At its inception, some time after the invention of the wheel, the Internet sprang forth, offering its abilities to strengthen the power of communication all over the world. It has created businesses, connected families and genuinely improved – or at least intensified – the way in which the world works.
The Internet has done it again. This time it is the broadcasting industry feeling cyber-glory at the full force. With the foundation of YouTube, thousands of amateur filmmakers, video bloggers and children with Pogo Sticks can snag a piece of Internet fame as quickly as they can upload a video.
Surprisingly enough, it’s free.
“Traditionally, indie filmmakers could submit films to festivals and pay fees to apply and send a copy to them,” said Jen Simmons, a communications professor. “And sometimes you could get things on WYBE TV in Philly and people would just have their own screenings, but only certain kinds of people go to film festivals. They require travel. It’s not available or accessible to everybody.”
YouTube gives filmmakers maximum exposure, drawing in more than 16 million visitors in June, according to comScore, a data visitors in June, according to comScore, a database that tracks Internet activity. However it may not be the greatest possible medium for passing on one’s filmmaking talent.
“I’m not sure that it is the forum that independent filmmakers will ever use,” said Scott Calvert, a graduate film student, “but it seems to take another step towards the democratization of media, … which was kind of ‘the promise’ of the internet.”
People may be unaware that YouTube could act as a negative agent. Simmons said one needs to look no further than the fine print to find the source of discord amongst filmmakers.
“The worst thing is the YouTube terms of service,” she said.
“You give YouTube the rights and they can do anything they want with it – put it on TV, a DVD … they can sell your film to anyone they want, and can make a lot of money off of it.”
Thankfully, there are other options that do not exploit users.
Blip TV is a rising star in the Internet broadcasting community that eliminates the hassles of YouTube that some may find unpleasing.
“They have different missions,” Simmons explained. “YouTube seems to be on a mission to make a little video Disneyworld, where Blip is about putting tools in the hands of everyday people. They are letting people make their own video blogs or podcasts.
“So, you as a filmmaker can make your own video broadcasts and you can use Blip TV to do that for free. Their terms of agreement are quite different. They’re not going to go off and make a lot of money, and they don’t put their logo on the videos.”
Internet videos are constantly coming out of the woodwork.
According to YouTube, more than 65,000 videos are uploaded daily, many of which offer programs that rival their TV and film competitors.
Without studios to fund or crush dreams, filmmakers are using sites like YouTube and Blip TV to revolutionize the way they broadcast their work.
“It’s like TiVo for the Internet,” Simmons continued. “Now, you can distribute it for practically nothing and thousands of people will see it. And you don’t need to deal with the gatekeepers or own a TV studio.”
Justin Klugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.