Why crowd-sourced films are the biggest disruptive force I’ve seen in years
Something new for entertainment executives to stress over
Over the last few days, I’ve been playing around with a mobile video app called Vyclone.
Check the site, download and play, but I urge you to play with other people who have the app in the same room. It’s really important you do, or you just won’t get it.
If you’ve ever been to a large event, videoed it, and have then been disappointed at the results, you’ll love this app. If you’ve experience of storytelling in video, the possibilities will probably charm you.
If you work for a commercial broadcaster, or in electronic distribution rights for events, it will probably stop you sleeping at night.
Vyclone finds all the other people in the same place as you, recording the same thing, and stitches their videos together into a multi-camera shoot. If you don’t like what it does automatically, you can make your own camera mix.
It’s the most disruptive, fascinating, troubling, creative, delicious, innovation I’ve seen in years. This is a game-changer.
Some perspective: 15 years ago, worried rights-owners would try to ban people bringing video cameras into their events (some still do). They had already sold the TV rights to another company and were obliged to protect that sale.
With mobile phone video, there were too many people to police, but they quickly realised it wasn’t a threat because these individuals made rubbish content. They weren’t organised and had no scale or impact. The individual YouTube stats for the uploaded videos proved that.
These elements have now irrevocably changed. A crowd-source video app offers both organisation and scale, automatically.
Let’s say I’m at Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend music festival. I’m recording Nicki Minaj performing ‘Starships’
(top chune btw). My camera only gets a general view of the stage. But at the front, two other people I don’t even know are recording the left and right sides of the stage. One might have Minaj in full close-up. Yet another person is recording the crowd and their friends further back.
The app stitches all of those shots together into a music video.
If you’re a broadcast professional, I can already hear your say “it still won’t be as good as our planned, directed TV coverage”, and you are absolutely right. But, here’s the kicker:
It’ll be good enough.
YouTube doesn’t amass millions of eyeballs a day because it’s professional. It has content that for the most part, is just good enough for the few minutes those millions want to watch.
Now, take my music festival scenario and imagine instead a riot. Or a war zone. You see how powerful this might be for news gathering?
There’s still a long way to go obviously. For now, you actually have to be recording through an installed application for the auto-mix to work. There’s a limit of 4 other cameras in a single mix. The video quality is, well, from a mobile phone. All these will improve and become less restrictive.
But even now, it’s good enough.
There are fights to come. The technology raises massive issues about whether anyone can “own” the resulting video when anyone is free to remix and share the individual parts.
Given the massive, lucrative sporting event about to engulf my home city of London, I’ll give you one last scenario to imagine the impact of a crowd-sourced, non-owned, multiple camera recording:
I wish the International Olympics Committee a good night’s sleep.