Checkout our recent film American Harvest
White Hot Films
Welcome to White Hot Films
Let us tell your story. As the producer and director at White Hot Films, I will do everything possible to produce a film that you will be proud to put your name on. See for yourself why our clients trust us to tell their stories.
Because I put my name on it. - Angelo Mancuso
The name White Hot FIlms is derived from the double entendre of bright light and the Rochester favorite Zweigles White Hot Dogs.
We will write your script, film your product, service or event. Edit your project and we will deliver your program in any format needed, including HD, DV, HDV, Digital Beta, Beta SP, DVD and multiple digital and video file formats.
We can offer a script to screen solution for your video or multimedia program and we can also offer specific services such as filming, editing, or duplication.
White Hot Films post-production is performed on Final Cut Pro HD editing suites, all loaded with the latest in 2D and 3D animation, graphics and video compression software.
How Film and Video Production Can Help Your Business.
2010 was a breakout year for online video. 77% percent of the US internet audience watched online video on average of 5.5 hours per month, and video advertising was the fastest-growing segment of online ad spending. Will you be seen in 2011, as online video viewership and revenues continue to grow significantly.
Development can include capital campaigns, development, fund raising programs and many other promotional pieces that are important to not-for-profit organizations. We can help universities and medical centers encourage and motivate donors to give that important gift.
Your marketing communications, advertising, or communications strategy says who you are. We make sure your film, video, or digital media we create is consistent with your message. Entertaining and thought provoking programs are geared to your target audiences, effectively delivering your messages and achieving desired results.
Educational programs include documentaries and international DVDs. We work with our clients to create your unique story.
In the medical and health care industries we respect sensitive and accurate information. You can trust us to produce an accurate and factual dramatization of your message.
ARTICLES AND LINKS THAT SHOW YOU HOW TO USE VIDEO TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION.
is known as the sales whisperer for entrepreneurs because he rehabilitates sales systems and trains business leaders. Through his seminars and conferences, he teaches the principles of magnetic marketing for those who would like to attract more profitable clients, rather than chasing after them. In today's turbulent business climate, he helps companies raise more capital through improving cash flow--as opposed to taking on more debt. For his free Sales Whisper newsletter, visit: www.thomasreidy.com
Scroll down more film and video related articles below.
Courtesy of the USA Today
Marketing gold could be found in Web video
By David Lieberman, USA TODAY
A vast array of professional and semiprofessional producers are starting to use those tools to create ad-friendly entertainment and news videos expressly for the Web. The goal is to dramatically change people's video-viewing habits — and cash in on a potentially enormous business opportunity.
"It's like the early days of cable," says former Viacom executive Herb Scannell, now CEO of Internet video investment and support firm Next New Networks. "We're inventing new business models, new talent and new programming models."
Internet users already can find countless fresh choices in the middle ground between reruns of slick network TV programming, such as the shows on Hulu.com, and amateur clips such as the kind popularized by YouTube.
Popular genres for original Web productions include dramatic series (Lonelygirl15and Prom Queen), topical comedy (BarelyPolitical.com, 236.com and comic Will Ferrell's Funny Or Die), news analysis (TalkingPointsMemo) and specialized interests (for example, ThreadBanger offers the latest about sewing and knitting).
Producers have powerful incentive to test the market: Ad spending for Internet videos will rise 455% by 2011 to $4.3 billion, says research firm eMarketer.
"It's growing faster than any other advertising category," says George Kliavkoff, NBC Universal's chief digital officer. "There's just a sea change." That's one reason his company and other major TV network owners are starting to dip their toes into original Web production. Over the past few weeks:
•Disney (DIS) formed its first Web-only production house, Stage 9, which forged a deal with Toyota to sponsor its first made-for-Web series, the sitcom Squeegees.
Disney's ESPN also said it will dramatically step up its Internet-only sports programming.
•NBC (GE) created its first network for original online video. Visitors can get an in-depth look at new cars from clips produced by DriverTV; NBC paid $6 million for a 35% stake in the firm.
