Gnural Net: An Early Look At Our First Product…

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Though we still have a ways to go with development, here is a quick overview of the first product we will be launching – a turnkey solution that integrates Skype into professional video production workflows:

I put this short video together to give potential investors a picture of what we’ve been working on, and decided to share it with all of you as well. I am really excited by the progress we have made thus far, and extremely grateful for the support we’ve already received from so many people in the video production community.

The journey has just begun…

GNURAL NET: Starting My Next Chapter…

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Some big changes have been happening for me. While a few of you may already know this, just over a month ago I started a new company – GNURAL NET, INC. – and have been totally consumed with getting everything in place and moving.

In my two previous companies, the focus was on taking content that was produced by one group and organizing it in a way that it could be easily discovered and consumed by another. Multex dealt with financial information, taking research and estimates produced by brokers, and packaging it up for institutional investors to leverage. InfoNgen took the next step, organizing the content produced broadly on the web into specific industry taxonomies, and helping corporations discover and share the bits that were most relevant to them.

With GNURAL NET, I’m introducing this same model into a completely different market, integrating the content and social interaction found on the web into professional video production workflows. This is a fast growing and rapidly changing market, ripe for new ideas and approaches. I have been involved in the video production space since the mid-1990′s, and see a tremendous opportunity to impact how things are now done in this industry. I am incredibly excited to have the chance combine my love of technology with my passion for video in this new venture, and fully believe that what we are doing here will be transformative to this market.

As for The Digital Edge, I do expect that some of things I write about here will reflect my deeper involvement in both the New York startup scene and the video production world. Of course, I’ll continue to share about all the other tech related things that I love as well, so things shouldn’t change much. (WWDC is next Monday!!!)

I know I haven’t included too many specifics in this post about what we’re actually doing at GNURAL NET. I really don’t want to disclose too much yet, but will share more with all of you as we get funding and things progress.

I am so excited to be heading down this new path. Thanks for letting me share it with you!

StationCreator: The Future Of TV…

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I was just introduced to an exciting new company called StationCreator. StationCreator is focused on creating the framework needed for the virtual aggregation, scheduling, and play back of web based video content. They have put together a brief overview of the framework they provide:

I have been working with StationCreator for about two weeks now and am very impressed by what they have accomplished in this first release of the product/service (in fact, it’s still in beta, making it all the more impressive)

To get the feel for what working with StationCreator is like, I put together a basic channel focused on Web Video Production. It is built up from web videos that I have watched in this area. The videos are all scheduled to play at specific times in a sequence – a perfect ‘lean back’ model familiar to everyone comfortable with today’s traditional television experience:

The internet is clearly going to become the dominant means of distributing media over the next decade – maybe even faster. Though it is still in beta, StationCreator is ahead of the curve in this regard, and is definitely a company to watch.

I plan to follow this post up with a more detailed video, covering a typical production workflow supported by StationCreator and touching on some of the key markets that could benefit from it. This is a powerful product that is coming to market at just the right time – I’m really glad they’ve given me an early look…

More to come, so stay tuned…

Would You Get A 3D Television?…

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In a post I wrote last week, I took a look the impact 3D video is likely to have in the consumer marketplace. After that post went up, I had two people mentioned to me that they simply couldn’t see themselves wearing special glasses to watch television, and one more thought that it was just a fad and wouldn’t want to waste their money. While there was certainly interest in it as well, only one person – an avid gamer – seemed really excited about it. It wasn’t much of a sampling, but the feedback wasn’t exactly what I expected.

So I wanted to open the question up to all of you:

Would you consider getting a 3D Television at some point in the future?

If Yes:

  • Would you want it to be a ‘secondary’ set or your primary one?
  • Could you see watching sports or movies in 3D? Regular TV programs? Gaming?
  • What price would the sets have to come down to to be interesting?
  • What is the minimum size screen would you need to have on a 3D set?

