In a previous post looking at 4 easy steps to getting your videos online, I looked at 4 of the major players in the online video sharing market – YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe and Soapbox. In this post I’m going to look at some other sites that I missed out, and try to spend less time on the sign-up process. Unlike the previous sites, most of these sites are not general video sharing sites, but a mixture of an attempt to create custom “channels” where a user can create an online presence with a series of videos or episodes, or social networking sites, with video at their core.
Step 1: Find your video
For ease of comparison I once again chose the short (13 seconds, 3.5MB) video of the Amalfi Coast, between Positano and Amalfi.
Step 2: Create an account
What initially seemed easy, turned out to be a little less straightforward. Because of the revenue sharing opportunities that Revver are developing there was a fair bit more information they needed from you, such as paypal information, agreement to various distribution options, and your address. There were further optional questions too. I would prefer they asked me those questions later.
Incredibly easy and took less than 10 seconds.
A relatively lengthly sign-up process, requiring an address and phone number.
Easy, with optional entries for your cellphone or Instant Messenger ID for future updates.
They say sign up only takes 10 seconds, but they’re wrong. It takes about 8. Nice and easy.
Step 3: Upload the video
Using a flash based interface this gave a nice progress indicator. I was unsure if I could leave to browse around the site, so I tried it and although I lost the progress indicator it soon appeared in my dashboard. [Incidentally, I really liked the dashboard on Revver, which shows your earnings, message inbox and so on]. Adding the usual title, description and keywords, there was also a selection for audience using the American ratings classification, PG-13, NC-17 etc. Revver then makes you wait in order for their Video Patrol team to review the video.
A nice visual editor for the description box made a nice change, with the ability to add images and HTML if you wish. You could also upload your own thumbnail image, choose a copyright license, content rating (bespoke), and some optional fields regarding distribution. Despite all the options I found it to be simple and intuitive. Uploading once again gives a progress bar, with an indication of transfer rate. It also suggests some other features of the site, which for a newbie was quite interesting (such as the ability to upload via FTP and directly from Windows Movie Maker) but I doubt of much use for a regular user. However after clicking on one of these I then hit a problem – where was the video I uploaded? Honestly I couldn’t find it, it seems that navigating away from the page interrupts the upload. I ended up re-uploading the same video, waiting until it had been uploaded and then using the options I was then presented with.
Brightcove is more of a corporate solution where branding and photos (as well as videos) can be uploaded, called “Assets”. Like vPod, Brightcove attempts to enable businesses and individuals to create their own personal TV channels. Upload requires either a Quick Upload plugin or a separate piece of software called Publishpod, which is quite odd as they whole site is Flash based and an uploader could have easily been built in. Videos have to already be in Flash format, or Windows Media Video for Pay Media downloads. As this meant that I could no longer compare this site to other sites, I didn’t upload the video and didn’t continue with Brightcove. Not rated.
[Update: I received the following info in an email from Brightcove: “…the Publishpod can be used to both encode videos from various formats into Flash and upload files to your account. Only the Quick Upload plugin requires the videos to be previously encoded.” However the Publishpod still requires a separate download and install which no other site requires.]
This was as easy as any of the other sites, although I was forced to select a category which, although may fit with the overall themes of the site, none of them fit with my test video. A pop-up window shows the progress of the upload, allowing you to continue to use the site and upload another video if you want. Closing the window aborts the upload. Nice and simple.
Very simple like the others, a progress bar informs you of the, er, progress. Vimeo has a weekly limit of 30MBs for videos which may be too constraining for a lot of people. A nice big “watch it” link appears to avoid confusion. The video appears in it’s native format to begin with (.avi through Windows Media Player), but is converted to flash in the background.
Step 4: View the video
http://blip.tv/scripts/flash/blipplayer.swf?autoStart=false&file=http://blip.tv/file/get/Joelwills-TheAmalfiCoastItaly233.flv%3Fsource%3D3Blip.tv Video Embedded
Low flash quality but available in different formats
Vimeo Video Embedded
Quality low but like the others
Pros: Nice interface. Probably the best video quality in this test.
Cons: A long wait to see video online, although may have been due to uploading problems.
Pros: Integrated video blogging platform, choice of video formats.
Cons: A few too many options and no warning on interrupting uploads so a person with a small brain like me has problems.
Pros: Fast Flash interface, plenty of options.
Cons: Less of a video sharing site and more of a social networking site. Low video quality.
Pros: Quick to join, easy to upload and available immediately.
Cons: Low video quality – arguably worse than MyHeavy.
Go here for a comparison of the video quality of all 8 video sharing sites from this article and the previous article.
Video quality was overall much poorer that the 4 big sites. Several sites took too long to process/approve the video. Previously Metacafe users decided not to approve my video (I got an email to say it was too boring, I must have missed that in the t&c’s….), and although that was later rectified I wonder whether reviewing solutions like this are scaleable if a site gets truly popular? Blip did a nice job of trying to integrate video publishing, blogging and various other tools such as del.ico.us and Flickr. Their video was available immediately (after I figured out the upload “problem”), in flash format or the original source (.avi) and in the latter the quality was the same as source (which I imagine it should be!). MyHeavy attempts to be more of a social networking site and to some degree succeeds, although I’m no expert.
All the sites had some small niggle with them (such as the adding of keywords where there seems to be no standard for how to enter these – do you separate them with a space or a comma? Use quotation marks for phrases? Are you allowed 3, 5 or unlimited keywords?), but these are probably personal and subjective.
Other sites such as Eyespot and Daily Motion confirms that at the moment there seems no stopping the rise of online video sharing sites, there is a wealth to choose from. Which one to choose is probably based on what you need it for. YouTube is the most popular (and will probably stay so with the merge with Google Video), but also one with the most “competition”. Revver and Metacafe allow you to share revenue if that is what you want, MyHeavy and Blip are more integrated social networking sites, and Soapbox has the highest video quality (in my opinion), but is only a small marketplace at the moment. Please, let me know your thoughts.