Rocketboom Tech Success Story

Four, three, two, one…Rocketboom went live on YouTube this week, one of only a handful of pioneering online video shows picked by Google to help preview the new YouTube Live service.  

Rocketbom did a fun promo featuring bloopers:

Success doesn’t happen over night but it can happen pretty quickly when you have great talent, inspiring teammates and the wonder-pace of the Internet.  Rocketboom was created by the talented producer Andrew Baron in 2004.  I true pioneer in online episodic video production, Baron has evolved things beyond a daily Internet culture newscast Rocketboom to include Know Your Meme, Rocketboom Tech and Rocketboom NYC.  And he continues to explore and develop new technologies — like his innovative video aggregator Magma (more on Magma here) and new business models that bring together the best of video storytelling and the Internet.

I got to meet Andrew in 2008 thanks to an introduction by Pop17‘s Sarah Austin, at the time an Intel Insider social media advisor. After hiring him to create a few technology-related segments for Intel, together we worked up an plan for a regular show which became Rocketboom Tech, launched in early 2008.  Hosted by Ellie Rountree, Rocketboom Tech gets the inside scoop on innovations and innovators bringing exciting technologies to our daily lives. 

Ellie has met up with amazing people from NASA, Second Life, Intel Labs, the Consumer Electronics Show and even futurists and pyschologists exploring how technology can help relieve stress from our daily lives.

During that time, my team inside Intel and I have had the chance to work behind the scenes on story development and to learn production and editing tricks that have become Rocketboom signatures.  We even got to visit their snazzy new studios in New York.

Kenyatta Cheese, Ellie Rountree and Ken E Kaplan at the Rocketboom Studios in New York, NY

In September, I traveled to New York to host the Intel Insiders Summit gathering of social media advisors.  I was able to take some time to talk with Ellie Rountree on camera, as I wanted to capture the glee of excitement she was feeling about some of the new changes inside Rocketboom.  And how she’s been able to develop a show launched with sponsorship support from my team at Intel.

Ellie’s a great producer and talent.  It’s not hard to image that someday soon, she’ll be a star not only on Rocketboom but in other consumer technology shows playing in our future Smart TVs!

E*Trade Talking Baby TV Ad

I come from the world of broadcast.  In particular, I cut my teeth working at a TV news station where I got an appreciates for high quality production as well as the super efficient run, gun and get the news approach to production.

In 2006, I remember talking a lot with many of my pals in TV and with media production chops…about the topic of quality video production.  With YouTube grabbing more people’s attention, it seemed like it was lower the bar for what was acceptable — flash cuts, disjoined edits, bad audio and other flaws — were garnering more forgiveness, becoming more acceible and tolerable.

I believe the debate still continues:  Do we edit a compelling, quality story like NOVA or a Frontline segment…or do we turn on the camera and let it flow with little or no editing.  I like both and both styles will only be used more, refined and used for the right, desired impact.

But I do laugh when non-production savvy folk say:  we’ll just shoot it YouTube style for no or little cost.

I don’t disagree.  But I strongly believe it’s best to balance a “natural” looking video with video projects that require richer production and storytelling techniques.

I wonder if others are facing this situation at work or with their clients.  How are you getting people to consider paying real pros to do quality video stories — at least when it makes sense.

For example, in 2008 I have produced about 50 videos using my own camera and very little editing.  These stories were “on the scene” or “a visit to the labs” look at things my pals at Intel or working on.  But I still fight for producing higher quality videos like the ones we did to introduce new processors with Intel’s 45nm transistors, for the series of Intel Developer Forums.

All this was inspired by seeing one of my favorite TV ads, which blends great editing, audio and staging skills (and TALENT!) with a low quality, grainy look as if the baby is talking live through a Webcam.  Genius!  The first two crack me up every time!

If I can do it, you can do it …

Bad girl…

Clowns are creepy…