March 1, 2010

An indie film company for Web productions

An indie film company for Web productions from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

One of the coolest people I met at last year’s South by Southwest Festival was Ryan Robbins, co-founder of BonnieandClydeProductions, an independent film company that produces chiefly narratives and dark comedy shorts for the Web.

Ryan is the producer and behind-the-scenes coordinator while her husband Greg Robbins is the scriptwriter, director and editor. I’ve watched a number of their movie shorts over the past year and find them engaging and well produced.

Among their recent works:

Saving Jesus

Boyce Return (29 minutes)

Says Ryan: “We do it for the love of doing it, and to get more experience. … We just decided, Hey, let’s start our own company and make our own films.” They had to raise $15,000 to $20,000 right out of college to buy cameras, light kits, gaffing equipment and the like.

As someone grounded in Silicon Valley’s start-up culture and in the world of media, I admire that perseverance.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo (4 minutes)

Ryan also has her own show on BlogTV called Ryan Robbins Live. BlogTV encourages user interaction through live chat, so “you really talk about anything from politics to sex to drugs to makeup to school — anything,” she says.

I apologize for the delay in getting this video interview up — I just finished the relaunch of this weekend and hope to showcase other examples of creative people making their own media.

Interested in independent film? Take this advice from Ryan: “There’s no such thing as too small.”

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January 7, 1998

Video comes to the Web

CNN, the New York Times and APTV have begun experimenting with streaming video to present news clips on the Net

This column appeared in the January-February 1998 issue of  The American Journalism Review.

By J.D. Lasica

Quietly, without much fanfare, online news sites have begun making good use of a revolutionary new information tool. It’s called video.

Until now, anyone seeking to capture the flavor and texture of a news event was limited to surfing the old-fashioned way: with a TV set and remote control. News sites on the Web have offered the occasional QuickTime video, but that required long download times, typically several minutes for just a 30-second clip — hardly worth the trouble.

But a fairly new technology called streaming video allows users to watch news clips instantly, at the click of a mouse, though the quality is a bit herky-jerky if you have anything less than an ISDN line.

The New York Times on the Web began offering streaming video during its coverage of Princess Diana’s death in August. Now it offers video with one or two stories roughly four days a week.

“We’re still in a learning curve,” says Bernard Gwertzman, the site’s editor, “but it’s evident there are people who think a news operation on the Internet should have components beyond the printed word — video, animation, multimedia. At this point, it’s a minority of people who like the bells and whistles, but we’ll go the extra length for them.”

Continue reading »

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