Inside the NYPD: The Hudson River Crash

In this power podcast/mini-doc, we follow the heroic members of the NYPD’s Air-Sea Rescue, Scuba and Emergency Service Units as they come together in a time of crisis, under dangerous inclement weather conditions and get a job done… saving 155 lives in the process.

In this power podcast/mini-doc, we follow members of the NYPD’s Air-Sea Rescue, Scuba and Emergency Service Units as they come together in a time of crisis, under dangerous inclement weather conditions, and help save 155 lives.

This production took us all over the city of New York. From a 55-foot scuba launch on New York Harbor, to the cobblestone streets of the West Side, to the piers, to Floyd Bennet Airfield, to sweeping aerial passes of the City skyline aboard a custom “Huey”.

Throughout it all we never ceased to be amazed by the candor and humility of of these professionals as they calmly cast themselves into harms way in order to aid their fellow citizens.

The piece was assembled from hours upon hours of original action footage and personal interviews, NYPD skycam and closed circuit security tapes, and archived news footage of the event.

2009, The Year of Live Video Webcasting

I’ve been telling a lot of people that I think 2009 will be the year of live video webcasting. In the same way that 2005-2008 saw an explosion in on-demand video (and content business models), 2009 will mark the beginning of live video taking off. From presidential inaugurations to sporting events to niche industry events, live video webcasting will continue to grow and more people will be covering its growth. And, like its on-demand predecessor, live video webcasting will even make some people lots of money.

I’ve been telling a lot of people that I think 2009 will be the year of live video webcasting.

In the same way that 2005-2008 saw an explosion in on-demand video (and content business models), 2009 will mark the beginning of live video taking off. From presidential inaugurations to sporting events to niche industry events, live video webcasting will continue to grow and more people will be covering its growth. And, like its on-demand predecessor, live video webcasting will even make some people lots of money.

We work with a lot of conference organizers, trade associations, publications, media companies and promoters to broadcast concerts, sporting events, conferences, and studio productions to online audiences around the world.

In the corporate setting, historically, “live webcast” attendees dial a phone number and go online to look at supporting PowerPoint slides. Phonecasts, as I like to call them, serve a purpose, but are not very inspiring.

Imagine, instead, that the same audience tunes into a live multi-camera shoot that nears CNN production quality and streams straight to their desktop. Would they be more engaged? Probably.

Our live video webcasting platform allows participants to log in and watch a live multi-camera production and communicate with each other and the people in the studio. There’s no reason you can’t produce a CNN, NBC news or Daily Show quality live online broadcast that keeps people entertained and impressed by both the caliber of the content and the quality of the production.

Below is a screen shot of a live video webcast we produced with our ScribeLive platform for the Software and Information Industry Association on cloud computing.

ScribeLive

About 50 people show up at the McGraw-Hill building in Manhattan for this monthly 90 minute lunch event and another 50-100 people tune in online. Panelists answer questions from both the in-person and online audience.

Once the live webcast is over, people can watch past panel discussions as on-demand video (View).

For event organizers, especially in today’s dismal economy, the goal is to generate incremental revenue from an event and to continue to keep their brand in front of the target audience between events.

Event organizers are already incurring the fixed cost to produce an event. The revenue they generate from the event is typically confined to exhibitors and attendees and ends as soon as the event is over and the lights go down.

For exhibitors, sponsors and attendees, the value of the conference typically ends at the same time. There’s no way for sponsors or exhibitors to continue to keep their brands in front of attendees after the event, once everyone packs it up and heads home. The name badges and brochures are thrown in the trash. The keynote lunch sponsor is long forgotten.

Video from the event, however, can live in perpetuity.

Tivo allows people to time-shift when they watch a TV show. The Slingbox allows people to place-shift where they watch a TV show. Similarly, we work with event organizers to develop live and on-demand video strategies to help them reach more people with their content by both place-shifting and time-shifting the consumption of conference content.

We film events for live or on-demand broadcast to all the people who couldn’t make it in person. Think of the live webcast like the Slingbox (place-shifting). It allows people to attend the event remotely from their office desktop or their bedroom laptop while still wearing their Winnie the Pooh PJ’s.

Making conference sessions available online as on-demand video is similar to TiVo (time-shifting). It allows people who couldn’t make it to the conference, or didn’t want to spend the money to fly in and rent a hotel room, to watch all the sessions after the event ends.

For both live and on-demand online video, event organizers can either charge people to watch in a pay-per-view or subscription model, or make the video available for free thanks to a sponsor that wants to get in front of the targeted audience.