•And CBS, (CBS) which defined mainstream news in the radio and TV eras, launched MobLogic.tv, a website with daily clips that it says provides "a reality check on mainstream news, (Internet) 2.0 style."
The modest size of these investments reflects the companies' uncertainty about where they fit in.
"The challenge we have with this space is: How do you market these original Web shows so that they become something people want to see and not something that they just come across?" says Albert Cheng, executive vice president for digital media at the Disney-ABC Television Group. "We are experimenting."
While the giants dabble, independent entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the freedom the Internet offers to reach millions of people without having to go through gatekeepers such as TV networks and cable operators. They don't even need powerful allies to help raise cash, sell ads, get online and market. New-generation studios including Worldwide Biggies, Black20 and 60Frames are eagerly seeking deals to support promising talent.
Most salivate at the prospect of creating a hit entertainment series — a string of episodes that typically run 10 minutes apiece or less — similar to Lonelygirl15, KateModern and Prom Queen.
It's relatively easy to make a profit: They employ little-known actors, simple camera shots and few, if any, special effects. "The cost is just hundreds of dollars a minute," Scannell says. "If you're getting $10 (for every 1,000 viewers that see an ad), and you have 1 million views, then you're break-even. If you get $20, then you're in the black."
Those that work closely with sponsors can do much better than that. For example, LG15 Studios cut a deal with Neutrogena that made the cosmetics and cleanser company and its products key elements in the story line for Lonelygirl15
"We were thrilled that there's this medium that's interactive, and if you can get creative and good writers and good brands and put all these pieces together, then you can do something that engages the audience and allows us to do this as our day job, which is insane right now," says Greg Goodfried, co-creator and executive producer.
Their most recent production, KateModern, showed that the concept was no fluke.
"It just finished with 26 million views, and it was sold in sponsorship ahead of time," says Quincy Smith, president of CBS Interactive. "Do it once, and it's interesting. Do it twice, and now you're starting to see something evolve."
There's a lot of activity as well in non-fiction Web video, especially from newspaper and magazine companies grappling with slowing ad sales. "Video is a central component to the future of these industries because they have to grow their business somewhere, and right now, online video is the most valuable real estate in the media industry," says Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Brightcove, an Internet video services firm.
National newspapers including USA TODAY, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, as well as regional publications such as The Houston Chronicle and The Gainesville Sun tap journalists for video reports, interviews and analysis. So do magazines, including Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Better Homes and Gardens and Rolling Stone.
Beginning with the recent Super Tuesday presidential primaries, Newsweek — in partnership with corporate siblings The Washington Post and Slate.com — stepped up the competition by enlisting editors and analysts for live, CNN-like, Web-exclusive campaign coverage and commentary.
We're at the Toronto International Film Festival every year in September.
Our new CRIMSON FLAME music video based on the William Nowik song.
"Get Out The Vote" PSA -- Client: Unshackle Upstate PAC
White Hot Films is a full-service creative markerting film and video production and post company including HD, High Definition, 35 mm film and sound package located in Rochester, NY
Award Winning Documentary | Feature Films | Theatrical | Music Videos | Viral Video
Commercials | Corporate Video Production | Creative Communications Marketing Agency
Capital campaigns | Communications | Development | Fund Raising | Marketing | Recruiting
PSAs - Public Service Announcements | Story Telling | Experimental | Long & Short Narrative
Behind the scenes interviews | Videos for Special Events | Event Videographer
Broadcast | Videographer
Cameraman | Steadicam
DVDs, DVD Featurettes, EPKs
TV - Television Shows
Post-Production | Editing
Film and Video Production Company Rochester Syracuse Buffalo
film hi-def video movie production business
Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse New York
LISTEN TO SOME OF OUR RADIO COMMERCIALS.
Auto Trader - Picture This (1min) MP3
Byrne Dairy - Bessie (1min) MP3
CURE Childhood Cancer Association (1min) MP3
Hyatt New Years Eve Party (1min) MP3
Nazareth College - Part-time Program (1min) MP3
Oxford Learning Center (1min) MP3
Richard's Fine Jewelers - Football Wife (1min) MP3
Roncones Restaurant (1min) MP3
*all radio spots written and voiced by Angelo Mancuso
**With over 50 million iPhone OS devices sold today, and an estimated 65% of all mobile browsing volume, the iPhone has more eyeballs glued to it than any other mobile device.
