Friday, May 9, 2008

Four year old 'Battle at Kruger', finally gets it due!

Watching the clip "Battle at Kruger " one realizes the importance of having the eye for capturing amazing events even when the amateur videographer is uncertain of the situation that will unfold, especially in the wild! This is exactly what David Buzz Budzinsky and Jason Schlosberg did in September 2004, while capturing on video and in photos the amazing battle for survival and victim recupering tactics of the animal kingdom (the video footage was shot by David, while Jason a fellow tourist photographed the scenario).

What were the options for sharing this amazing footage in 2004? On return from the South African Safari trip, David and Jason tried selling the footage to the then only Media force: T.V Networks. Unfortunately, the clip failed to attract any bargain at all since at that time "amateur" video material held little or rather no value! Suprisingly neither did it evoke any particular interest for the National Geographic Channel nor the Animal Planet!

After three years of unsucessful attempts, Jason Scholberg tired of mailing the DVD version to the T.V Networks, made an interesting choice of sharing 'the Kruger experience' on the Visual Platform: YouTube in May 2007. Within in months the clip accquired a viral visual count (to date 30 million views), Jason become a Star and the footage finally caught attention of the 'Traditional Media' last summer. Ever since the User-generated content, the 8min+plus clip, has been aired on several T.V series abc's summer story, CNN's 'i-caught' with T.V media coverage and the growing YouTube viewership popularity, the National Geographic finally realized the 'value' of the clip. They contacted Jason, bought the T.V rights of the clip and decided to go a step further with the Kruger experience. The two tourists (David and Jason) struck a deal and the NatGeo Documentary "Caught on Safari: Battle at Kruger", a one hour long documentary,first ever to be inspired by a footage on YouTube, was concieved!

The two Safari tourists also run their own (hosted and with rights sold to Negative Media Space)
However, the clip on the site still runs with the YouTube watermark! Among the merchandising spinoffs are a set of 23 photographs, the clip and other stuff as well!
For details on the making of the documentary read the NYT article and visit the official site.

Interestingly, Mr.Cascio, senior vice president for special programming at the National Geographic affirmed that the documenatry(made by professional camermen and crew) is only a supplement to the original clip! Funny how the value of 'User-generated content' has changed not only the way we see reality, but also the nature,status and value of reality seen, captured and now in the age of the visual platforms shared globally by the 'amateur'. Were it not for Jason's choice to share openly and freely on YouTube (even after 3 years of unsucessful sale attempts) the collective experience at Kruger would still be sitting on a shelf in a personal video archive!

Visual Platforms like YouTube, Dailymotion and flickr, making sharing of visual content by 'amateurs' possible, have undoubtedly reduced not only economic physical barriers for such an endeavour, but created also new ways of global viral viewership and acknowledgement. Social acceptance is the highest motivating factor for communal online sharing- Yochai Benkler.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Politics, Hollywood & StarWars

Increadible to see how the 2008 Race to the White House for the Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is turning out to be Spectacular!!
It isn't the first Starwars Parody that has landed up on YouTube and these two are certainly not the first presidential candidates caricatured in the role of Dark Vader and Luke Skywalker! Interestingly, the French President has also been watched waving his neon sword around,during the french presidential campaign in 2007.
What is so fascinating about this George Lucas myth and its sucess? The glamourous, the famous and the powerful! Wonderful Hollywood movie mix, with a touch of YouTube popularism!

From the first Internet Celebrity victim to the recent presidental power struggle caricatures, the triliogy has become a universally acclaimed "power" cultural meme!!

The force be with you O.B!