Posts tagged Video

Video Of Matt Cutts Talking About The Early Days At Google

Miss hearing from Google’s Matt Cutts? Here is a 34 minute video of him giving a talk at UNC Chapel Hill the other week.

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Outtakes from Pubcon Las Vegas 2014 [VIDEO] by @mattsouthern

While digging through our archive of Pubcon 2014 footage, we found some interesting clips that didn’t make it into the final cut. Please enjoy. #Bloopers #Pubcon #Outtakes

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Europe’s Largest Public School Of Video Games Gets A Major Upgrade

Editor’s Note: This was originally published by our partners at Kill Screen

It’s a cold winter morning at Angoulême, a small town located at the Eastern side of France, and dozens of game developers, students and politicians are about to enter a huge building next to a river. The National Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media of France (ENJMIN) has a new home.

Since 2005, when the ENJMIN started offering graduate courses on game development, much has changed in the game industry. Games have, by and large, become more meaningful, they have a bigger audience now than ever, and they are crossing lines with other art forms more aggressively.

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These changes have also been part of the life of the school, which was founded under the hood of a bigger regional project that has built seven public schools dedicated to creative media in the same neighborhood of Angoulême, a city previously only known for its comics festival.

Building this school from an ancient cigarette paper mill cost 10 million euros ($11.6 million). It was funded by the Ministry of Education of France, the Regional Government and Pôle Image Magelis, the creative media cluster project that France started a decade ago in this town.

See also: Confronting Video Game Torture, After The CIA’S Report

At its inauguration, people gather in the school auditorium to hear game British video game designer Peter Molyneux give the opening speech. He talks about the importance of making mistakes and describes some of his errors when he began his new studio, 22cans, and while making Godus, his latest game. 

“Making mistakes is the most important ingredient in creativity,” he says. Molyneux is followed by a series of speeches by politicians that give their view on how games and other creative media are important to the economic development and cultural heritage of France. They also praise the founder and director of the school, Stephan Natkin, a stubborn professor that had a clear vision for the ENJMIN since its first years.

Apart from the high tech labs, large rooms and the beautiful river view from the project room, the most important elements at any school are the students. After a lunch break, the class of 2014 show game trailers and share some details of their games. 

From a virtual reality climbing experience using the Oculus Rift to a narrative exploring game where you interact with an A.I inside a spaceship, passing through an emotional journey of a fisherman, all of the games are surprisingly polished. The students are all at the end of their two-year Master’s program.

The inauguration ends with a speech by David Cage, one of France’s best-known game developers, and one of the vanguards of narrative video game experiences. After his talk, he decides to stay and spend some time talking to students. He might learn some new things.

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topseos.com Publishes January 2015 Ratings of Ten Best Video SEO Companies – Marketwired (press release)

topseos.com Publishes January 2015 Ratings of Ten Best Video SEO Companies
Marketwired (press release)
NAPLES, FL–(Marketwired – January 11, 2015) – The ten top video search engine optimization firms have been named by topseos.com for the month of January 2015. topseos.com provides businesses with rankings online to showcase the top search …
topseos.com Acknowledges Straight North as the Third Best Search Engine Digital Journal

all 28 news articles »

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Are Your Video Ads Actually Being Seen? Google Will Soon Report On Video Ad Viewability by @mattsouthern

Google will soon let advertisers and publishers know whether or not their video ads delivered via the DoubleClick ad services are actually being watched by customers, Bloomberg reports. This news was announced by Neal Mohan, Google’s vice president of display and video advertising, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. In keeping with the Media Ratings Council’s standard, Google will let advertisers know what percentage of their videos were at least 50% in a customer’s view for at least two seconds or more. In order to take advantage of this new viewability reporting, advertisers and publishers […]

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You Might See Twitter’s Native Video Feature In A Few Weeks

Twitter will be launching a native video feature in just a few weeks, sources close to the company have revealed to Recode.

The feature, which will reportedly allow users to record, edit, and post video without leaving the Twitter app, will be similar to—but separate from—its Vine app. The goal is apparently to provide more ways for people to create video on Twitter, and more engagement as a result.

