Technology

Shotlister - the Idea is becoming reality

The idea of being able to digitize the entire film making process - that is; writing, shot-listing, scheduling, designing, shooting and then editing - is happening. Here is an APP that gets us closer. SHOTLISTER

Official Description

Shot lister is the only truly profesional shot listing app in the world. Filmmakers can take that crumbled piece of paper out of their back pockets and touch the digital future of shot listing. Now, instead of scribbling over printed out spreadsheets from a week ago, filmmakers can get back on track with a flick of a finger.

Keep reading →

A Hitch Hiking Documentary

UPDATE

October
The first Episode is about to be complete. Since working on the marketing and media sponsors for this project I have been busy in Johannesburg shooting on a TV series. Marc and Beer have been handling the post within UCT Campus and I am looking forward to seeing the project for the first time.

July
We’ve been able to secure a great collection of media sponsors. The next drive is toward advertising spots within these media channels.

The documentary will follow two guys as they (you guessed it) hitch-hike across South Africa during the World Cup. Along the way they will be meeting crazy, funny, interesting and hopefully opinionated people including a Rasta Community in the Transkei, a soccer team in PE and meet with the guy who drove the the Magic Bus in the 70’s…

Visit our Blog and join us on the trip through FB

Keep reading →

Why Film?!


If your lost regarding what is digital and how it works you really should go and read Richard Lackeys blog dcinema.

Keep reading →

A little bit about 3D TV

Richard and I had a little talk about 3D recently. Rich was more optimistic than me on on the roll-out of 3D over the next while and where I agree is that we will see more 3D films coming out. Where I disagree is that in 5 years we will all be watching 3D TV’s. I may still be wrong:

3D TVs one-up theaters
Director Cameron says movies better raise their game
By DAVID S. COHEN

From Variety

The flatscreen HDTVs at the Consumer Electronics Show were absolutely dazzling. Color, contrast and clarity are better all the time. OLED displays are the brightest and thinnest yet. And of course, stereoscopic 3D TV is finally a reality.But watching the latest and greatest in TVs, I couldn’t help but flash to a warning James Cameron sounded last week for the movie industry.

As 3D starts to come into the living room, and come in at higher frame rates, then we’re gonna have to up our game again. ‘Cause movies can’t look worse than what you’re getting at home,” Cameron told Daily Variety in a wide-ranging interview coming soon to Variety.com.

Cameron’s comment came when we asked if on “Avatar” sequels he’d push for a higher frame rate, which deliver a clearer picture and less “strobing,” or motion blur, the way he pushed for 3D over the past decade.

He said TV will force movies to change — and not for the first time.

Though it will be years before today’s high-end sets are widely adopted by viewers, the HDTVs on display at CES were loaded with technology to improve moving images that, in some ways, aren’t as good as the flatscreens we watch them on.

Even today’s digital cinema standard is left in the dust by the latest and greatest from TV makers. Some companies showed “4K2K” TVs, with far more pixels than a 2K digital cinema projector throws on the screen. Panasonic’s mammoth 152-inch 4K2K plasma would be an upgrade over many screening rooms.

Some makers, including LG and Toshiba, have put graphics processors into flatscreens, in part to correct motion blur. LG’s Trumotion attacks motion blur by running at 480 fps, even when the source is 24 or 30 fps. Where do the extra frames come from? Partly from the built-in GPU, which interpolates new three frames to smooth out the difference between two frames of normal video. In other words, movies and HD video don’t have enough frames to stop the strobing, so three out of every four frames on Toshiba’s HDTV screens have to be made up by the TV set itself.

Strobing is an inevitable result of the 24 fps standard adopted decades ago. “It’s not fast enough,” Cameron said flatly. “It should never have been 24. It probably should’ve been 36 as a minimum.”

It’s been proven that faster frame rates improve the picture just as more pixels do.

He wanted to shoot “Avatar” at 48 fps, but “everybody just looked at me cross-eyed with that one.” Besides, rendering all those extra frames of visual effects would have been too expensive.

That said, “If you couple 3D with higher frame rate, you’ll blow people’s minds,” Cameron said. “People think their minds are being blown by ‘Avatar’ - we could blow your mind with 48frame-per-second 3D.”

Cameron doesn’t expect to do a lot of tubthumping for higher frame rates. Changing standards in TV will make movies change with them.

He points to the history of color in movies. Black-and-white films lingered for about 15 years after the invention of color movie film, and during those years, color TV was introduced as a high-end product. For the 1966-67 TV season, though, the three networks went to all-color lineups. Not coincidentally, in 1967 the Academy abolished the black-and-white cinematography Oscar.

The second color television came in,” Cameron said, “boom! Everything was in color.”

There you have it.

Avatar - its all about the third dimension

James Cameron’s Avatar has crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office in just 17 days, surpassing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight to become #4 of all time. By the end of the week, the film is expected to surpass Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to become the #2 worldwide release of all time. Of course, for now, Cameron’s Titanic remains seated at #1. James Cameron has become the first director to have two films earn $1 Billion. And by the end of the week, it should be up to $3 billion total between the two movies.

Cameron’s sci-fi epic made an estimated $68.3 million in the States during it’s third weekend out, destroying the previous record of $45 million set by Spider-Man 3. Looks like this baby has legs. If that wasn’t enough, Avatar is also setting records in Janaury: This weekend’s box office total of $68.3 million will be almost $30 million larger than the all-time record January opening weekend.

And what about yearly records? Transformers Revenge of the Fallen took 114 days to hit $402 million, becoming the highest grossing film of 2009 domestically. Avatar will surpass that figure in an estimated 20 days.

