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Why TyrantCam Is The Best Thing To Come Out Of The Blurbodoocery In . . . A While

Why TyrantCam Is The Best Thing To Come Out Of The Blurbodoocery In . . . A While


If you’re not familiar with Dooce’s new(ish) assistant, Tyrant, and his Verizon-sponsored Flickr feed, Uploads from TyrantCam, it’s time to subscribe. Here’s why: after all of these years, TyrantCam is the closest we have ever gotten, and probably the closest we will ever get, to an unvarnished, third-party look inside the Blurbodoocery.

Dooce and Jon put together a slick video about the remodeling of their office that Verizon is sponsoring for them. It’s professionally done, and there are some interesting things about it; for example, they didn’t embed it with a third party video hosting site — it is hosted directly from a site for which they are paying. I assume this has to do with the commercial aspects of the video and its relationship with Verizon, though I think they do a good job of making it not feel like one, in part by making the relationship so explicit (via graphics, etc.) that you cannot take issue with it without feeling like a douchebag. Also, there are impressive technical things about it, e.g. they use graphics, text, and a dooce logo on the bottom right corner of the screen, and that makes me think that they had to buy new software to make the video.

But way more interesting for me than the actual video made for Verizon is the TyrantCam behind the scenes look at it (video posted below) because:

  1. What the FUCK camera is Jon using? Did they BUY that thing? Is Verizon paying them THAT much for this? Holy HELL are they making a lot of money, in that case, because that is a full on TV rig that dude is using;
  2. Even if they didn’t buy that thing, how much do you think it costs to rent that thing? Plus all the sound equipment? Wow! Man! This must be a big gig! Did Verizon demand this? My mind is racing! All the questions! Because maybe Verizon did not request it but Heather and Jon thought they should make this a really professional looking product because they wanted to get more gigs in the future;
  3. Yeah, that might be it, more gigs in the future, more TV gigs in the future! They want more TV gigs in the future! But wait, my secret tip that I got was that the reason she’s not doing Momversation videos anymore was because even though she told me, twice now, that she was going to have a TV show with HGTV at some point, she’s not actually going to have a show with them, but was only hired to drive web traffic, but still has an exclusive deal, and cannot appear on other TV stuff. So wait, if that’s true, who is she trying to convince that she should be on TV? Maybe she’s trying to convince HGTV? IS THAT IT? OMG!

Do you see?

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s no such thing as unmediated discourse that comes out of the Blurbodoocery. But the more meta-content that is produced looking at Il Duce from the outside, the more difficult it is going to be to run it through the Gaussian Blur, and the more we can find out about what is really going on. Now, maybe that’s not what they want, but that IS what their fans want, so I think that TyrantCam might end up with more exposure than their interested in, but it will also end up in more loyalty from their fanbase.

What say you?

Comments (25)

  1. Aug 20, 2010

    I have been done with Dooce for awhile and now all of this just makes me roll my eyes even more. She’s changed. They’ve changed. I’m not a fan anymore. And I know people and brands and businesses evolve but I am so beyond the point of caring I can’t even express it.

  2. Aug 20, 2010

    I would assume that Verizon provided the camera and any other necessary equipment. I worked for them a lifetime ago when I lived in DC, and as I recall they had some very professional equipment available in-house to make training videos, post-merger propaganda, etc.

    I actually thought that they did a great job with this overall. It didn’t feel stilted or weird, like sponsored posts often do (and hats off to those of you who can do sponsored posts/videos without sounding weird, because it’s REALLY hard). They seem to have found a way to do this while still sounding like themselves.

    Plus, I have to admit: the office is gorgeous, and I want to see what they do with it. My office is a 13×10 room filled entirely with IKEA furniture, so I like seeing what people with more money and design sense than me do with their spaces. I am totally the target demographic for the office-design-porn niche.

    Also, it’s fun to watch people who are doing brand-new things. It’s very pioneer-spirit-y. I eat that stuff with a spoon.

    (Crap. I’m losing my snark. Quick, someone start an internet fight or something.)

  3. Aug 20, 2010

    Well both of you are NO FUN.

  4. Perpetua
    Aug 20, 2010

    My production days are far behind me, but that looks kind of like a steadicam, so it wouldn’t be ridiculously expensive. It’s certainly not a DREAM HOUSE’s worth of camera. Reality tv is the great equipment equalizer.

  5. Aug 20, 2010

    Okay, I’ll say this: my eyebrows went up when she talked about how she was going to say “Verizon” a bunch of times to annoy one particular person. I thought it was just a little bit snarkier than I would have done given the venue.

    Plus I’d love to know who she was talking about.

  6. Aug 20, 2010

    I thought it was me, but I always think people are talking about me because I am self-obsessed. If it is not me, given than I’m pretty pro-monetization, then I would guess it’s CL, no?

  7. Aug 20, 2010

    Yabbut, is that what you’re going to go out and buy for your home camera? I mean, I’m not going to have that at my house to shoot Mini at the golf course or the cat biting the other cat’s nutsack, is all I’m saying.

  8. Aug 20, 2010

    No, but if your website included videos, you would. The business would buy it, and it would be tax deductible.

  9. Aug 20, 2010

    Since CL has apparently resurfaced, that was my guess.

    But who knows who’s been @-replying to Dooce about this lately. It’s a big world. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are upset with her for daring to, like, earn money and stuff.