See also: “While You Were Away” Rolls Out On Twitter

Twitter first hinted at coming out with a video app in November last year, announcing several different new features including “While You Were Away,” its first non-chronological service. Though Twitter has declined to comment, it’s clear that each of these features is designed to keep people on Twitter longer and more involved while they’re there.

See also: We Can’t Get Enough Of Videos On Facebook, Apparently

This tip comes within the same week that Facebook announced users are watching more than a billion video clips per day on the service. Video is only getting more popular on social media, and now it’s Twitter’s turn to capitalize on that.

Photo by Esther Vargas

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Facebook Video Views Are Up 94% In The US, 75% Worldwide by @mattsouthern

Video on Facebook is growing at an alarmingly rapid pace. Last year alone video views on the world’s leading social network grew by 94% in the US, and 75% worldwide. The amount of videos published last year increased by 360% compared to the year before, which led to an average of more than 1 billion video views every day. Half of all people who visit Facebook in the US will watch at least one video, while 76% of Facebook users in the US say Facebook is their primary source for discovering new videos. It’s also worth noting that as of […]

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Confronting Video Game Torture, After The CIA’S Report

Editor’s Note: This was originally published by our partners at Kill Screen

The Senate’s report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program recently released to the public is a look into the use of torture on detainees by United States intelligence personnel. And make no mistake, it was a catalogue of nightmares. Much of it we already knew—the CIA’s use of waterboarding, or simulated drowning, was made public in 2007—but the report contained new grisly details, such as the forced rectal feeding and hydration of prisoners.

Response to the report has been divided, with about half of Americans believing that the interrogation methods of the CIA were justified according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center. Primarily, the strongest defenders of the Agency have been conservative politicians, chief among them Associate Justice Anton Scalia of the Supreme Court. During a radio interview following the release of the report, Scalia offered his opinions on the subject:

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“Listen, I think it is very facile for people to say, ‘Oh, torture is terrible.’ You posit the situation where a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people. You think it’s an easy question? You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person? I don’t think that’s so clear at all.”

Scalia’s hypothetical—a bomb planted in Los Angeles—was actually explored in another television program, the second season of 24, in which Jack Bauer’s rough interrogation of a suspected terrorist uncovered information of an impending nuclear attack. In 2007, when accusations of torture by American agents first arose, Scalia gave a similar statement. “Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles…He saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” said Scalia. “Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer?”

Scalia might be right—not that L.A. is in imminent danger of nuclear holocaust, but that if Jack Bauer can torture someone, even a terrorist, and remain the hero of his TV timeslot, that says a lot about the American relationship to torture.

In Video Games, As On TV …

Of course, television doesn’t hold the monopoly on depictions of torture. Last year’s Grand Theft Auto 5 features an interactive torture scene. In it, Trevor, one of the three playable characters of the game, tortures a hapless victim to gather information for the “FIB,” a thinly veiled allegory to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. 

The most disturbing part of the scene—above the option to waterboard the restrained man with gasoline—might be how cooperative the victim tries to be before each torture sequence. “Are you ready to talk now?” says one of his interrogators, an FIB man. His response: “I’ve been willing to talk since I was kidnapped!” 

See also: One Of The Most Elaborate Alternate Reality Games Ever Is Launching In 2015

It’s eerily prescient, considering that one of the worst details to come out of the CIA torture report was our torture of willing informants. The scene is clearly intended as commentary, but the game still gleefully allows the the player to choose the tool of torture each time.

Both of the recent games in the Far Cry series contain torture, though in Far Cry 4, it’s almost an optional scene—the player can watch while a government agent tortures a suspected terrorist and monologues about family life in America. Far Cry 3’s torture scene, on the other hand, is put center stage: the victim is protagonist Jason Brody’s younger brother, Riley, who Jason must torture to keep his cover as a hardened criminal. As in the GTA 5 sequence, the game implicates you in the torture—you’ve got to hit the button to make Jason deliver some very un-pulled punches.