The MediaPod is a subcription and pay-per-view player we developed. It allows content owners to create a catalog of content that their audience can browse, buy and either watch online or download to their desktop so they can, for example, put the video on their iPhone to watch during a long flight or subway ride.

Below is an example of a MediaPod we created for the Advertising Research Foundation. The ARF makes video from some conferences available online for free and charges for access to content from other conferences.
ARF_Catalog

Below is an example of three sponsors (Sony, Bogen / Manfrotto, and AbelCine Tech) that want to reach an audience of film, television and new media producers.

We produce a monthly event typically attended by about 200 people. The three sponsors provide the funding necessary to film each event and make the video available online for free.

Each in-person event lives on as on-demand video, watched by thousands.

brightcove_pga_sony_bogen

Online video can either be a means to an end (a marketing tool used to drive awareness and put butts in seats for current or future events) or the end itself (the video is the product and people pay to watch or sponsors pay to get in front of eyeballs).

These two concepts are not mutually exclusive either. Online video can serve both purposes – generate revenue through sales or sponsorship AND drive people to some sort of marketing action such as registering for the next conference.

If your goal is to both make money and generate buzz and awareness for the brand and the event, then there are three variables to think about when it comes to producing live or on-demand video around events.

When: Before, During or After

The first variable has to do with when the video is produced and when it is watched. For example, sometimes we produce documentaries in advance of a conference that premiere at the event to kick it off and set the tone.

Often times an event organizer can get sponsors to cover the production cost by simply saying “do you want to get your brand in front of our audience while they watch the video that kicks off the event or premieres in the exhibit hall during the first major break?”

We produced a documentary that kicked off a Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco in front of 1,000 attendees. Sponsors covered the production costs as we followed a leading thinker in the space on a cross-country motorcycle tour to meet the companies creating web-based tools to help doctors and patients diagnose, manage and treat diseases and conditions. The documentary lives on, keeping the conference organizer and sponsors in front of health 2.0 professionals long after the event is over.

We’re currently working with the Interactive Advertising Bureau to produce a “Long Tail of Publishing” documentary that will premiere at their annual conference in February. It will then live on as an on-demand video on the IAB Web site, ScribeMedia.org, youtube, and anywhere else people want to feature it.

Sometimes we produce live video webcasts in advance of the conference to help generate awareness and excitement for the event.

Instead of yet another “early bird registration” email, the conference organizer can change the nature of the next marketing email to “we want to give you something that is of value to you. Tune into our FREE pre-conference live video webcast. Two industry experts will talk about a topic of interest to you. Oh, and by the way, we look forward to seeing you at the event.”

The pre-conference live video webcast is also a sponsorable initiative. The outreach to sponsors states, “as a way to build buzz around the conference, were doing a pre-conference live video webcast. The conference chair is interviewing an industry thought leader on a topic of interest to our audience. Do you want to sponsor the webcast to get your brand in front of the estimated 50-100 attendees? You also get the list of attendees for follow up after the webcast.” Leads are gold, especially in today’s market.

During events, we film conference sessions. More interestingly, we also work with event organizers to come up with ideas for documentaries and organize interviews with all the thought leaders at the event. Think of how much work you put into getting the “who’s who” of industry experts all in one place for the conference. The fish are already in the barrel. We run around the conference interviewing all the interesting people. The premiere for this video is post-event. The video is an excuse to reach out to the attendees after the event is over, along the lines of, “Thanks for attending, check out an amazing thought leader documentary we produced. Click to visit our web site and watch.”

The kicker….”and thanks to our sponsor for making this possible.”

Live video webcasts are also a great initiative to kick off after the conference to sustain the brand and revenue opportunities between events. The email to your mailing list says “Thanks to all who attended our amazing event. One of the hottest topics at the event was basket weaving. Join us for a live video webcast where we explore different basket weaving techniques. This will be the first in a series of live webcasts, with the intent to keep you connected to each other and the experts until our next event.”

Free or For a Fee

The goal of filming your conference sessions is to develop a multimedia library that you can then put to work.

With some event organizers, we film their events so they can make the video available online for free as a marketing tool. Great conference video showcases the caliber of the event and the organization behind it. We develop strategies to not only feature the video on the event organizers web site, but to also encourage industry bloggers and online publications to grab embed codes of any video to feature on their respective Web sites. Since each video starts with the conference organizer’s branding, they’re like giant billboards for the brand. The more people who grab the embed code to put on their own Web sites, the more the video will be seen, like a billboard on a packed San Jose freeway at 8:30am.

