Quick observation. I was tinkering with video sites, trying to figure out how best to pipe videos from my iPhone over to robinsloan.com, and was struck, again, by the surprise of YouTube.
Usually, we expect quantity to compete with quality. You know, like: YouTube’s all about volume; Vimeo’s all about quality. That’s the breakdown that we expect. Cheap and mass-produced vs. high-end and artisanal.
Except that YouTube is the quality leader, too. They’ll host your HD videos for free and play ’em back as many times as you want, embedded or otherwise. They’re now bumping things up to 1080p. They encode videos in a flash. And it’s precisely because YouTube is so gigantic—because Google is so gigantic—that they’re able to do all this. Quantity is a prerequisite for quality.
Now, I’m just talking about technical quality, of course, and Vimeo has done a great job cultivating quality of a different sort. It’s full of music, art and wonderful stuff like this. Really, the “features” that Vimeo offers are social and psychological, not technical. That’s the right move, because they can’t keep up with YouTube on video quality. No one can.
Anyway, this isn’t a huge insight—just another example of the weird physics of digital media.
Finally, FYI, here’s a tip for video uploads from the iPhone 3GS: Don’t send the video directly from the Camera app. It compresses it severely, and there’s no way to tell it not to. Instead, copy the video from the Camera app, then open Mail, create a new message (to your YouTube upload-via-email address) and paste the video in. Voila. No compression. Of course, the video takes commensurately longer to upload, but it’s well worth it. The same trick works for photos.