latakoo and Texas Campaign for the Environment

At latakoo, we like to think we’re good to the environment. We don’t sell any hardware. We don’t ship any boxes. We recycle at the office. Our team members carpool or take public transportation. We like being centrally located to reduce commutes. (We would compost if we could just get a space that allowed for a garden.) And, we support Texas Campaign for the Environment.

TCE is a non-partisan, non-profit citizens’ organization that focuses on local and state environmental and public health issues. They’ve organized award winning campaigns to protect the health of citizens and the quality of the environment in latakoo’s home state.

TCE takes the problems one by one, canvassing door to door to gain support from the community.  In March of 2012, a seven-year effort by TCE and various other groups culminated in the most comprehensive policy on disposable bags anywhere in the United States. Austin City Council moved unanimously to ban single-use retail bags by 2013.  And, that’s just the most recent of TCE’s victories.

TCE is a latakoo client. When they organize a protest, they carry cameras. When they tell their stories, they do it through video. latakoo’s video platform allows TCE to quickly share video with the media and with their own team members. And, since we don’t produce electronic waste, we’re a natural fit.

Yes, everything’s bigger in Texas, including environmental headaches.  But thanks to TCE, solutions are taking shape and taking hold. This month TCE turned 21.  latakoo asked Austin-based video story teller Bobby Longoria to help us salute this bright, shining organization committed to the health and welfare of the citizens of Texas. The video played to a standing room only crowd at TCE’s birthday party and continues to make the rounds in TCE circles.  After you watch it, be sure to make a donation to TCE. (It’s money well spent, just like buying a latakoo account.)

Words on blog by Jade Kurian; Video by Bobby Longoria; Music by Selva Oscura.

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New App Release: Simultaneous Upload to Multiple Destinations

latakoo Video Desktop App (3.3.2) is now available for download
latakoo is happy to announce the release of its latest desktop video App for both Mac and Windows OS. This update provides a major enhancement for video management and distribution. latakoo now allows users to upload the same video to multiple networks. That means you won’t have to re-upload the same video multiple times.
latakoo Video Tool multi-network selector
We have added a multi-network selection dropdown box for easy selection of any number of your video networks. Video networks are your private, collaborative video folders. By simply selecting a choice of networks, your video can be uploaded to those locations in a single instance.

Share faster: the latest latakoo App allows for simultaneous uploads to several video folders.

Once the App completes the upload process, your videos will be available in the selected networks in your latakoo web account. Depending on the number of networks that your video was uploaded to, the Pilot page will display each video in its unique network. In addition, each member of those networks will also have those videos available to them immediately. Please remember that your account will be charged for the multiple uploads.

Inside latakoo: within your account, on the Pilot screen, you'll find all of your uploads listed in the various networks.

Sharing of video just got a whole lot easier. Install or upgrade the tool now by clicking here.  The simultaneous upload to multiple destinations is part of our desktop app as of today, and will be available in our mobile apps as part of a future release.

Words by Joe Pelayo

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latakoo goes Presidential: Sending Video from Conventions

The 2012 political conventions came and went, without me. A small part of me was screaming to participate! I sat home and watched. Just a few years ago, the only thing that could keep me from the middle of the action, was a hurricane. I distinctly remember HD News General Manager Will J. Wright and Executive Producer Chris Long, dispatching me out of the Republican Convention in 2004, just a day after I arrived. I had traveled with President George W. Bush’s campaign all the way to the convention and had just checked into my hotel, filed my first convention story, and got the call. “Are you still packed? Good. Don’t bother unpacking.”  Just as I was about to enjoy the thrill of convention coverage, a hurricane had formed in the Atlantic, aiming for Florida. I exchanged the RNC credentials and black suit for my jeans and extreme weather gear; exchanged George for Charley.

Nigel McGregor and I covering the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Because of how television stations are covering the conventions and because of my role at latakoo, I did get to feel the adrenaline rush of the big story. Gone are the days of running to the satellite truck or the feed room with tapes. I’ve worn out quite a few heels sprinting to the satellite truck parked on the farthest corner of whatever convention center happened to be in play. Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show crew had fun with the security checkpoints at this year’s Democratic convention, but it’s routine (especially if you’re not assigned to the major networks) to be forced out into the nether regions, even if you are part of the credentialed media.  My photographer, Nigel McGregor wore Keens, but he still had to carry a 35-pound camera on his shoulder during the trek.

