What we do

Our crew provides visually stunning production services in any weather, on any terrain, anywhere in the world. No excuses. From feature-length documentaries to daily webisodes, we can craft your unique story with speed and style. Our productions have been viewed by tens of millions through broadcast and social media platforms. Contact us today to learn about what MediaSpigot can do for you and your company.

The Surprising State of Online Video Platforms (aka Why We Built Our Own.)

image

To prepare for an expansion of Driving Sports TV’s Video on Demand system, I spent the past few weeks evaluating every OVP (online video platform) on the market. That included Brightcove, Ooyala, Limelight, Vzaar, JWPlatform, 23 Video, Wistia, Vid.ly and a bunch I’ve now forgotten.

In addition to running my own tests I also ran a viewer survey with Vzaar, JWP and 23 Video side-by-side (the three that best represented features and pricing that was most aligned with our goals.) In that survey I was surprised that quality mattered more than how fast the player responded when playing or scrubbing. Vzaar was super-fast, but the relatively low-quality, low bitrate 720p playback left them wanting more. In that survey, the JWPlatform was the best performer. 23 Video had decent quality, but the player was incredibly slow and often non-responsive. Customers will take quality over speed, but 23 Video was too slow to handle. 

Though they offered, in some cases, easy-to-use backends, at the end of the day I don’t yet see the OVP model making financial sense for mid-sized sites. Across the board bandwidth fees were simply too expensive: 200-1000% markup on raw bits and bytes was the norm. And that was after paying for encoding, a pretty interface and a player. 

So, where did we take Driving Sports TV? We built our own system. Because we could. Like the OVPs the new Driving Sports TV is built on a global, video-optimized CDN with variable-bitrate streams delivered via RTMP and HLS technologies. Our player serves up both Flash and HTML5 variants, based on the device accessing the content. Sure, we don’t have a pretty back-end (we’ll add one eventually), but most of the video setup is automated and the quality is as good as we want to push it. With the money we saved we could buy a small team of programmers to work on that interface. 

The system has been launched with a max quality of 720p at 2.5mbps on the top end. We hope to offer 1080p at 5mbps in the near future as well.

The web site is now running on the new system. There are likely to be a few hiccups, as this is still a very new system, but we’ll continue to tweak and improve going forward. Our Driving Sports TV Roku Channel will be upgraded by March 2014. 

-Ryan Douthit

Earlier this week our review of the new 2015 Subaru WRX hit the internet, racking up 20,000 YouTube views in a day. It was also featured on BiteSizeTV and other various partner network sites.
We used the premiere of this video to test the new live platform we have in development for next year. This consists of an industrial-grade CDN pumping live studio and video playout to Android, iOS and Roku devices (with XBox and Playstation systems coming later in the year.) Ryan hosted the pre- and post-video discussion live from the studio in Kirkland, Washington. We’ll have a lot more information about this platform in the near future. 
The WRX video was filmed run-and-gun style in Napa California with the Sony FS100 and a GoPro 3+ Black. Editing was done in Adobe Premiere CC. The complete piece was filmed in three hours, and edited in one day. 
2015 Subaru WRX First Drive and Review

Earlier this week our review of the new 2015 Subaru WRX hit the internet, racking up 20,000 YouTube views in a day. It was also featured on BiteSizeTV and other various partner network sites.

We used the premiere of this video to test the new live platform we have in development for next year. This consists of an industrial-grade CDN pumping live studio and video playout to Android, iOS and Roku devices (with XBox and Playstation systems coming later in the year.) Ryan hosted the pre- and post-video discussion live from the studio in Kirkland, Washington. We’ll have a lot more information about this platform in the near future. 

The WRX video was filmed run-and-gun style in Napa California with the Sony FS100 and a GoPro 3+ Black. Editing was done in Adobe Premiere CC. The complete piece was filmed in three hours, and edited in one day. 

2015 Subaru WRX First Drive and Review

Today we premiered Season 2 of our in-house produced motoring show, Driving Sports, on the Vimeo On Demand service. Filmed across Spain, Isle of Man, Ireland, Colorado, Oregon and California this is our most ambitious series to date.

Filmed “single-camera style” with a Sony FS100, Sony A77 DSLR and a pair of GoPro cameras, the series shows what is possible with minimal resources and a lot of experience. 