James Cameron, the film director who pushed technical effects to the limit with the blockbuster Titanic in 1997, and ushered in the dawn of action films with ‘80s classics such as Terminator and Aliens, has unleashed the film he has been hoping to make for nearly 20 years.

It’s not the first time cinema has flirted with 3D - Alfred Hitchcock even experimented with the technology when he filmed Dial M for Murder in the 1950s. But the results have often been derided, either for hokey effects or poor stories, with Spy Kids 3D and Journey to the Centre of the Earth both getting a lukewarm reception.

However the $237m budget of Avatar signals a leap in technology - indeed, Cameron waited 15 years before starting filming as technology had not advanced enough to portray his vision. Tired of waiting for technology to catch up, he co-developed a new generation of stereoscopic cameras. Simplified, this is the equivalent of two cameras strapped together, each providing a slightly different perspective on the scene, mimicking the way human eyes view the world in three dimensions.
This changes the ballpark of moving images.

If you’ve had previous experience of 3D, your impression will probably be one of a flattish image with the occasional object ‘flying’ at you’.

But these advances are different - the entire screen has depth, taking on the appearance of a window through which the viewer is watching a ‘world’ on the screen, with a distinct foreground and background, rather than a flat, moving painting
In effect, the cinema screen becomes a theatre stage.

There’s still at least one throw-back to the ‘early days’ of 3D - viewers will need to wear glasses to get the illusion.
However these are not the red and green cardboard cut-outs you used to get free with Sugar Puffs before Comic Relief.
These are polarising glasses, untinted, which do not cause the headaches experienced in the past, or more importantly rely on frequent ‘pans’ of the camera to make the image appear in 3D.
Each lens has a different filter , which removes different part of the image as it enters each eye. This gives the brain the illusion it is seeing the picture from two different angles, creating the 3D effect.

Continuing to develop new technology as he went along, Cameron also devised a ‘virtual camera’, a hand-held monitor that allowed him to move through a 3D terrain. This, Cameron said, allowed him to create ‘the ultimate immersive media’, which he anticipates will exceed any and all expectation. In essence, this allowed Cameron to direct the film as if it was computer game. If he wanted to change the viewpoint, he could click a few buttons on a mouse and a computer would redraw the virtual world from the new perspective.
Cameron tweaked his cameras through two 3-D documentaries he made for IMAX theaters, “Ghosts of the Abyss” (2003) and “Aliens of the Deep” (2005).

In some of the “Avatar” footage released at Comic-Con, humans filmed with his 3-D camera rig are mixed with the computer-generated images of the movie’s avatars — beings created with mixed human and alien DNA.

Cameron said he wanted to have the filmmaking techniques fade into the background as the story took over.

“The ideal movie technology is so advanced that it waves a magic wand and makes itself disappear,” he said.

Cameron himself was behind the lens in many scenes that were framed using a “virtual camera” — a handheld monitor that lets the director walk through the computer-enhanced 3-D scene and record it as if he were the cameraman. The effect on screen is a “shaky cam” effect that makes action sequences seem up close and sometimes focuses the audience’s gaze at something in particular.

“It allows Jim to approach this process with the same sensibilities that he would have approached live-action filming,” said producer Jon Landau. The ability to capture human emotions in computerized 3-D has also advanced. Unlike past methods that captured dots placed on human faces to trace movements that are reconstructed digitally, now each frame is analyzed for facial details such as pores and wrinkles that help re-create a moving computerized image.

“It’s all going to advance the whole concept of 3-D one leap higher,” said Marty Shindler, a filmmaking consultant with The Shindler Perspective Inc.

Yet even with four years of preparation and the attention surrounding “Avatar,” there will not be enough U.S. screens adapted to the technology for a full wide release only in 3-D.

Of the 38,800 movie screens in the U.S., about 2,500 are capable of showing digital 3-D movies. Theater chains have been adding about 90 to 100 per month this year, but they’re still short of the 4,000-plus screens that have been used for major event movies.

With the conversion costing $100,000 a pop, theater owners are wary of moving too quickly, said Patrick Corcoran, director of media and research for the National Association of Theatre Owners.

“The successes of ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ and ‘Ice Age (Dawn of the Dinosaurs) in 3-D’ aside, this is still really early days for this format,” he said.

Studios are pushing theater owners to convert more screens, partly because people pay about $2 more per ticket and cram theaters for 3-D releases. Revenue per screen is up to three times higher than for the same movie’s 2-D version.

Walt Disney Co.’s chief executive, Bob Iger, said this week that his studio has 17 3-D films in development, including “A Christmas Carol.” That movie, directed by Robert Zemeckis, adopted many of the same performance-capture techniques used in “Avatar” but comes out a month earlier, in November.

DailyMail
Slashfilm
MSNBC

VODO

What is VODO?

VODO is trying to help solve three problems:

(1) How do we get works (texts, films, music) distributed efficiently and widely using current peer-to-peer and filesharing technologies?
(2) How do we market these works in a way that can help artists gain widespread recognition?
(3) How can we help creators distributing via filesharing systems to develop a sustainable and even profitable, practice?

We approach these problems by, first, gathering quality “unpublished” content (books, films, music) from a variety of sources. These may, for example, be commissioning boies who know about work they’ve comissioned that couldn’t be or wasn’t published; they may be “slush-piles” from literary agencies; they may be first albums submitted directly by bands, or offered by managers. (The fact is that a lot of great content will never make it to a mainstream publication –– for a variety of reasons that we won’t go into here, but NOT just because they’re not good enough.)
Second, we filter the content. Once it’s uploaded, we allow VODO’s Regular Supporters to download or stream any work they like, in order to comment and vote on it. Taking into account these votes and comments our team select works to distribute.