These days, there’s less running to the trucks and stopping to flash credentials every 10 steps along the way. Video content can now be moved from where you stand. latakoo is part of that revolution. And in the case of the RNC and DNC this year, we made it possible to move news content fast and share resources. Nearly 80 stations used content that moved through latakoo. Nexstar Broadcasting used latakoo consistently during the conventions, assigning a handful of staff to the two locations, and managing customized stories for each of their more than 60 stations. “Most of what we did was local content with local delegates,” said Jerry Walsh, Nexstar’s Director of Local Content Development.  “Our reporters turned over 300 local stories during the two weeks.  Latakoo gave us a significant advantage to push this content to the markets.”

I’ve attached two of the stories from Nexstar stations here. In the interest fair reporting, one is from the DNC — Josh Berry of KARK TV in Arkansas and one is from the RNC — Nick Ochsner of KAMC TV in Texas.

Satellite trucks help deliver news immediately, but it's costly, cumbersome technology.

Satellite technology is costly and cumbersome and complicated. latakoo is simple.  Our price points are affordable, our service is easy-to-use, and our technology leverages the power of the web and of the user’s laptop or mobile device.

This is how television is done now. This is how video is done now. YouTube, Dropbox, and Box, and FTP usually take hours to upload large video files. latakoo has the science down to minutes for the upload of a Gigabyte of video. (Naturally, overall speed is dependent on your Internet connection.) During the 2008 Republican Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, HD News sent files via FTP.  The result — our crews had to plan on being finished with our shooting, writing, and editing well in advance of show time so that our HD stories could be sent via FTP to our broadcast center in New York.  It was a slow, painful, process for all of us and when hiccups occurred (often), we had to pinch hit.

Photojournalist Mike Colin editing one of my 2008 RNC stories to send via FTP.

At latakoo, we support the democratic process and we believe that in order to make good decisions that uphold a democracy, people need information. Journalism is at the heart of that effort. News companies, like most businesses, make many decisions based on two critical factors: time and money. How much time will it take? How much money will it take? latakoo allows news crews to save time, preventing overtime and in many cases, allowing one person to produce more content. And, if you save time, you save money. Add to that the low-cost nature of latakoo’s web transfer and big news corporations are able to cover more stories.

For the latakoo team, knowing we played a part in giving Americans a look into their democratic process is very satisfying. We don’t mind who you root for, or what issues cause you to act, we just hope you’ll be informed, and then exercise the beautiful right this country gives each citizen – to vote.

Words by Jade Kurian; Photos courtesy of Nigel McGregor; Video courtesy of Nexstar Broadcasting





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latakoo Signs Development Deal with NBC

At latakoo, we’ve always loved the news.

Loved Reading it. Loved Watching It. Loved Reporting it.

But few news days have meant as much to us personally as today’s stories.

First – some background – the latakoo app sends video fast over any Internet connection. And we have customers big and small that use latakoo to move their video files fast, then share and collaborate.

At latakoo, we’ve been working with the engineers at NBC News for months.  Now, we’re taking the next step with this outstanding organization.  Earlier this week, NBC signed a development agreement with latakoo.

“We like the way latakoo works because it’s so easy to use,” says Danny Miller, the Director of Engineering Field and Satellite Operations for NBC News. “A correspondent could review video on a laptop and just drop the best of it into latakoo to quickly send back to the newsroom.”  You can read our official announcement here.

People noticed. To be precise – tech reporters noticed – like TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez who announced that “Enterprise Video Transfer Startup Latakoo Signs Deal With NBC For Newsroom Integration”

One of our favorite Austin reporters – Lori Hawkins – told our hometown community. “In a big endorsement for its technology, Austin startup Latakoo has signed a pilot project with NBC News.”

Google “latakoo” and you’ll find a lot more stories.

All we can say is thanks. Thanks to NBC. Thanks to the reporters. Thanks to team latakoo. And most of all, thanks to you – our customers.

By Paul Adrian


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latakoo and NBC: Official News Release

(News Release, July 12, 2012)

latakoo Signs Video Technology Development Agreement with 
NBC News/NBC Universal

Global News Network to Finalize Testing of Video Transfer Tools

(Austin, Texas) – NBC News and parent company NBC Universal have signed a development agreement with Austin startup latakoo ( to provide fast video transfer services for its global newsgathering operations. The news network has been testing latakoo’s technology for the past year and is launching a pilot project to integrate the video service into NBC’s communications systems.

