Notes from the Open Video Conference, Day One

Francesca Coppa, Naomi Novik, and head coder Elz spent the day at the Open Video Conference in NYC today. The conference is primarily about building architecture for online video as well as open source software more generally, so you can see why we were interested. (We’re keeping a close eye on the emerging technologies that might make a Vidding Archive Of Our Own more feasable and efficient.)

Some highlights from today’s programming:

Independent Video Platforms: Representatives from various independent video spaces, mostly dealing with issues of social justice or alternative media, showcased their sites. (My favorite was India’s, a beautifully designed digital archive designed to contextualize its footage and work in both high-bandwidth and low bandwidth situations.)

Emerging P2P Technologies: This was a glimpse into a wildly exciting and very near future: streaming from bitorrents. The guys at P2P Next are working on something called the Swarmplayer, which allows you to stream from torrents, which means that you can create a YouTube like video archive with none of the server or infrastructure costs. Imagine a video archive where you can stream or download or both, and where having a popular vid doesn’t kill your bandwidth, it increases your download speed. Imagine being able to watch anything currently being torrented through streaming, on-demand. (You can test Swarmplayer now, though you can only watch two videos; the researchers say we can expect a full version to be released in November, 2009.)

How to Make a Political Remix Video: Political remixer and friend of the OTW Jonathan McIntosh has been showcasing fan vids on his site, Now he’s made what he calls a vidding-influenced political remix video critiquing Twilight, Edward Meets Buffy (Twilight Remixed), which he premiered at the conference. Vidders, he’d love to hear what you think, so check out the video (embedded below, or linked on blip, which provides higher quality; vidders might check out blip as a replacement for YouTube or iMeem.)

Event, Vidding
  1. Elizaria commented:

    I just watched that vid with an absolute gleeface, I love Buffy’s sane reaction to that creepy vampire. It’s mixed beautifully. It showcases exactly what he summed it up with: In this remixed narrative Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer at Sunnydale High. It’s an example of transformative storytelling serving as a critique of Edward’s character and generally creepy behavior. Through Buffy’s eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.

  2. ChristinaK commented:

    *gleeeeee* Man, do I love this. Buffy dealt with enough stalkery vamps and other creepy things that she of course had an answer for every one of Edward’s come-ons. Thank you for the sanity! It also progresses well and is is wonderfully put together.

  3. elementalv commented:

    This vid is incredible. I reposted it at my LJ, and the response has been universally positive (and not only because he did an incredible editing job). His choice of clips and the story he told with them fills me with no end of glee and squee.

  4. RDphantom commented:

    The SwarmPlayer sounds really cool. I think it’s neat that the OTW is looking into the different possible ways a vid archive could be constructed.

    I am curious about how easily lesser-known vids will be able to be streamed though. Will it even be possible to stream a vid that has very few downloads going on? And how long will it take to be able to play the vid, if it can be streamed? Given the eventual very large size of the video archive, there will be a large amount of videos that will have low activity at any given time. The SwarmPlayer will be of little use to them if a large number of downloads are required to stream a vid.

    Thanks for everyone’s work on the archive, it’s greatly appreciated.


    • fcoppa commented:

      The way we’re talking about it–and please, keep in mind this is all drawing board stage hypotheticals–is that OTW’d make sure there were enough seeds for the typical hosted vid: that’s not the problem. Our real problem as an archive would be success: one “Knights of the Round Table” (which got, like, 8 million hits on youtube?) could take down the whole caboodle. (The Buffy v. Edward video I linked to, btw, got over 500,000 hits in something like 24 hours.) So you’d want a way that a really successful vid wouldn’t knock out the archive and take down our bandwidth. I’d initially suggested something like, it got disabled if there were too many plays, but this is a much better solution.

      Meanwhile, I did get your email and I will make a post about streaming sites and our hopes for an archive; just, let me tell you, its been some day to be the head of Open Doors and Vidding History both. *shovels email*

      • RDphantom commented:

        Wow, those are a lot of views!! I can really see how that would be disabling to the archive if not planned for and coded properly. And I’m sure that the OTW’s server space and bandwidth won’t be anywhere near YouTube’s when the archives finally open. If the OTW will make sure that even the lesser-known vids will be able to be reasonably downloaded I’m all for something like the SwarmPlayer, provided it works well, is stable, can work with the archive code, ect…

        Busy day, huh? I hope you weren’t too overwhelmed. Thanks so much for considering my email!