Michael Smolens is the platinum guide for the revolution that is going on right now with video over the Internet. As the CEO of DotSub – a company which enables people to simply and easily transcribe and translate film online – he is on the cutting edge.
Which is why it is such a pleasure to talk to him: because he always has some video project or program on his mind that he tells you about, incredulous that you haven’t heard of it yet. So when Michael called me yesterday to tell me he’d be in Los Angeles in early February and did I fancy meeting up, I was delighted to hear about another extraordinary and inspiring use of film the likes of which make me want to pick up my camera right now and get filming.
I checked it out online this morning and then also dug out some other recommendations he had made to me and then it occurred to me, buzzing with hope and energy, that it might not be a bad idea to share this knowledge with whoever reads my blog.
So here is a quick guide to the most inspiring films and movements around at the moment. Why be medicated with nonsense television when you can be uplifted and inspired with Net marvels?
- Michael is attending TED@PalmSprings. This is the second branch-off from the TED Conference which has been running annually since 1990 in Monterey, California. It nearly fell apart in 2002 but has since come alive and just this year shifted to Long Beach. The whole mission of the Technology, Entertainment, Design – TED – is to have a conference that promotes “ideas worth spreading”. It comprises a series of lectures that cover a broad range of topics from science to politics to technology to entertainment.
There was a TED conference in Aspen last year and now the Palm Springs version will be a “live hosted simulcast of the full TED2009 program” with live speakers, performances and so on. The packed-out, book-one-year-in-advance main conference will be in Long Beach but the Palm Springs version has better scenery and a big pool.
- The TED talks have branched out online and have their own YouTube channel which puts out a new video every week that has cutting-edge and inspiring thinkers boil down their idea worth spreading into 18 minutes. Even better than that, the organization has put together the Top 10 TED talks for you to watch and download. The top talk which is extraordinary and inspiring is from Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher who studied her own brain when she had a stroke. It is fascinating. And you can watch it online, along with many others.
The great, incredible, fantastic, marvellous thing is that you can also watch it below by simply clicking a button thanks to some code I have added. AND since this code pulls in a video from DotSub, even if you don’t speak a word of English, you can read the subtitles in 11 other languages (so far): Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. And if you want to see them in any other language, you personally can go in and create those subtitles extremely easily on DotSub – just click here and go to “Translate and Transcribe”.
- There are hundreds of hours of fascinating TED talks – but what about films? What if you don’t fancy listening to a lecture but would rather see beautifully filmed and edited portrayals. Well, according thanks to a pointer from Michael, why not check out Pangea Day? According to the person behind it, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, the idea is to have one day in which the world is brought together (“pangea” is the world for the hypothetical supercontinent that included all the landmasses of the earth before it broke up into the continents we now know). She gave a very eloquent explanation of the concept in 2006 when she actually won a TED prize (yes, the same TED), which you can watch on the Pangea Day website and where you can also watch some of the best films submitted.
- But what if you don’t fancy talks, and don’t fancy films? Well then I’d direct you to Current TV – television and news from around the world and all online. It’s a thousand times better, more interesting, more inspiring and more informative than 1,000 cable TV channels.