The Playback

Top headlines and news across the digital video industry, curated each week by JW Player





  • As branded content pivots to video, publishers face new challenges (DigiDay)
    “Brand and agency executives alike say they’re seeing more video creators and studios including Bravo Media, which touts such clients as HBO and Unilever; and talent agencies like CAA, which has done work for Chipotle, all of them angling to get a piece of the branded video content pie.”


  • One year in: What The New York Times learned from its 360-degree video project, The Daily 360 (Digiday)
    360-degree video is growing, but it represents a sliver of digital video consumption as a whole. Combined, 360-degree video accounted for 4.5 billion views on Facebook and YouTube through the first ten months of this year, according to Tubular Labs data. By comparison, the top 10 Facebook video publishers accounted for 14.5 billion views on Facebook in September alone.


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JW Player Named on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500™

Joining the ranks of the 500 fastest-growing tech companies in North America

We’re thrilled to announce that, for the first time, JW Player has been recognized as one of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ for 2017. This is an exciting milestone for our company and a reflection of our commitment to our clients’ success each and every day.

This prestigious honor spotlights 500 of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech companies in North America. We’re proud to come in at #248 with revenue growth of 381% over the last three years.

A big driver for this growth has been our laser focus on solving our publishers’ digital video challenges. Expanding audiences, building engagement, and strengthening monetization—all are critical goals we continuously help our customers reach with our industry-leading, network-independent video solutions.

We take this mission so seriously that in this year alone, we’ve hired nearly 100 people to support our clients around the world. Our office is abuzz with people working around the clock to help you deliver, grow, and monetize your video content more effectively than ever before.

So here’s to another year of continued partnership, shared success, and an even more powerful suite of solutions to help you become a video-first publisher.



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Tutorial: How to Get the Anamorphic Look Without the Anamorphic Lens

Maybe you don't need an anamorphic lens to achieve the look.

The anamorphic look is sexy as hell; the elliptical bokeh shape, shallower depth of field, and, of course, those classic horizontal lens flares. And even though anamorphic lenses can often be too expensive for some low-budget filmmakers to get their hands on them, there are ways to replicate a few of their most desired aesthetic qualities. In this video, filmmaker Brandon Li shows you two ways to do just that. Check it out below:

DIY anamorphic filter

You know those "cookie cutter" filters that change the shape of your bokeh balls? Well, instead of cutting hearts and stars, you cut an oval to mimic that anamorphic bokeh effect. No, this won't produce any horizontal lens flares, which is one of the most distinguishing features of shooting anamorphic, but it's definitely a start.

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Download Screenplays for ‘Mudbound’, ‘mother!’, ‘Okja’ and More Award Contenders

Get a head start on your weekend reading with these Oscar hopeful screenplays.

We may be four months out from the Oscars broadcast (yes, four months), but award campaigns are shifting into high gear ahead of the holiday season, and today we have a brand new batch of screenplays available for free, legal download for your consideration, thanks to Netflix, Paramount, and Bleecker Street, including a handful of films that have yet to be released.

Before we get to the screenplay download links, let's take a look at each of the film's trailers.

Dee Rees' much-anticipated Mudbound, arriving in theatres and on Netflix on November 17, tells the story of two farming families both at odds with one another and pulled together in the Jim Crow South during World War II.

Darren Aronofsky's mother! polarized critics and confounded audiences with its allegorical tale. Here's the trailer, but don't expect to figure out the story from this (maybe the screenplay will shed some light on the matter).

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15 Creative Shots You Can Get by Hacking Your Tripod

The best camera stabilizer is the one you have with you. (And that's usually a tripod.)

As far as stabilizers go, tripods might seem pretty vanilla at first glance. I mean, their entire job is basically to keep your camera propped up and stationary, which is a far cry from the sexy acrobatics of a gimbal or death-defying aerial feats of a drone. However, if you look a little closer, those three-legged fuddy-duddies have a lot more kink than you might realize. In the videos below, Jordy Vandeput of Cinecom shows you just how versatile your boring old tripod actually is by demonstrating fifteen creative shots you can capture with one.