Third, we are bringing together some of the world’s largest P2P services and sites to help promote and distribute winning works. Works selected are promoted prominently to our ‘Distribution Coalition’, which has many millions of eyeballs. The promotions we place on these pages will link directly to the works, which will be seeded in partnership with Bittorrent and other filesharing services.

Finally, at the core of VODO is a commitment to providing revenue for creators of media content, in a world in which the systems for distributing, copying and viewing that content are cross-territorial, rapidly changing and difficult to predict or control.

Put simply, we provide a freely accessible “look up” table that stores hashes of works we’ve helped distribute, against payment details (e.g., PayPal) for producers. With this table, any site that implements the VODO system can offer donation links for VODO works. In time we’re aiming to extend this to all sorts of works, even those not published by us. But as you can guess, this will take some time!

With the system we’ve developed, we’ll be able to let consumers of media shared through P2P networks make voluntary donations to our creators wherever their works are shared.

BACKGROUND

Until recently the assumption has been that if consumers cannot be made to pay for copies of media obtained through traditional channels, revenue is entirely lost to creators. However, content/distribution projects such as Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ and our own STEAL THIS FILM 1 & 2 have shown that a proportion (in Radiohead’s case, 38%) of people consuming media through P2P networks are willing to make entirely voluntary donations.

If a small proportion of the massive amount of P2P users downloading works through VODO decide to donate on a regular or semi-regular basis to some of the artists whose works they are sharing, these creators would be able to build an excellent means of support. One of the advantages of direct, after-the-fact donation is that there is no friction and much, much more of the money makes it into the artists’ pockets.

VODO makes it easy for users to donate and is part of a culture in which it will become normal for them to do so. We think there is a great opportunity for small-to-medium sized media producers to maximise usage of efficient, free P2P networks by encouraging free copying and distribution of their materials, while actively seeking voluntary supportive donations. We also think that around works distributed this way, we can build all sorts of new revenue channels for creators.

Films and music establish a powerful relationship between ‘producer’ and ‘consumer’. One of VODO’s key benefits lies in distributing payments out to players and downloading software, making it as trivial as possible for donors to initiate voluntary donations when they feel most ‘connected’ to the artist: at the point of enjoyment of the media.

VODO began in 2006 as the Pretext project, which was kindly supported by a grant from the Arts Council of England (ACE). Pretext’s aim was twofold: to distribute quality, minority texts over the internet, and to find a model that could remunerate authors while they did it. Back then, Pretext was Jamie King, artist/programmer Jan Gerber, then-CC-UK head Christian Ahlert, Hannah Upritchard and noted author Hari Kunzru.

To cut a long story short, it took us just less than two years to realise that ‘revolutionising’ the publishing industry was VERY hard way to tackle the problems that really interested us: how online distribution was changing what it means to communicate, to ‘get published’, to be a creator and an author in the ‘network society’. In the meantime, two of the original team — along with other friends — happened to make STEAL THIS FILM 1 and STEAL THIS FILM 2, which represented some of our thinking around this topic, live and very much in the public eye.

Artist/programmer/guru Sebastian Lutgert was another person instrumental in developing the ideas behind VODO during late 2007/early 2008. Sebastian and Jan are now working on the very significant Pad.ma system, mostly from Mumbai, India.

After STEAL THIS FILM, we focused on the core question how to distribute content of all kinds using existing P2P infrastructure (i.e., without re-
inventing the wheel!) and how to sustain content producers while doing it (i.e, get them paid!) A third, and equally important question circulated through much of our pragmatic research: how to help creators get as much attention as we’d got with the STEAL THIS FILM project. Without attention, you might as well upload your work to YouTube and hope for the best — not an enticing prospect for many.

So we came up with VODO, short for ‘voluntary donations’ but really much, much more than that. VODO is the publishing system we first started
trying to create with Pretext in 2006; it’s the distribution system that filmmakers all over the world have been wanting ever since they knew about distributing films online; it’s the same attention-gathering machine that was behind STF — only much, much more powerful.

In short, VODO is the culmination of a lot of thinking, a lot of work and lot of goodwill. From the initial funding offered by ACE, we were carried
through by grants from the OSI’s Information Programme, support from the BRITDOC Foundation and the UK’s Emerald Fund. We know that in the current economic environment, finding funding to continue developing VODO is going to be tough. That’s why we’ve designed VODO to be lean, simple and easy to maintain.

Today, VODO’s core development team comprises filmmaker/technologist Jamie King (UK/transient), programmer/activist Rama Cosentino (Argentina), documentarist/advocate Adnan Hadzi (UK), and BRITDOC’s delightful Jess Search (UK), who sits on our as-yet-not-really-existent board. In addition we’re delighted to welcome Stu Tilly (Shooting People) as a collaborator, and Pixeco, who’ll be helping us out with design before we go live.

Start a Digital Cinema

I am looking for information about the relationship between Cinemas and Studios. I want to know who makes the calls, where does the money go etc. So far I have found out that its a rather tenuous relationship with studios trying to limit costs and cinemas demanding more profit. Obviously.

Enter the Digital Cinema. The “saviour” of expensive distribution costs, big print overheads, scratched prints and heavy loads. The digital cinema release wants to be able to get their copy via a click of a button. This was all eight years ago.