If No:

  • Is it because you just don’t know enought about what’s involved?
  • Is it because you typically multi-task when you watch TV?
  • Does the current higher cost turn you off from it?
  • Does the need to wear special 3D glasses turn you off?
  • Have you seen any 3D movies in theaters? Did any impress you or were they all duds?

I really would appreciate whatever feedback you’d be willing to give. The questions are just a guide to help you think about an answer, so any opinions or insights on the subject are welcome. This will be a lot more interesting if more people are willing to comment (or if you feel more comfortable, just send me an email instead). I’ll discuss whatever feedback I get in a follow-up post, and if the interest is high enough, I’ll spend more time covering 3D Television and 3D video production in the future.

I really appreciate whatever time you can take to respond.

Thanks!

A Short Movie Shot And Edited On An iPhone 4…

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While I gave you a quick look last Friday at the quality of video produced by the iPhone 4, that was done without any attention to lighting and with the iPhone propped-up against a monitor. The movie I’ve embedded here, while also shot using the iPhone 4, was produced professionally, and leveraged an array of techniques and equipment to produce a clean stable image.

This short movie is called “Apple of My Eye” – an iPhone 4 film from Michael Koerbel. At the end of the movie, a small ‘making of’ segment is included that shows exactly how the various shots were composed, blocked, and shot.

Over all, this is an interesting look at how short films are made, and the best example to date of the true quality of the video that can be produced on the iPhone 4.

Not only that, but it was edited entirely on iMovie for iPhone. Without any of the post production tools offered with Final Cut or Avid, I consider this an impressive feat on it’s own.

Enjoy.

Bringing 3-D Video Production To The Masses…

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I’ve been getting ready to begin producing new video podcasts for The Digital Edge again, and that has made me start paying a bit more attention to what is currently going in the video production space. While not immediately applicable to what I plan on shooting, one of the most interesting new areas in video now is the production of 3D ready content.

3D has become a key draw for many new movies and big budget productions, most notably James Cameron’s recent movie Avatar. The basic premise of 3D filming is to record two distinct image streams simultaneously from lenses that are spaced apart by the same distance as a normal person’s two eyes. This spacing is known as the inter-ocular distance. When played back on the correct viewing equipment, these two streams combine to produce images that appear to be three dimensional. The best 3D playback systems being produced today are based on a display that is synced up with a special pair of glasses. These glasses alternately block the image for one eye or the other, with each eye only seeing one of the image streams recorded on the 3D camera. Our native “persistence of vision” (the time the retina holds on to an image after it is gone) lets the system impress a unique image on both eyes while our mind ends up processing it as a single complex image. The “stereo imaging” this creates provides a person with a perception of depth equivalent to what they would see in real life.

But 3D is more than just a technology for movie theaters. 3D televisions with alternating shutter glasses have just started to become available in consumer channels, with top CE firms like Sony actively supporting it. Content providers are also moving into this space with major producers like ESPN and Discovery committing to creating channels carrying nothing but 3D programming. While adoption may start off slowly, 3D has made a good start in establishing itself as a viable delivery model for high value productions both big and small. I expect it to start moving mainstream over the next three years.

The place where I do expect 3D delivery to really take off very quickly is in video games. The detailed environments developed for most video games today can easily be repackaged for 3D delivery, allowing game producers to come to market with a substantial back catalog of 3D material without a significant ramp up delay. A strong selection of 3D games would likely accelerate adoption, and make the purchase of any new equipment required for 3D playback an easier decision to make. Gamers also tend to be experience junkies and would naturally be drawn to something that offered the kind of truly immersive experience that 3D can.

I’d like to get the chance to see more 3D programming first hand – especially 3D sports – before committing the money needed to buy a system like this for myself. But from what I see of it so far, I do expect that 3D television will become a part of my home technology arsenal at some point in the foreseeable future.

It just won’t be coming to my Digital Edge productions quite yet…