Video Chat Platform Blab Will Let Movie Buffs Stream and Discuss Films in a Public Film Club

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You know Black Swan is one of the greatest movies ever made.

What’s more, your friends in your film club know it’s one of the greats.

But how can the well-informed opinions of the members of a small film club lift this tragic masterpiece to its rightfully revered status among the broader public?

Video conferencing.

Seldom considered among the cool kids of modern social media, video conferencing actually offers the perfect mix of real-time debate, mass dissemination, and, of course, the necessary visual to show more than just a 10-second grab of Darren Aronofsky’s 108-minute wonder.

Yes, video conferencing.

Making Video Chatter

Video conferencing has lagged behind the social media rat pack chiefly because it lacks an outlet to get the message to the masses.

Periscope and Meerkat have flown the flag for video as social media for a few years now, but both miss the point of the true social media revolution–the importance of a back and forth conversation. They work best as mere mobile, amateur reflections of the standard sender-message-receiver model that has dominated broadcasting since the first days of radio.

Sure, both apps can be used to create eyewitnesses to hitherto hidden goings-on, but you can’t ask verbal questions of the camera holder as the action unfolds. However, things have become a little more dynamic over the past year.

Video platform Blab was born out of the wreckage of one of the worst business deals in the young 21st century–its founders were on the right side of the famed Bebo sale which saw AOL buy a social media platform for $850 million, only to watch it disintegrate and end up back in the hands of the original sellers for just $1 million–but is now pioneering video conferencing as social entity.

The platform lets people hold public, real-time video debates about any subject worthy of, well, a debate.

And it’s a great way for a grassroots movement to start pushing their favourite celluloid treasures to the top of the many lists of cinema’s great achievements.

The First Rule of Film Club? Always Talk About Film Club

Blab is built around a Brady Bunch-style set up of four live chat windows. In addition, there’s a running text comments column that lets those not getting any face time ask questions and add to the debate.

From this simple setup a host can invite–and, thankfully, prohibit–anyone to join the real-time conversation. While it’s always best to send a direct link out to anyone whose opinion you value, these video chats are open to the public and can be found through simple keyword searches within the site.

What’s more, the Blab developers have added a drop-in function that lets hosts turn one chat window into a multimedia player to stream pretty much anything that is sourced through a URL link. This means you can add videos, music, and live streaming events to the mix to make sure everyone understands the context of the discussion. However, since copyright legislation may prove a wet blanket (due to the public nature of the broadcast), it’s probably best to use Youtube-enabled movies for the time being. Of course, anything on free-to-air TV is going to be fair game, so the Oscars can be dissected in real time.

As such, it’s a great way to offer alternative views on breaking events–or cached audio and visual classics. In the case of a nascent film club empire, it means a host can tee-up the movie of choice and let the discussion run around and through its unfolding scenes. The sessions can be recorded as well, so any regular who couldn’t get to the live action can still view the debate.

And the public nature of the video meeting means anyone with an opinion can jump into an open chat window at any time–with the host’s OK–and wind the tape back to highlight that special transition or mise en scene.

Video Conferencing as Chat Show

Amid a social media world of instant celebrity there’s always the dream of a new voice being discovered and catapulted into the limelight. Blab users are already staging regular programs, and attracting regular audiences. And those audience members need not always participate, as Blab allows anonymous viewing. In fact, if you’re keen to use your video chat as a more intimate social gathering, private rooms can be set-up and accessed only by those who know the address.

But for those with visions a little grander, here’s the chance to be heard and seen on a platform with the potential reach of any social media success story.

Blab is still operating under a Beta banner at the moment, so there’s no doubt more functionality on the way. Perhaps in time a deal can be struck with an on-demand service that would allow film clubs the chance to review any number of classic features. Or, a real-time translation service could be added, such as the one Microsoft is developing, to open up the conversation to languages other than the host’s native tongue.

At any rate, the time is now for you and your band of film critics to get the word out that Black Swan deserves a place in the cinematic hearts of everyone.

And it’s all thanks to video conferencing.

Yes, video conferencing.

Image Source: Flickr CC User Aleksandr Zykov

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