Video producer Colin Weir is back in Philly and he’s ready to raise the profile of the local video scene. (So, OK, this is more of a “return exam” than an “entrance exam,” but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
Nearly two years ago, we ran an Exit Interview with Weir, who was leaving for a job with the Bay Area’s TWiT.tv. He said that he was also partly leaving because there was no startup culture around the video scene. Now that he’s back, Weir, 27, is starting his own local video venture, as well as working with children’s literacy nonprofit Mighty Writers to run its new internet radio station. He’s living in New Jersey right now but said he’s house hunting in Graduate Hospital.
Below, Weir talks about his return and his renewed commitment to the local scene.
Why did you move back to Philly?
I came back to Philly two days after Hurricane Sandy. I was at TWiT in the Bay Area for just over a year and a half. The readers’ digest version of the story is that the Bay Area was just not for me.
Do you think there’s more of a video scene in Philly now?
I don’t think there’s a huge change, but the difference between now and 18 months ago is that I’ve got some motivation to make things happen. Because I think there’s a big opportunity for a video scene to happen based on some other factors.
There are a lot of things going on that could benefit from access to a video scene. There are apps being made where the creators would like to put video demos on YouTube or their own site. Startups and community groups are putting on events like Ignite with interesting speakers who should be getting broader exposure.
The problem is that most video production out there is geared toward the old model: a big video crew, big expensive cameras, and any Internet distribution happens after the fact. That’s what I’m hoping I can change with my new venture.
OK, you got us: tell us about your new venture.
My new venture is called Stream This. I’m taking what I learned at TWiT, packaging it up, and taking it on the road. The aim is to be the turn-key streaming service for events and community groups.
Because, let’s face it, streaming is a pain if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s lots of services out there that will provide each piece of the puzzle — a video production company will come film your event, you can get a free account on a site like UStream, etc. — but no one can provide a complete end-to-end setup so you don’t have to worry about it.
So you can call Stream This, and I come out with cameras and streaming rig, send the signal to an Amazon EC2 instance running Wowza server, and then give you embed codes for every major device including computers, phones, iPads, and Rokus. I’ll even package it up as a podcast and give you an archival copy afterward.
It’s a business that I’m hoping to grow the old fashioned way: start small, take on jobs I can handle, and reinvesting the money into the business to grow into something awesome.
What did you miss most about Philly?
Phillies Dollar Dog Night. My girlfriend still frequently reminds me that she bought me a six pack of tickets for Christmas in 2010 and I moved to California at the start of the baseball season.
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