Brightcove Helps SFMOMA Bring Depth and Context to Modern Art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that art and museums can transform lives. SFMOMA has a long history of excellence in exhibiting and collecting the most innovative and challenging art of its time and is dedicated to making art a vital and meaningful part of public life. The museum assembles unparalleled collections, exhilarating exhibitions and engaging public programs, many of which include multimedia resources and experiences.
We want our staff to be digital storytellers, bringing art to life in a way that’s unmatched by any other modern or contemporary art museum. Brightcove gives us the tools we need to fulfill that mission and leverage our internal resources to be the best in class when it comes to video assets.”
Head of Online Services for SFMOMA
SFMOMA began using video on its website in the late 1990s as a way to strengthen the connection between the museum’s collection and the artists who created the work. Initially, the museum used the QuickTime platform for online video. In 2008, as part of a site-wide redesign, SFMOMA converted its entire video archive to Flash and developed a custom Flash-based player for its website.
“Among our peers in the museum world, we’ve been recognized for our use of rich video content as a means to give our visitors a behind-the-scenes view of artists and artworks in our collection,” said Dana Mitroff Silvers, head of online services for SFMOMA. “Because our collection includes so many living artists, we have a unique opportunity to capture interviews and footage that brings our collection to life for our website visitors.”
With a steady increase in site traffic from mobile and tablet devices, such as the iPhone, many site visitors were unable to experience the museum’s extensive video library due to compatibility issues with Flash. SFMOMA needed a solution that could be implemented quickly, with a minimum of internal resources. The changes would also need to be transparent to the museum’s frequent website visitors.
Brightcove Video Cloud online video platform, Summer 2011
- Automated encoding, embedding and uploading capabilities across multiple website properties and social media portals
- Exceptional cross-platform functionality
- Easily integrated and feature-laden
- 20 percent increase in daily video views
Versatile, Simple, Multi-functional
Capturing the Vitality of Art in Motion
SFMOMA examined several different video solutions before choosing the Brightcove Video Cloud online video platform in 2011. With the museum publishing shorter videos more frequently and expanding its reach beyond the museum website and blog to include YouTube and Facebook, eliminating third-party bottlenecks was a huge step in the right direction.
“Live-streaming public events at the museum used to require a third-party solution, which was costly and inefficient,” Mitroff Silvers said. “Now that we have Video Cloud, we are planning a whole series of scheduled live-streaming events that we can capture and publish across all of our web properties at once.”
Another Video Cloud feature that allows Mitroff Silvers and her team to more easily distribute video content is the ability to create playlists within the museum’s custom video player. SFMOMA’s previous Flash-based video solution did not have playlist capabilities, which made organizing content difficult and limited a user’s access to relevant content.
“Telling the stories of modern and contemporary art and artists through video is a core part of our audience engagement strategy, but we also have limited resources to manage the process,” Mitroff Silvers said. “Video Cloud came highly recommended from other museums that we know and respect, and we have been extremely pleased with the results.”
Since implementing Video Cloud, Mitroff Silvers and her colleagues have received a steady stream of positive feedback from museum visitors and board members, who are grateful they can now watch SFMOMA videos on their Apple iOS devices like the iPad.
Coming Attractions: Future Plans for Video at SFMOMA
SFMOMA continues to grow its reputation as a forward-looking institution, dedicated not only to preserving the past, but also to embracing the future. Today, the museum is looking ahead to the next phase of its evolution: an expansion that will significantly add to SFMOMA’s galleries and public spaces and provide even more opportunities for video storytelling.
Since the current museum building will be closed during construction, SFMOMA’s online presence is critically important to capturing and sustaining public interest in the museum’s collection. The emphasis on video content will continue to grow as the new expansion takes shape – tripling the museum’s gallery space and allowing SFMOMA to house and display the art collection of Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher. The museum plans to produce and share new videos about the collection, as well as continue to serve archival footage of prominent modern artists in the collection.
“We want our staff to be digital storytellers, bringing art to life in a way that’s unmatched by any other modern or contemporary art museum,” Mitroff Silvers said. “Brightcove gives us the tools we need to fulfill that mission and leverage our internal resources to be the best in class when it comes to video assets.”