interesting articles this week

Saturday, 29 October, 2011

* Huffington Post, “YouTube Snags Amy Poehler, Madonna, Shaquille O’Neal To Launch Original Content Channels

“YouTube is shelling out $100 million to producers, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The money is an advance on advertising money the videos will bring in, and Google will recoup its portion first before splitting the proceeds. Advances are as high as $5 million per channel, said another person familiar with the arrangement, also speaking on condition of anonymity.”

* “Why is Facebook building a server farm near the Arctic Circle?” – It is cold and it has cheap power. AP via TorStar

“Facebook says its new server farm on the edge of the Arctic Circle — its first outside the U.S. — will improve performance for European users of the social networking site.

After reviewing potential sites across Europe, Facebook confirmed Thursday it had picked the northern Swedish city of Lulea for the data center partly because of the cold climate — crucial for keeping the servers cool — and access to renewable energy from nearby hydropower facilities.”

* “Errol Morris: creating reality“, The Guardian

“Talk to any film-maker and they’ll say the same thing: Morris, who was born in 1948, is a revolutionary. His documentaries create reality as much as they capture it. He sees them as art, as essays, as anything but anthropology. Railing against cinéma vérité and its philosophy of “shaky camera equals truth”, he opts instead for dramatic reconstructions, obtrusive soundtracks, striking angles. He also invented and employs a machine called the Interrotron (its name a synthesis of “interview” and “terror”) that makes interviewees appear to be talking directly to the film viewer.

Tabloid, his new film, is as strange as any Morris has ever made. It’s the story of Joyce McKinney, a beauty queen and former Miss Wyoming who in 1977 hired a private aeroplane and with accomplices travelled to England to track down her boyfriend Kirk whom she believed had been abducted by the Mormon church. After kidnapping him, she whisked him off to a cottage in Devon where, depending on whose story you believe, she spent the next three days either raping him as he lay spread-eagled in bed or having a merry feast of “fun, food and sex”.”

* “YouTube Set to Announce TV Initiative With 100 Niche Channels“, THR

“In a low-budget early effort to compete with satellite and cable TV providers, YouTube is set to announce Friday that it has partnered with several entities to roll out television-style channels with professionally produced shows that will strike a sharp contrast to the short videos of crazy cats, skateboard wipeouts and other amateur content that made the site famous. 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!

YouTube 10-year-old sensation Maria Aragon to duet with Lady Gaga

Friday, 18 February, 2011

For a young 10-year-old girl, sometime a simple” tweet can be a life defining/changing event if the tweet was from Lady GagaCBC News is reporting that Maria Aragon will duet with Lady Gaga in Toronto on March 3rd. Maria must be so thrilled now. Twitter, YouTube, and social media tools have bring stars and their fans so much closer.

Read more about Maria Aragon in Winnipeg Free Press “Even the Lady herself is gaga over girl’s talent – Local student’s video viral, gets star gushing and Winnipeg Sun.

LADY GAGA – Born This Way (Cover)

Maria Aragon performs “Just The Way You Are” on Hot 103

P.S. On a personal note. I still remember only less than two years ago that many reporters don’t have Facebook account and don’t use social media tools. Now, traditional news media often report news initiated from the social media.


Feb 22, 2011 Update: TorStar “Singing 10-year-old appears on Ellen“,

“Ten-year-old Canadian singing sensation Maria Aragon has made another stop on her whirlwind tour, this time appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Feb 24, 2011 Update: CBC News “Winnipeg YouTube star on Good Morning America

YouTube Life in a Day – LIVE world premiere tonight (27th January at 8pm EST)

Thursday, 27 January, 2011

Jan 27, 2010, 8:20pm MST post-viewing Update: Great film. Watching the LIVE Q&A from Sundance now. Interesting stuff.


Here is an excerpt from an email from Kevin Macdonald, director of “Life in a Day“, a documentary using footage shot on July 24, 2010 by people from around the world,

“Today we are unveiling Life in a Day at Sundance for the film’s World Premiere. […]

We received a staggering 80,000 clips of film from all around the world for potential inclusion in the film – about 4,500 hours. With so much wonderful footage available to us choosing what to include in the film was extremely difficult. We honestly could have made many more films from all of the material received, so don’t be disheartened if your footage was not included in the final film! We probably thought it was beautiful material but just didn’t have room in a 90 minute film to include it. Remember that the videos in the Life In A Day gallery have already received over 5 million views and this historic archive, of what life was like on 24th July 2010, will live on at

The live stream of the world premiere will take place on the Life in a Day channel ( today, Thursday 27th January at 8pm EST. Outside of the US you can tune in for the re-broadcast at 7pm on Friday, January 28, in your local time zone. This will be your only chance to see Life in a Day before it is released across the world later in 2011.”

Here is a teaser trailer.

Life in a Day – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Sunday, 25 July, 2010

YouTube’s Life in a Day project is a wonderful worldwide experiment. My first contribution is the following clip of my neighbours Keith, Betty Loo & Sarah talking about their beautiful vegetables garden. In fact, Life in a Day gave me a wonderful excuse to say hello and talk to them for the first time.

Life in a Day – Hare Krishna Festival celebrations

Life in a Day – Chinatown Grannies

Life in a Day – What do I have in my pockets?

I have shot some more footage and they will be uploaded soon.

Other Calgary contributions

I am checking out other Calgary contributions and will be adding some of them here. Here is “Uncle and nieces spend an afternoon in a local Calgary park.

