Thursday, July 18, 2013

Question for the Week of Jul 15-21: Vimeo, huh?

This week, excited readers will be treated to Reviewing with Others #42 (it's like a Lost flash-forward), which will direct them to an off-site review of The Pirate Bay: Away from Keyboard. The movie, of course, stands out for many reasons. However, this was also my first time watching a movie using Vimeo and an HDMI adapter for my TV. I used to devote time to discussing the use of Hulu and Netflix and Amazon, and it's worth giving Vimeo the same attention.

Please note that if you read RwO #41, you know I reviewed a film in which the founder of Vimeo describes how he started the site. Jungian synchronicity, right? Or did I just need a quick entry?

Yaay! The answer is both!

First of all, we have to accept that Youtube is the best analogue here. Hulu is specifically for TV first, and film second. Netflix is... well, the same. Amazon instant? Ditto. Vimeo fields a wide range of clips from how-to's, music recordings, movie clips, movies, fan-made gems... We gotta compare it to Youtube.

A while I like Youtube a lot, the Google acquisition has been a bit of a mixed bag. Some things are nice, like their compliment of free movies which I examined in two entries. And I've enjoyed one of their original programs...

But they pay too much attention to what I watch, like they don't understand that sometimes you check out something random, or only once. They also don't understand why you don't want everyone knowing what you watch and what you say.

More importantly, it can be rife with tiny frustrations. Since the acquisition, they accept DMCA requests with seemingly no thought whatsoever. Even clips which are clearly parody get pulled! Let's face it: to $-hungry entertainment companies every movie and show is probably a product, and there really should be no such thing as Fair Use. Y'know those customers? Yeah, f--k those guys, that's the attitude.

When it comes to playing videos, Youtube pages sometimes reload when you try to go back even a few seconds. It's frustrating when you have connection or bandwidth issues, or when you get the clip while you're above-ground, then try to watch it on the subway or something.

Vimeo certainly doesn't have the replay problem, and I'm falling a little in love with the service for that alone. It receives fewer cease-and-desist orders, and I'd like to think they exercise more care in applying them than the big G does (whether due to sheer volume of DMCA c-and-d's, or because they sold out, doesn't matter). And I get all this without the great un-closing eye of Saur- I mean, Google.

I also like the interface. Vimeo's screen is admirably clean. Whereas Youtube's time slider bar and other options definitely get in the way when they activate, Vimeo's is barely-there even before it fades into the bottom of the player. Yt's many options are cool, but it was a welcome change to see something so uncluttered.

Although it was my first big-screen viewing, The Start Up Kids was my second full-length Vimeo viewing experience (the first was RwO #32, Duck Beach). I enjoyed the experience a lot and hope that the website - founded by one of the guys who worked at College Humor - continues to be a convenient repository for full-length reviews.

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