to YouTube every day to experience new places through fresh eyes. We hope you’ll be inspired to share your own travels with the world at large.
Mark Day, Sales Development, recently watched “How to Treat a Sunburn.”
William Jefferson Clinton has worn many hats over the years. He served two terms as the 42nd President of the United States. He founded the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to tackle problems like global health, poverty, education and climate change. He’s spent much of this year leading the recovery effort in Haiti through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
And starting now, he’s taking your questions in an exclusive YouTube interview. Hear more about the interview and the President’s work straight from the man himself:
To participate, visit www.youtube.com/citizentube and use the Moderator platform to upload your video question for President Clinton—and vote for the ones you like the best. You can also submit a text question if you can’t record a video.
Later this month, at his annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting, President Clinton will sit down with us and answer a selection of your top-voted questions in our interview.
Submit your question and start voting early! The submission period closes on September 13.
Ramya Raghavan, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched, “Elizabeth Warren - Got a New Sheriff.”
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Today on our homepage, we’re featuring a new batch of StoryCorps videos animated by the Rauch Brothers. If you want to be moved by the human experience, watch them now.
StoryCorps is a massive oral history project during which 50,000 everyday people have already interviewed friends and family. A handful of these are transformed by the Rauch Brothers, who look to animate universal stories that capture the joys, struggles and extraordinary lives of regular people. Here, in our ongoing series of Creator’s Corner posts, the animators take you along their creative journey and name the YouTube users who in turn inspire them.
1) What is your process?
We receive an edited voice track from StoryCorps' Peabody Award-winning production team, which we then research. Time, place and personality of the main characters are all important. After digesting what we've learned, we determine which details to leave in, and which to take out in order to tell the story in a clear, engaging, and honest way.
After the initial research, we create character designs, a storyboard, and rough background layouts. When those stages are complete, we move on to animation and final background layouts. The last step is to paint everything and pull it all together in the computer.
2) Sounds like “Danny & Annie” was the first time you met your subjects in person. Was that unusual?
Whenever possible, it's very important to us to meet the storytellers in our animation. It gives us a chance to get input from them, and helps add authenticity to the final piece. "Danny & Annie" wasn't the first time we met one of our storytellers — we met the Littmans while working on "Q&A." Seeing them interact was important for Tim (who draws all the animated characters), because it helped him capture some of their mannerisms in animation.
"Danny & Annie" was the first time we had the opportunity to actually visit the home of one of our subjects. It was particularly important to get good reference photos of their Brooklyn apartment because the majority of the story takes place there. We also referenced some of their wedding photos in the final animation. Through that process, we were able to add authenticity that reflects the documentary nature of the original recording.
3) How close do you try to get to the person's true likeness?
We use photos for reference as we work on character designs, but we find that people are more than just the face one sees on the surface. They have a personality and a spirit that isn't necessarily captured in a photograph. Luckily, StoryCorps' terrific recordings of these voices and stories help tell us a lot about what we can't see in a photo. As StoryCorps founder Dave Isay says, the voice is like a window to the soul. Focusing on that aspect of the people in these stories has been the most effective way for us to capture something that feels honest and real.
4) What do you hope your work conveys?
We would like this work to serve as a reminder and a celebration of our shared humanity.
5) Who on YouTube is making great animation?
Pes - Pes uses everyday objects in unique and unexpected ways to tell short, funny stories that leave you wanting more.
Blu - Animated graffiti takes over the world!
Fran Krause - The quirky characters and stories that Fran develops with his brother, Will, are always fun.
Nina Paley - Nina tells entertaining stories and makes them freely available to watch, download, and remix. She is an animator perfectly suited for the age of YouTube.
Bill Plympton - The King of Indie Animation still reigns supreme.
Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “‘Germans in the Woods’ from StoryCorps.”
We’ve had a lot of famous folks sit down for interviews in the past year, like President Obama, Shakira and Katy Perry, but our next subject, with his tony address and instant name recognition, may have celebrity status that tops all the rest.
Through a partnership with Sesame Street, Elmo will answer your burning questions right here on YouTube. So, moms and dads, if your family has ever wondered, “How exactly do you get, do you get, to Sesame Street?” or whether Oscar’s really as grouchy as he seems, here’s your chance to ask. More details from Elmo himself here:
And if you need some extra inspiration thinking up questions, take a spin through some of these Elmo classics:
Upload your video question to the Moderator gadget on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel and vote on the ones you think Elmo should answer by September 15. He’ll answer the top-voted ones in a few weeks.
Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits Manager, recently watched “Monster in the Mirror”