Video on the Web

Today, continuing the film theme, I thought I would give a little mini-guide to films and video on the web. This area has taken off in the last year or so.

First off, film trailers, to link in with all the Oscar-related stuff. Apple hosts a huge number of past and present film trailers on it’s site as a promotion for it’s Quicktime video software (which is free to download as a player). You can also access these through iTunes if you have it (although I actually prefer the web page interface). As it is mostly U.S. trailers on the site, this is a good way to preview films before they reach the UK.

Atom Films is a site showcasing independent films and animation, generally pretty short pieces. You can give you rating and write reviews, so it quickly reveals those that are worth a look. Some seem to generate a pretty cult following. This sort of site will undoubtedly be where the Oscar-winners (or at least Sundance-favourites) of the future are to be found. I’m currently enjoying This Land, a nice little summary of the U.S. election in the form of a version of the Woody Guthrie song.

Being deprived of the BBC (and believe me, 300-odd channels can’t make up for lack of decent content), one of the best ways for me to access it is through their new Player application. This is an extension of the Radio Player, which allowed you to listen to radio live online or to listen to previously broadcast shows. Now you can also access news reports, sports highlights and the weather forecast. It does require Real Player though.

I mentioned Weebl and Bob on a previous blog, as winners of the Yahoo People’s Choice website award for 2004. Having explored the archive of cartoons of their site now, they are pretty good and deserve their popularity. Student humour, but none the worse for that 🙂

If you don’t fancy professionally-generated content, you can always see your nearest and dearest live on a webcam (assuming you both have them). We have had a great deal of success with Apple’s iChat software interfacing with AOL 5.5 on our parent’s PCs, where video-conferencing operates as an extension of AOL’s Instant Messenger. As this requires Windows XP on the PC end, you can also use iVisit, which is a cross-platform application.

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