Still digital cinemas are not the prevalent cinema. Studios fight with them because they don’t meet the technical requirements and initial investment is massive with no incentive to provide proof of return. Recently though 3D digital cinema has clearly stood out regarding quality and now there is value add for digital.

South Africa has many digital cinemas (its the ones where tickets are cheaper) and I wonder how and what the cost structures are for these cinemas.

If you are interested in opening your own cinema here is a great research piece on how-to:

From MKPE

What is a VPF?

The Virtual Print Fee (VPF) is a financing mechanism for funding the first purchase of digital cinema equipment. It is based on payment by a content-supplier of a fee per booking. The goal of the VPF is to achieve a neutral P&L for studios, such that the expense for delivering a digital print (including financing fee) pluf VPF is no greater than the cost of delivering a film print.

Payment of the VPF will terminate once the equipment expense is fully recouped. Conditions for receiving a VPF may include additional factors, including the use of DCI compliant equipment (see Digital Cinema Technology FAQs, and access to security logs. Such factors may vary from studio to studio.

Virtual Print Fee (VPF) Neutral Cost Structure
vpf-cost.png

What is meant when an 3rd party deployment entity announces the signing of VPF agreements?

Several entities (such as AccessIT, DCIP, Arts Alliance Media, XDC, and others) have announced the signing of VPF agreements with a number of major film studios. The VPF agreement is made between a 3rd party integrator and a studio. The agreement simply says that the studio agrees to pay a certain fee per booking if certain conditions are met. It does not mean that the 3rd party integrator has the financial backing needed to roll out digital cinema, nor does it mean that exhibitors have signed up to the plan. With the exception of DCIP, who has approximately 14,500 participating screens guaranteed by its owners, relatively few theatre owners at this time have signed up to the several VPF financing deals now available.

Do I need to sign up with a 3rd party integrator to gain access to VPF financing?

Two studios are offering to pay direct VPFs to exhibitors, in addition to their agreements with 3rd party deployment entities. Invariably, these direct agreements are intended as a temporary arrangement, requiring the exhibitor to signup with a deployment entity to recoup the entire equipment cost. This is particularly true given that only two studios at the time of this writing are offering direct-to-exhibitor payments.

What are the challenges associated with financing digital cinema?

The relationship between parties is complex, making these deals difficult to understand and increasing the apparent risk. This is shown in the diagram below:

vpf.png

Virtual Print Fee (VPF) Relationship of Parties
The strength of the VPF is that it rests on the delivery of movies by multiple studios, which limits risk. Even if one studio were to cut back on the production of movies, the demand would likely be filled by other studios, resulting in a safe cash flow. However, the equipment required for the delivery of movies must meet the DCI specification, a requirement that no equipment actually complies with today. A test plan has been initiated to validate compliance with the specification, and testing of products has begun. However, no products are expected to 100% pass the complex set of tests, requiring the manufacturer to individually ask for approval from each of the major studios. This approval could be temporary until the product passes all tests. So while testing offers the promise of leveling the playing field and bringing confidence to the marketplace, it is unlikely to happen overnight. Depending on how the deal is constructed, the cost to upgrade equipment as further compliance is achieved is borne by either the exhibitor, the manufacturer, or the 3rd party integrator. Thus, the financial condition of the party that must bear this expense comes into play, adding an element of risk that would not exist if equipment fully met specification today. The current goal is for digital cinema equipment to fully meet the DCI specification in the 2010 timeframe.

Why can’t a studio simply credit our film rental?

The recent offer of direct payment of VPFs to exhibitors is as close to crediting film rentals as will be achieved.

Why is 3-D a driver for digital cinema, and what are the economics?

Digital cinema projectors are capable of projecting stereoscopic 3-D images with a level of quality and reliability not possible with film equipment or in the home (at least, not in the home without significant upgrade of equipment). Audiences have demonstrated a willingness to pay a ticket premium of 20-30% to view 3-D movies, and movie directors have demonstrated a strong appetitite for the creation of 3-D product, resulting in an expected release schedule of one 3-D movie per month throughout 2009 and 2010. Up until the introduction of digital 3-D, digital cinema introduced no new opportunity to increase box office revenue on weekend nights. This makes digital 3-D the primary value-add feature of digital cinema.

The economics of digital 3-D are affected by more than box office, however. The systems that studios are willing to finance through the virtual print fee are strictly 2-D. To project 3-D images requires add-on technology from companies such as RealD, Dolby, XpanD, or Master Image. This add-on technology comes at significant cost to the exhibitor, and must be calculated for in any evaluation of return-on-investment. The differences in the various add-on technologies is discussed further in our Digital Cinema Technology FAQs page.

Should I wait and buy used digital cinema equipment?

There are a few facts that allow one to safely predict that there will not be a significant used equipment market in digital cinema:

Unlike film projection equipment, digital projection equipment has an estimated 10 year lifetime. If you buy a projector that is 5 years old, then you have 5 years of life left. Lifetime is limited by parts availability and the obsolescence factors associated with high technology. While a part for an old film projector can be customed machined in the worst case, no such fall-back is possible with sophisticated digital equipment. Semiconductor technology changes quickly, and the investment required to re-engineer the circuit boards of old products with new parts is better put to work in developing entirely new products. If you’ve ever tried to repair a 10-year-old personal computer, then you understand the problem.
The capex required to replace older equipment with new equipment is simply too high for conducting an early replacement cycle. If exhibitors are struggling today to raise capex for 1st time digital equipment expenditures, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll go through the process again in 5 years. Consider that for DCIP screens, this would amount to $1B of capex every 5 years.
Any realistic strategy for purchasing equipment must take into account the limited lifetime it has and the re-investment in capex required every 10 years. Waiting to convert is not a bad strategy. Equipment prices, particularly those for smaller screens, are bound to improve, as is the digital supply chain itself. But if you are waiting for used equipment, you should consider the points above.

