Flickr Launches Video, Increases Photo Upload Sizes

[I’m CEO of Zooomr]

Flickr launched their widely rumored video service today. Videos are limited to 90 seconds in length and 150 MB in size. Only Pro members can upload videos. The video above is one of the first videos on the service from Heather Champ’s photostream. More information from the Flickr Blog here.

The 90 second limit is an interesting one and will likely keep a lot of copyrighted material off of the site. When even a basic music video is over 90 seconds, it will be hard for anyone to really put any majorly infringing material on the site. This would be consistent with Flickr trying to create a more “authentic” video experience than users might find on YouTube or other video sites where more copyrighted non-original material shows up.

Interestingly it seems that Flickr plans to censor the video experience to only include “safe” or “moderate” videos. So far their rules for video seem pretty simple:

“1. Only “safe” and “moderate” video content is permitted. Your “beautiful wife” should not be moving. (Read more about content filters.)

2. Only upload videos you have created yourself.”

Videos can be embeded into web pages (as the video above shows by example).

I do think that it is interesting that Flickr seems initially to have chosen not to allow filtering of the video experience. Personally I’m worried that a bunch of crap videos will clutter up my Flickr experience. I was hoping that Flickr might have built an option to allow users to opt out of the video experience. Instead it looks like video will be everywhere that photos are on Flickr without giving users an option to filter out or screen out video from their Flickr experience. I’m surprised that Flickr would not include filtering tools to opt out of the experience with this offering.

Most of the initial comments on the video service from existing Flickr users seem to be negative, especially given the decision to not allow filtering of video from the Flickr experience.

From ozoni11:
“Video is not why I am on flickr. I hope it becomes a very small niche. Don’t get me wrong…I like a good video and often go to YouTube to see one. Just sorry flickr has made this decision.”

From discoe: “Why would I ever want video on Flickr? 🙁 “

From cathycracks: “what made flickr successful was the community of photographers and the photos. not the second youtube.”

From AustinTX: “Well, I have been wanting to cut down on the number of contacts I have, any that upload video will be on the list to go. Count me as a naysayer, obviously.”

From Patchattack: “absolutely against this. i chose flickr only because it was a photo-only site. i was looking for a photo forum. still photography and crappy 90-second videos are 2 completely different things. and bandwidth? is the entire site painfully slow tonight because of this?”

You can read more comments from the Flickr Help Forum thread on the service here.

A group dedicated to Flickr Video, Video, Video, Video, has already sprouted up where you can view some of the earliest video uploaded to Flickr here.

Although I’m personally not so interested in 90 second videos, Flickr also doubled the sizes that they allow for uploaded photographs on the site. Free accounts will now be able to upload 10MB files, Pro accounts will now be able to upload 20MB files. This is a welcome improvement as many higher-end digital SLRs produce file sizes larger than 10MB.

Another change made by Flickr today has to do with groups. Flickr marks many of the groups or forums on the site as adult only. These groups are NIPSA’d (not in public search areas). In the past these groups were more limited to groups that Flickr or other users flagged as offensive or restricted. Many groups are marked “adult only.” For instance, one of the groups where I participate Delete Me Uncensored is marked as adult only. (Go ahead click through, unless you’re already a member you will see what I’m talking about).

Today Flickr changed the way that groups on the site are administered. In the past only groups that Flickr labeled as “restricted” would be NIPSA’d. Now groups that allow not only “restricted,” but even “moderate” content will be marked adult only. I think that this is a bad idea. It’s one thing to mark blatantly sexual groups as “adult only.” But marking groups with merely “moderate” content as adult only is overkill. It’s like saying that you have to be 18 not only to see an X or R rated film, but that you now have to be 18 to even see PG or PG13 films.

More on this change here.

More from TechCrunch here. More from Mashable here. More from CNET here.

What do you think? Are you happy with video on Flickr or would you rather do without it?

Update: Two new groups at Flickr.


2. Video on Flickr.

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  1. JL says:

    It looks messy, and I wonder if flickr videos will be more artistic and creative than youtube?

  2. Ulrich says:

    I am not on flickr but if I was I would not like videos. It is a photo sharing site and I would not want to see videos there. I can imagine they come up with a filter sooner or later so that users can choose whether or not they want to see videos.

    As for the censorship, well, that was the main reason for me to leave flickr. At that time it was the way flickr handled the matter towards its customers rather than the actual censorship of which I was not affected.

