The Future of Content: HitRECord, Zencoder and Concrete Interactive

With infinite “airtime” and consumer demand going through the roof, a consistent theme in 2011 and now for 2012 is that high quality content is essential for entertaining and engaging viewers.  To fill the pipes, big companies are pouring big bucks into producing original content for online distribution.  Google is investing $100M in original content for YouTube.  We all rejoiced as Netflix resurrected “Arrested Development”, and Yahoo landed a Hollywood whale in Tom Hanks and his animated series.

In recognition of the importance of content in advancing the online video industry, we’re highlighting our partner Concrete Interactive and the amazing product that they’ve built for HitRECord.   HitRECord, founded by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, not only facilitates the creation of high quality Internet video but is also unique in that it’s democratizing, and bringing real innovation to, the process of content creation.

Founded in 2005, HitRECord has established itself as a unique destination for video artists, filmmakers, writers, animators, musicians, and videographers to collaborate and interact with Gordon-Levitt and others on a wide variety of creative endeavors.  HitRECord’s library has grown to over 20,000 complete videos.  Almost 1,000 contributors have used HitRECord to create films and video, which are available in the “TheRecord Store”. Thousands more have contributed to films shown at HitRECord’s live shows. When a production makes money, there’s a 50/50 revenue split between HitRECord and the co-creators.

Even though we didn’t get to hobnob with the stars in Park City, we were excited to hear of the successful showcase of HitRECord’s works, which were featured last week at the prestigious Eccles Theater as part of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt emceed a sold-out screening, presenting films that were developed on HitRECord.

A few factors are making this explosion of Internet content possible.  First, it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to create content.  The cost of HD cameras and powerful editing suites have fallen rapidly, making it possible to create professional content on a small budget.  On the distribution end, highly efficient software and cloud-based infrastructure make it possible to rapidly deploy Internet video applications with a relatively small upfront investment.

To build HitRECord, Concrete Interactive, the San Francisco-based boutique web application development firm, used technologies such as Rubyon Rails, Heroku, Amazon S3, JQuery, New Relic, Splunk, Airbrake, and Kissmetrics. They use Zencoder, and relied on our industry-leading performance to encode HitRECord’s library. They were able to convert tens-of-thousands of videos into web and mobile outputs overnight, for playback across a variety of devices.

Most importantly, the end product is a very high performance platform that facilitates the creative output of its users.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or “RegularJoe” on HitRECord, said, “Since working with Concrete Interactive and Zencoder, HitRECord’s video upload process has been smoother, the quality is excellent and processing times are really quick.”

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