TODAY: Voyeur TV ‘live’ on a computer near you

TODAYDIY reality videos made with free online tools the rage among netizens

HOSTING video files on the Internet is not a new concept, and you can find a variety of services — both free and paid — to store and share your video clips. Two of the most popular are YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Google Video (video.google.com).

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These two free services allow users to upload their own video clips in a variety of formats, including those taken with mobile phones. And we’ve already seen the pervasiveness of these new services during the General Election, with netizens uploading and sharing video clips of rallies and election speeches.

I think the availability of such tools has emboldened some netizens to skirt the edge of the legalities involved — such as copyright and other laws (such as the Parliamentary Elections Act) — and I’ve seen video clips made by people shooting footage from television screens.
For starters, both Google and YouTube make uploading and sharing video clips a cinch.

If you have an interesting clip that you want to share with your friends and the general public, all you need to do is create an account with either service and upload the clip to your allocated space.

Then, you can cut the little bit of programming code provided for you and paste it into your blog entry and voila, you have a blog post with an embedded video clip, and it plays right off the page (as opposed to having to download the file first).

I played around with YouTube recently, by uploading a video clip of a noisy and annoying water fountain which I shot with my phone camera, just so I could illustrate how noisy and annoying the water fountain was.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, could these video-sharing services possibly bring about the demise of text-based blogging altogether? I’m not sure about that, but there are several things you could do with either service.

Thinking of starting your own television channel? That sounds like what one blog seems to be doing. With a tagline that reads “figuring out Singapore in byte-sized chunks”, “Channel X” (channel-x.blogspot.com) was launched on May 15 — inspired, it seems, by the recent General Election.

So far, the site features a five-minute video clip that resembles a news or information bulletin, complete with footage shot off television screens, and what looks like a PowerPoint slide presentation.

Don’t have that radio presenter voice or afraid that you might be identified by your unique speech patterns? “Channel X” skirts around that problem with a computer-synthesised voice commentary.

The rate at which netizens are adopting these tools means we’ll get to see more and more video footage of things that would previously have been the domain of hearsay and third-party reporting.

Last week, a secondary school student uploaded onto YouTube a phone video clip of two schoolmates fighting in a toilet. By the time common sense (and possibly the school’s administration) made him delete the file, it had already been seen, downloaded, copied and distributed among thousands, with comments made by viewers which ranged from disgust at the notion of violence in schools to disgust at the tameness of the “fight”.

“We are, after all, not talking about two actors, but two real-life school children,” said commenter “Nick Tay”. Complained “dh”: “Don’t they know how to fight in schools anymore? I would have thrown the first punch at that boy who was posing, and he wouldn’t have been able to get up for a long time … ”

One thing’s for sure: You have content-hungry netizens scouring the Internet for action. Forget Reality TV, reality-video-clips-online are the rage.

Speaking of rage, someone in Hong Kong posted a phone camera (aren’t they nifty little evil things?) video last week of a very heated verbal altercation between two bus passengers.

Now, while the YouTube video itself was strangely entertaining enough, the past few days has seen derivative works by viewers — who cut and sampled the video and audio from the original, and re-uploaded their work back onto YouTube.

So far, I’ve seen two techno-rap versions and a karaoke version of the video, complete with profane “lyrics”.

How would you find these video clips without me putting the URL here? Well, both YouTube and Google Video allow you to “tag” clips which you’ve uploaded, just like you can “tag” your blog posts and photographs.

So, to share your clips with people interested in the subject matter, tag it with an appropriate keyword or phrase, such as “Singapore” or “school fight”.

And if you’re still hankering after the Hong Kong bus passenger altercation video clip, the tag phrase in Cantonese is, translated literally, “bus uncle”. Enjoy!

Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over two years, and has been reluctant to go on camera ever since he was passed over for a burger television commercial.

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8 thoughts on “TODAY: Voyeur TV ‘live’ on a computer near you”

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  2. Hi there, I have a question regarding google video. How can I escape the tag filtering in MSN space? I tried all means but still stucked in getting my google video up in my space. Apparently the “embed” tag is considered as a security threat and thus removed from the blog’s html… left me with a blank entry… Would appreciate very much if you could help… reply to my email would you please?

  3. Hi there, I have a question regarding google video. How can I escape the tag filtering in MSN space? I tried all means but still stucked in getting my google video up in my space. Apparently the “embed” tag is considered as a security threat and thus removed from the blog’s html… left me with a blank entry… Would appreciate very much if you could help… reply to my email would you please?

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