Open Video Conference – Day 2

Day 2 started yet again without any coffee, but with a hilarious presentation by Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center pretending to be Clay Shirky of ITP. Clay was delayed on a flight, so Jonathan took over with a talk titled “Here Comes Everybody.”

He did a great job of pumping energy into the conference with humor and a fine balance of offering the future as both an opportunity and a danger. The onus is on us to decide where it’s going. Part of this is making the language of the net more readable. His example was the famous Star Wars Kid not wanting the viral video of his spectacular ninja skills from circulating. Beyond simply labeling a video with licensing, he postulates that perhaps it would not have been circulated had it had a tag that included a request from the kid to not forward the video to friends. (Though of course, I still felt the urge to link to it above). After all, he’s not mentioned by name in Wikipedia for much the same reason. He proceeds to lay out the issues relating to citizen participation, explaining how a noble experiment in crowdsourcing, like Mechanical Turk, can be manipulated into a Captcha Sweatshop [site]. Perhaps this can be taken to video through a Lifestreaming project where protests in Washington Square Park are filmed by people fulfilling work requests where they receive 5 cents per second  as long as their including protester’s faces… Frighteningly, there are already examples of this happening in China, Thailand and now Iran.

The next session I attended was on Open Government. This was a smorgasbord of tools. As Noel Hidalgo of the NY Senate Information Office continues to point out and work towards, there is no consistency in how federal, state, local and civic groups compile info. It’s still great to look into what’s happening and see the tools evolving from real media->flash->OGG. It was pointed out that the politicians who were most progressive in implementing transparent video tools are still playing catch up, having to redo their real media systems while the lazy ones are now ahead of the game. To continue in the conversation, join opengovernmentvideo @ googlegroups.com . Otherwise, here are some tools I took away from the convo:

  • Capitol hub metavid – The Open Viedeo Archive of the US Congress – In an impressively expansive and searchable database taken from c-span. It holds over 3500 hours of footage. Search for Burma or for Angel or for peanut butter.
  • Google audio indexing– Search what the politicians are saying – searchable text on youtube.
  • Archive.org – building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form- and they’ll take the cost!.

The panel on Public Media, Open Content, and Sustainability was something I was particularly interested in, but not something that many answers came out of. There was a lot of talk about the evolution of public media over the years and the need to continue to change and innovate, but without any key models or ideas of how that’s going to happen versus how they’d like to see that happen. Kevin Reynen of the Open Media Project brought this point out with a question he asked regarding Ken Burns’ supposedly public footage and when that would become available. The answer continues to be “eventually”. Eirik Solheim of NRK (Norway’s Public Broadcaster) brought up a lot of the most interesting models where they embraced BitTorrent early on as an alternative distribution model and also utilize their constituents to do a lot of translating for them. Go Norway!

Perspectives from Traditional Media was a humorous way to follow up the previous panel but unfortunately didn’t have many takeaways other than the difficulties of innovating. However, most of this panel was spent recounting the credentials of the speakers rather than talking about anything at all, making it a huge waste of time and a good example of the problems of tradition.

Overall it ended up being an interesting conference with a lot of fantastic people, but it was also a fantastic example of how much further there is to go before navigating video in the new world.

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