Is compliance with the DCI specification sufficient to receive a digital movie?

Technically, the answer is “yes.” But the interpretation of the DCI specification varies widely among studios. Some studios have a conservative interpretation and will withhold content if you don’t comply with every nuance, which can include motorized control of lenses and installation of a 5.1 sound system. Some studios are more pragmatic, and focus their concerns on basic quality level, security, and a common distribution format. In addition, some studios require the exhibitor to sign a separate digital rental addendum to the existing film rental agreement, which may stipulate further requirements that must be met prior to delivery of a movie.

David Lynch VS IPhone

ARG + Films = New Business?

The convergence of Gaming and Filmmaking are becoming inventible. Watchmen Prequel will be a game and there are more that have been spoken of. Wired Magazine has posted ideas of how film and game will converge, Ted Hope talks new business models, the collapse of finance structures is happening and everyone is scrambling to come up with new innovative ways to produce films.

If these models where being talked about a couple of years back films like “Primer” may have gone on to be produced a lot differently. Alas.

This mysterious new model has many hidedn secrets (sounds like the opening of game…) and should be explored by as many film makers as possible. Soem questions i have pondered; does the model lie in the narrative, the ancillary products or the product placement. What is the balance of all these elements?

Richard Lackey divulged some ideas on his blog recently which I would like to share. He talks specifically about the ARG and how feature films and ARG’s can become hybrids. Using models and techniques from both genres to create new films/games which, in his discussion, could lead to larger investment opportunities.

I think he is on the right path and he closes the blog post by stating that this is a work in progress. Indeed it is, and the more we share our thoughts on how to make this work the faster it will happen with success.

Excepts from Richards great site Digital Cinema Demystified

The game, utilizing sometimes hundreds of websites, real phone numbers, email addresses and real-world locations, physical media and objects engages players individually and collectively through online communities where players discuss and solve clues leading them to ever more cryptic and confusing clues. The “puppetmasters” keep constant tabs on individual players, changing the game and twisting the plot during gameplay to stay constantly one step ahead.

The ARG has been used to great effect as a form of online viral marketing, for products and for films, but the boundaries of form and method are constantly being pushed.

The power in the ARG as the online narrative native to the internet is in its ability to engage the full senses of the individual participant and rudely, unexpectedly involve him or her as a key player in something far bigger than they can possibly know. The player does not know he is playing a game, does not know who or what his opponent is or what they want from him, and in fact one of the most important design principles in the ARG is that the game never lets on that it is a game.

Just as linear, narrative fiction on-screen did and still does provide an audio-visual escape into another world outside of the viewer’s own, the ARG crosses all the boundaries that limit the ability of traditional audio-visual mediums to actively involve the audience as a participant and change-agent in the plot of the story itself.

What the film needs is no overt branding whatsoever, yet in my ideal, it needs to be free to view. When combined with an ARG campaign however, the opportunities for appropriate in-game advertising and product involvement (not just placement) are far greater, in fact are limited only by the imagination (and chosen storyline) of the game designers.

The new Socialism

This is a great read written by technocratum, Kevin Kelly. Entitled “the New Socialism” Kelly debates the role of digitalism and the culture that has come from it. Mostly from the point of view of an open source, free-share supporter, Kelly draws parallels between old school socialism and how it has adapted it’s from for the digital age. Further than that the article delves into how monetary gains are being made through the use of free sharing and community building.

The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society Is Coming Online

We’re not talking about your grandfather’s socialism. In fact, there is a long list of past movements this new socialism is not. It is not class warfare. It is not anti-American; indeed, digital socialism may be the newest American innovation. While old-school socialism was an arm of the state, digital socialism is socialism without the state. This new brand of socialism currently operates in the realm of culture and economics, rather than government—for now.

Indeed, its not about governments or politics, it will stagnate if government, politics or corporate become part of it. This movement will only live for as long as “The People” want it to. As long as people are investing their time (and if so by proxy also their money: time=money) then digitalsocialism will survive. The communities online are merely a natural progression of existing societies. In an age where we are friends with people around the globe and are able to sustain these relationships through our digital tech, development of societies are inevitable. WE have found a town square and called it the internet. It’s a place where vendors and buyers meet, where philosophers can sit on a chair and explore deep questions and where people with common interest meet.

It is a place we choose to share information, contacts, art, business strategies and code. I am surprised on a daily basis how much we are willing to give toward this community. Maybe it has something to do with anonymity, sharing your secrets with a total stranger, but I feel that when I share the people that read are not strangers, they are friends. You are reading because you care or, at least you are interested in, what is going on here and in return you participate in your own way.

Instead of gathering on collective farms, we gather in collective worlds. Instead of state factories, we have desktop factories connected to virtual co-ops. Instead of sharing drill bits, picks, and shovels, we share apps, scripts, and APIs. Instead of faceless politburos, we have faceless meritocracies, where the only thing that matters is getting things done. Instead of national production, we have peer production. Instead of government rations and subsidies, we have a bounty of free goods.

So what’s the point?
This is no hippy commune, the building blocks started with a few and the communities now reach a few million. The sharing and caring mentality is less feel-good and more practical output driven. Most people participating in these communities do it to get better at their own skill set. It is about communication, building and progressing tools and resources that are available. Taking twitter as an example and looking at how many people have created 3rd party aps to accompany this little program. This little program has gone to undermine regimes and make headlines in international news, this little program has drawn the attention of world powers, this little program only exsist becuase we choose it to adn we choose to make it grow. Without everyone participating Twitter is just another idea.

