Blogtalk Downunder
   May 19-22, Sydney

Blogtalk Downunder

Prototype two

The second prototype that was developed begins to utilise and explore more specific qualities and properties of a video blog practice where video from other videoblogs is included within an individual video piece a practice I have described elsewhere as softvideo (Miles 2003.)

In this work there is a commentary and video track of myself, discussing in broad terms the idea of being able to cite other video within a video work. Alongside this video pane there is a second video pane (or window) which will load the video blogs that are mentioned by me in my commentary. These will only be loaded if the user clicks while they are being mentioned, otherwise no other material is loaded and displayed in the second video pane.

Technically this prototype uses a feature of QuickTime known as child movies, a term that bears some affinities with hypertext theory’s use of similar terminology to describe hypertext structure (for example the use of sibling, parent, and child as common descriptors of hypertextual hierarchy). The prototype is the parent movie, so acts as a container for other content that resides outside of this individual movie. Such material may reside on a local drive, or in this case, elsewhere on the network. In this specific instance the only material being loaded from outside of the prototype are two other videos, one from the video blog of Eric Rice (2005), and the other from Jay Dedman’s video blog (Dedman 2005). These, as in prototype one, are only available when being specifically mentioned in the commentary, and require the user to click the quote mark icon that appears between the two video panes.

This user action will pause the commentary, and then load the mentioned video from its specific networked location, in this case from either of two other video blogs. What is important to note here is that this content is only downloaded by the client (user or reader) if they click on it, and that this content resides in a location which I have no control over. If the owner of that content removes it, or changes its location, then this work will be ‘broken’ in the same way that linking to an external page that is later removed (or moved) will generate a 404 ‘Page not Found’ error.

An advantage of only downloading this content when it is requested is to minimise the bandwidth demands of video quotation systems - if the user doesn’t want to view the mentioned material then it is not downloaded to their system. This saves bandwidth and time and minimises for the client, and the authors (the author of the parent video and the authors of the child content that is being quoted) the overheads that such a system may incur where child movies are not utilised. For example, if I had simply used QuickTime to copy and paste the other video into this movie, then the total file size would be dramatically increased, whether clients wanted to view the cited video or not. Alternatively if I had utilised some other strategy (for example preloading the quoted video in case it was to be requested) then the author of the quoted video, and the viewer of the parent video, would still be accruing unnecessary bandwidth charges.

If the user clicks on the quote icon when no specific video is being mentioned then a jpeg is loaded (again this is loaded from elsewhere on the network) indicating that nothing is being quoted at that particular moment. In addition a controller is provided for the second video pane so that the user has control over the playback of this second video.

There is quite a bit that this prototype fails to do, or does poorly. For example as with the first prototype it does not indicate the source URLs of the quoted video, or the blog pages where this video is located. Some access to the original material is important since in a blog it is an established practice to provide a link to another blog post when your entry refers to this content. In addition, the interface is not particularly clear, so it is not obvious to the user that they need to click the quotation icon between the video panes to load the external video. This is a legacy of my own specific creative aesthetic practice where I deliberately encourage users to explore a video to find what or how it may be interactive, an aesthetic that is not particularly amenable to a generic interface for video blogging.

However, the work does quote video within another video, it does provide commentary or comments that allude to this work in a manner that is sympathetic to blogging practice, and it does this in a manner that begins to indicate ways in which a blog based video practice weaves with video in ways analogous to how we weave with text. The third prototype begins from this point, and attempts to explore it more forcefully.

note: This page forms a part of a hypertext essay by Adrian Miles. The homepage for this essay is located at:
A long version of this paper (containing some but not all of the text contained in the hypertext version) is available at:

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