Google+ Hangout Technical Insights and Ideas to Reshape Newsrooms

Friday, 29 July, 2011


KOMU G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00a - Sarah Hill and Nina Moini

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this article, I will try to share some of my technical observations and insights. (note: For my general and business insights, you can read my previous article.)

Using G+ Hangout as a control room of 9 Electronic News Gathering (ENG) team


1) News anchor running G+ Hangout connecting to maximum of nine Electronic News Gathering (ENG) teams in the field.

2) Each of the nine reporters will have a notebook computer connecting to the internet via a 3G/4G data stick. And each reporter has a handheld SD/HD camera hooking up to the notebook as its camera. (note: SD or HD probably doesn’t matter here because the data will be compressed and you are transporting over 3G/4G network anyway.) (Aug 11 update: Currently, G+ Hangout doesn’t support external video cameras. I have reflect this request to G+ engineers.)

3) Any “newsroom” can probably set this up easily.

In fact, any team of volunteer citizen journalists may even be able create such a reporting setup with less trouble. All it takes is each individual citizen journalist to have a notebook computer, a fast 3G/4G data stick, and a camera. And these citizen journalists can work together depending on needs and events, etc.

4) Feed the G+ Hangout video stream out to the wider world using tools like Livestream for mass distribution.

5) Use cases: Will be quite cool to report on elections, street festivals, concerts, and live events.

Non-ideal use cases: Any major crisis, earthquakes, etc where the mobile 3G/4G networks are expected be extremely congested and overloaded. In these rare cases, old school dedicated microwave or satellite transmission will likely provide more stable transmission than overloaded mobile data networks.

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 07 - Norway https link

Fixing the insecurity of G+ Hangout

At the moment, Google+ Hangouts is known to be insecure, in the sense that each hangout participant has the clear text “…” link (see the top of the above photo) and can copy and then share with Read the rest of this entry »

How Google “Randomly” Pick Thumbnails for your YouTube Videos

Sunday, 17 July, 2011

Have you wondered about how Google pick thumbnails for YouTube videos you uploaded? Well, I have. it seems like pretty random and people online had different theories posted. So I spent a few minutes to finally tracked down some current info. Have a read of Google talking about “Smart Thumbnails on YouTube” to understand how Google’s algorithm seems to randomly picked thumbnails for your YouTube videos, but it actually tries to do it smartly to avoid problems its previous method lead to.

Also check out Google’s blog entries tagged with YouTube and Video.

UBC = crazy awesome!

Wednesday, 4 May, 2011

UBC = crazy awesome! Don’t believe me? Check out this video (viewed over 1 million times since Apr 8, 2011). What a creative way to showcase a school by looking at the 1000+ UBCers involved in making the video. Make sure you watch the last bit for some of the behind the scenes stuff. Great job everyone at UBC (especially director Andrew Cohen for his creative vision). [HT Doug Coupland]

Here is an excerpt from “UBC LipDub to film this weekend – Attempt at viral video to feature cast of thousand” (with behind the scenes photos),

“On Saturday, March 26, filming for UBC LipDub will take over campus in what is sure to be a strange assemblage of over 1000 people out to promote school spirit. “We have a whole lot of people with crazy costumes signed up,” said Andrew Cohen, the event’s organizer. “People come up to me saying, ‘Can I be a Chewbacca on rollerskates?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, that’ll be fantastic.’ I don’t need to say no to anything.”

In its purest form, a lip dub is a single-shot video in which participants lip-synch along to a song while trying to act as outlandish as possible.

The songs chosen to represent UBC are Marianas Trench’s “Celebrity Status” and Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.” Cohen feels that the latter encompasses the best parts of campus and of lip dub as a form. “It’s got a really great message. It’s about being who you are, it’s okay to be different and to enjoy what makes us different,” he said.”

P.S. I attended UC and UT, and I wish they would do something as cool & fun as UBC to promote school spirit and possibly attract students!

CAMERON – PACE Group NAB Show 2011 press conference & keynote video clips

Tuesday, 12 April, 2011

James Cameron and Vince Pace at NAB Show 2011

I found the following insightful CAMERON – PACE Group Press Conference clips and short excerpts of the Jim Cameron & Vince Pace‘s keynote at NAB Show 2011. Enjoy.

Thanks NABShow for posting these videos. Love them.

Read the rest of this entry »

James Cameron and Vince Pace NAB Show 2011 Opening Keynote – Launched CAMERON – PACE Group (CPG)

Monday, 11 April, 2011

Update: Check out video clips of the keynote and extensive clips of the press conference. Official NAB Show Daily news, “Cameron, Pace Keynote Sets Tone for the Show


James Cameron and Vince Pace at NAB Show 2011

Screen capture source: NAB Show 2011

James Cameron and Vince Pace at NAB Show 2011

Photo source credit: @ReubenLangdon (photo)

NAB Show 2011 Keynote by James Cameron and Vince Pace

I wish I could be at NAB Show 2011 and attending James Cameron and Vince Pace’s NAB Show 2011 Opening Keynote to see they launched CAMERON – PACE Group.