Clearly, this is supposed to be a horrifying situation. This forced familial violence is darkly and Greekly ironic. After digging his thumb into his brother’s gunshot wound (which is maybe going a little far to sell the act), Jason looks down at his hands and asks “What have I become?”

This is an interesting question. Has Jason become morally compromised? Well, torturing his own brother is pretty evil, yeah. So was killing the last nine Sumatran tigers to make a tote bag. On the other hand, Jason goes on to continue fighting the red-shirted bad guys, trying to save his friends, and generally fighting the good fight. So, if Jason’s question is “What have I become,” one response might be, “Still the hero of this story.”

See also: Twitch Plays Pokemon And The Year In Crowdplaying

While some praised Far Cry 3 or GTA 5 for their writing, many others called them facile, even amateurish. Let’s turn, then, to the narrative powerhouse The Last of Us, which received praise in pretty much all corners for its dark and complex story. When Ellie goes missing, Joel—previously established as a ruthless killer, gun runner and general hard case—restrains two men he thinks might know where she is and tortures them until he gets the information he wants. Then, he kills them both.

So, what does this scene say about Joel? It’s a grisly sequence, and by the end of the game Joel’s humanity is even more compromised, but I would argue that the audience still isn’t against him in the context of this torture scene. His victims were established right away as bad men. They were shooting at him, until he handcuffed one to a radiator and jammed a bowie knife under the other’s kneecap. 

On top of that, everything Joel does is in order to find and protect Ellie, who we know is in danger, and has become personally very dear to the player by this point in the game with her sassy tongue and heart of gold. Joel’s use of torture is grim, but I think most people would feel that it was, in context, necessary.

These aren’t isolated cases, either. In Splinter Cell: Conviction, the “interrogation” button is synonymous with smashing someone’s head through a dirty urinal, which Sam Fisher does without a second thought. In Call of Duty: Black Ops, two of the main characters place a shard of glass in someones mouth before socking him in the jaw in order to get him to talk. Even in the far-off future of Mass Effect 2, a Commander Shepard indulging in a renegade prompt can, during an interrogation with a crime boss, bloody his nose and threaten to “cut his balls off and sell them to a krogan.” Why any krogan would want to buy them is, thankfully, left unsaid.

The Myth Of  “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”

A pattern begins to emerge when these individual portrayals of torture are examined as a whole. Yes, video games understand that torture is bad; often, it is portrayed as gruesome and even evil. The problem is that games keep putting their protagonists in the role of torturer. Regardless of whether they are willing, enthusiastic torturers, or driven by desperation, they’re more often than not the heroes of their story. They are the Jack Bauers, if you will, and few players would convict them.

If developers want to use torture in their games to make them more “gritty” and dark, of course, that’s their right. It becomes problematic when the portrayal of torture in nearly every game fails to address one of the most divisive sides of the issue: its effectiveness in providing reliable information.

Consider this: never, in any game, does a character get unreliable information from a victim of torture. Joel finds where Ellie is being kept, Sam Fisher finds the terrorists, and—even while monologuing about the ineffectiveness of torture—Trevor gets the information he needs for a successful assassination. Compare this incredibly high success rate with the findings of the report, which were that “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually provided very little actionable intelligence. 

See also: The Year Video Games Got Funny Again

That’s G-man talk for accurate information; almost every successful operation in the torture report was driven by information gathered from bribes, willing informants and wires, not torture. In games, though, torture works. It may be an evil action, only undertaken by the most desperate of heroes, but it works. This leads me to wonder if the reason that 51 percent of Americans feel that the CIA was justified in its use of torture is because of our entertainment, whether it’s 24 or The Last of Us, which shows that torture is effective, rather than frequently misleading, as it is in reality.

A close look at these portrayals of torture points to either cognitive dissonance or an exceptionally cynical, Machiavellian mindset that is, on reflection, parallel to America’s own tumultuous and questionable relationship with torture. These games, intentionally or not, posit that we, as players, may do a bad thing, but as long as we’re doing it for the right reasons, we can still be the hero of the story.