“We think this is a great moment for us and NBC News,” said Paul Adrian, CEO of latakoo. “The Internet offers tremendous possibilities for simplicity, speed, and cost savings to news crews traveling the world. And before latakoo was developed, TV networks had to build expensive proprietary tools of their own or buy very pricey hardware and software. We’ve shown NBC there is a better way.”

Over the next five months, latakoo’s engineers will optimize the company’s popular compression and conveyance technology to work with NBC’s proprietary workflow system. As long as news crews are able to find a wireless signal somewhere in the world, they will be able to use latakoo’s one-click tool to send their raw video and edited news reports into the broadcast center. Satellites and expensive broadband will no longer be necessary in many instances.

“We like the way latakoo works because it’s so easy to use,” says Danny Miller, the Director of Engineering Field and Satellite Operations for NBC News. “A correspondent could review video on a laptop and just drop the best of it into latakoo to quickly send back to the newsroom.”

“When we started latakoo, this was precisely the kind of problem we wanted to solve,” Adrian added. “Constricted upload bandwidth creates difficulties in sending video from the field. But we’ve solved that and we’re excited about working with NBC to improve the speed and quality of Internet video transfers.”

latakoo, an Austin, Texas based startup provides enterprise level online video delivery, storage, collaboration, and file trans-coding to many of the largest TV broadcasting companies in the U.S. and Mexico. Individual plans and an iPhone app are also available.

About latakoo: is the fastest, simplest, and least expensive way to send video over the Internet. Contact: Jade Kurian @ 512 502 5666 or

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Fly me to the Space Station

Fly me to the Moon! Or to the International Space Station to be more exact.

What a week it has been at latakoo.

We can’t tell you how proud we are to have helped the Science Channel deliver video from the SpaceX launch. Producer Lindsey Foster describes her experience with latakoo in the attached video. Thanks to Lindsey and the Science Channel for sharing this historic moment with latakoo.

While we’re on the topic of new technology – we’ve got a lot of upgrades headed your way, including this new look for our notification emails. It’s available to all customers and allows you to share videos without requiring someone else to log into the service. Just click and play.

And next week, we’ll be upgrading our share video fast app. Install the new one and you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • We’ve revamped the video app interface so that it’s much easier to set quality and video network settings on each video you upload.
  • Uploads and downloads are more resilient.
  • We’ve provided support for optional corporate branding.
  • We now support transcoding on download to Apple ProRes, HDV / M2T, DVCPro 50 / MXF and FLV.
  • We’ve also incorporated countless other fixes and performance enhancements that improve the latakoo experience for everyone.

Thanks again for your support of latakoo. If you haven’t signed up yet and need a small account – you can sign up here. If you need a corporate account, please contact me directly.

Words by Paul Adrian; Video edited by Steve Kline; SpaceX launch video provided courtesy of Science Channel


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Feeling Supersonic: The New Space Race & The Koo

Just after 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 22, and nearly one minute and 20 seconds into launch, NASA engineers determined, “vehicle is supersonic.” The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9, a moment five years in the making, had moved NASA and space exploration into a new era.

For Science Channel, a television network committed to covering all things supersonic, it was “the day.” They covered SpaceX from every angle and with “the coolest damn cameras out there,” according to their “Inscider” blog by Brad Kohlenstein. And how did they transport the amazing video captured by “the mother-of-all lenses shooting from three miles away?”

They sent video fast and in high quality with latakoo.

latakoo is proud to have been the choice for Science Channel on an historic day.  We congratulate entrepreneur Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX for inspiring another generation of kids to look to the stars and dream.

And to the journalists and visionaries at Science Channel, thanks for sending your precious cargo via koo. We feel good since you are the network with the slogan “question everything.”

Brad Kohlenstein wrote, “it was electric.”

You’re right, Brad. We feel the electricity in this video.

Words by Jade Kurian; video provided courtesy of Science Channel


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Movie Making with the iPhone

When Steven Spielberg needed to fulfill a Boy Scout merit badge requirement, he grabbed the 8mm camera. That was the start. We all know the rest of the story. Spielberg’s first movie, The Last Gunfight, was shot with his father’s 8mm camera. With the 8mm and then the Super 8, movie making became a more viable hobby.

