eGuiders Launches (Another) Web Vid Directory

eGuiders is a recently launched site that provides editorial recommendations for what it considers to be the best video on the web. It likens itself to a TV Guide for the Internet, and if your only source of information were USA Today, you’d think eGuiders was the first one to think of this, shall we call it, newteevee guide.

eguiders

But alas, eGuiders is not the first, second or even third player in the web video recommendation space. Other sites such as Tubefilter, Tilzy and even our own NewTeeVee Station (disclosure, all three of us are working together to produce the Streamy Awards) all aim to cut through the clutter of web video to point out what’s worth watching online.

So what makes eGuiders different? For one, none of these existing sites have traditional media heavyweights like Damon Lindelof (Lost), Shawn Ryan (The Shield) or John Landis (Animal House) contributing recommendations.

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Heidi Klum Makes Spiked Heel Look Good

[show=spikedheel size=large]This is probably a weird thing for a nerd girl with a college education to say, but man I’d love to be Heidi Klum. It’s not just that the 35-year-old mother of three can still rock a bra and panties collection for Victoria’s Secret, either. Klum’s on-camera persona, from hosting Project Runway to minor acting work, combines her fierce model looks with a pleasant smile and slightly awkward English, a combination that humanizes her, and makes her seem like someone fun and approachable (who just happens to be married to Seal).

And like most web series built around a known personality, Spiked Heel is at its best when making use of Klum’s undeniable charm. Launching on the site Modelinia as part of the hoopla surrounding New York Fall Fashion Week, Klum stars in the comic book pastiche as the Kluminator, a superhero who seems to spend most of her time making sure fashion shows go well and fighting the supervillain Faux Pas, whose new death ray is aimed right at Bryant Park.

But the series feels like an odd fit for Modelinia, a site seeking to expose the realities of model life for the fashion-devoted — what kind of crossover is there between fashionistas and superhero fans? Especially when Spiked Heel doesn’t do a lot to serve either audience. Read More about Heidi Klum Makes Spiked Heel Look Good

A Trader Joe’s Love Song: The Future Of Online Video?

[show=traderjoes size=large]Making the rounds over the past few weeks, If I Made A Commercial for Trader Joe’s takes a personal approach to advertising the popular grocery store, but despite the fact that it’s a catchy, well-made salute to Trader Joe’s many quirks, the video is not a viral ad campaign. Instead, it is a 100 percent, unauthorized labor of love by Carl Willat, who spent the past two-and-a-half years filming the random snippets of footage that make up the video on his cell phone before uploading to YouTube.

Willat, with whom I spoke via phone, is a hardcore Trader Joe’s enthusiast who, at the time the idea for the video came about, was visiting the store as often as three times a day. “Our studio used to be near there,” he said, “and we’d go over to check out the demos, buy our breakfast, lunch and dinner, and, you know, take a break.” One day while walking back to work, one of Willat’s co-workers began creating lyrics to the tune of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Waters of March (which was another office obsession at the time), and the concept came together.

Willat’s work as a commercial director and animator has included spots like the Hersey Kisses We Wish You A Merry Christmas ad that plays every holiday season (“It’s starting to show its age,” he mentioned. “I’d like to do an HD version of it”). But he was beginning to feel that the reel for the company he started in 2003, Carl’s Fine Films, was a bit too commercial, and that it’d be nice to include something personal that also worked as a piece of advertising. “I’m interested in the idea of creating a new genre of advertising, the heartfelt commercial, that really expresses how you feel about a product or store,” he said. “It’s a whole new area of advertising, where there’s much less client involvement — they can just say yes or no.” Read More about A Trader Joe’s Love Song: The Future Of Online Video?

Incredibad: The Best of The Lonely Island (And the Worst)

[show=lonelyisland]Another title for The Lonely Island’s first comedy album, Incredibad, could be “The Best of the SNL Digital Shorts, 2005-2008.” Dropping today, the CD/DVD set, also available for download on iTunes, features Lazy Sunday, Dick In a Box, and Jizz in My Pants, as well as most of the accompanying digital shorts (wherefore art thou, Natalie Raps?).

We have talked plenty about these shorts individually. But put together in one package, Incredibad stands out as a document of what the SNL-co-oped comedians have contributed to the world of online video, while also casting into sharp relief The Lonely Island’s strengths and weaknesses.

Because here’s the thing — of COURSE Natalie Portman gangster-rapping is going to be hilarious. No DOUBT Justin Timberlake crooning 90s-style about putting his dick in a box will make people laugh. But how funny is The Lonely Island beyond the gimmickry and guest stars? Read More about Incredibad: The Best of The Lonely Island (And the Worst)

Christian Bale Flips Out: The Five Stages of Online Schadenfreude

[show=baleflipout]Stage 1: The Source

Yesterday, the gossip factory TMZ released an audio recording of actor Christian Bale cussing out the director of photography on Terminator: Salvation. Recorded last July, the four-minute rant is liberally adorned with the f-word (a full transcript can be read here), and has prompted all sorts of speculation about Bale’s health and mental stability.

Stage 2: The Spread
The lack of a reliable, high-quality option for sharing and embedding audio files means that YouTube is often a default means of distribution for less-than-official tracks. While the Bale clip initially spread as an mp3, it took mere hours for the first of several uploads to accumulate thousands of views.

Stage 3: The Discussion
It’s hard to quantify the shift in tone of Internet commentary, but observing the debates that were waged online yesterday, the comments regarding Bale’s flip-out seemed to shift quickly from “WTF?” to “Well, when you think about it…” Read More about Christian Bale Flips Out: The Five Stages of Online Schadenfreude

Can Chad Vader Use The Force To Find Its Edge?

