This is a video website for bird enthusiasts to watch and share original bird videos worldwide, through the web. On this site you can find everything from blue jays in backyards shot by suburban families to penguins in Antarctica shot by full-time scientists.
Right then, one of my biggest passions in life is cinema, I simply love it. So when I came across Bird Cinema, a site set up in 2007 by bird enthusiast Doug Myers, I couldn't resist checking it out to see what it's all about. There's certainly no traces of Hitchcock or Kes here, what we actually have is a series of postings of random bird videos; yes, you better believe it!
So the burning question is, are they intended to be funny or are they simply just a plethora of avian clips aimed at the world of twitchers and bird enthusiasts?
In a nutshell, it's the latter. There are some clips that are mildly amusing but not enough to attract non-bird enthusiasts to the table. However, for those who are genuinely interested, there's a lot on offer here. Although I would advise choosing carefully when selecting the clips because as the content is user generated, there are some real humdingers on there. I saw one clip of a guy apparently feeding a bird from his hand and it literally lasted for half a second. I replayed it about five times and still couldn't see it. Don't say I didn't warn you!
I would say a huge plus of Bird Cinema is the fact that the videos play nice and smoothly and don't take ages to steam. Also, because they're not filtered from YouTube, there's no annoying adverts to endure before starting a clip.
My main gripe with regard to functionality is the amount of sections there are to choose from in the main menu bar. There are fourteen in total! I think it can be confusing and alienating to the user. I'm sure all the information on the site can be presented in a much simpler, more digestible form. Dare I say that perhaps if the site was presented in more of a blog format with posts appearing in date order, the user could then filter the postings at their leisure and in the way they most prefer.
As with the functionality of Bird Cinema, I find the layout here a little chaotic. It's very busy and it's hard to know where to focus ones attention. Fair enough, I'm sure regular users will know exactly where they want to go and what kind of journey they want from the site. However, for people like myself who are fresh to the site, it would be much better to be presented with something more stripped down and easy on the eye.
In terms of aesthetics, the site feels very out of date. The colours used are drab and don't work conceptually in a world that's all about birds. I would expect to see something more vibrant and colourful, which would be much more fitting for such beautiful creatures. Beige and brown is an unusual choice of colour.
I quite like the combination of the logo text and tropical bird used in the header but then there's a severe clash with the animated advert that appears directly underneath. It's almost confusing as to which is part of the site and which isn't.
In the 'About' page of Bird Cinema, the author makes this statement:"It's a place where you can easily burn an entire afternoon without hardly noticing." I'm afraid to say that I would be hard pushed to spend even half an hour perusing videos of our feathered friends. Don't get me wrong, I have no qualms with spending time in nature looking at wildlife, birds included. I just don't particularly take any pleasure from doing this at home. At the same time, I'm not for one minute trying to knock the idea of Bird Cinema and I genuinely believe that anyone who is a big lover of birds will find much of the content on offer fascinating.