The Blogosphere is buzzing with the news that Flickr has now added support for video. However, they are not striving to become another YouTube. Flickr has always been about photographs, and they are adhering to a strict interpretation of what’s acceptable. They look at these videos as more “long photos” than anything. Basically, just a clip of time, when a regular photograph just isn’t sufficient. As such, videos are limited to 90 second clips.
Probably, a 90 second clip will be sufficient for my needs. I don’t do very much video, anyway. The nice thing is that all of the social aspects of Flickr are applicable to videos just like they are to photos. Tagging, geotagging, and commenting work the same way as photos, as well as the ability to put videos in sets and collections. I’m just curious as to how the influx of these “long photos” will affect things such as “interestingness” and the Explore function on Flickr.
Of course, I had to give this a whirl. I uploaded one of my videos from the William Walker Memorial Singing last month at Wofford College. The video in question was 2:13′ long, so I wasn’t sure how it would be handled. Flickr truncated the video, cutting off the last 43 seconds of the clip. Here it is below, added using the new “embed” feature that Flickr provides for the videos…
Side note: The new version of WordPress does a much nicer job of handling video when editing posts than the previous versions did.
I also had to try out the geotagging functions for video. Of course, videos don’t have an easy way to handle metadata like EXIF does for images, so the only ways to geotag are with triple-tagging or using the drag-n-drop map function in Flickr. I did the drag-n-drop and placed it on the map. I tried to use the loc.alize.us applet, and while it would read the map data for the video from Flickr, for some reason it wouldn’t create the triple tags. I haven’t manually added the triple tags, but I may go back and do that.
As for display, I used Metaltoad’s KML generator first in Google Earth. The video appeared in the network feed, but no thumbnail could be displayed. I had to click through to get to the video. Likewise, Flickr’s native KML support showed the location in Google Earth, but no thumbnail. I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before these types of applications are updated to take advantage of the new video support.
In conclusion, I like Flickr’s concept of the “long photo.” I’m also more comfortable with Flickr’s interface than YouTube’s, simple because I’ve been using Flickr longer. I’ll probably continue to use a combination of Flickr and YouTube for the very few videos I actually create, depending on the application. As it turns out, most of the stuff I have won’t fit into 90 seconds, so it will have to go on YouTube. However, this is a nice addition to Flickr’s capabilities.
[tags]Flickr, video, geotagging, photography[/tags]
UPDATE: As you might imagine, not everyone is happy with videos in Flickr. A pool has been created to voice dismay. Some people don’t like change of any kind. There were discussion groups that formed when Yahoo bought Flickr, and I’m sure that there are groups protesting the possible takeover of Yahoo by Microsoft.
As for me, I think Flickr has put some reasonable restrictions to keep the site oriented toward photography. I use this site mainly to warehouse my images so that I can share and post on this blog. The Web 2.0 functions are a nice benefit, but are not the main reason I come here. As with any change, if the introduction of videos fundamentally alters my main purpose for using the site, then I’ll start to get upset.