'There's a business there'
"It was sold to Dodge in three days," says TV news veteran Tammy Haddad, executive producer of the coverage. "There's a business there, and a very minor amount of money was spent. All of the reporters were already in place."
Although many Web productions are profitable, producers say the big payoff will come in a few years as audiences and advertisers become more comfortable watching video online.
People collectively spent 959 million minutes a day watching Internet shows and clips in January, research firm ComScore says.
While that sounds impressive, Leichtman Research Group President Bruce Leichtman notes, "People still spend more time watching Extreme Makeover and Moment of Truth combined (on days when the shows air) than they do with all online video."
That's changing, though, especially among the young adult viewers craved by advertisers. About 42% of 18- to 34-year-olds watch Web videos at least weekly, up from 28% in 2007, Leichtman found in a recent survey.
The vast majority of the viewing time goes to user-generated videos and network TV fare, including clips people lift from news and comedy shows.
But those markets present challenges for advertisers.
They can't effectively buy spots in advance on user-generated material, because "You can't really tell what clips are going to be hot next," says PodShow CEO Ron Bloom, whose firm aggregates Web videos to facilitate ad sales. "And it's typically stolen or stupid."
Meanwhile, the major broadcast and cable networks may not have enough openings for ads on their rerun TV shows. "If you're trying to spend $1 million on an online buy, you have to reach tens of millions of people," says Jayant Kadambi, CEO of YuMe, a broadband video ad sales firm. "You just can't do that on NBC.com."
To keep ad dollars from flowing elsewhere, the major networks are busily creating Web attractions, including original videos.
For the most part, though, their productions have been designed to enhance viewer interest in popular TV shows. For example ABC's Lost: Missing Pieces, CBS' Big Brother House Calls, Fox's Prison Break Visitation and NBC's Heroes 360.
"It's a good way to continue to have a relationship with these fans" and advertisers, Cheng says.
That also was a safe thing to do before the recent strike by Hollywood screenwriters was resolved. A key issue in the dispute was how much writers would be paid for work that appears online.
Now that there's a contract, conversations about digital initiatives "have exploded," says Vivi Zigler, executive vice president at NBC Digital Entertainment and New Media. "It's a matter of 'should we,' not 'could we.' That's important."
Disney took the boldest step in late February by creating Stage 9 Digital Media. But the new media studio still dreams about seeing one of its series on TV.
"We call that the holy grail," says Barry Jossen, general manager of Stage 9. "The new media business, from the sponsors' point of view, is definitely experimental. So the kinds of commitments they are making are modest. It's a break-even business."
He's undaunted by NBC's experience in February — during the writers' strike — when it became the first major TV network to air an entertainment show originally made for the Web. Although the series Quarterlife was a hit on the Internet, NBC moved it to cable channel Bravo after the first episode attracted a mere 3.1 million viewers.
"Just because their one and only shot didn't work out as pristinely as they would have hoped or dreamed doesn't mean that's the only opportunity like that," Jossen says. "We have to keep trying."
While Disney focuses on producing its own Web videos, CBS and NBC are buying and investing in independent producers.
CBS has led the way here cutting deals with firms including high school sports site MaxPreps, business-satire-oriented Wallstrip, celebrity news provider Dotspotter and Joost, which offers a hodgepodge of new and old videos.
That's one reason the smart money is betting that the networks eventually will control the biggest mines when gold rush fever finally subsides.
"The theory of the Internet is that you can get anything you want," says investor Richard Wolpert. "But you still have to be exposed to the fact that it exists. That is still a very valuable asset. It feels like this is the year when everything is happening. But on a historic perspective, it's a 20-year process, and we're in the middle of it now."
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
THE JOURNAL REPORT: SMALL BUSINESS
Online video has become a daily fix for millions of people. Now entrepreneurs are starting to cash in on that obsession.