  10. Aug 20, 2010

    Looks to me like they are shooting with an SLR on a shoulder support, possibly the same camera he shoots with usually (have they ever said what they use for photography?) I’m a spaz and my video would still look like the Blair Witch Project with the shoulder rig.

    So I’d say to shoot decent video with an SLR, the shoulder support is necessary, and I think you can get them for a couple hundred bucks (which seems like a lot for a piece of metal with handles, but whatever.) The monitor and headphones and all that, I think that’s just Jon geeking out. Or maybe that’s just jealousy speaking because I don’t have the budget to buy any of that stuff for corporate videos we shoot. (No, I’m not bitter. I’m resourceful. Like the Bear Grylls of video production. Or something.)

  11. Aug 20, 2010

    I didn’t watch the video, but that’s a stedicam Jon is using. They use them a lot on medical shows like ER and House.

  12. Aug 20, 2010

    After watching a few mins of the video (short attention span), I thought it was just a flip or regular consumer cam. I’m surprised to see what they’re using. Software is probably the type us “commoners” could buy. Hell, Brightcove adds the logo tag in the admin panel if the user so chooses with no effort.
    Now, I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t watch much TV at all, but Dooce doesn’t seem like she would translate well to TV. But again, I’m not a TV watcher (in other words, not the intended audience), and I certainly can’t tolerate “reality” tv, unless it’s the crazies of the Real Housewives brand because…well…c’mon…that stuff is hilarious.

  13. Aug 20, 2010

    I just want her to pull her shirts down, so they don’t bunch up over her boobs.
    A bit off-topic from Tyrant cam, but any thoughts on the possibility of a movie deal?

  14. Aug 20, 2010

    CL has NOT resurfaced. I’m not banned from the internet, and my current blog is NOT what POP was about. I don’t care if she says Verzion till the cows some home, so maybe it’s you after all Anna. 🙂

  15. Aug 20, 2010

    I actually liked the video. I laughed.


    Did I want to pull her mustard shirt down at the end? Yes. The bunching looked unnatural.

    I have no doubt she is making oodles of dollars, and were I in her shoes, I would request that it be paid in singles, so I could make a rap video and wave a big stack of money around.

    NEVER THE LESS, I found her more endearing than I have in a while, but that may be because she was witty and snarky, and kinda an asshole at times, and I get off on that. We can smell our own:)

  16. Aug 20, 2010

    As someone who has an MA in documentary I guarantee that the footage was not done on some super expensive camera. It could very well have been done on their DSLR even. With Final Cut Pro you can add all the graphics and logo that they added. I really don’t think they spent that much money on it.

    But I LOVED it.

  17. E.
    Aug 20, 2010

    I agree. TyrantCam is interesting. I think it works because most of Heather’s audience isn’t really very interested in design, but they love to see how the family operates. It gives a nice behind-the-scenes perspective.

    It seems like she’s more comfortable in front of the camera, so that’s nice to watch. I do agree with the commenter who said needs to pull the shirt down.

    And, ha, I didn’t think she was talking about anyone in particular when she made the comment about saying Verizon a bunch of times.

  18. Aug 20, 2010

    and ps. I noticed that you were on the roundup of oneprettything.com today http://www.oneprettything.com/?p=11187&c=blogging-tip-roundup
    just thought you should know

  19. LC
    Aug 20, 2010

    It makes sense to me that they would invest in this type of camera….they have been experimenting with more and more video. Can we start a petition to prevent any more bathtime bubble Jon though? The internet has standards.

  20. Aug 20, 2010

    The video and TyrantCam do both seem to play up her comfortableness on camera. Maybe she’s trying to accomplish both things: fire up the fan base to convince HGTV that she’s 1) camera ready 2) has an a increasing audience growth rate.

  21. Aug 20, 2010

    Do you guys honestly think that sh’es doing this for HGTV? I can’t buy that. I think that if she really wanted to be on TV she would of found a way by now.

  22. Aug 20, 2010

    That looks like he is using a Canon 7D or 5D mounted on a very simple shoulder mount that is made by Red Rocks. They are a heavy bulky thing, but if you want your footage to be smooth and not like mine, shot on ol’ earthquake hands, then you need that thing. It has a top mounted MicroPro LED light, and a little LCD side mounted screen to check focus. This is a great package, but more than that a very smart package. Not too much to rent all of it for a week. Like a few hundred bucks. The audio is pretty much garbage on these cameras so he would have to have some little field mixer to get decent sound, which it looks like he does. None of this is weird or crazy to me. I mean this is all the same shit I use when I do a wedding, or shoot for Redken. I just run with a lighter setup.

    My only criticism is that they need a good voice over guy. Like he shouldn’t try to imitate that famous movie trailer guy that always started everything with “In a World…” That guy was amazing, and he is dead now, and so that’s like making fun of a dead guy. I don’t like that 😉

  23. Aug 20, 2010

    Classic comment! I like your perspective. I also don’t think they spend too much money on the gear. They’re smarter than that!

  24. Aug 22, 2010

    The shirt bugged the shit out of me. And? I don’t love the house. I don’t care how awesome a bathtub is, it’s no reason to buy a house. Although, I’m sure that’s not the only reason they bought it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder & all that. I expected a completely different space for them. Something less Mormon.

  25. Perpetua
    Aug 25, 2010

    HA! But think of the footage of cat-bites-nutsack you’d get with that kind of rig. You might even capture rare footage of the cat balancing a tennis ball on his sack, or something.

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