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Publishing Documentaries on the Internet? 20

Posted by Cliff
from the if-youtube-can-do-it dept.
gehel asks: "While working in Rwanda as a computer engineer, I've had a discussion with a small NGO that produces video documentaries. Internews produces videos about Rwanda to raise the population awareness on different issues, mainly the Gacaca popular court for reconciliation. Those videos are the shown in public projections all over Rwanda. They would be interested in distributing this content to a larger audience: the internet. They have the rights to their documentaries, and are willing to distribute them under a Creative Common license, so we could use the Internet Archives to host the files, however we'd still have to find a good front end. I have been looking into a couple of solutions. Ourmedia is a bit too complicated to use, the Broadcast Machine doesn't seem ready for prime time, so I'm back to the standard Joomla!. I'm pretty sure there is the perfect solution somewhere, but I cant find it. Could you help me?
"The perfect solution would be a Content Management System oriented toward video publishing, that can interact well with the Internet Archives. The ability to create RSS feeds for different media (French/English/Kinyarwanda with high/low quality versions) would be a plus.

Also, if anybody can help us with a good design, then suggestions are welcomed!"
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Publishing Documentaries on the Internet?

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  • YouTube (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    or Google Video
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @12:01AM (#16480683) Homepage

    Upload them to the Internet Archive and let them do the conversion. They'll generate streamable MPEG4 for you. Upload the best version you can and don't worry about the size; they'll keep the high-res archival version available for people who need it, and generate low-rez versions for viewing.

  • by shawn443 (882648) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @12:19AM (#16480789) Homepage
    I am not sure of the logistics you require but I though I would take the oppurtunity to promote this program [getdemocracy.com] I ran across the other day. Its not v1 quality yet but its very promising.
    • by gehel (601073)
      Thanks for the answers so far. As I wrote in the article, the problem is not so much the hosting of video files than the front end to put on. We have to integrate it with the NGO's website, put some informations on the videos ... The only suggestion in that direction sofar is getDemocracy, which I dont find really ready for production.

      Anyway, I'll keep looking, and thanks for the help !
  • Google Video? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Salvance (1014001)
    Why not just upload them to Google Video? There's practically no limit on file size, and you would receive a much broader audience. You would also be able to just embed the videos into your web pages, no need to find a front-end ... although I imagine the quality might be a little lower, and you would have no guarantee that it would stay hosted there.

    Another option may be to host it on the Internet Archive, but then upload a highlight video to Google Videos to raise awareness of the full documentary.
    • by drac0n1z (824583)
      or youtube, or a torrent site, or name it "debby does dallas.avi" and it will be sure to reach people.
    • by winnabago (949419)
      and you would have no guarantee that it would stay hosted there.
      Do you know something about Google that I don't? Of all current internet companies, no, of all companies, I would most expect them to be around for the useful lifespan of a documentary. Sure, the wayback machine has a stated goal to archive digital information, but doesn't have the clout of IB....I mean Google.
      • by Salvance (1014001)
        Hehe ... I wish I had inside knowledge about Google, I'd actually be able to start investing in their stock without my hair turning grey from the stress.

        My point was that Google's video offering is a Beta product, like most of Google's products. There's a chance that they might one day decide to start charging for it (at least for longer clips and movies such as documentaries), or just drop it altogether and roll youtube onto the Google homepage. If the documentary writer plans to embed their video and
        • by winnabago (949419)
          Good point. I guess it depends if the author is tending toward a viral marketing effort, where search engine hits are very important, or if it needs to be somehow more formal, with sales figures. I don't think I would pay more a than a few bucks for a downloadable video from Google - given the limitations of the GSV (flash) format. From the original submitter's tone, I think they may want a genuine distributor - where quality is higher of a priority.

          GVideo is also known to have removed content throug
  • by Invidious (106932) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @02:18AM (#16481427)
    This's something that's always annoyed me about documentaries: people don't get to see them. They show in a very small number of theaters -- I don't care how fantastic it is, I'm not going to travel far out of my way to see one -- and the only people who buy DVDs of the things are the converted Choir, as it were. They're not distributed far enough to make any real impression, to do what they are, by nature, created to do: educate people.

    Documentary filmmakers need to find a way to reach a wider audience. I'd suggest putting them up for DL in limited resolution, but with high quality sound, so that the Documentary stops being an artsy wank-fest and actually becomes a useful tool.
    • by kestasjk (933987)
      The problem is more of a catch 22: The documentaries which try to make money are the ones the general public enjoys seeing, the ones which don't try to make money are usually of poor quality, and so don't get seen despite being free.

      Loose change managed to hit the sweet spot where the documentary is of good enough quality to be watchable (but because of the grainy pictures it felt more like a slideshow, and don't get me started on the content). I think the software used to create the documentary, and the
  • Netflix (Score:3, Informative)

    by bhima (46039) <Bhima.Pandava@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @04:53AM (#16482127) Journal
    Of course uploading it to Youtube or Google Video is a good start.

    But I think the real way to do it is come up with some sort of agreement with Rental by Post companies such as Netflix...

    When you say documentary I think Netflix because they have the largest selection on the planet.
  • Who wants to watch a documentary about Publishing anyway? :)
  • A customized CMS system is what you're looking for, or if you have the knowledge (or people who do) using a web framework like django to build your own isn't as painful as it may first seem.

    I'd like to second google video/uTube as another option to the internet archive, either way, the space for the documentaries shouldn't be a problem.

    As for the design, I'd like to recommend looking at Open Source Web Design [oswd.org]. There are a number of great designs on there.
  • How about Brightcove [brightcove.com]? Also not quite done, but it's already being used by Discovery and MTV. Great front and back end, and the basic account (which sounds like it covers the needs stated) promises to remain free.
  • If you are looking for tips on site design or a CMS, I don't have any. You can choose whichever popular (probably PHP based) CMS you are familiar with or whichever one's style appeals to you.

    As for video hosting, I think the Internet Archive is a good start. However, they have been known to censor videos in the past, so you might want to have on site backups that you could quickly switch to. I would also recommend google video because of it's searchability, support for many video formats, and lack of a fi
  • Just one suggestion: can you make an Ogg Vorbis/Theora version? It would be a shame to create a documentary, then leave the format subject to patents, etc.
    • But realize that making an Ogg version is a political statement, not a useful video format. Yes, I know that all good nerds have invested the hours of codec shuffling it takes for them to be able to view Ogg, but normal people don't do that. And won't.

      Make sure the content is available in the form your viewers can view.
      • by cr0sh (43134)
        Then it should be at least made available in some mpeg format - yes, these are patent protected as well (although IIRC, mpeg-1 isn't anymore?), but I think what the original poster cares about is portability and viewing on a wide range of platforms, and not just Windows (this would mean DVD-R and CD-R burns as well on DVD players, for instance). On this front, mpeg is the obvious choice. Unfortunately, you can't easily apply DRM or other "rights manglement" to it - but for something from an NGO wanting to d
  • Try out Lulu TV for doing short videos/trailers/webisodes and Lulu.com for DVD sales. Lulu TV converts to Flash for browser viewing, MP4 for iPod/PSP and 3GP for phones. We support OGG uploads, and will support the Gnash player when it releases. You also get your own RSS feeds, etc.

    I work there, so I could just be a shill. But it's free, so you've nothing to lose by trying.

    We have a guy using Lulu TV for webisodes of a documentary he's filming to raise funds and drive awareness. It's also a good place

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