PaidContent.org, an online publication and event organizer that focuses on business professionals in the media industry, is a good example of a company that embraces the “free for all” syndication strategy.

Of course, getting people to pay to watch valuable educational content that they can learn from is also an option. We produce a lot of pay-per-view live webcasts and create online media players and pay-media catalogs so that people can easily find, learn about, and purchase content after an event is over.

Live or on-demand

The final thing to think about is whether or not you want to provide immediate access to your keynotes and panel discussions, along with the ability to participate in the Q&A, to those who can’t make it in person. Or, simply, to film and make the video of your conference sessions available after the event is over.

One immediate concern people have relates to cannibalization. “My God! If people can watch the sessions, nobody will come to the event.” If you believe in the caliber of your conference sessions, and the benefit of the networking opportunities, I’ve seen evidence that making the video available online (as live or on-demand, free or for a fee), actually drives people to attend future events. They can see what they’re missing. It’s as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.

Alternatively, if the event is boring, their reaction will probably be “thank God I didn’t waste my time & money on that.” If you still have concerns, price the online component accordingly. If it’s $900 to attend the event, price online access via a live video webcast at $900 as well. At that price-point you should be indifferent. Maybe only 3 people attend online. Or maybe 30 people appreciate the fact that $900 for a conference is really $900 + travel + hotel + meals + time away from family and that $900 for the live video webcast is really…well….$900.

Scribe Meets a Sinking Jet

Katya Soldak and Mitchell Gilbert gets up close and personal with the wreckage that is Flight 1549 and comes back with photos and footage.

The smell of jet fuel is strong; the plane is mostly submerged, just showing the blue US Airways tail and the engineless left wing above the water surface. It’s tied with cable and rope to a few trees in the Hudson River Park at the foot of Murray Street in lower Manhattan.

We captured this seemingly peaceful scene today and will feature the footage in an upcoming episode of our FDNY Web TV series produced by Mitchell Gilbert of ScribeMedia.

Yesterday, as we know, a flock of geese crippled US Airways Flight 1549 and forced it to land in the Hudson River minutes after leaving La Guardia Airport. Since then, the jet’s drifted all the way from 43rd street on Manhattan’s West side to the downtown pier in Battery Park City, near the World Trade Center.

FDNY Rescue 1 and Marine Fire Rescue are handling the plane. They smiled, looking at the jet sinking in the ice water, figuring out how to remove this now jet-fuel environmental hazard. The rescue operation went unbelievably smoothly; miraculously, the accident that could have turned into a tragedy ended up like a Hollywood movie with 156 people saved.

The upcoming episode of our FDNY web series we will be highlighting special units including the FDNY Marine Unit and Rescue One.  These FDNY units were one of many that responded to the call for help when the plane crash-landed in the Hudson River. They took part in the miraculous rescue that helped save so many lives.  These units as well as others from the FDNY remain on scene today ready to react if the remaining jet fuel ignites. They have hose lines stretched to the plane from idling pumper trucks about 100 yards away, set to deliver water and foam in an instant.

The upcoming FDNY episode will feature the close-ups we got today — the coffee cup floating behind the pilot’s window in a cockpit full of water, so too the large hole punched in sinking fuselage and the wing with icicles on it in place of the engine.

With our next FDNY episode, ScribeMedia will interview the brave people who helped with this rescue.

Healthcare Facilites Summit

The Scribe team went to the Healthcare Facilities Summit to film conference sessions and produce a promotional video for next year. The summit focused on one of my favorite topics – sustainability and reducing energy consumption within buildings and facilities.

The Scribe team went to the Healthcare Facilities Summit to film conference sessions and produce a promotional video for next year. The summit focused on one of my favorite topics – sustainability and reducing energy consumption within buildings and facilities.

The Healthcare Facilities Summit is a private, invitation only summit designed exclusively for senior level professionals in healthcare institutions across the country. The Summit is specifically geared towards those administrators who are responsible for the management, design, construction, operations and maintenance of facilities within their institutions.

Demand for inpatient care is expected to grow over the next few years, due to the aging of the baby boomers and their parents. These consumers will be more informed and will demand better services. In addition to attracting more patients, the built environment can be a significant factor in recruiting and retaining talented staff, increasing corporate support and enhancing operational efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, research suggests a strong link between layout and design of healthcare facilities and patient satisfaction. The Healthcare Facilities Summit equips senior administrators with the tools necessary to adapt to the evolving healthcare environment and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

The Healthcare Facilities Summit is a meeting ground for leaders in healthcare strategy and innovation. Invited delegates include CEOs, COOs, VPs and Directors of Facilities, who come together for interactive discussions, knowledge sharing, and to form strategies that move their institutions forward in this evolving marketplace.