Indeed there will be a time when Twitter is just a memory, however, isn’t all space. In the meantime, we make that space a place of construct where we dabate and share. This new socialism or Dot-Communism is ours and what we do with it, whether we keep it, has nothing to do with governments or corporations. Freedom is a beautiful pleasure and dreadful responsibility….

Now we’re trying the same trick with collaborative social technology, applying digital socialism to a growing list of wishes—and occasionally to problems that the free market couldn’t solve—to see if it works. So far, the results have been startling. At nearly every turn, the power of sharing, cooperation, collaboration, openness, free pricing, and transparency has proven to be more practical than we capitalists thought possible. Each time we try it, we find that the power of the new socialism is bigger than we imagined.

We underestimate the power of our tools to reshape our minds. Did we really believe we could collaboratively build and inhabit virtual worlds all day, every day, and not have it affect our perspective? The force of online socialism is growing. Its dynamic is spreading beyond electrons—perhaps into elections.

Read Full Article Here

IGoogle

igoogle.png

In the corner of your browser when you are on Google.com you will see a little Icon for IGOOGLE > Click it now. I finally did this morning and have been tampering with my Homepage all this time. IGoogle is like creating the center of your online Universe. Based on gadgets, IGoogle will allow you to see everything from your mail, twitter, the weather, news updates and your reader on ONE page.

The utilitarian that I am does not really allow for games etc on my page and I prefer it to be clean with one or two tools (for example a wiki search bar). However when you go to ADD SOMETHING you will find a colourful array of stuff that could be added.

Soon Google Wave will be launched which I assume will be an even cleaner and smarter center for your info.
Check it out, let me know if you find anything really RAD!

Scott Kirsner and Dan Bricklin

Scott Kirsner (Friends, Fans and Followers) interviews Dan Bricklin on how content will be monetized in the future, how creators (whether musicians, filmmakers, or software developers) ought to deal with piracy, and how Dan is promoting and selling his new book, Bricklin on Technology.

Listen Here

38518413.jpg

Warner Bros. bites into iPhone apps

Applications; we lack many of them on Istore.co.za but despite our small(er) buying community the application industry is growing. Like every good corporate giant, only once the new thing is making (lots of) money will they start investing. I love the bit where Warner spokes person mentions that they (Warner) wanted to roll out 40 applications in 2009….40, only…bah.

I guess application building is not a Warner core business, and soon distribution also wont be (read Pirate Bay tee-he) but at least their taking their time to figure out where they stand in all this new-media, we are all to old and boxed in to think outside any box without labels and will just slow down the world’s media until we get CEO’s who actually owned a computer before they started working…space.

It must be tough to have so much risk and see everything changing and the corporate haters rising..However I digress.

Here is the article from Variety about Warner moving into Application…ooooh.

We’re more than just a film studio,” Bohn said. “We’ve established ourselves in the physical world; now we’re trying to do the same in the digital world.”

Warner has developed and released about 15 apps so far and is planning to have a total of 40 out by the end of the year. Some will come from its theatrical unit and Warner Interactive, others by outside developers.

Warner is not alone among studios developing apps around film properties. Paramount just released “Star Trek” comic book apps with iVerse, in addition to its “Top Gun” and other movie-related game apps. Sony has an “Angels and Demons” game app, and Disney put out a Fairies game app last year tied to its DVD premiere release, “Tinker Bell.”

The studio also is considering animated episodic video apps and other apps built around Warner brands, Bohn said.Bohn said the studio is positioning itself as an end-to-end app distributor capable of doing everything from developing the app to getting approval from Apple to sell it in the App Store to marketing it.

Part of the appeal for developers in partnering with Warner, Bohn said, is the studio’s relationship with Apple.”It’s difficult [for developers] to have a direct call into Apple,” Bohn said. “We spend time talking with them weekly, if not daily.”

Also appealing is Warner’s marketing muscle, which it is using to differentiate its apps through social media marketing, print and TV advertisements, and for movie apps, trailers on DVDs.

Read Full Article

Indie in a Box

Films mostly have no home. Theater is hard to get to and there are millions of DVD’s to choose from. There is however another option, television. Oh yes friends, pay television is now giving Indy film a second wind and a new place for exhibition.

Getting independent films into cinemas, never easy, has become much harder in the past year. Some specialist distributors, such as Warner Independent Pictures, have closed and others are buying fewer films. The credit crunch and the strong dollar have cut foreign sales. Meanwhile cheap digital-video cameras and editing software have produced a flood of content. Some 5,500 films are chasing buyers in Cannes this year. Last year just 606 new films were released in American cinemas. Many lost money. “The economics just do not make sense,” says Jonathan Sehring of IFC, an independent distributor.

Hence the rapid growth of an alternative. This year IFC will release about 100 films “on demand”, meaning they can be called up for a fee in most households that get their television via cable or satellite. Many will be available on the same day that they first appear at film festivals such as Sundance and South by Southwest. Later this year IFC plans to launch a new on-demand channel to showcase documentary films. Cinetic, a powerful independent-film broker, will also get into the game this summer. Most radical of all is Magnolia, a distributor which has inverted the traditional release schedule for many films. Next month it will release “The Answer Man”, a comedy starring Jeff Daniels, on cable. The film will only appear in cinemas four weeks later.