The new Season will make its broadcast debut on South Africa’s Ignition Channel in September and will also appear on Apple iTunes, Amazon On Demand and X Box live in the weeks that follow. 

Filming on top of a mountain can pose some interesting challenges. Weather can change on a dime: snow, rain, wind, sun and fog can hit at any moment. Additionally, filming at 14,115-feet for extended periods of time can cause nausea, headaches and exhaustion. It was under these conditions that we produced a pair of social media videos for Mitsubishi Motors of America, featuring their MiEV Pikes Peak racecars. 

The weather was unusually hot for Spring in the Pacific Northwest, which meant a massive amount of dust for this year’s Oregon Trail Rally. The subject of our video, the Fastron World Rally Team, did very well in their first North American event. Watch the full 12-minute production to see just how well.

This was shot using a Sony FS100 and a collection of classic (Canon FD) and modern (Sony, Tamron) lenses. Our chase rig was a 2014 Honda Crosstour with AWD and a V6 — a surprisingly good choice. 

Our team is producing a series of videos for the Fastron World Rally Team this year. Their first race was the Oregon Trail Rally. This car-crunching event claimed nearly half the field to crashes or damage. FWRT drove fast and smart for a 3rd place Overall finish. Here is our first post-event video featuring on-car footage from Stage 13 near Dufur, Oregon. This was shot with a pair of GoPros and a Zoom H4N audio recorder. 

MediaSpigot filming for the Northwest Automotive Press Association at its annual SUV and Crossover vehicle challenge.

MediaSpigot filming for the Northwest Automotive Press Association at its annual SUV and Crossover vehicle challenge.

This is a short production we put together for MC2, the MINI Enthusiast Magazine. It was filmed at the DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Washington, during the annual Northwest Automotive Press Association’s Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year Competition (which will be in an upcoming episode of Driving Sports TV)

Filmed with a Canon XF300, GoPros and edited on Premiere Pro CS6 with a quickie 3D title built in After Effects.

On Monday, April 22, Subaru announced the availability of its new web-series that gives rally fans an exclusive look behind the scenes of the Subaru Rally Team USA and the Subaru Puma Rallycross team. Titled “Launch Control” a new episode will be available every-other-week for a total of 14 episodes. MediaSpigot’s automotive video network, Driving Sports, was chosen as a key distribution partner due to it’s wide reach and multi-device support.  

Official Press Release:

Cherry Hill, N.J., -  Subaru of America Inc. has released the first episode of “Launch Control”, a bi-weekly web video series that chronicles Subaru Rally Team USA and the Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team as they prepare for and compete in a fast-paced 2013 race season spanning the globe. With a mix of in-car video, car prep and driver interviews, “Launch Control” is the story of two teams, everything it takes to win and everything that gets in the way. 

In the debut episode of “Launch Control,” Subaru Rally Team USA driver and defending Rally America Champion David Higgins is training for the upcoming season at his home in Wales, UK, while the crew at Vermont Sports Car, the Subaru technical partner managing both teams, is hard at work in the shop preparing the 2013 Subaru WRX STI team cars for a the season ahead.

If there is a team that knows what goes into winning a championship, SRT USA would be it. Subaru’s 2012 Rally America championship victory marked their second in a row and their sixth in seven years. 

RallyCross, on the other hand, is relatively new for the team. Competing in the emerging Global RallyCross Championship the team must tackle new venues, new race formats, new rules and new cars. Challenging the established RallyCross teams from Europe, the learning curve for team drivers Bucky Lasek, Dave Mirra and team leader and three-time European RallyCross Champion Sverre Isachsen, has been steep. 

“Launch Control” will follow the trials and triumphs of these two teams throughout their 2013 seasons and give viewers a behind the scenes look at the efforts of the drivers, engineers and mechanics as they fight for victories.

“Launch Control” can be viewed at Subaru of America’s YouTube channel youtube.com/Subaru with new episodes launching every other Wednesday. The series can also be viewed on the Driving Sports Network which can be found on iTunes, Blip.tv, Roku, Mevio, and DivX TV among others. 

Spent a day filming the new 2014 Mazda6 in the Planer Building at the Dirtfish Rally School. Mazda has done a great job bringing the aging 6 up-to-speed with this all-new release.