Posted Sunday, January 09, 2005 11:20:11 PM by Tom Green
This past May I was sitting at a local restuarant patio with Ray Miller, Macromedia's Canadian "Kahuna", prior to a monthly gathering of the Toronto "Flashies" at FlashinTO. This was one of our infrequent opportunities to get caught up with each other and he was curious as to what was I was "evangalizing." Considering I had gone public through Community MX and the MX Developers Journal with my contention that "QuickTime is dead. Long live Flash", I filled him in on the reaction I was getting at various Conferences where I had done sessions on the subject. Those reactions ranged ranged from outright skepticism to "dead straight brother." As I explained to Ray, "I am amazed at the number of people that don't 'get it', but this thing is going to hit and it is going to hit big."
About five weeks later I am in New York at FlashForward and Mike Downey, Macromedia's Flash Product Manager, delivered a "barn burner" of a presentation that essentially said, "Video on the web has arrived and you can either get in the game or get dead". The interesting thing about that keynote was the fact that considering what Mike had said, the profile of video at the Conference was relatively understated.
Three weeks later, I get yanked into the Digital Design World Conference in Seattle to talk about Flash Video. Considering the fact the conference chair was Jim Heid, MacWorld Editor and "Uber Mac Head", I was a bit nervous with the subject of my presentation: "Quicktime is dead. Get over it." Jim laid a couple of really good natured shots into me when he introduced me and you would not believe the number of Mac portables visible when you are at the front of the rooom. That was also the session that told me Mike Downey and I may just be on to something.
There is a "death slot" at Conferences. It is the last presentation of the last day and that was my slot in Seattle. I was scheduled for the Friday afternoon, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. slot for a Conference that kicked off Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. I had been kidding Jim about the slot and told him I would be lucky if 50 people showed up. Just before Jim introduced me, we both looked out on a "packed house" and had the same same "Holy smoke" reaction.
Since then, I have spoken about web video at gatherings ranging from local user groups to Web Design World in Boston and I have yet to not have the audience's full attention when they discover how easy it is to implement and deploy video in a web page without a reliance on QuickTime, Windows Media or Real. In Boston, considering I was dealing with a hard core web dev crowd, I even wore a polo shirt during the presentation just to make it clear to them that "Really, there is nothing up my sleeves". When I demonstrated the Macromedia Video Kit there was an audible murmer in the crowd when it sunk in that video is no longer a novelty and is seriously affordable and, more important, accessible.
In November, even my CMX colleague, Paul Newman "got religion" when he wrote in his CMX Blog: "OK, I'm convinced. After spending the last month on a Flash video project, I'm never using QuickTime, Windows Media Player, or RealPlayer on a web site again. I created a single FLV file using Sorenson Squeeze 4.0, built a custom Flash video player, and the darn thing works on every browser and platform I can get my hands on. So far, I've tested it on IE6, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, and Opera. On OS X, it works on Firefox, IE, Netscape, and Safari."
"Prior to this, I was using a ColdFusion page that sniffs the user's browser and platform and generates the appropriate code to embed QuickTime, Windows Media, or RealPlayer (assuming the user already has one of the plug-ins installed). That's so 20th century!"
It isn't only Paul that seems to be "getting religion".
Amazon.com is running an "irregular" Flash video series on its Home Page. CNet runs a daily video on its site. JCT Jeans has an extremely well-presented site that makes extensive use of Flash video. Macromedia tosses it into banners on its home page and has a whole section of its Flash Developer Center devoted to the subject. Red Bull's Air Race and SuperMoto sites are stunning examples of the technology pushed to its limit. Northeastern University is using it to orient new students to the capus facilities. American Airlines uses it to let us know "Why we fly" and both Vodaphone and Panasonic are using Flash Video to give us a look at where they see the technologies in their industries are heading.
The fascinating thing about all of this is: This is the infancy of Flash Video. When I first wrote "Bye Bye QuickTime" for Community MX in October 2003, I had no idea this technology would hit so fast and so broadly. Then again, maybe all it needed was a couple of "Evangelists" out there spreading the "old time Flash Video religion."
Category tags: On the Personal Side
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