Consider Valentina Trevino. The 29-year-old Chicago artist and filmmaker regularly posts videos on YouTube, showing how she created a painting and what it means to her -- and musing quirkily on a host of matters. In one clip, she ruminates about the strange connection between the ballerinas in Edgar Degas's art and Britney Spears's custody battles.
The unorthodox formula has brought her a total of 8.2 million views on YouTube -- and, just as important, a host of buyers. At the end of her clips, Ms. Trevino includes a link to eBay, where viewers can buy the featured piece. (See an example.) So far, she has sold every painting she has offered this way -- 49 at last count -- at prices ranging lately from $500 to $1,000 each. She also sells prints of her work and merchandise bearing the images and her slogan, "Eat Your Cookies." Before she started the YouTube diary, she says, she had to give up painting to pay the bills. Now it brings her a regular income.
A host of small businesses are trying this new twist on Web promotion, sending short films to Google Inc.'s YouTube and other popular video sites, advertising everything from root beer to blenders to bullet-resistant backpacks. For one thing, it's hard to beat the price: It costs nothing to put something on a video-sharing site, unlike buying television time or a regular Internet ad. And the videos let companies use a creative and personal touch that wouldn't work in traditional ads.
"It's so different than the message-driven approach to marketing that most kinds of advertising is," says David Meerman Scott, author of "The New Rules of Marketing and PR." "You don't have to talk about your product per se. You can just have fun with it."
But that leaves some big questions for companies that want to try their hand at videos. How does a small business thrive in a YouTube world? What makes some videos skyrocket in viewership and others bomb? Are there guiding principles that will produce a bankable ad?
Many entrepreneurs say luck or timing had at least something to do with their success. But a closer look at their stories reveals valuable lessons that any small business can apply. Here, then, are some of the most successful small-business videos, and the factors that took them to the top.
BLENDTEC: BE FUNNY
By far, the most common element among successful videos is comedy. Rather than offering airless advertisements or canned commercial messages, these videos deliver laughs as well as pitching a product.
Case in point: Blendtec, a division of K-TEC Inc., of Orem, Utah. In the past year, the high-end blender maker has drawn more than 60 million views for its "Will It Blend?" video series. The premise is simple. A laconic host, Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson, uses the company's blenders to grind up everything from credit cards to golf clubs to an iPhone. Cheesy music plays in the background, and cheesy jokes fly freely.
George Wright, Blendtec's director of marketing, says the series got started with a simple observation. He realized that Mr. Dickson tested his blenders by putting 2x2 boards inside and letting them rip. (See a video.)
Retail sales of the blenders have shot up 500% since the company started the series last year. This year, total sales are projected to top $40 million. And the series has brought Blendtec tremendous name recognition. When employees demonstrate the products at big-box retailers, people come out and say, " 'That's the blender that can blend marbles!' " says Mr. Wright. "Before that, [employees] were having to introduce the company."
The videos have also brought some new opportunities. Earlier this year, Novell Inc., a Waltham, Mass., provider of open-source software and services, paid Blendtec about $5,000 to do a "Will It Blend?" video for a company event. In the movie, a number of items got blended: a Microsoft Vista CD, razor blades, a stuffed animal, a flash drive and a Red Bull beverage.
"We thought this would be something fun for our customer base," says Russ Dastrup, Novell's corporate videographer. The message? "Novell Technology allows you to blend a variety of operating systems and applications into a seamless network," Mr. Dastrup says.
MJ SAFETY SOLUTIONS: TAP INTO CURRENT EVENTS
At first glance, "My Child's Pack" breaks all the rules of online video. It isn't funny or entertaining -- in fact, it's downright somber. But it has gotten nearly 25,000 hits on YouTube since early August because of its timely message.
The video begins with a startling statistic: "328 school shooting incidents with injury or death in North America since Columbine." It segues into photographs and news clips of the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings. Then comes the pitch: a bullet-resistant backpack from MJ Safety Solutions LLC, of Danvers, Mass. (See the video.)