More From Kill Screen

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5 Hypnotic Mobile Native Video Content Marketing Methods by @chasemcmichael

Mobile native video advertising has transformed content marketing world in a big way. Brands are clamoring to get their video storytelling in high gear following brands who jumped on the video bandwagon long ago. Today, we are undergoing a forced feeding of video on Facebook with their autoplay strategy, and many  of the posts in our feed consisting of video. No wonder controversy has peaked, with talks of YouTube being second fiddle and the emphasis of video on other social platforms. There is no question – video is not only killing it for the brands, but every person is a video content author now. This […]

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Ustream’s Brad Hunstable Wants Everyone To Connect Through Livestream Video

ReadWriteBuilders is a series of interviews with developers, designers and other architects of the programmable future.

Ustream founder and CEO Brad Hunstable initially created his livestream video platform for a very niche market, and in the seven years since its launch, has seen the online video site explode to momentous proportions all around the world. 

Hunstable, a West Point graduate, entered the Army in 2001.  The Texas native observed that those in the military deployed across the world were missing some of the most important events in their lives—birthdays, soccer games, or just seeing the faces of their friends and families. For Hunstable, whose younger brother was in a rock band, it was witnessing one of his sibling’s concerts. 

That desire to build a video solution that could help people experience events around the world birthed Ustream, a video streaming service launched in 2007 and based in San Francisco that helps everyone from big businesses to the everyman broadcast live video online. 

The first few years of Ustream’s life were laser-focused on content creators, media companies, and citizen journalism. The livestreaming company now caters to businesses, who more and more try to emulate media companies, and aids in video for enterprise use. 

See also: Flickr Co-Founder Caterina Fake: Making Art And Technology Work Together

Today, a large section of Ustream’s clients are companies that use the product to livestream internally and also to their own customers, managing high-profile events like Lady Gaga concerts, the Playstation 4 launch, and music festival Outside Lands

But when talking livestream video, Hunstable seems more enthusiastic about those recording events in areas like Ukraine or Ferguson, Missouri. Video relays passion better than any other medium, Hunstable tells me. And it’s his goal to get everyone involved. 

ReadWrite: What were you like growing up? Was video an area you knew you wanted to go into? 

Brad Hunstable: I was definitely more of a hacker as a kid. As a pre-teen, I coded and built a Bulletin Board Service (BBS – the Internet before there was an Internet) in Texas. Individuals around the country were able to call into my computer to download files, share photos, play games and chat. It was very much like today’s modern Internet. Terms such as Gopher, MUDs, Usenet and Sysops were commonplace.

This was the early days of consumer tech. It certainly was not “cool” to be a programmer back then and the many times I was called ”geek” were not terms of endearment.

RW: Did Ustream start small or was there funding from the get go?

BH: The original funding came from angel investors, Ross Perot Jr. being the first. This initial capital allowed us to build out the original engineering team and get a prototype product to market in the customer’s hands. Once we showed traction, we were lucky enough to have an amazing venture capital firm, DCM (based in Silicon Valley) take a bet on Ustream.

See also: Jibo’s Cynthia Breazeal: Why We Will Learn To Love Our Robots

RW: Can you tell me what Ustream is like today? 

BH: Ustream is one of the largest video solutions on the Web, and we are primarily focused on enterprises. We want to help businesses communicate more effectively with their two most important constituents— customers and their employees. 

What’s interesting today is that a lot of companies—like TechCrunch, Cisco, Salesforce, Sony—they all act like media companies. Today everyone is a content creator, not just us as individuals but companies as well. So we work with media companies, and we really want to be the video layer across enterprise. 

RW: Livestreaming has recently come into the media forefront with Amazon’s acquisition of livestream video gaming site, Twitch. What does this mean for the current state of livestream video? 

BH: It’s really hot, and it’s growing really fast. 

At Ustream we surpassed, earlier in the summer, our 2 billionth viewer hour consumed since we started the company. The curves look amazing, even on the business side. In the last year alone, in business, we had one billion hours of live video content, and that’s going to grow to 3 billion by 2017. 

Business videos could be a webinar, or a CEO inspiring a company through live communication from video, which is something that I do for our offices. I do them live, I take call-in guests. I treat it just like a media company. 