Fast forward to movies via smartphone. Framed is a beautifully photographed short film by French filmmaker Mael Sevestre. Framed was shot entirely on the iPhone 4S. Sevestre rigged the iPhone 4S to shoot with an old twin lens camera that can be seen in the film. (Framed is about a photographer that comes upon something unexpected while shooting pictures in the woods.)

Framed was small budget. How about big budget? The big rumor on iPhone 4S’ movie making capabilities swirled around The Avengers. But The Avengers director of photography Seamus McGarvey said he was misquoted. He didn’t use the iPhone 4S to shoot scenes for The Avengers, but he says Hollywood productions are more often using the iPhone.

Mobile devices help all of us make movies. They also make it easier to document what’s happening around us. News crews are shooting breaking news with iPhones. Why not? The iPhone creates beautiful video, especially the 4S — 1080p HD with video stabilization

While smartphones make it look so easy, it can be a struggle to get just the right shots. Occasionally at latakoo, we do get questions from users who have issues with their iPhone video. So we put together our top 5 tips for shooting with the iPhone. And remember some features we discuss may not be pertinent to all iPhone models.

When shooting video, keep your iPhone in landscape mode with the home button on the right.

  1. Think Landscape: Shoot all of your video in landscape mode. That means you should not be holding your phone the same way you would if you were on a phone call. This is the most common mistake iPhone videographers repeat. Here’s a way to keep it straight in your head: portrait mode is for documents; landscape mode is for TV. Video is for TV. While even Apple’s website shows the phone in landscape mode with the home button to the left or the right, we found that if the home button is not on the right while in landscape, some systems will show it upside down. To avoid any issues in rotation, make sure your home button is on the right. You can fix portrait video in some editing systems, including iMovie. QuickTime will rotate your video for you because QuickTime is a multimedia framework developed by Apple. But other players will not. latakoo is working to adjust your streaming video, but on the download, you would still get what you sent up. Just rotate your phone 90 degrees and you won’t have to worry about it.
  2. Focus: The iPhone does auto focus, but if you are trying to get detail, it’s best to tap the screen, focus on the item you are shooting, then hit the red button to record.
  3. Stabilize: While the video stabilization on the iPhone 4S is a noticeable departure from earlier iPhones, the stabilization works best for situations where you may be doing short pans, and not moving along with the camera. We suggest a mini-tripod. Several companies make these handy pods.
  4.  Plan for good audio: The microphone on virtually every mobile device is best used as a phone. If you are recording video that’s important, something you plan to edit, use an external mic. You’ll need an adapter that plugs in where your headphones would go – then plug the microphone into the adapter.
  5. Tight, Medium, Wide: The rule for basic shooting is “tight, medium, wide.” For the iPhone, it’s essentially the same if you plan to edit the footage. Get tight shots, medium shots, and wide shots. Hold your shots for 5 to 8 seconds at least and don’t do too many pans.

Make sure to download the latakoo App so that you can send large iPhone files fast. An Android App is coming soon. Go ahead — find your inner Spielberg and koo that movie up.

Words by Jade Kurian; Video by Steve Kline; Produced by Kurian & Kline


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The Fastest Wins

There are two distinct challenges with sending video over the Internet. They are both critical. One is speed of transmission and the other is quality of the video when it arrives on the other end. These two issues have much to do with consumers and businesses presently failing to broadly embrace sharing video on the web.

The compression part of the process can be costly. Television news companies spend hundreds of dollars (even thousands) per user seat on compression tools to reduce video file size as much as possible without harming quality. But the software is not simple. There is often a complicated learning curve with compression software and it doesn’t necessarily send the file after compression. That tends to require another set of tools.

The file is compressed but how does it get transported in a fast and effective manner? This is a problem that has to be confronted by video managers. If there is a broadband pipe or a very strong connection, sending can be relatively easy. But an absence of a strong upload connection can lead to delays and require further file size reduction to expedite the transmission.

There is also the opportunity to skip the compression of the video file on your computer and upload it in standard format and size to the cloud. There are a number of services that will encode the file for you while it is in the cloud so the end user can download faster and deal with a smaller video file. But you still have the challenge of likely waiting hours as the file uploads and then having it set in a cue to wait for encoding.

These are important issues for the Internet that we wanted to resolve at latakoo. We think that once you provide a very simple method for uploading and sending video fast a lot of great things happen for consumers and businesses. We also believe that it should be easy and affordable and that people ought not to be intimidated by complicated software.

