A Meeting with Vimeo.com: “Couch Mode” and More
About a month ago at the 2010 PhotoPlusExpo in New York City, I had a chance to sit down with a representative from Vimeo.com, a video hosting site that I’ve been familiar with for a few years. If you’re not familiar with Vimeo, here is a short blurb from the company’s press materials:
“Leading video sharing site Vimeo provides the easiest way for people to host and share their videos in high quality…Launched in 2004 and headquartered in New York, NY, Vimeo offers users a video sharing experience that is both entertaining and easy to use. Vimeo is a 2010 & 2009 Time Magazine Top 50 Website.”
Back in February, I wrote this article about The Story Behind the Stillâ€“a user-generated HD video contest sponsored by Canon and hosted by Vimeo. It is truly mind-blowing to see the quality of many of the videos, including the story lines, acting, direction, artistry, sound quality, editing and overall impact of the videos. I highly recommend taking a look at the videos and contest details here.
And for some “backstory” from Vincent Laforet, who worked with Canon and Gray Advertising to create the contest, visit this page-a post about the contest before it began, and this page-Laforet speaks about how he and the seven Chapter winners will work together to create the final chapter of the story.
When I started browsing Vimeo videos, I read many of the comments by other content creators and viewers, and noticed a vibrant community that was very supportive and overwhelmingly positive. I would liken it to something akin to a university film class discussion, with a lot of sharing of technical information and gear. That’s what generally sets it apart from other sites like YouTube. Though it depends on the quality of the source material, I’m almost always impressed by the video quality, even when the HD option is not checked. However, HD is usually a better choice for large or full screen video viewing.
The Community Forums on the site are also a great resource for content creators.
Hands-on Couch Surfing
Vimeo.com’s Couch Mode menu when the info box is selected.
Recently, Vimeo launched a new feature on its site called Couch Mode. It works with Google TV and the GTV remote, and an iPad app is in the works. The interface can also be activated from a browser.Â Couch Mode just requires a browser that supports HTML5 (the latest version of Apple Safari and Google Chrome both support HTML5). Couch Mode creates an environment similar to most people’s TV experience because the videos run full screen, and continuously, one after another, without user intervention. To experience couch mode on a computer, visit:Â https://www.vimeo.com/couchmode
The Couch Mode experience is fantastic. I especially like the info box view shown in the screen shot above because you can browse other media while a video is playing. The volume of content, however, is pretty limited (featured and Â unless you create your own collection of “Liked” videos, which requires a free “Basic” account or paid Vimeo Plus account. Once you have an account, you can navigate Vimeo.com, tag something as a video you like or as a video to watch later. Then when you enter Couch Mode, all of the videos are waiting for you. It’s a bit like navigating the iTunes directory for podcasts and content, without the need to download anything. A few additions to the user interface in Couch Mode, such as a search bar, selectable list of topics, etc. could largely eliminate the need to go into Vimeo.com’s general interface. I guess there is a balance though in making it easy to navigate from the couch with a bowl of popcorn on your lap :).
Vimeo Basic vs. Vimeo Plus
Without going into too much detail, there are two subscription options: Vimeo Basic and Vimeo Plus. VimeoÂ Basic is free and Vimeo Plus is fee-based (about US $60/yr). You can compare the plans here: https://vimeo.com/plus
And the Awards Go To…
Also, on October 9, 2010, Vimeo announced the winners of its 2010 Vimeo Awards in New York City. Below are the winners of the contest’s nine categories. Just enter any of the titles below on Vimeo.com to view the videos:
1. Narrative: â€œThrushâ€ by Gabriel Bisset-Smith
2. Documentary: â€œLast Minutes with ODENâ€ by Phos Pictures
3. Music Video: â€œLiars â€˜Scissorâ€™â€ by Andy Bruntel
4. Animation: â€œBetween Bearsâ€ by Eran Hilleli
5. Original Series: â€œBreak-ups The Seriesâ€ by Ted Tremper
6. Experimental: â€œoopsâ€ by Chris Beckman
7. Motion Graphics: â€œTRIANGLEâ€ by Onur Senturk
8. Captured: â€œFluid Sculptureâ€ by Charlie Bucket
9. Remix: â€œBREAKDOWN the videoâ€ by Kasumi
The Vimeo Award for Best Video went to â€œLast Minutes with ODENâ€ by Eliot Rausch, which chronicles the last minutes of a dog, Oden, who loses his struggle with cancer. The film was shot using a Canon 7D by Directors of Photography Luke Korver and Matt Taylor.Â Vimeo awarded them withÂ a grant of $25,000 andÂ the Best Video Award, with for the purpose of making a new, original work.
For more information about Vimeo, visit Vimeo.com.