There are so many ways to use a tripod—so many that it feels like if all you're doing with it is plopping your camera on it and doing a few pans and tilts, you're using it wrong. To be honest, I've never tried the vast majority of these clever ideas (which just goes to show how inventive and creative I am), but knowing how to pull them off with your tripod gives you so many options when deciding how to shoot different scenes.

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Get Your Hands on the Steadicam Volt Smartphone Gimbal Now for Under $200

High-end stabilization for your smartphone camera from the industry pioneer has arrived.

With several gyro stabilized gimbals already competing in the marketplace, Steadicam is getting into ring with the new Volt, a handheld motorized stabilizer for smartphones and GoPros. Started with a Kickstarter earlier this year, the Volt is now shipping to the mass market for $199. While that is a bit pricier than some of the rivals in this space, the Volt has a few standout features that might make it worth the upgrade.

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Watch: Just Try Not to Cry Over This Ad Series From Har’el, Nichols & Iñárritu

P&G tapped Alma Har'el this year for its annual cinematic Olympics tearjerker.

If you’ve watched any of the Olympic Games over the past eight years, you’ve likely seen one of the notoriously tear-jerking Procter & Gamble “Thank you, mom” spots that celebrate parental involvement and pride in their children’s athletic success stories. But did you know that these acclaimed short films were directed by some of your favorite filmmakers?

Spearheaded by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, these spots have been helmed by directors Jeff Nichols (Loving, Midnight Special) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant, Birdman), as well as Lance Acord, who is best known as a cinematographer on indie favorites like Being John Malkovich and Lost in Translation. Iñárritu’s entry from 2012 (below), which was shot on four continents and features local actors and athletes from each location–London, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, and Beijing—became one of the most widely spread viral Olympics campaigns of all time.

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Win a $30,000 Grant for Your Short, Feature, Doc or Series Pilot From ScreenCraft Film Fund

If you've got a good idea for a project, ScreenCraft wants to help you fund it.

ScreenCraft is currently accepting applications for its Film Fund grant, backed by BondIt Media Capital, to award up to two applicants a grant of up to $30,000 in production funds. The parameters for projects are incredibly broad for this grant. ScreenCraft will consider applications from all over the world (in English), and projects can be short films, narrative features, documentaries or TV series pilots. Projects can also be simply a screenplay or already shot and in post-production looking for finishing funds.

The grant recipients will not only receive grants between $10,000 and $30,000 depending on the scale of the projects, but they will also receive mentorship and guidance from the ScreenCraft team and their partners.

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Time Traveling in Movies: A Very Complicated Plot Device Explained

If you've ever wanted to make a film about time travel, you might want to brush up on how different filmmakers have made sense of it in their work.

Time travel movies are—awesome—we know this—but what makes them so interesting has less to do with the awesomeness of time travel as a narrative concept and more to do with the awesomeness of time travel as a plot device. (Did I mention that time travel is awesome and also has loads of awesomeness?)

There are so many films about time travel, from the silly (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) to the dramatic (Looper), and each one deals with the concept in different ways and for different purposes. In this video, Henry Reich of MinutePhysics, my second favorite science channel on YouTube, analyzes time travel in film and literature to determine how it functions in the hands of different writers and filmmakers. On its own, it's an incredibly fascinating video, but if you look at it through the lens of storytelling, you can learn how adding a wrinkle in time can not only open up new narrative passageways for your time traveling characters but for your audience as well.

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What Is Sequence Shooting and How Can It Help You Be a Better Storyteller?

When you set out to shoot, how do you know what kinds of shots to capture?

No matter what you're shooting, be it a documentary, a feature, or even just some b-roll, that all-important question will be jumping around in your head constantly: "What should I shoot?" Granted, the answer is going to be different depending on the project you're working on, but if you focus less on the specific shots and more on the general type of shots, you might be able to make sense of an otherwise chaotic and confusing filmmaking experience.

In this video, Teppo Haapoja goes over a foundational filmmaking concept that will help you to not only plan and organize your day of shooting easier but to also ensure that you're getting all of the shots you need for your edit.

Though Haapoja calls this essential technique "sequence shooting," many other filmmakers know it as "coverage." It's the practice of capturing a scene from different distances to ensure that you have, at least, a wide (also called a "master shot"), medium, and close-up. This ensures that when it comes time to edit footage, the editor has plenty of shot sizes to work with.

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