In 1964 the RAND Corporation went public about proposing to build a post nuclear communications system that would have no central authority and be able to operate even in disrepair. Throughout the 60’s RAND, MIT and UCLA researched into this decentralized, invincible network until in 1967 Britain’s National Physical Laboratory produced the first fully functioning prototype, which lead to a more ambitious project under the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. Back then the component parts to the network were 15 extremely high-speed computers that were good for data swapping among national research institutions. This was the start of what we now call the Internet

The first piece of media transferred across the Internet was the logo for Mosaic, the web browser credited with making the World Wide Web so popular back in the early 80s. Mosaic was the first graphical browser hence the reason their logo was the first image to be seen on the net. Then on February 25 1993 a guy called Marc Andreessen proposed the idea of the IMG tag in HTML, a few weeks later he had developed a beta version of the IMG tag supporting GIF and Bitmap images for exclusive to Mosaic. He showed this off by posted a link to a Bitmap of Dan Quayle. So now we started uploading images back and forth mainly of naked women in compromising positions which would take around 3-5 minutes to fully download (so I’m told.) Things got quicker and images loaded faster over the next 10 years, but the obvious step everyone wanted to take was online video!

I suppose not a lot of people will remember what online video production was like before the days of YouTube. The problem in the early days was that video streaming buffered to slowly and people didn’t comprehend the commercial gains that we do now. As broadband connection started to speed up and with increased computer power, consumers began to demand richer media content, so during the late 90s it was reported that between 9-17% of businesses started streaming video in one form or another, and companies like Guba started sharing online video production content between users. Then with the introduction of MPEG-4 in 1998 and its industry standardization in 2000, it paved the way for video streaming and downloading forever. This was still very much a niche format and only people with broadband in early 2000s could actually utilise it. It wasn’t until Adobe Flash was redistributed as a consumer product did online video production really take off in 2005. Flash was originally for web animation so it could handle high quality video playback and when they started bundled it into major browser packages people suddenly got to stream and play their videos quicker and easier.

Now startups like Metacafe and Vimeo where popping up trying to carve a market share surrounding this expanding media platform. But it was three former PayPal employees and their site website that didn’t just steal the show; they burnt it down and built it themselves! The first video to be uploaded ever on YouTube was “Me at the Zoo” starring one of the founders Jawed Karim and put on at 8.27pm April 23rd 2005. By 2006 YouTube had become the third largest traffic site on the web, so Google decided to step in and buy it for a reported $1.65 Billion.

Watch out for the second part on where video production is at now and its future.

Written by Mark A. Wilson the Managing Director of London based video production company Phink TV. With over 10 years experience in Digital Media and the Creative Industry working for the likes of Sky TV, The Times, and The Arcadia Group. I now feel it’s time to give back some of the valuable information and insight I have attained. Amongst my many loves include, video production, digital media, design and marketing trends, hoping I can be a useful contributor to this site on these subjects.
Phink TV

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