Thursday, July 20, 2006

myKlipz At iKlipz

Does the world need another YouTube? No, it most certainly does not.

I genuinely love YouTube, and I also truly hate it. On the one hand, it's a platform for people to upload, and for free, fast-downloading, easily embeddable movies and video clips. On the other hand, it's absolutely rife with copyright theft.

iKlipz promises to be a little different. Somewhere between the bottomless bucket of video that is YouTube and a social networking site ala Friendster or MySpace, the principle idea seems to be in offering fledgling, rising or just plain keen filmmakers somewhere to host their work.

So far, it isn't so heavily subscribed. YouTube gets around a 100 million video views a day, and while I have no figures for iKlipz the current shortfall can't be much less than, frankly, 100 million views.

I've popped a couple of my shorter films up there - Aphrodisiac Casserole and John vs Laura - because they're good ones to begin with, I think. Easily digestible, fairly popular, certainly not embarrassing. They've been downconverted into a proprietary Flash video, but it isn't absolutely horrible, and I can live with the resolution, aspect ratio issues and relatively minor colour and sound issues for a while, until, I suppose, I can afford my own server space to host nice, shiny, perfected Quicktime versions of my films.

Of course, I also have a Member Page at iKlipz, and the beginnings of a blog, which is so far just a few posts about the two 'klipz' I have posted, and a little something about the short film I am working on now, The Make-Up.

Up to my elbows in iKlipz, I'm starting to get a good idea of what works there, and what does not.

The site is split in several ways. First, there's the distinction between Member Klipz and Industry Klipz. It's early days in seeing how the separation works in practice, but the idea is sound, I think. According to a member of Crew Creative, who are working with iKlipz to promote, and presumably streamline the site, it's going to shake out like this:

"Member movies are clips, shorts, films, etc. that any member uploads. Industry films are those that have been selected by our Programming Dept. These are featured on the Industry page, which is the best way to bypass all the unscreened stuff that people upload. This way you get to have your cake and eat it too - if you want the latest funny viral, you can find it; if you're looking for more serious indie fare, goto the Industry section."

Fair enough, I can swing with that - as long, of course, as my films end up on the Industry side of the fence.

The iKlipz advisory board has a few big names attached - Eamonn Bowles of Magnolia Pictures, Jon Landau of Lightstorm Entertainment, Julian Schnabel, Ed Burns. Notably, also, Adrianna Bocco who is an agent at The Gersh Agency.

I'm waiting Adrianna. Do get in touch.

There are a number of message boards, or Film Forums, with idiosyncratic titles such as Film Strip, Current Obsessions and Award Season. As yet, they are vastly under-trafficked - some of them are currently playing host to just me, screaming into the void, and the occasional passing tumbleweed. One board has proven quite popular, however, and that's a chronicle of the various bugs found on the site. Already it seems that a number have been cleaned up, which inspires confidence.

As well as being able to add 'friends', subscribe to one another's klipz and e-mail other members, there's also a little IM widget. I've tried to contact a few people in the last couple of days, and only successfully reached one, but then the gizmo seemed about as reliable as these services typically are. At least as far as I can see, nobody has sent me an IM yet, so I don't know how clear it is for the recipient of a new, unexpected conversation that something starting is up. It could be very obvious, or it could be rather tricky to spot. Anybody wandering around iKlipz who can drop me an IM would certainly help put this issue to rest in my mind.

Currently, Supersize Me is running on the site in it's entirety, and unsurprisingly, it's the number one viewed film. There's also some fuss about Aaron Woodley, famous for being David Cronenberg's nephew, infamous for having Mariah Carrey cast in his next film. After this, it seems that the standard issue YouTube business is largely the most viewed material, from film trailers to virals. As the number of Members builds and the new, interesting content piles up, however, we might just see iKlipz start to live up to it's potential.

Also be aware, if you do have anything to stream online but just need a little more encouragement, that a monthly Sony competition will be taking place on iKlipz. When it begins, however, just isn't at all apparent. Allegedly, the prizes will be really good stuff, such as nice, new HD Cams and similar tech, and hopefully the competition will be worldwide, and not just limited to US Citizens.

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