The Healthcare Facilities Summit explores the strategic challenges and opportunities driving institutions to ever-higher levels of innovation, efficiency and cost effectiveness
in managing their facilities.

On the Rise in 1974

The beginnings of a web series.

Two years ago this spring a group of friends and I dusted off a few ratty pieces of thirty-year-old moth-eaten shirts and bell-bottom pants, grabbed some platform shoes, aviator sunglasses, low-rent wigs, a couple guitars and a video camera and set off into the woods. With few resources but not a little bit of inspiration the director (the incomparable Ms. Gina Andreoli) and I (as cameraman) had three actors improvise an odd scene in which two brothers, musicians who lead a progressive rock band, the eponymous Gemini Rising, passionately try to convince their manager to loan them more money so they can realize the full potential of their ideas for a new album, tentatively entitled Galaxy Twins. The brothers, Robert and Richard McKenzie, believe their manager, Bernie Breck, will be no less excited by their profound new musical perspective once they turn him on to the wonder and beauty of nature; the wellspring of their newfound inspiration. For Bernie, however, a simple man cut from a rigid traditional cloth who often engages in somewhat dubious business practices, it’s all about the bottom line; whatever flights of fancy his clients decide to pursue are fine by him as long as they reflect positively on his returns. This is Gemini Rising Episode One, and the basic conflict here between art and commerce is the cornerstone upon which the entire series is built.

I know, you may be thinking that this premise bears striking resemblance to This is Spinal Tap. It does, and we are definitely influenced in part by that wonderful film. But now, six episodes into production, the similarities (I think) are less evident. Gemini Rising is not a parody. A comedy certainly, but there’s a healthy dose of drama infused into the story as well. If the drama sometimes seems ridiculous and absurd that’s probably because drama often is, especially from the perspective of viewers outside looking in. Indeed, on the surface the plight of our characters may seem singular; they are prog rock musicians after all, practitioners of an esoteric (now outdated) and much lambasted style of music.

Our hero and Gemini Rising’s lead visionary, Robert McKenzie (the fantastic Mr. Righteous Jolly), a young man who yearns to create great art, is beset on all sides by a fundamental lack of understanding; even the members of his band have trouble supporting him through his more painful dilemmas. He has difficulty communicating his ideas, he antagonizes the people who don’t understand him and as a result his lofty ambitions are never fully realized. Perhaps it’s Robert’s own stubbornness that gets him into trouble. He can be less forgiving of those with whom he doesn’t see eye-to-eye than some are of him, and expects more respect than he accords these same individuals. Whether it’s his manager, his band, a pompous photographer, a spiritual guru, or even his own girlfriend, life seems to be a source of constant frustration and disappointment. But he’s young, an idealist, and his heart is in the right place. Maybe the problem is the specific art he’s trying to create and the fact that he can’t do it alone. Progressive rock is less a genre of music than a category for a homeless amalgam of musical styles and experimentation that defies simple categorization. And who knows if Robert is even aware of the term progressive rock. He explains it as a “psychedelic-space-rock-and-blues fusion”, and to him this makes sense.

Through all their struggles Gemini Rising the band does achieve some small level of success, with modest hits like Electric Lady of the Lake and Star Child, tracks from their two only recorded albums. Then, after some touring and thwarted attempts to record a third record, they disband and disappear. It is our task here to chronicle what happened, before and after the fall.

In Episode Three, presented here and pound-for-pound arguably our funniest and most entertaining episode to date, the band is to be photographed by acclaimed New York City fashion photographer Aleister Holt Pierce (the wonderful and hilarious Gregory Nassif St. John). Pierce agrees to photograph the band as a favor for fashion model Kiki Kim, who is dating the band’s guitarist, Richard McKenzie. Pierce, however, doesn’t take the assignment too seriously and is more inspired by Kiki than Gemini Rising and… well, I’ll let the viewer watch to find out what happens. There is a lot of acting talent on display here; pay close attention to the credits and discover who these young men and women are. Without them Gemini Rising would not work. Then watch all five complete episodes to catch-up with the series. We are also currently a featured show on kolcast.tv. Stay tuned! There are many more on the way!