Co-founder Joe Curran, a carpenter for a construction company, says the company has sold 1,000 backpacks, at $175 each, since the video was released. He says the company has also received hundreds of thank-you letters from concerned parents, and a local police officer has started buying the backpacks for his grandchildren.
The seed for MJ Safety was planted in 1999, in the wake of the Columbine shootings. Mr. Curran and the other founder, Mike Pelonzi, started talking about their own kids and how ineffective their school policy would be in the event of a shooting. They decided that there was a need for "products out there to protect children in that situation," says Mr. Pelonzi.
This summer, when the backpack was finally ready for release, the Boston Herald planned to publish an article about it. The co-founders knew that a visual demonstration would help, so they cribbed together a short video with the help of family and employees. Toward the end of the clip, Mr. Curran's 13-year-old daughter, Amanda, gamely smiles as she holds up the backpack to shield her head and chest.
The Boston Herald provided a link to the YouTube video, and the groundswell started. "In reality, we're just concerned dads," Mr. Curran says. "We're not business marketing geniuses. It just happened that way."
ALL NATURAL MAINE ROOT: FIND A PARTNER
Most small businesses don't have the resources for an in-house video-production staff. So, finding a partner such as an advertising agency can help get a video campaign off the ground or spiff up a lackluster idea.
But there are a couple of caveats. This option may end up costing thousands of dollars -- a significant payout for most entrepreneurs, and a lot more than most companies spend on promotional videos. It's also crucial for companies to shop around for the right partner. The videos will turn out better if the ad agency understands the small business well and plays to its strengths.
For instance, back in 2005 All Natural Maine Root LLC, an organic-soda maker in Scarborough, Maine, was looking to boost sales but had scant resources for a marketing campaign. It found a good partner in Door Number 3 Inc. of Austin, Texas. The ad agency liked the product and clicked with the company's founders, Mark and Matt Seiler. And the agency saw the chance to do a campaign that would showcase its own creative abilities.
That led Door Number 3 to give the soda makers a big break on price. Maine Root paid about $20,000 for the campaign, but the campaign could have easily cost between $75,000 and $150,000, says Mary Pat Mueller, president of Door Number 3.
The two companies decided the best approach to the videos was comedy. "The key to a successful viral video campaign is to make people laugh," Ms. Mueller says. "That way, they'll want to pass it on -- and, that way, they'll look like the hero and the deliverer of the entertainment."
The concept also fit the Seiler brothers' personalities. "Their sense of humor is their brand," Ms. Mueller says. "If you meet them at tastings, they're outgoing, they're always joking."
Together, the two firms came up with a premise for the campaign: mock exposés about soda. Root-beer activists pull off a late-night break-in at a corporate root-beer facility to free Maine Root soda bottles from the Director of Fructose Injection. A "Sugarcane Shuffle" rapper riffs about how "I like my root beer all natural / cause sugarcane is all my tongue will allow / All the others just taste like puppy chow / So Maine Root just stand and take a bow...."
Door Number 3 sent the videos to several sites, including YouTube, stupidvideos.com, ifilm.com, purevideo.com and tvlinks.com; it also created a dedicated site for the clips, freerangerootbeer.com. To spread the word, the agency contacted popular root-beer and soda blogs. Major media outlets, such as CNBC and CBS's "Early Show," also picked up on the story.
The results have been dramatic. Before the campaign began last fall, Maine Root averaged about $500,000 a year in retail sales. So far this year, sales have soared to more than $3 million. "Door Number 3 played a huge part in our success," says Mark Seiler, Maine Root's co-founder. "They kind of took a chance on us. And I think it really worked."
MAKE MAGAZINE: BE USEFUL
Entertainment value helps a video succeed. But that isn't the only approach that works. Some small businesses have carved out a lucrative niche by giving viewers information they can use.
Consider Make magazine, a guide for do-it-yourselfers. Published by O'Reilly Media Inc. of Sebastopol, Calif., the magazine produces weekly how-to videos for a host of projects -- everything from making your own catapult to creating a cigar-box banjo.
