Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Pitch your brand client a sharable online video – works for them and you

Andy Parkhouse - November 12th, 2010

Using video online is a great idea for brands. PR and digital agencies can increase billings by working with their clients to develop an online video strategy.

We’ve put together a handy guide in four parts:
– why to commission a video
– how to do it
– how to set and manage expectations
– how to grow the idea further and create an ongoing video strategy

» Free guide: pitch your brand client a video.

Were Google saved by 4Chan?

Tim Wintle - July 5th, 2010

It may sound strange (especially after 4Chan’s history of attacking YouTube on porn day), but it seems that the message board may have inadvertently saved YouTube from serious harm yesterday.

After one users stumbled upon a serious XSS vulnerability (a type of bug which allows attacker to take control of everything your web browser does on a specific site), things could have got really serious.

A well-planned attack by a well-informed programmer could have run crazy – bombarding a huge number of web users with mallware and other attacks in a very short time, and without YouTube noticing for a significant time if done subtly enough.

Luckly, the news spread via 4Chan – a site who’s average user can hardly be described as well-informed. Within a few minutes the site was over-run with scrolling-marquees and redirects to shock sites – just the kind of thing that’s not going to stay under YouTube’s radar for long.

According to a Google spokesperson, it took under an hour for a temporary fix to be applied, and under two hours for a full fix to be deployed across the whole of youtube.

So thank you 4Chan – your practical jokes have saved a huge number of users from serious attacks. That’s the power of full-disclosure at work.

(Of course you could have just emailed them the vulnerability and saved all the people that did get attacked – YouTube have always responded very quickly when I’ve contacted them with serious issues)

How to make a killer viral marketing video. 5 Top Tips

Andy Parkhouse - January 13th, 2010

We’ve put together a handy article for UTalkMarketing: How to make a killer viral marketing video. 5 Top Tips from Rubber Republic.

It’s a nice summary of what we’ve learned in the last ten or so years. Cheers – Andy


- September 15th, 2009

This was my second year visiting Perpignan for VISA, and once again it was an inspirational thought-provoking week. The highlight for me is the night projections and the opportunity to attend talks by the photographers about their work. On the third of September we received the news that Christian Poveda was killed, in El Salvador, shot by the gangs he filmed.
3921942589 de2717f037 VISA POUR LIMAGE 2009

Poveda a documentary photographer and filmmaker he devoted his time to photographing the street gangs of El Salvador. Last year I attended his talk and had the opportunity to watch his documentary LA Vida Loca which follows the members of La 18 a branch of the Mara gangs.

The documentary is due to be released on the 31st of September and I would recommend seeing it. Click here to watch a clip.

Rubber Republic talking at Rushes Soho Shorts festival

- July 28th, 2009

Our Matt Golding is talking at two events at Rushes Soho Shorts festival tomorrow.

One is the Encounters Contentertainment talk (Soho Film Lab, 13:00) which is a private event invite only for ad industry creative directors chaired by Colin Marrs, editor of digital at Campaign (see above flyer).

The other is a public event on the future of short film at Apple Store Regent Street from 5pm – 7pm.


12am – meet at the Soho Film Lab, 8-14 Meard Street, London W1F 0EQ
1pm – start
3pm – finish

APPLE iStore ‘The Future of Film’ (Matt speaking, Irfon chairing)
4.30 – meet up at the Apple iStore, 235 Regent Street, London W1B 2ET
5.00 – start
7.00 – finish
It’s outlined on the Apple website –

See the map on page 71 of the Soho Shorts brochure –

From Bristol to Austin: Col Needham from IMDb at SXSW

Andy Parkhouse - March 17th, 2009

Col Needham talks about starting the Internet Movie Database in Bristol about fourteen years ago.

YouTube, Google and counting views.

Tim Wintle - March 13th, 2009

As many people in industries such as ours will have noticed – YouTube is being slow at updating the view count for some videos at the moment. Luckily we have our own numbers to go by, so it’s not affecting us as much as it is affecting many companies, but I thought I’d put my explanation up here so we can refer people to it.

According to youtube, this seems to be due to an algorithm change made on the 25th of February. (they have made similar comments elsewhere)


We’ve made a change in our public-facing view counts across the site
that will enable us to consistently reflect what is considered a
‘view,’ based upon video consumption, video streaming and spam
filtering. This only affects view counts from February 25 moving
forward.Implementing this change also caused view count updates to slow down a
bit in general; many people have noticed this and we’re aware of the

This raises some very interesting points (these are my observations, have not been confirmed with Google and may not reflect the opinions of Team Rubber):

First, for people who don’t deal with software like this every day (like I do for the viral ad network), I’ll explain the common way that numbers like this are updated:

  • There are one or more “tracking servers”, running all over the place – these are the servers that actually record a “view”, “hit”, or “action” – and they simply record lots of information about each action, which will be looked over later.
  • Every few minutes the main algorithm runs over all the data it hasn’t looked at yet and updates the numbers that are shown on the dashboards.

The important thing to notice is that the views are recorded right at the beginning and they will be updated at some point. Even if the main algorithm is stopped entirely for a few days, it will carry on in the future if you’re patient.

