Tuesday, December 21, 2010

VS SYNDICASTER: The Register's new video platform

Christmas came early for the New Haven Register newsroom. On Tuesday afternoon, we (and those other classy CT Central news media outlets) switched over to a new platform to better handle our video capabilities.

See for yourself -- this is the old:

This is the new:

Cool, I know. But what does this mean to you, the reader.

Well for one, MORE video. This new platform (called Syndicaster) takes a lot of the extra production steps out of the equation. Which means our reporters and photographers can spend more time getting video of their community and beat, more time writing stories, more time being a REPORTER, and significantly less time worrying about editing and compressing and finagling, and trying to figure out where their online producer is when they need help. Basically, this new platform makes this newsroom's job easier at generating content.

It also means MORE sharing. See that little icon in the bottom left corner of the (new) video player? The one that looks like two hands molding a ball of cookie dough in their grasp? Click that. .... go ahead, I'll wait. See? It gives you the option to publish this video clip on your own web site, blog, or digital whatever. See also: YouTube, Vimeo, and most every video service on the web sans the one we just switched over from. Taking that a step farther, we now can share and utilize all the video content from our brother and sister papers across the Journal Register Company much, much easier.

The end of the video is not the end of the video. If you'll notice with the new player, a new video begins when the one you're watching ends. So basically -- you bring the popcorn, we'll bring the video. Just push play, and watch some of the the stories of your community come alive.

More changes to come, of course. This is a new engine for the Register's video vehicle, so there are some chinks we'll be working out over the course of the next few days. And there are certainly upgrades and efficiencies we'll be adding to it as we continue to grow with it.

There are some (temporary!) drawbacks. Think of what it'd be like to move the New Haven Library to a new building across town. That's what's kind of happening with our video library right now. We've published more than 1,500 videos on our "news" channel alone this year, not to mention everything from sports and life. That all has to be chauffeured into the new system, and will be, but for now is stored in a special video archive we created for this move: http://www.nhregister.com/video-archive

And older stories with embedded videos from our old platform will eventually have to be updated, as those "codes" will all go dead in a few months once our term with our previous vendor expires. Which means those of us in the online production department are going to need back rubs. A lot of them.

I say it's a win. But how can we improve upon it? UIWhat do you think of the new video player? Spend a little time with it, and tell us what you like and loathe about it. Is it user friendly? What do you want to get out of it? What's it missing?

What about the video content? Are we doing too much? Not enough? What do you think of the quality, what can we do better? Do you like short, snappy one liners -- or 5 minute long features packed with effects and edits? We aren't doing this for fun and flash (no pun intended) - we're doing it to try and tell your stories in a more engaging, and interesting, way.

Your feedback is appreciated -- leave a comment, or email me direct at cmarch@nhregister.com

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Sam Piroton said...

My first note would be a minus ,))
Well, new player is better, but this particular one can't be played on my ipad.

Do you know if something is in store? #mobile

(im just thinking now about an app that was mentionned in the jrcchat. Will have to look at it)

December 21, 2010 at 11:39 PM 
Blogger Chris said...

yea sam, that's obviously an issue we're going to have to work through and patch up somehow at somepoint. such is flash on the apple products.

the app you're talking about is skyfire, which doesn't seem to work on the ipad - but is great for the iphone.

December 22, 2010 at 1:02 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The aspect ratio of the new player was off with the Galvani ad. It was vertically reduced making the people and objects appear wider and shorter than they should be. Full screen didn't help.
I don't like the idea of continuous videos as it eats away at my bandwidth so that if I am downloading something in the background, it makes the dl take longer. Several other sites I visit use this method and I end up watching videos I have no interest in.
Just my 2 cents.

December 22, 2010 at 5:08 AM 
Blogger Chris March said...

@ anonymous: Weird about the aspect ratio. Looks fine here. Do you have the latest version of Flash installed? As for the 2nd part of your comment, we've already been having those discussions. The other option is that when the video ends, it brings up a choice of other videos for the reader to pick. They can end there, or jump to something else. But they have choice, instead of something just tossed into their lap every minute or so. Appreciate the input. -c

December 22, 2010 at 10:20 AM 
Anonymous sam piroton said...

Just retweeted techcrunch: skyfire for ipad has been approved and should be avAilable for 4.99

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