Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The YouTube Experience

Everybody's gotten into the YouTube thing, even Oprah had a show on it recently, meaning it's finally reached maturity after moving from latest trend to cool. But the most I ever got involved in it was to watch videos my friends sent me. Then I published Lifeliner. I had a book trailer done. Fortunately, the producers posted it on their YouTube account, which saved me from creating my own account. But never fear, I too was eventually sucked in.

It was actually going through the last bits of my lawsuit that did it. I needed a new outlet for the emotions this never-ending torture of a legal system engendered in me, and Flickr had added video capability on its site. Only videos of 90 seconds long could be uploaded, but seeing what others were doing got me interested. I gave it a try; then I started making videos longer than 90 seconds, and YouTube became feasible in my mind. I joined.

Since then I've done these odd videos, and one educational one when we Canadians went through a Parliamentary crisis and so many were easily duped by Prime Minister Stephen Harper into thinking a coalition was undemocratic. My most creative moments when concocting videos seem to come in the wee hours. Makes for a hell of a day afterwards. It's even worse when I go to upload the videos. There are a couple of different ways through YouTube -- I can never remember which one works best for me, and inevitably the damn thing doesn't work. Eventually after much swearing, retries, simultaneous uploading in different browsers, and confusion, YouTube says, yeah, OK, I'll let you upload it. But then it's not available in high definition for days or weeks. So when I did my latest video, my longest one yet -- and for me, anything over 2 minutes seems awfully long -- I signed in to YouTube and clicked on the Upload button with great trepidation. Imagine my surprise when it showed a progress bar, and one that actually moved. But then it got stuck on full. Was it uploaded? Was it processing it? It didn't say. So I opened up another YouTube window and checked my Account, and there it was.

But not fully processed.

Not in high definition.

While I waited, I cut out the first 90 seconds of the video, saved it, uploaded it to Flickr, filled in the description, saw it go live and in HD, and went back to YouTube. Yup, YouTube is sloooowww.

But YouTube had at last processed it. As usual the available thumbnails sucked. I changed the thumbnail, added a map location, and went to check it out.

It was live but not in high definition. It only took the rest of the day to make that happen. YouTube is getting better, meaning easier to use. But I do wish it was as simple and as informative on how things are going as Flickr.

And now for the show. It's not artsy or eductional or a book trailer, it's a short. Enjoy!

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