This week Lauren Wheeler and I launched a new video series for the Network in Canadian History and Environment called EHTV: Live from the Field. NiCHE director, Alan MacEachern, kick-started the idea a couple of months ago with a proposal to get video cameras into the hands of environmental history researchers in order to document their work over the spring and summer. We wanted to get footage of what environmental history research looks like through mini-documentaries of work in the field.
The response to the video project was fantastic from the outset, allowing us to launch this week. We have cameras out there with several researchers who have been recording their work for EHTV. Those videos will be edited and posted on a monthly schedule starting this week.
This week we posted the pilot video for the series on the new EHTV website at http://niche-canada.org/ehtv. Each month, the videos will appear on the main EHTV site along with a number of other distribution channels. Taking some lessons from the experience of the Nature’s Past audio podcast series, we have created an iTunes subscription, RSS feed, YouTube channel, and Vimeo channel for EHTV. Our goal is to get these videos in as many places as possible for viewers.
Video is indeed a more complicated medium than audio, but we have already learned a lot from the launch of this project. One of the main differences for this project from Nature’s Past has been content collection. While the audio podcast is produced mainly from one point for recording, this kind of video podcast series requires a significant number of cameras in the field along with a good core of participants. The editing process is also somewhat more complicated, involving both audio and video editing. So far we have been using Apple’s iMovie to edit the video and Audacity for some audio tweaking here and there.
Distribution of a video series has been relatively easy, but we did need to make some important decisions prior to the launch. Rather than collecting and editing videos all summer and then posting them all on a single static website we decided instead to publish in both a video blog and a video podcast format. In order to do this, we needed to choose a video display tool for the website that would be able to handle high quality video and switch between Flash and HTML5. The YouTube player seems to be the most versatile for these purposes. All of the video files are hosted on archive.org where viewers can download a copy for offline viewing using direct download links, the iTunes subscription, or RSS. Everything seems to be working well on this system, but we are open to changing to better tools in the future.
The project is just beginning and I hope that it will catch on in the same way as audio podcasting. Please take a look at our new site and consider subscribing to EHTV.
EHTV: Live from the Field website:
EHTV on Twitter: