[clearspring_widget title=”SnagFilms Film Widget” wid=”4837b4759c19ccae” pid=”488224dbbd70beed” width=”300″ height=”250″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]
This is just a test of a new online service that promotes documentary films that I heard about on the Audible.com edition of the Wall Street Journal. Watching the films at their site is slick, but I’m not sure about the snagging part. Basically, you watch a film, and if you like it and want to promote it on your blog you hit the snag button and SnagFilms logs into your blogging site, creates a post and puts a graphic advertising the film and allows you to tag it with a little comment.
I would prefer how I put YouTube videos online, using commands within WordPress that embeds the video player in my post. SnagFilms’ method is more viral, pushing people to their site. But it doesn’t allow me to write my blog and introduce the video. I’m writing this after the fact, so the initial RSS feed will just be icon for the video. In the future I won’t use the snag feature and just post a link.
The current selection of documentary films at SnagFilms is small, but high quality. There’s a review process, so you can’t just upload your masterpiece like at YouTube. The video I’m testing is from PBS and narrated by Brad Pitt. It’s a fascinating story about how China works to be environmental. The film quality has been excellent so far, and the aspect ratio is HD. Annoyingly, the second line of the subtitles for the foreign speakers and people identification is covered up, at least for this film – so parts are meaningless because all the interviews with Chinese speakers are missing half the translations. Of course, they are in beta.
SnagFilms makes its money by playing a commercial before the film starts, and between each video segment, and the segments are about 15-25 minutes long. You can also order a DVD from the site, and part of the money goes to the film maker.
I love documentaries, but most documentaries do not get wide distribution. A few famous ones are shown in the movie theaters, and some of the rest get spots on TV, but many are only seen in art houses or on college campuses. SnagFilms hopes to make documentaries more easy to see, which is a good thing. Hulu.com, another video distrubtion site, has some documentaries, but mostly TV shows. I’m getting to like watching video online because I can put one up in a window and watch while I’m working at my desk paying bills or other light duties. Both of these sites have nice size videos that are smooth playing and have good sound.
Online videos are good for sharing with other people, and great for catching a missed episode of a favorite show. They are starting to get good enough to bypass the old TV set. Damn, I bet we all end up like the people in Wall-E – fat slobs reclining 24×7 in floating lounge chairs with our face always in a video screen.