The reason for the rush is that, for low-budget films, the economics of video on demand do make sense. Cable companies, which take a cut when they sell a film, help with advertising. Mr Sehring says IFC makes about as much when a film is sold on demand as when a punter buys a cinema ticket, even though the ticket costs almost twice as much. He reckons he recoups his costs and returns money to filmmakers more than half the time—not bad for films that might otherwise have disappeared without trace.

So ja. As film makers in South Africa we should also consider making films for TV. At least you know you have an audience and a budget.

Read Full Article

Mashable Social Media

If you are a regular blog reader, or if you use Twitter you may have already stumbled upon Mashable.com. This website is a guide to any and all social media related quandaries. From how-to’s to the latest updates and quirks for various social media platforms. The site features various stories and features on whats going on in the world of social networking.

This site has proved to be a great way to learn how to use social networks due to the mass amount of “top 10’s” and “how-to’s” that they offer. I recently got best Iphone Apps, Wolfram’s easter eggs, what’s up with Facebook privacy and a some other valuable information. Actually writing this list it seems like such strange topics to call important…Wolframs Easter eggs…really? Yes, by looking at those and then further experimenting I keep finding new ways to optimize searches and in return it makes me think of how to market my own films. Alot of this information is valuable to me as a film maker due to the changing nature of our industry. I don’t just mean the Film industry either. The entire media industry is under construction and much like when Radio first started we had no idea how to make it profitable. By immersing myself in this new media it all starts to come together bit by bit and Mashable helps with that immersion process..

That’s all I really want to say about that. Check it out, follow on twitter (that’s where I find the most valuable information from them) or just Delicious the site for later use. Either way, if you participate in social media then a worth while resource!

Picking up the 3rd world internet bill

Consider that Facebook stores up to 850milj new photos and 8milj videos each months. Imagine the disc farms. The story continues to return revenue. If all those people who uploaded pics and vid’s actually added to the online economy by clicking on ads or better yet actually buying something this conversation would be a mute point. However, many of the users who use social networks and the like can hardly afford a loaf of bread, not to speak of “Sexy lingerie for you and your lover”.

This brings the Utopian vision of world sharing and online equality under some serious skepticism. The couple of milj users who actually DO click and buy cant sustain the rest of the world so now what. Some have answered by excluding ISP’s from specific countries or regions in Africa and India for example. Other alternatives are using simpler displays and lower quality pics and vids for these users to see. MySpace may try something called Profile Lite which would be a simpler layout that would use less bandwidth.

Bandwitdh cost money and not everyone has money so now what…this is going to become tougher question as revenue and usage become closer and closer. At the end of the day it’s all about the bottom line….

nigeria_scam_350.jpg

From NYTimes

This intractable contradiction has become a serious drag on the bottom lines of photo-sharing sites, social networks and video distributors like YouTube. It is also threatening the fervent idealism of Internet entrepreneurs, who hoped to unite the world in a single online village but are increasingly finding that the economics of that vision just do not work.

Last year, Veoh, a video-sharing site operated from San Diego, decided to block its service from users in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, citing the dim prospects of making money and the high cost of delivering video there.

“I believe in free, open communications,” Dmitry Shapiro, the company’s chief executive, said. “But these people are so hungry for this content. They sit and they watch and watch and watch. The problem is they are eating up bandwidth, and it’s very difficult to derive revenue from it.”

Web entrepreneurs like Mr. Shapiro of Veoh, still struggling with his decision to restrict his site from much of the world, might have to find a way to soothe their battered consciences.

“The part of me that wants to change the world says, ‘This is unfair, it shouldn’t be like this,’ ” Mr. Shapiro said. “On the other hand, from the business side of things, serving videos to the entire world is just not supportable at this time.”

Read Full NYTimes Article

Shoot a Feature film on a DSLR

d5_mark2.jpg
More on the camera kit

The biggest issue with digital is that it’s not film. It smells differently. The noise is loud. The converters are (almost) infinite. It is cheap though and has allowed anyone to start making movies. The latter being the most important point to me.

As technology becomes cheaper to produce the quality get’s better so that manufacturers can keep bringing out updated hardware. The latest good news for film makers is the Canon 5D Mark2.

The 5D Mark2 has the ability to capture full HD video clips at 1920 x 1080 resolution, Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera features a 21.1-megapixel full frame 24 x 36mm CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 imaging processor and significantly lower noise, with an expanded sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 25,600.

Although it has no on board sound recorder the pictures beat anything I have seen digital produce. Perhaps the RED competes but that is a huge and expensive system if you compare it to the 5D. I have read a couple of blogs and news pieces on the 5D camera shooting video and the most prominent problem is focus.

Focus is murder; you don’t actively want a sensor this big, even if you think you do. It gets noisy, unpleasant vertical bands of noise, if you leave it on too long, which is mentioned in the manual.

The reason this piece of tech caught my attention was the indie film “Searching for Sonny”. The first full feature film to be shot on the 5D. I have not yet found information on their specific work-flow however I am to understand it was a pain in the ass to get it working all the way through.

Disney and his crew had to figure out how to workaround a few of the 5D Mark II’s most annoying limitations for filmmakers: no manual control over exposure settings during capture, and a lack of an efficient focusing system while shooting.