    However, what you report here confirms my conclusion from last year when I left: flickr will continue to rule over the content generated and owned by their users. To censor groups such as deleteme takes away some of the fun and freedom we formerly had on flickr.

    What is left increasingly becomes a brainwashed happyland of moronic sheep with digicams.

  3. Jan Tielens says:

    I’m a Flickr Pro user and I’m very happy with the video features. There are a couple of reasons why I use Flickr:
    – safe storage for my photos (of course I have backups at home: multiple external HDD’s stored in different places, Flickr is just an another, last layer of protection)
    – sharing with the community
    – sharing with my family (not all of my photos are public)

    The video features that Flickr added make sense for the same reasons:
    – safe storage (owners can download the original file)
    – sharing with my family (showing how my daugther grows up 🙂 )
    – sharing with the community for me is not relevant since my focus photography

    The only issue that I see maximum video length of 90 seconds. I understand the reasons, and probably 95% of my video clips are shorter. But personally I’d prefer to see a longer maximum length of lets say 5 minutes. I even want to pay more for that!

    I don’t understand why users are complaining about the fact that Flickr is adding features. If you don’t like video, don’t use it! If you don’t want to see videos on Flickr, don’t join groups that have lots of video. Group admins can even block videos for their groups. Sites like smugmug have had video for a long time. I don’t see people complaing about that.


  4. Anonymous says:

    i think the 90 mins limit is good, plus its only for pro users n then i guess people want it to be different from other video clip sharing site! but the fact that a photo site adds video, makes it unique n difficult for my research on flickr and youtube!!! 🙂

  5. TranceMist says:

    At first I was neutral to negative about video on Flickr, for many of the reasons stated in your article.

    However, last night I noticed how incredibly slow Flickr was. Then I read comments in your article about how video was affecting overall Flickr performance.


    Now I’m totally against it. Video is a bandwidth hog. If Flickr wants to do video that’s fine as long as I don’t have to be affected by it. Put it on its own servers with separate bandwidth and leave us photographers the hell out of it.

  6. Jason Weems says:

    It seems to me that this could be an asset for photographers using flickr. Now you can upload custom slideshows of your photos, maybe something for fun (spring slideshow), or something where clients could get a quick overview of your best work without having to slog through your whole photostream. And I could see it would be a definite boon for families/friends who share photos through flickr (probably the biggest user group). Might be nice/fun to have a video introduction in your profile too. So though it has some drawbacks, I don’t see why the video feature can’t be useful too.

  7. Brent Evans says:

    I personally think the videos feature is a good thing. It won’t be the next YouTube and obviously isn’t intended to be. Will there be plenty of bad video content? Yes, but the same can be said for the photos as well.

    It’s a new feature that I think will blend well with the photos eventually. Give it some time.

  8. frank lazaro says:

    Thomas, here’s my first and probably only flickr video. It will have a million views in a week.

  9. Eric says:

    I’m mostly just flabbergasted that they didn’t have a filter ready out of the gate. They seriously couldn’t imagine that some people wouldn’t like having videos indiscriminately mixed in with the photos they came to the site to enjoy?

    What’s worse is they seemingly went out of their way to obliterate any distinction between the two kinds of media – I notice my own page now says “Photos & Video from…” – um, what video? I don’t plan on uploading any or even looking at them, thank you very much.

    Equally stupid is that you can’t mark videos “restricted” – which only incentivizes the homemade porn community on there to mark them safe instead, thus undermining their (already asinine) “safety” filter system.

    I seriously want to know what goes on in their feature roadmap meetings. You’d seriously think that they’d have learned a lesson from, well, the innumerous other times they’ve botched a new feature roll out.

  10. Greg Furry says:

    Will I ever use Flickr video? Maybe. My thoughts on Flickr adding video are best express by Rochelle here.
    End of story

  11. Dave Huston says:

    I don’t have a problem with it. I uploaded a few videos of pretty poor quality, but anyone who’s been following my uploaded photos shouldn’t be expecting anything of high quality from me anyway. I think the majority of Flickr videos, especially considering the Pro restriction, will be of high quality. Earlier, I saw a great example here:

  12. Glossolalia says:

    The annoyng thing about the video is even if you opt out of the auto play function, the crappy flash files still download. Lots of wasted bandwidth and as others have noticed a slowing down of the whole Flickr experience

  13. Poagao says:

    I really think the vast majority of Flickr users are simply unable to understand why anyone wouldn’t want video on Flickr. It’s sort of like, “Why would anyone NOT want to supersize their McDonald’s meal?”