News about Life in a Day

* “YouTube Film ‘Life in a Day’ to Employ User-Generated Content“, WSJ Blog

* “Katie Couric’s Notebook: Life in a Day“, CBS

Film Your Day for worldwide Life in a Day YouTube project (July 24, 2010)

Saturday, 24 July, 2010

July 25 Update: Here are some of my video clips for Life in a Day – Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


It is “Life in a Day” day. I am going out to film my day. Go out and film your day too. Have fun. (If you like, you can check out the guidelines.)

Ridley Scott on Life In A Day. Pick up a digital camera and just do it.

Kevin Macdonald on Life In A Day.

Life In A Day – Ridley Scott & Kevin Macdonald Want Your YouTube Moments (July 24, 2010)

Wednesday, 7 July, 2010

Ridley Scott Wants Your YouTube Moments

Pick a day. Ask people to record what’s going on in their lives – getting a haircut, having a birthday party, taking a nap, whatever – and post the video on YouTube. Turn the footage into a feature-length documentary.

Crazy? Maybe. But Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) and Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) are sure giving it a try.

“Life in a Day” is a global experiment in user-generated filmmaking, an increasingly hot area on the Web. A similar project is underway involving Lionsgate and Massify, a social network for digital content creators. Mass Animation is an upstart that is trying, with some success, to make animated films by tapping the Facebook community.

Ridley Scott on Life In A Day. Pick up a digital camera and just do it.

Kevin Macdonald on Life In A Day.

Orcon with Iggy Pop – Direct Grand Prix

Monday, 21 June, 2010

“Direct Grand Prix Goes to New Zealand’s Orcon – Internet Company’s ‘Fantastic Product Demonstration’ Featured Potty-Mouthed Punk Icon Iggy Pop” AdAge

[…] WHAT IT IS: Orcon was an unknown broadband service in the country, so to boost awareness it set out to find eight New Zealanders to record a song with punk music icon Iggy Pop. The selected musicians were connected, using Orcon’s service, to a potty-mouthed, shirtless Iggy, who is based in Miami, and they redid a version of his song “The Passenger” virtually. […]

WHY IT WON: The jury members called “Orcon & Iggy Pop” one of the best uses of celebrity they had ever seen. They also deemed it a “fantastic product demonstration” that showed the public the reliability and strength of the internet service in real time.

Iron Baby

Saturday, 5 June, 2010

Really interesting TorStar story, “Forget ‘Iron Man.’ ‘Iron Baby’ is going viral“. An excerpt,

The twist: Boivin decided to cast his baby daughter Margaret as the star. The mini-movie has already been viewed far more than 2.6 million times.

Simard, a 3-D artist, did all the effects himself, including making the Iron Man costume, which Boivin’s daughter wears to combat evil stuffed animals.

Boivin directed the clip. The pair spent two months producing it. It cost them virtually nothing except their time, since they had all the equipment and the expertise to do it. The only money they spent was on stuffed animals and toy weapons.

Boivin and Simard did the short video just for “fun,” but also as a form of promotion, using their own equipment to film the video, do the effects and sound, and edit the production.

“It’s a way of showing what we can do together to companies who are interested in working with us,” Boivin explained.

“It has been a success for me,” said Boivin in a phone interview from Montreal.

P and NP: a cute movie

Thursday, 22 April, 2010

This is a cute movie about P and NP.

[HT Lance]

Two cool ads from Saatchi & Saatchi

Sunday, 24 January, 2010

“Late in 2009 our Sydney-based Australian company was named Agency of the Decade by Campaign Brief, and across in Buenos Aires our Argentinean agency Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi was named the “Most Awarded Agency” for the fifth consecutive year by Editorial Dossier.” – [via Kevin Roberts]

Very funny Austrian ad,

Nice work from Buenos Aires,

Some cool 2009 creative advertising work

Thursday, 14 January, 2010

Here is an excerpt of what my blog friend Saatchi & Saatchi’s Kevin Roberts learned (emphasis added),

* Nine of the top 10 campaigns in the Won awards relied on direct consumer input and involvement. There is still a bit of life in “selling by yelling” – but the stretcher is on the field. Consumers won’t ever be passive recipients of broadcast messages ever again. Involvement and participation are vital. […]

* The blur between TV, Digital, Direct, PR, Media etc is now absolute. Winning ideas can be driven from any quarter. Game on for the creative departments in every “advertising agency”.

Check out Saatchi & Saatchi campaign of the year – T-Mobile’s flashmob dance “Life’s for Sharing” from our S&S’s London agency.

And this Gymkhana Two INFOMERCIAL (watched over 10 million times since Jun 2009) is just so cool. If all infomercial is this cool, I don’t mind watching them instead of some lame TV shows.

For fun, you can check out some more popular viral videos, commercials, games or user-generated videos here.

[HT Kevin]

Surprised kitty video: Attention is money in the YouTube age

Saturday, 5 December, 2009

My second article, “Surprised kitty video: Attention is money in the YouTube age“.

Surprised kitty video: Attention is money in the YouTube age

U2 on YouTube (Oct 25, 2009, 8:30PM (PT) Global Live Webcast)

Monday, 19 October, 2009

Good to see U2 and YouTube experimenting with something this cool.

Open Data at Calgary City Hall

Tuesday, 21 July, 2009

Grant Neufeld interviewed Alderman Brian Pincott about Open Data.

By the way, data-mining by for-profit organization of personal private data is probably bad. But I am not, in general, against data-mining because sometimes government data can be use to help businesses run more effectively and efficiently. And I think helping businesses is a good thing.

Air New Zealand – nothing to hide

Tuesday, 21 July, 2009

Air New Zealand looks like a great airline and I love its “nothing to hide” campaign.

And I don’t know a safety video can be this fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Evian Roller Babies

Tuesday, 21 July, 2009

Evian Roller Babies via Adage. See their multiple creative iterations here.

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