The clips average about a million views a month on iTunes, Blip.tv and YouTube. (The most popular: a guide to screen-printing T-shirts.) The videos have also brought in lots of business. For instance, attendance has ballooned at an annual convention sponsored by Make, and the magazine sees dozens of new subscriptions every month. (See some examples.)
"How-to videos are one of those things that lasts, that have a shelf life," says Phillip Torrone, senior editor at Make. "It's not like a YouTube video that's a 30-second funny thing. It might be something that they can watch over and over again."
Of course, entertainment value is still important, even if it isn't the main focus of the videos. For instance, Make realized it would need a charismatic host to make the clips lively. Mr. Torrone discovered Bre Pettis, an art teacher from Seattle who had been videoblogging about his students' art projects. Mr. Pettis, Mr. Torrone says, was like Mr. Rogers, Mr. Wizard and Bill Nye "The Science Guy" rolled into one.
Make's publisher, Dale Dougherty, agreed to bring Mr. Pettis on board in early 2006 -- after seeing a video of Mr. Pettis accidentally harpooning his cellphone. "There was a bad-boy kind of thing that I liked about it," Mr. Dougherty says. "It wasn't boring."
Mr. Pettis, jokes Mr. Torrone, "has been voiding the warranty of electronics ever since."
The 35-year-old Mr. Pettis, who now lives in New York, posts a video each Friday. In general, he spends one or two days on research and two days filming. He then takes a day or two to edit the video and write up a PDF with detailed instructions for viewers. "It's what I love to do," says Mr. Pettis. "It's my passion, making things and being creative and supporting others' creativity."
MOE'S SOUTHWEST GRILL: GET YOUR CUSTOMERS INVOLVED
There's one simple way to sidestep all of the complications of creating a video: get customers to do the work. Big companies have famously solicited user-made ads, including McDonald's Corp. and Domino's Pizza Inc. Now small firms are learning the value of the strategy.
Last year, Moe's Southwest Grill of Atlanta started a "Burrito in Every Hand" campaign, encouraging customers to send in 30-second videos about the food. The clips were posted on a Web site, where visitors could vote on them; the company reviewed the 20 highest-rated clips and picked a winner. (See the video.) The grand prize: Moe's burritos for life, equal to 2,860 vouchers good at any participating Moe's franchise.
Moe's received about 40 submissions that met the guidelines, and the promotional Web site got 211,000 visitors. "We knew that our customers would really enjoy getting involved," says Sara Riggsby, director of marketing for Moe's, which is now owned by Atlanta-based Focus Brands Inc., the operator of Carvel and Cinnabon shops.
Ms. Riggsby says that the company has seen increased sales since the program ran. And Moe's achieved its goal of building brand awareness among younger customers: The majority of the participants were ages 18 to 25. The company's email marketing database also grew to 200,000.
The winners: four amateur rappers. Michael Squitieri, a 20-year-old acting major at Boston's Emerson College, wrote the script, and his friend Kevin Schwoer, 21, edited and put original music into the video. The group, which goes by the name "Notorious M.O.E. and Nacho Daddy," is now working on a radio commercial for Moe's.
--Mr. Flandez is a staff reporter in The Wall Street Journal's New York bureau.
Write to Raymund Flandez at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
A Search Engine With a Real Eye for Videos
Web video has transformed the way the Internet is used, but finding the exact clip you want can be incredibly hard. And it's no wonder, considering that sites like YouTube conduct their hunts by looking at a clip's "contextual metadata" -- tags, video title and description -- and thus can often be misled by false information. For example, a homemade video about cooking might be inaccurately tagged with a popular search word like "Obama" so as to get more traction.
This week I tested VideoSurf.com, a site that claims to be the first to search videos by "seeing" images that appear in these videos. The company says its technology can analyze a clip's visual content, as well as its metadata -- especially when searching for people. VideoSurf has analyzed and categorized more than 12 billion visual moments on the Web to understand who the most important characters and scenes are in a video, and it uses this knowledge to sort clips according to relevancy.
