03/24/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Conversation with Dae Mellencamp and Deborah Szajngarten of Vimeo

When many of us think about watching videos we think of YouTube. I think the rationale is simply because of the mind share and Google has a great deal to do with that consumer development. Google is simply everywhere - handsets, browsers, telephones, applications and videos so it's easy to understand why we have YouTube on the brain.

I have heard of other video sites but never really ventured off the beaten path. One day I was discussing video content with a good friend and he mention how much he loves Vimeo. I went over to the site and quickly realized why he felt that way. The videos are nothing less than beautiful - many of them bordering on being professional pieces.

Vimeo is video sharing social networking site that was founded in 2004. It was initially founded under the "#1 comedy site on the internet" College Humor. Today Vimeo is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp and they are located in the IAC Building in New York. Oddly enough they are still down the hall from College Humor.

This week I had the great pleasure of speaking to Dae Mellencamp (General Manager) and Deborah Szajngarten (Marketing Communications Director) about Vimeo. I found that they are not only passionate about Vimeo but profoundly support the community of video creators.

Dae explains that Vimeo was started by film makers in an effort to share their work and that the site is driven by what the creator's needs are; not the company. She continues to explain how Vimeo is very serious when it comes to community respect. They spend a great deal of effort making certain that the community is 1. positive and 2. respectful. The community is self-policing and does not tolerate attacks or negative comments. If there is a violation of these community rules - that person or persons are reported to Vimeo, which then takes the appropriate action. What the community does support and strongly encourages is constructive criticism.

Vimeo does not distribute mass media content, there are some Whitehouse videos, but for the most part Vimeo's mission is to inspire and empower the video creator. On a more technical note - Vimeo supports:
  • HD - 720p
  • HD 1080p support for Vimeo Plus accounts (end of January 2010)
  • Video frame rate of up to 30 fps
  • Flash Player
  • HTML5 (as of 01.21.2010)
  • No video time limits
  • Vimeo Basic
  • Vimeo Plus
I asked Dae and Deborah about a project that caught my attention - The Story Behind The Still. They were very excited to speak about this project. This is a contest where photographers venture into the world of film making. Essentially, it is collaborative film making with Vincent Laforet kicking off the contest. It's a great short and I am eagerly looking forward to the next film.

Introducing the first user-generated HD Video Contest where photographers become filmmakers, and we all see beyond the still. To kick off the contest, Canon asked photographer, Vincent Laforet, to interpret what story lives beyond this still and to tell that story with the new Canon EOS 7D. His will be the first chapter of seven, each ending with a still photograph for the next aspiring filmmaker to interpret. Posing the question to everyone, what do you see beyond the still?

I brought up the conversation on Haiti and asked if Vimeo has seen an increase in video uploads. Deborah explained that there is a film school in Haiti, which is about a year old, and they created a Vimeo Channel. Sadly out of 60 film students only one survived the earthquake. That one student is now shooting film content and uploading it to the Vimeo Channel.

As I collected my notes and thoughts - I kept thinking back to my good friend that first introduced me to Vimeo. I now understand why he loves the site so much and it's what Dae and Deborah kept speaking to - community. There is truly no better way to build a community, than by giving you a space, where you can safely and freely express your ideas. For many of us - that place is called home. For the rest of us, like Keziah Jean, that place is called Vimeo.