Share the Awesomeness; Creating Cheap (and Easy) Technical Videos.
I really enjoy attending technical events, especially programming talks. Almost every major city in America has several User Group meetings where (in my case) programmers/techies who are interested in a specific language or technology can all get together and talk about the various projects they are working on, or invite people to come and talk about new technology that is being developed to improve the overall quality of the development process.
Unfortunately, most of the information shared at these meetings is very transient and only gets absorbed by a very small subset of the total number of people that may be interested in a given topic. This problem occurs because of the locality of these meetings. For instance, some developers either do not have the time (due to work, school, etc.) to attend user group meetings or they simply live a few hours away from the closest meeting and it is not practical for them to drive three hours to go to an hour long meeting.
This is an unfortunate problem because these local groups have an upper-limit on how large they can get due to the number of interested people who live or work in the immediate surrounding area. So, the question must be asked, how can we get all of this awesome information into the hands of anyone who is interested? And the simple answer: video recording.
In the past, the point of entry for recording, editing, and distributing homebrew videos was fairly high. You had to start off with a nice camcorder, buy the necessary software and hardware to get the thing hooked up to your computer, and find a way to make sure the videos you made could be easily distributed. This is quite a bit of work and personal expense burdened on anyone who wanted to be able to share the great content being broadcasted at these meetings.
Luckily, current technology allows homebrew videos to be created easier (and cheaper) than ever. Here is my solution:
Video Recording - I recently purchased the Flip Ultra HD which costs $199 USD and stores two full hours of HD recording. And the best part, the video is stored on the Flip HD recorder in MPEG-4 format and can be pulled directly off of the recorder via a built in USB connection.
Video Distribution - Now that the video has been recorded and copied to the computer, there are two good options for hosting and distributing the videos online.
The free option: YouTube. This makes sense for most folks who want to distribute their homebrew videos to the world. Unfortunately, YouTube only allows your videos to be 10 minutes in length (which doesn't work so well for longer talks).
The premier option: Vimeo. The Vimeo plus membership will run you a whopping $60 USD for an entire year and will give you 5GB of HD upload space per week, allows embedding into your website/blog, and -in my opinion- delivers top-notch video playback.
So there we have it, for less than $300 it is possible to make awesome technical information available to those who otherwise would not be able to experience it. Obviously, this solution will work just as well for anyone wanting to publish their own videos to the world, I'm just more interested in technical topics. The intent of this post was to provide some insight as to how easy it is to record and share quality information.
Image From: Flip