[show=chadvader size=large]Like most fans of online video, I’m a sucker for a good Star Wars reference, and so Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager has long been on my radar. Produced originally as a Channel 101 series by Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda, Chad was an early success story in the world of online video. The first episode has racked up 8 million views since July 2006, and Sloan/Yonda’s depiction of the Empire’s most bad-ass Sith lord’s younger brother, who works as a slightly bumbling Wisconsin grocery store manager, has become an in-demand online celebrity, covering Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain, meeting Obama Girl, and doing a Rifftrax commentary on Star Wars: A New Hope.

But Chad Vader doesn’t exactly come off as cutting edge these days; the first episode of season 2, released yesterday, is just more of the same old thing. With a storyline focused around the sale of the grocery store, the new episode offers little of what made this show was so exciting to begin with. Read More about Can Chad Vader Use The Force To Find Its Edge?

These Routes Are Made for Watching

[show=routes size=large]Unless you’re a big fan of Heroes character Mohinder Suresh, you probably don’t find explanations of genetics all that dramatic. On the other hand, the latest developments in genetic testing mean questions that were once mostly rhetorical — What diseases am I likely to get? What might I pass on to my children? — now may have concrete answers. In other words, understanding your own DNA might just change the way you live your life, which is quite dramatic, indeed. But can an exploration of genetics also be lighthearted, engaging and thoroughly entertaining? It can if it’s Routes, the new online docu-drama from England’s Channel 4.

Produced in association with UK-based charity The Wellcome Trust as part of Darwin 200, a nearly year-long program of events celebrating Charles Darwin’s bicentennial, Routes could have been as dry as it is ambitious. But it’s not, thanks to a cheeky attitude, a fun web site, and — most of all — the undeniable appeal of its star, Canadian comedienne Katherine Ryan.

In Routes, Ryan — a two-time cancer survivor who was recently diagnosed with lupus — submits to genetic testing, kicking off an eight-episode journey into her own genetic map. Charming, vulnerable and irreverent, Ryan comes off as a nice, funny person who’s had a lot of bad luck, health-wise. So by the end of the first episode, we’re invested right along with her in finding out how much of that “bad luck” is luck after all, and how much more of it may be lurking in her future. Read More about These Routes Are Made for Watching

Camp Bloody Beach’s Amateur Curse

Let me peel back the curtain here a little. We at NewTeeVee Station are frequently contacted by creators who want us to look at their new web projects, some of which are great, and some of which are so-so. We try and emphasize the great stuff in our coverage, mainly because it’s not polite to jump up and down on something awful — especially if it’s a series by a group of passionate amateurs who might learn from their mistakes and one day go on to produce something even better.[show=campbloodybeach size=large]

But today, I’m going take a different tack. I will be constructive with my review, but I will also be frank: Camp Bloody Beach is not good.

Comparing itself to “lonelygirl15 meets Friday the 13th meets Blair Witch,” Camp Bloody Beach uses the attractive-people-talking-into-a-camera format (I’m still not totally prepared to call it a genre) to tell the story of a Canadian summer camp being stalked by a serial killer. A more accurate description would thus be: a Friday the 13th clone, told like The Blair Witch Project, but on the Internet. And not in a particularly exciting or effective way, either. Read More about Camp Bloody Beach’s Amateur Curse

Fusion’s Good Cop/Bad Cop Paradigm Gets Paranormal

In the new Strike.TV pilot Fusion, a forensic psychologist and a well-meaning cop join forces to catch a killer — who is also a cop, albeit more of the prostitute-murdering, rogue variety. Lest this be too easily mistaken for Law & Order: Special Internet Unit, this otherwise routine formula is spiked with a little supernatural spice: None of the players involved are of the Human 1.0 variety.[show=fusion]

Fusion, which premiered on Jan. 26, is the brainchild of Richard Manning, a man who boasts serious sci-fi cred with projects like Farscape and Star Trek: The Next Generation under his belt, and his winning way with speculative fiction does much to breathe otherworldly life into the typical crime procedural format. The lady psychologist has a whole touch-based, second sight thing going on. And both good cop and bad cop, when provoked, transform into lizard-eyed, growling menfolk with superhuman strength. Despite Manning’s highly visible forays into deep space with his previous work, these characters are planted squarely on terra firma and duking it out in a monster-of-mysterious-origins grudge match. Read More about Fusion’s Good Cop/Bad Cop Paradigm Gets Paranormal

I Can Has Q&A With I Can Has Cheezburger’s Ben Huh!

It may not be the most intellectually stimulating web content, but it’s hard to be immune to the joys of the I Can Has Cheezburger blogging empire, which includes the original LOL Cats archive, Graph Jam, and FAIL Blog. And when the ICHC network began incorporating videos via YouTube, the results were epic win for them and audiences alike. Last week, I spoke with “Chief Cheezburger” Ben Huh about catching up with the cat video frenzy, using the YouTube community as a focus group, and how you re-edit an adorable cat video to make it even cuter. An edited transcript follows. [show=failblog]

NewTeeVee: So how long have you been actively using the cheezburger YouTube account?

Ben Huh: Probably about two or three weeks? Since the beginning of the year.

NewTeeVee: Which you are now launching as a Partner account…

Huh: Yes, we are officially approved as a Partner. But our first priority is understanding what kind of product our users are looking for, because for this model it’s slightly different — the videos are user-sourced but they’re edited by us.

And you can see the progression of how we think on the channel, because sometimes we’ll do one edit and see how it plays with the YouTube crowd, and then we’ll do another edit that we think is better. Then, depending on response, we’ll use the better one on the blog.

It’s really hard to predict what users want, and YouTube has been a great place for us to get a sense of that. Read More about I Can Has Q&A With I Can Has Cheezburger’s Ben Huh!