We designed the latakoo tool to manage both ends of video transmission and trans-coding. Our signature service was constructed using open source H-264 technology, which was calibrated and tuned by our software developers. The speed of latakoo compression is very quick and files sizes are generally under 5 percent of original without any discernible loss of quality.

Simple is beautiful, especially with software online and sending video. And if you can make sending video fast, the process becomes even more attractive. Take a look at our drag and drop and click that gets your video to where it needs to be.

And speed isn’t much more complicated than that. If you make the file small, and retain quality, the upload bandwidth is less of an issue. We compress and we send with one click. There are some very successful software and hardware companies that are making money doing nothing more than one part of the process: compressing. And the process, we think, is anything but simple. Here is a flow chart and instructions that one TV station sent its crews.

Our strategy was to do all of the work on the client computer, your desktop, so that you weren’t waiting forever for big video files to go up and you weren’t waiting an equally long time for them to come down to your computer. When you download the reduced size file from latakoo, you can also trans-code it into another format/container. As the data is loaded into the latakoo tool on your desktop, it is converted to the format you selected.

By keeping most of the processing – from compression to trans-coding – on your desktop, latakoo has sped up the process of sending video. And by using H-264 compression, we’ve made certain as many people as possible can use our video platform across the entire web with almost any software or hardware configuration.

Don’t have a huge data connection? No expensive software? Or fancy encoder and decoder boxes? Or four pages of instructions? You can still upload and send video fast with latakoo.

And the fastest usually wins.

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Video is the Next Instagram

latakoo website front page taken with Instagram "Kelvin" filter.

It’s just a photo-sharing app. There is probably not anyone who can name all of the photo-sharing services on the Internet. And Instagram still hadn’t made a cent, or was, as entrepreneurs like to say, “pre-revenue.”

Which didn’t stop Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg from purchasing the wildly popular company for $1 billion in stock and cash. Yeah, a photo-sharing app. Well, it may have as many as 50 million users. And only 9 employees, according to TechCrunch. Those users, though, have not yet been monetized.

In all of those photo apps and services, Instagram’s founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger thought there was still an opportunity. Most were too complicated. Too many clicks to share a picture. Locations needed to be punched in. Names and tags were often required. They wanted something very, very simple that fit between Facebook’s functionality and Hipstamatic’s coolness. Which is what they created. A photo-sharing app that has social tools, cool filters, and is as easy as tweeting.

Equals a billion dollars. Apparently.

And now it is video’s turn. If you thought sharing a photo with a friend was complicated, you’ve probably never tried sharing a video. From a smart phone, it’s virtually impossible. And online, it requires hours to upload a few minutes, even when the video has been reduced to smaller size by making it lower resolution.

The Internet wasn’t built with democracy in mind. It was designed for communications. And turned into a profitable architecture for businesses to sell downloadable products and services. Nobody much cared about the upload. That’s a consumer issue. Upload bandwidth is enough to make photo sharing possible but big video files don’t move very well, if at all.

We’ve been working on all of this at latakoo. We are convinced that video can be easily shared and that the market for an Internet platform to move video will be big in the very near future. And, yes, smart phones are a part of that transition. In fact, we’ve already released a latakoo iPhone app (Android to follow shortly) that makes sharing videos from your phone about as simple as those Instagram photos. Nothing more than a few taps compresses the video and then uploads it to get it on the way to your friend(s) or your website.

Our online platform was designed with a one-click utility to share video. The latakoo tool compresses the video very quickly (minutes, sometimes less) after a simple drag and drop. It then uploads automatically to our cloud where your latakoo page gives you tools to send the video onto Facebook or YouTube. And those uploads to social media happen a lot faster because of the smaller file size, which, we should add, retains its quality. No waiting on long uploads or encoding in the cloud; it happens on your computer desktop.

The social media aspect of latakoo is also about to become even simpler and snappier. We are launching a service called “How I Fly,” (HIF) which personalizes your page, and allows you to connect with other latakoo users and share videos. You have “followers” and get “followed” by people of similar interests, family, and friends. Sharing becomes easy when they can visit your page and see the videos they choose. And the even better part of HIF is that if people sign up for latakoo’s upgraded services through your page, you will earn a commission on each referral over the course of a year. (Details coming soon.) We think there is a market value in your connections and if they help us succeed, we want to share that success with our users.

Photos on the web are great. But we think video sharing is even more exciting. And sharing revenue as well as video ought to accelerate the growth of latakoo and moving video over the web.

Words by James Moore

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