Apr 04
YOUTUBE by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Apr 4, 2008

In these times when digital movies are getting cheaper and easier to produce, amateurs are advised to do a pilot before embarking on a bigger project. In television, a pilot is similar to a singer’s demo tape – it is a complete episode with all the trimmings. But for a digital movie, what was meant by pilot is actually a short movie for the appreciation of unnamed critics. A short film is much, much shorter than the 90 minutes of a feature film. It can be 3 to 10 minutes or maybe longer. But the purpose of this digital movie pilot is to test the waters if indeed the amateur filmmaker has the capability of doing a feature movie of 90 minutes or so

Unlike in the pre-internet era when recordings are confined to private exhibition, amateur video production now has a public venue. A blue chip in the dot com league, Youtube.com is the most popular repository of amateur video where one can upload almost any type of video for public consumption. Having more than 100 million viewers plus an influx of 50,000 new videos in a day, Youtube was so successful that it was purchased for $1.7 billion by Google, Inc. in November, 2006, just after a year of existence. Being the number one search engine in the internet, Google has the money and the foresight for they saw the potential of Youtube as a threat to their supremacy in terms of hits and visits.

Founded in February 2005 by Chad Hurly, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, Youtube.com currently has numerous partnership deals with content providers such as CBS, BBC, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group, NBA, The Sundance Channel, etc. And their sponsors keep on coming.

Not everybody knows that a website is similar to a TV network which also thrives via advertisements. But unlike the tv ratings where the figures are based on surveys, the website has a meter that counts the so-called hits which represents an accurate number of visitors and page views. Since the hits can determine the popularity of a website then the popularity dictates the influx of revenues.

Universally patronized for their free hosting of uploaded videos, Youtube.com discourages indecent, violent and political videos. However, uploaded videos are done automatically and no screening is done. But upon complaints of a viewer, the video in question is reviewed for possible removal. Of late, some political videos have their heyday in Youtube, mostly caricatures with authentic soundtrack for the dialogue. Those videos may be subversive in nature but most viewers find them exhilarating since the contents are meant to be funny.

There were 3 friends in New York who thought of producing a short movie just to fulfill their artistic inclination. Having written the story based on their real lives, the 3 pooled their meager resources and time to produce a pilot. Armed with an ordinary video camera, they did not only the pilot but the succeeding episodes as well. We Need Girlfriends is about 3 male New Yorkers in search of love. After a year in Youtube, the first episode has already registered 384,000 views (equivalent to visitor count). The 3 friends had wanted to play the roles but they admitted that they had to use good-looking friends for the casting. Since the production of the episodes depend on the free time of all those involved, it takes at least a month to finish one episode of 5 to 10 minutes.

The mini-soap can be viewed by clicking the following links:
Episode 1 (5:37) – http://youtube.com/watch?v=omE_8VJN9Eo
Episode 7 (10:31) – http://youtube.com/watch?v=UdVF5NSRc8Q
For some other episodes, search the title ?We Need Girlfriends? inside Youtube.com.

There’s no outright money in uploading a video in Youtube.com but opportunities are unlimited. Once there was a young aspiring actress who joined a sexy group but did not prosper until someone uploaded the video of her tv guesting. The famous “Keys Me” video of Alyssa Alano had registered 28,000 views in just a week’s time of public exhibition. Alyssa got into the entertainment news soon after and eventually was given projects by GMA-7.

Alyssa performed the Keys Me video when she guested on Kuya Germs’ Master Showman program. What was unique in that performance was that Alyssa had used song lyrics of her own. The wrongly pronounced song lyrics turned out to be quite a novelty with Youtube viewers and it did not take long to catch fire hence the big number of statistics. After a year in Youtube, Keys Me had earned 287,000 views and Alyssa is already a recognized celebrity in her own right.

Any user (internet surfer) can watch any video but for uploading a video, one has to register with Youtube by supplying some personal information and email address. Once registered, the member can upload videos any time. However, Youtube has a limit of 10 minutes running time but sometimes this restriction is waived (as in the case of We Need Girlfriends’ 7th episode). Another restriction is the 100 mb limit in file size. The bigger the file size, the slower it?s access is.

Videos for Youtube uploading need not be professionally-made. Even cellphone videos are accepted provided the videos are converted into the desired format (avi). Youtube has varied categories for purposes of easy selection. The most common is the MTV type of video where a new song is featured. Composers and singers take advantage of this free public exposure.

For a sample of Pinoy aerobics type of video, select and click any of the link:
LAKAD-TAKBO – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf5qy0nGH9U
SAYAW-PAWIS – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkyJoOPpI6k
TINATAMAD – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euB99l9o9pc
WARM UP – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9dkmivclL8
HIGOP BUGA – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZVb6FLEdKM
AEROBICA – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ogZOQBmaMs

Not only songs can be promoted in Youtube. Especially for international releases, upcoming movies have their trailers uploaded in the movies category of Youtube. Depending on their inclination and motives, there are video uploaders who specialize on animals, plants and other items pertaining to nature. In the art scene, new dance choreographies are promoted via the Youtube like the new EMO (emotional hard core) culture similar to the hippies of olden times.

A big novelty that captured the fancy of Youtube viewers worldwide is the Thriller video of the Cebu prisoners. Clad in orange shirts and pants, the choreography of the dancing prisoners has a story to tell and with a leading lady (a male prisoner dressed as a woman) at that. Maybe it is heartwarming to see society’s offenders trying to entertain the public with their skills and talents. After 7 months of exposure, the Thriller video had registered a record-breaking 12,433,000 views!

To view the Cebu prisoners’ Thriller video, click this link:

Despite the budding competition, Youtube still has a long way to go and with Google’s steering it is a certainty that Youtube will remain the number one in videos. And who knows, in the near future Youtube may be the launching pad of our digital video producers!

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