Video is reaching a point where it’s really becoming a foundation piece of the Internet. By 2017, according to Cisco, it will be 55% of the Internet’s traffic. It’s incredible. We did a Sony Playstation 4 launch a couple months ago, and it was 2% of the Internet’s traffic. 

RW: How does Ustream set to differentiate themselves from YouTube or other livestream competitors?

BH: Ustream is the leader in video that focuses on our platform as a business solution, rather than a consumer-driven vehicle. Our bandwidth and streaming capabilities also differentiate us from others in the space, allowing Ustream to broadcast major events to a global audience.

RW: How do you make money? 

BH: Our old model was more advertising based. We realized quickly that the better monetization path was going to be SaaS, software-as-a-service. 

Take the most recent Apple event. I tried to watch it. It was really unfortunate, but that’s a perfect example of a company acting like a media company, trying to do the technology themselves, and it doesn’t work. Most companies don’t want to do it themselves. Solutions companies like ours can solve that. Some of our broadcasts can have millions and millions of people tune in and watching simultaneously. 

Getting The President On Board And Going To Mars

BH: t’s not just a video getting a bunch of views, we’re talking live, simultaneous number of viewers. Some of them are in gaming, some of them are corporate in nature. We have really robust technology to pull that off, and that’s our solution. 

RW: How did the bigger name sponsored events come about? 

BH: Some of our biggest events include the Sony Playstation 4 launch (which received 8 million viewers), Verizon-sponsored Lady Gaga concert, Apple iPhone 5 launch and Dreamforce (from Salesforce, one of the largest broadcasters on Ustream) to President Obama’s presidential victory speech.

The process to get high-profile customers takes time. When you are a startup, you have no brand or reputation. The way to overcome this is by building an amazing product that customers need and begin knocking on doors, sometimes literally, to find those early adopters willing to take a chance. Success then breeds success, which brings you closer to higher profile opportunities.

RW: What are some of your best moments and accomplishments since starting Ustream? 

BH:  More people watched live the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover on Ustream than all of CNN and MSNBC combined. I think in many regions we nearly broke the Internet.

But there were many other broadcasts that demonstrated the power of Ustream, from President Obama’s Presidential Victory Speech and Charlie Sheen’s Tiger Blood streams, to many streams from the Arab Spring. In addition, 50 million people tuned in to watch coverage of the 2011 Japanese Earthquake on Ustream.  

We also started a non-profit called Ustream for Change. As we’ve moved towards enterprise, what I’ve realized is that our platform could still be used as a force for good. 

This non-profit is where we donate our platform, energy, time, and training to people who are doing really powerful things and who need the video to do it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated to citizen journalists in Ukraine. 

We just announced a group that helps wounded soldiers get back on their feet. I think Ustream can be a mission driven company. What we have is so powerful—we can help with Internet freedom, emerging democracies, stability around the world. I think we have a moral obligation to do that.  

See also: Ouya’s Julie Uhrman: How We Unleashed A World Of New Game Developers

RW: What’s next for you and Ustream? 

BH: I’m a big believer that there’s going to be a company that can be a video layer across enterprise. Everything I’m doing today in terms of our product is really about helping businesses be more transparent to their customers, more transparent to their employees. We help them use video to build those relationships. 

The thing about video, it’s so powerful. It’s the only medium in the world that can build such a strong connection—that’s why the Ice Bucket Challenge worked. That’s why KONY 2012 worked. That’s why Jony Ive is in a room, apparently an all white room, and he talks so passionately about the product. Video can really relay that passion better than any medium, better than Twitter, better than photos. It is so powerful. 

In our mission, we want to bring that same thing to companies, to help them get more customers, and help them inspire employees to do good work. On the side we do really cool things like Ustream for change, which is continuing to have a major impact in the world. 

At one of the recent conferences we were at, one of the guys from Ukraine saw our logo and came up to us and said, you don’t realize the impact you’ve had on our country. In Syria, they would put the Ustream logo on their phones and hold it up. It would show that they were broadcasting live, and then others would walk away and leave them alone because they saw that logo. 

Photos courtesy of Brad Hunstable 


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