Prioritizing videos (“Why does this only happen once I reach 200/300 views?”)

You may have noticed that the number of views per video has always been updated quicker for videos with few views than for videos with more views. For example, a newly uploaded video will normally update it’s view count within a few minutes of a video being watched, where a video that has already had several thousand views will update it’s view count more slowly.

This suggests that when Google run their main script, they tend to update the numbers for videos with less views more often than for videos with a higher number of views – and leave the other data to be processed less often (say every few hours)

This makes a lot of sense, because people with 50 views are more likely to be watching their numbers every few minutes to see if they have another 5 views than people who have had 200,000 views – who may only care about their views increasing by 1,000. It keeps users happier.

This explains why we (and others affected by this issue) have seen view counts rising as normal until they get above 200-300 views – at which point the numbers appear “stuck”.

Balancing the work (“Why doesn’t this affect all videos?”)

Clearly a massive site like YouTube getting so many views need more than one computer running to update these numbers. I’m going to assume that Google run this over their normal map-reduce system.

They may tens, hundreds, or even thousands of computers running their view-counting algorithm (and I don’t expect to ever find out…), but all views for a video have to be counted by the same computer, so they need some manner of splitting up the millions of views they have recorded into batches of work to be done.

They almost certainly do this using some form of hash function – you can picture this as saying that every video on YouTube is grouped into various buckets – each of these buckets will have it’s views processed on the same machine (or at the same time).

The problem comes when a hash function doesn’t split up the items equally (i.e. one “bucket” has significantly more/less videos in it than another one). This appears to be the problem here – only some videos have been affected, and my assumption is that this is because one of these “buckets” has ended up with far more views than the others – meaning that one set of machines (or one job) gets over-loaded and ends up being incredibly slow.

Lessons Learned

For me, working with a similar system to the above, the number one thing that I have learned is that for tasks like this that might be incredibly sensitive to hash functions it’s not safe to assume that a hash function that’s theoretically good is going to remain good.

I don’t know if they are able to, but the situation would be better if YouTube chose the hash function at the beginning of each main job. I.e. each time that they run the main script that updates the information on the dashboards, they chose to use a different hash function. This way, if a video ends up in a bucket that’s overloaded one time, it will end up in a different bucket next time (which shouldn’t be overloaded).

Of course, this is all theoretical, and is based on a large number of assumptions – YouTube may perform their hashing at a far earlier stage, and they may not be able to change the hash function each time they run the job.

Tim Wintle

We Take You Inside Today…

Andy Parkhouse - March 11th, 2009

New from Rubber Republic, here’s a charming little film we’ve made for the Radio 4 Today Programme.

It’s great to do work that reinforces the connection between people who’ve got a product or brand, and their existing customers. Sure, it’s about repeat business and loyalty, but it’s also about building up a brand that people appreciate and want in their lives.

Also, sounds cheesy, but I love the Today programme, and I love working on things I love….Lego, can we help you?

Rubber Republic start a bit of scaremongering for Friday the 13th

- February 13th, 2009

How’s this for a timely story? Our Rubber Republic wing has been commissioned by Paramount and MEC Global to run an online PR campaign that will fuel anticipation of the latest release in the iconic ‘Friday the 13th’ series of horror movies.

The purpose of the campaign is to start online conversations about the film, which hits cinemas across Europe on Friday 13th February — that’s today, folks!  The campaign’s focused on five major European territories: the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain (EFIGS to the ITKs).

We’ve been equipped with a provocative and interactive viral film to get people talking: In the clip, you join a ‘live’ webchat with a slightly fearful lady backpacker before she is, ahem, *cut off*.  You can also customise the clip to send a delightful personalised message straight from Jason to your friends — or enemies.

The campaign follows the good work we did last year with the viral promotion for Paramount’s ‘Tropic Thunder’.  We’ve also been engaged to undertake a major online seeding campaign for the hugely anticipated ‘Watchmen’ which is released in cinemas next month.

Rory reckons: ‘Paramount are pioneering what can be done within digital social-media and viral channels. They have recognised that the film can start well before the viewer gets to cinema – it’s very exciting to be part of this when we can offer people genuinely engaging content.’

Removing the new YouTube Search Box

Tim Wintle - December 4th, 2008
YouTube added a new search box to the youtube embedded player today.

Update: YouTube appear to have listened to users’ comments, and made a second update in a day – the search box now only displays when you hover over the video.

Here’s what it looks like:

0 Removing the new YouTube Search Box

Understandably, many people might want to remove this “feature” – so here’s how:
(The YouTube api has been updated to mention this, so it appears to be a supported method)

  1. In your embed code, find the url for the flash player (it is in there twice if you are using the standard YouTube embed code)
  2. Add the parameter showsearch=0 (by adding “&showsearch=0” to the url)
  3. There is no step three – the video shouldn’t be showing the search box any more.

The video should now look like this:

0 Removing the new YouTube Search Box


<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”425″ height=”344″ codebase=”,0,40,0″><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”src” value=”″ /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”425″ height=”344″ src=”″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed></object>

I’m sure some people will find that useful when they look at their blogs today …

Tim W