January 20, 2006 Videocast - The Power of Video

Tomotake Mizunoe
Director, Motion Picture Team

Video is the Best Tool for Connecting People

American philosopher and educator, John Dewey, once said, “An ounce of experience is better than a ton of theory.”
He insisted that theory alone was nothing more than just words without experience to back it up, and that it is important to learn and think using one's own eyes, ears, and hands.
Dewey's theory on the importance of experience is said to have been the stepping stone for today's theories on audiovisual education. This kind of audiovisual information can be very simply summed up by the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” What this means is that video images can express those concepts and that knowledge that is difficult to explain in words.

During the golden age of Hollywood, famous actor Frank Capra said, “Movies are a media that connects people - not on a one-to-one level, but on a one-to-many level.”
Motion pictures are the optimal vehicle for expression and communication.
It is also said that out of the five senses, sight and sound account for 85% of the information we take in. So this shows just how much power video content has and its unlimited potential.
But at the same time, of course, there is also a level of responsibility that goes with that.

The Emergence of Videocast

With the popularization of broadband and progress in Internet technology, anyone can now view movies or video images easily over the Internet. Ten years before the Internet started to be used commercially, Founder of Netscape, Jim Clark, predicted that "All channels will be made available on-demand. And there will be an unlimited number of channels." Now today, this is exactly the way things are headed.

October last year saw the release of the fifth-generation iPod, which has video replay functions. The iTunes Music Store also released for sale music video, short film, and TV program content that users can just download and enjoy anywhere, anytime. Original content, if encoded (through file conversion), can also now be viewed on portable terminals like iPods or PSPs.
Apple refers to this service as Video Podcast, but at Mitsue-Links, we use the term Videocast.


Videocast uses the H.264 CODEC. There are various different CODECs, including MPEG2, which is used for DVD-Video, and MPEG4, which is used for capturing moving images on digital cameras or mobile phones.
This H.264 is highly compressed (file sizes are about half that of MPEG2) and yet provides good picture quality. As such, it is used for next-generation DVD, including Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, as well as in mobile terminals like iPods, PSPs, mobile phones, and devices for one-seg broadcasting.

How is This Different to Video Distribution to Date?

The optimal format for Videocast is Blog, and many of the Videocasts now available on sites are provided in Blog format.
The fact that RSS, which is used to distribute updated Blog information, uses Push technology to provide the latest information is seen as one factor behind the popularization of Videocast.

Most Internet-based distribution relies on streaming, but with Videocast, users first of all download the file and then save it on their hard disk before playing it.
This offers a number of advantages, one of which is that the downloads can be handled through a web server. This makes for better cost performance in terms of hosting, as compared with using a streaming server.

Although the infrastructure is in place for streaming distribution, streaming places a load on the server because the data is sent to users as they need it, and in many cases, the video imagery is unstable. I'm sure you have had videos that have stopped playing half-way through or that have been really jumpy.
However, you don't have this worry when you view downloaded content, as the content can be replicated exactly as it was sent. Naturally, this also takes the stress and worry out of viewing for the user, too.
Yet, the most significant feature of Videocast overall is that it allows users to view a file they have saved to their mobile terminal, as was mentioned earlier, anytime they like (time shift) and anywhere they like (location shift).

Video Image Distribution in the Future

In today's day and age, digitized images are beamed around the world in an instant.
Just recently, a new feature, Google Video, was added to the Google video search service. This allows users not only to search for video files that they can download to their PC, but also lets them search for and download files for their iPods or PSPs, too. An all-new video image portal site, like FLiXPO, has also been launched that is iPod- and PSP-compatible.

Video images and movies involve both expression aspects and technology aspects, and there are many issues that still need to be resolved.
It is no good companies just unilaterally foisting what they want people to see on them. They have to think about what users will want to see, and then it is important to merge this with what the company wants them to see.
Videocast provides clear evidence of how many people have downloaded the file. This allows you to analyze cost effectiveness, and there are sure to be some companies that will then advertise in that content which is shown to be "killer content." Movies are rich in information content and strongly appeal to our sensitivities, and thus it is clear that video content will only increase in importance.

In conclusion, although this article is obviously provided in text format, I wish I can communicate this same information through video content, because motion pictures themselves are a language. Mitsue-Links has on offer a Videocast Service for this purpose, and Mitsue-Links also has a content called Mitsue-Links Videocasting (Japanese Language Only) that is updated biweekly with the latest company information and comments from service developers. Please be sure to take a look.

For more information on our services, timeframes and estimates, as well as examples of our work, please feel free to be in touch.