December 4, 2009

The New York Times gave it short shrift by placing this as an Arts, Briefly article, but I think the new video site is pretty intriguing. The quality of the clips is a lot better than YouTube, and because the studios are behind it there’s not the risk of content being taken down. I also feel like this is an important baby step toward a new kind of distribution model for film. Allowing open access and reuse through embedding for these pieces of works may start opening some minds in different areas.

Sure, it is limited to studio films and curated clips which may not be from the finest films ever made, and it isn’t truly “free” if you have to give up your email address and your Facebook connections if you go through that app, but then again, you get to do this:

(Well, you get to do that if you adjust the object width and height to a 3:4 ratio if it’s not a widescreen film and disable the autoplay — the clip is fine on the site but the embedding code default stretches the image too much.) I made a comment on their beta site to change this aspect ratio problem. Looks like both issues have been addressed.

It may be pointless, it may be nefarious, it may be indispensable, or it may just be a fun little toy. I’m not interested in immediately proclaiming its potential for success and cultural value — that will play out soon enough. But right now I am interested in all the different permutations of its faceted search (Henchmen in an Elevator! Grabs of Forgiveness by a Cowboy! Scenes of Twinkies and Acceptance!). Looks like a busy weekend…

— Joshua Ranger