James Cameron and Vince Pace Form New Venture to Accelerate 3D Solutions Across All Entertainment Platforms“, April 11, 2011 Official press release,

““Our goal is to banish all the perceived and actual barriers to entry that are currently holding back producers, studios and networks from embracing their 3D future,” said James Cameron, Co-Chairman of CAMERON – PACE Group. “We are dedicated to building a global brand that is synonymous with high quality 3D and spans multiple channels, from features to episodic television, and changes the boundaries of what is understood to be 3D material.”

CPG‘s mission is to step up industry-wide efforts to help filmmakers realize 3D’s full potential as a creative and powerful storytelling medium and accelerate the growth of the next generation of 3D solutions across all platforms,” said Vince Pace, Co-Chairman and CEO of CAMERON – PACE Group. “Through our expanded reach and new generation of 3D solutions, we will deliver a variety of creative tools including SLATE2SCREEN™ 3D production services, educational workshops for industry professionals in FUSION 3D and FUSION 3D Mobile Workflow Units that support end-to-end solutions for both the live and recorded production environments. CPG will deliver CAN DO solutions.”

CAMERON – PACE Group already has an extensive list of current and upcoming projects, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” [Kempton: Cool!] “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” [Kempton: Cool!] “The Three Musketeers,” “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” “Life of Pi,” and “47 Ronin.” For a more extensive list of CPG projects, as well as a comprehensive overview of CPG’s available products and services, please refer to,”

Also see news from NYTReutersPC magazine, and Hollywood Reporter,

““Broadcasting is the future of 3D,” Cameron said, predicting that in as few as two years, “everything will be produced in 3D” and 2D versions will be extracted from that.”

On a personal note, the more I read about Jim (see “The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron“), the more I admire him as a determined artist, filmmaker, and businessman.


Apr 12, 2011 Update:

* Studio Daily, “ARRI Teams with CAMERON-PACE Group on Alexa M Development

* Guardian, “James Cameron expects 100% 3D within the next five years – All film and TV will be made in 3D soon, says Avatar director as he launches venture promoting industry take-up of technology

New Final Cut Pro X announced tonight (available in June for $299) at NAB 2011

Wednesday, 6 April, 2011

April 14, 2011: MacRumors (with extensive 50+ minutes video clip), “Video of Final Cut Pro X Introduction Now Available” [HT @joshjanssen]

THR, “Avid CEO Weighs in on Rival Apple’s New Editing Software

“Reacting to Final Cut’s newest incarnation — which was greeted with wildly enthusiastic applause when it was unveiled Tuesday night — Avid chairman and CEO Gary Greenfield told The Hollywood Reporter: “I think what was reiterated last night is what we have been telling our customers for a long time, that Avid is the company that wakes in the morning focused on professional workflows — professional workflows for professionals who making a living doing what they are doing. That is what Avid is about. That is the type of capabilities that Avid is going to continue to add to its products.

“Whenever Apple does something, they do it well,” he added. “No one really knows until the product is out. There were a lot of unanswered questions. But I think it just reminds people that Avid is going to wake up and serve your professional needs.””

Apr 13 Update: “Final Cut Pro Got A Huge Makeover: Here Are The 10 Best New Features

Apple outs 64-bit Final Cut Pro X, more pro video updates to come

MacRumors, “NAB 2011 Final Cut Pro Supermeet Coverage [Final Cut Pro X Announced]

According to MacRumors, “- Shipping in June on App Store. $299. – No mention of Final Cut Studio or Final Cut Express.” Hmm, what about the other applications? Will they get a new coat of paint or does that mean Apple Final Cut Studio is no more?

Hollywood Reporter, “The new version of its nonlinear editing software — a 64-bit system with a new interface that supports picture resolution up to 4K — will list for just $299.

Note: Got to watch a bit of some LIVE USTREAM of the demo, it was neat while it last.


From THR “Apple May Reveal New Version of Final Cut Pro Next Week” (emphasis added),

“On Tuesday, organizers of SuperMeet — which has attracted more than 1,000 guests in past years — contacted its sponsors to say that Apple had upped its participation and was exclusively taking over the presentation stage, one scheduled sponsor told The Hollywood Reporter.

Sponsors slated to participate during the Tuesday event at Bally’s are Avid, Autodesk, Blackmagic Design and Canon. THR has learned that Avid’s involvement — along with its planned guest speaker, director Kevin Smith — had been canceled.

Wish I could be at NAB to take in James Cameron’s keynote and the reveal of the new FCP.

Obama’s Arizona Speech: Transcript, Video

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011

Here is a link to the transcript and video of President Obama’s Arizona speech (via The Atlantic) (or via CNN). Here is a link to the full speech via C-Span,

I am very touched by Obama’s speech, in particular the following excerpt from the speech (emphasis added).

“I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.

Read the rest of this entry »

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