Search results on VideoSurf spread out videos in a filmstrip-like format, distinguishing one scene from the next. Users can choose an option to show only faces, which helps if you're looking for a specific person in a long video or movie. And when looking at videos from certain sources, you can select a scene from the filmstrip and jump ahead to that scene rather than sit through the entire clip.
When it works, VideoSurf is one of those technologies that make you wonder why someone didn't think of it sooner. The site aggregates content from about 60 sources, including YouTube, CNN Video, Hulu, ESPN and Comedy Central, and a sorting tool weeds out unwanted results like the irksome slideshows that are labeled as videos. VideoSurf can find videos on all kinds of subjects, but it really shines when it finds well-known people.
But VideoSurf has some rough edges and doesn't always work as it should. In its defense, the site is still in its public beta, or trial, stage, and plans to be full-blown by early next year. Right now, one of its best features, the ability to jump ahead to specific scenes, works with video from only a handful of sources including YouTube, MetaCafe, DailyMotion and Google Video. Videos from Hulu.com confusingly allow jumping ahead only from certain screens.
Additionally, I came across a couple of videos that were no longer available, though they were listed in search results. And a customizable VideoSurf home page for users with accounts on the site saves searches but not specific clips; VideoSurf plans to fix this next week by adding a favorites page where users can store and share favorite videos with others.
Still, I really grew to like VideoSurf's clear way of displaying content that would be otherwise buried within videos. Rather than trying to guess a video's contents by looking at a single representative image, VideoSurf's filmstrip views showed me exactly what I'd be watching. In many cases, I viewed a video I might not have otherwise watched because its filmstrip showed shots of scenes that looked interesting.
On the left-hand side of the search-results page, VideoSurf users can narrow results according to Content Type, Categories and Video Sources to see just what they're looking for -- or, often more important, what they're not looking for. Content Type, for example, includes slideshows, Web series, full television episodes and full movies; a search can include only videos in a particular category (say, slideshows) or exclude that category altogether by unmarking the box beside it.
Most search-results pages include tiled still images at the top representing the characters in the videos. By selecting one of these characters, users can refine search results to show only videos with that character. For example, I typed the title of a favorite television show, "Brothers and Sisters," into the search box and saw the names and images of seven actors on the show at the top of the screen. I selected Sally Field and was redirected to results of videos featuring only the mother she plays on the show.
I used VideoSurf to search for Beyonce's "Single Ladies" music video, and then changed the date parameters to find only videos posted this week. This retrieved a Saturday Night Live skit in which the pop singer spoofs her own video with help from three men in tights -- including Justin Timberlake. While the SNL skit ran, a list of related videos appeared in a column on the right, including clips of J.T.'s past SNL skits.
Occasionally, annotations appear on videos, but these come from the source -- not VideoSurf. If overlaid text appears on YouTube videos, it can be turned off using an icon in the bottom right of the YouTube screen. Video-sharing sites that use introductory pages such as pre-rolls before each video will still show those pages.
VideoSurf makes it easy to send specific clips of videos to friends. I did so by selecting a Share option and adjusting slide bars to trim the clip to start and end at scenes I preferred. Clips shared with friends via email are sent with the VideoSurf filmstrip, giving others the ability to also know what the video will include so that they, too, can discern whether or not they want to watch it.
Clips can be shared on social-networking sites like del.icio.us, MySpace and Facebook, though VideoSurf's helpful filmstrip didn't show up on these sites like it did in emails.
I also tested an add-on for the Mozilla Firefox browser called Greasemonkey that works with VideoSurf. When installed, this displays VideoSurf's helpful filmstrip beneath search results from Google Video, YouTube, Yahoo or CBS.com. Once installed, filmstrips illustrating important scenes appear along with the normal text results for videos, and some of the filmstrips enable jumping ahead to specific scenes. This somewhat techie Greasemonkey extension can save people the extra step of making a separate visit to VideoSurf.com to watch a specific clip.
VideoSurf uses smart technology that can save people the aggravation of watching videos that aren't what they appear to be. Since so much Web content now includes videos, a visual search tool that can better assess videos like VideoSurf is a good idea. When this site improves its now-flaky ability to jump ahead to specific scenes in videos, it will be even more valuable.