Gemini Rising – Episode Three

The End of Old Advertising?

This article ‘Marketing in the World of the Web’ by the Wall Street Journal encapsulates much of what we’re aiming to achieve at Scribe. Not only am I heartened by the reinforcement of Scribe’s core ideals around software development and its core business model, it also makes me feel personally vindicated for my long held beliefs about the direction of software and software consulting.

Particularly prescient for me:

As the evidence mounts about the power of social networks to reconfigure individual behavior, the crucial question facing industry is: How to leverage this phenomenon into actual profits?

I’ve always believed that software without effective consultation about it’s power and usage will ultimately lead to worthless software.

Read the article.

Is Rape Funny?

Shocking isn’t it. Is Rape Funny? “That was a question that, as comedians, we had to address,” says Director Joe Stramowski, “How can you take something so awful, so tragic and make it funny? From the creators of Scribe Media’s Web-TV series “So True: The Chronicles of Chris and Joe”

Shocking isn’t it. Is Rape Funny? “That was a question that, as comedians, we had to address,” says Director Joe Stramowski, “How can you take something so awful, so tragic and make it funny? Not in an indignant way of speaking. But seriously, how do we do it, what’s the method.” In the end we knew that we had to remove gender context from the joke (eg Male on Male) and make the victim deserving… and seriously, what’s worse than an anti-semitic clown? That’s right… Nothing!”

The 2nd episode in the Web-TV series, Masters of Power Present was produced for the low cost of $70 and shot in an hour and a half, utilizing cinematic sound design and chasing patterns of light to achieve the ominous look. The rough framework of the story was written by Stramowski; however, it was the speedy and sharp witted improve skills of the cast (MOP writers Christian Jones and Eric Cromwell) that brought the razor dialogue to the piece.

Jimmy Doolan

The world of finance during a recession. Unlucky Guy, meets Jimmy Doolan, gumba ATM and learns the hard way just how bad those banking surcharges can be. The first episode in the Web-TV series Masters of Power Present. From the creators of Scribe Media’s Web-TV series “So True: The Chronicles of Chris and Joe”

Jimmy Doolan: The world of finance during a recession. Unlucky Guy, meets Jimmy Doolan, gumba ATM and learns the hard way just how bad those banking surcharges can be.

The first episode in the Web-TV series Masters of Power Present Director Joe Stramowski (Scribe Media, Masters of Power, Gods Like Us) wanted to tell a strange story using clean, simple shots and grainy 16mm without the aid of music to drive themes.

“We chose to broadcast on Funnyordie.com on the recommendation of a friend in the new media space. The idea, unlike Youtube.com, that your audience can hold your work accountable struck us as breath of fresh air in the wafting media dump that much of the net has become.” -Joe Stramowki

Kevin Gets a New Agent

Actor Kevin Brown meets Marrian Goldenbaum, sadomasochist agent to the stars. The third episode in the Web-TV series: “Masters of Power Present.” From the creators of Scribe Media’s Web-TV series “So True: The Chronicles of Chris and Joe”

Actor Kevin Brown meets Marrian Goldenbaum, sadomasochist agent to the stars.

In this short, So True: The Chronicles of Chris and Joe creators Joe Stramowski (Scribe Media, Masters of Power, Gods Like Us) and Christian Jones (Masters of Power, Gods Like Us) kept the production close to home.

Locations included, their agents office, CEC Entertainment their alma mater, Hofstra University, a borrowed Corvette and their apartment bathroom.

The talented cast was made up of a combination of Emmy nominated network tv stars, Kevin Brown and Grizz Chapman (NBC’s 30 Rock and talented fresh faces Jill DeMonstoy, Kevin Swan and Jen Brown.

Director Joe Stramowski and Director of Photography, AJ Broadbent used the Panasonic HVX-200, with the RedRocks M2 adapter and Carl Zeiss lenses to create a 35mm look for the 720p digital video format.

See it here in HD!!!!

Inside the NYPD: Episode 11 “Highway Patrol”

Video: In this episode, ScribeMedia embedded with the fearless men and women of the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Unit. More than just issuing summons, Highway Patrol are mobile investigators who protect all, from the most grandiose dignitary to the average citizen, on the over four hundred miles of highway in New York City.

In this episode, ScribeMedia embedded with the fearless men and women of the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Unit. More than just issuing summons, Highway Patrol are mobile investigators who protect all, from the most grandiose dignitary to the average citizen, on the over four hundred miles of highway in New York City.