This is the life of the film maker though and if you have made ANY films you will know that problem solving is part of the job description. The override on exposure settings was solved by putting a Nikon F mount to Canon EOS adapter and stuck on an older Nikon 50mm lens with a mechanical aperture wheel. The latter problem is was simply a make-shift follow focus system which needs a focus puller. As far as the capturing and importing to Final Cut goes, I will have to get back to you…

If I look at the way the set was run it smacks of old-school meets new-school. Let me explain. The old-school 35mm Panavision et-al camera weighing in at 20kg odd is replaced with a 2kg DSLR. Both have interchangeable lenses and both still need an operator and focus-puller. The sound is separate (as it always was until the PD150 came along). However, we don’t need massive DAT recorders now, simply a good mic, pole and recording device like a mini-disc player or laptop. The crew formation is returning but the gear is transformed! Poetry of technology….

All that is needed, and will come, is a full LCD lighting kit. From the 10k all the way down to the 150 peppers. Take a second and imagine…beautiful.

Searching for Sony” seems to be an interesting story and I will want to see it regardless of the technology they have used. The fact that the pictures are amazing does help motivate me though.

SEARCHING FOR SONNY is the story about three bumbling friends who come back home for their high school reunion only to get sucked into a small-town murder mystery that is
eerily similar to a play from high school.

Another interesting point to this film is the investment strategy. They have a $30 buy a T-shirt and get your name in the credits option and also an invite to invest in the film. You can e-mail them to receive the full proposal.

Have a look at some of the trailers and the quality of this camera. I am convinced. Anyone has a 5D? Let’s make a movie!


Searching For Sonny - Gary Teaser/Canon 5d Mark 2 from Andrew Disney on Vimeo.

And I thought we where all 2k

cinema4.jpg

Discussing this topic of 2k digital distribution and exhibition with my friend Daniel in Lake Constant, we realize this conversation is not new to say the least! In 2006 when we both worked on Spoon (shot on full raw 2k camera) digital distribution was a very popular late night conversation. Alas, this conversation should never have ended.

With a hundred years of film history and 35mm film technology, the exhibitors of the world still consider it a better format and see no real reason that they should spend to convert to digital. In their eyes, if a distributor wants to distribute digitally they should at least fit the bill to project this (2k) image. In turn the distributor looks at the Studio for some sort of budget compensation or inclusion for this plan and of course he is turned away at the door.

Obviously there are numerous reasons for this belated digital party with only a small percentile of exhibitors world wide going digital and this number (unlike twitter followers) are not growing exponentially. This is caused most severely, in my opinion, by new creation of technology combined with un-relinquished history.

The more we code and encrypt new technology the more detailed it becomes. Coding is becoming similar to the art of molecular research where you realize that you can continue ad infinitum. There are codes for every bit that is transferred and no code may clash with another. If it does then you need to write a patch code and so the tale continues for capture, grading, exporting, encrypting and exhibiting. Of course there is no help form the hardware designers (read SONY) who have coded their own machines to their specific manufacturing code. Oy vey.

My other point regarding history is simpler to examine. It is a cultural and generational point. Albeit that it is easy to identify this chasm, it is not as easy to overcome. Indeed, coding a missive video and audio app that enables streaming data to converge and display with a unique code each time may be easier to configure than this conundrum would be to discombobulate. For an exhibitor that has been doing this since the “olden days” looking at a 2k projection and receiving nothing more than a file is, to say the least, a push in personal boundaries. Similarly is the idea of the entire digital age to the older generations which doesn’t make our case for digital any easier. I do not want to discredit the Boomers at all, but it is true that presently they run, well, the world and really none of these people have ever seen Google reader or tried to figure out why the damn fire-wire wont friggen work!

The point is, it is going to take time. Like most good things in life. It is also going to take experimentation, like most good things in life….

Here are some links to the Digital Distribution World
Digital Cinema Report
Celluloid Junkie Article
DCinema
LA Times Article

Green light for Sustainable film making

With all the hullabaloo about going green for a better future and thinking about film making and the waste that goes with that I thought I would dwell for a short time and diverge from my usual rhetoric into the sphere of “sustainable film making”.

Now sustainable film making to me means being able to make films again. Alas, this is not what is meant with sustainable film making. It has plenty to do with the bottom line but not in the way that you would imagine. And this kind of film making could in reality actually change the world!

Just for quick (as my German friend would say) I want to talk about Saachi&Saachi. The global commercial agency monolith has started a sub-company called Saatchi S. The first office opened in San Fransisco headed by ex-Sierra club president Adam Werbach. The company runs less like an agency and more like a consultancy. They basically employ brand strategists, scientists and psychologists who in turn talk to the biggest corporates on the globe (Is Wal-Mart going green?) in order to change them from inside out to becoming a fully “green” company…

I mention this little tit-bit to show the impact and commercialization of “sustainability”. It is real and it is here. We cant deny anymore that we should all do something about saving our little blue planet. The way that we have interpreted that is by recycling, consuming less and ultimately just being more considerate. If Wal-Mart can and is doing it then why the hell on my little short films can’t I get my sh together…! Of coarse I can and it’s actaully quite easy.

By having a brainstorm session with someone you will quickly see how easy it is to make a green production. I know that a couple of studio films have recently decided to “go green” and have used solar power to run offices, donated trees to offset carbon adn even built low-cost housing from discarded building material.

I cant wait for my next film to try this concept. I’m even considering getting a full time person on board for the entire time thinking and improving as the shoot progresses and then actually calculating my (hopeful) savings. Consider for a moment, no purchase of disposable cups, no water bottles, savings on generators by minimizing light and heat usage.

So, this from the Code for Best Practices site here are the basic ideas:

ONE: Calculation
PRINCIPLE: Know how much energy we are actually using.

TWO: Consumption
PRINCIPLE: Lower overall carbon debt and environmental impact by using less.

THREE: Travel
PRINCIPLE: Reduce the carbon debt created through travel.

FOUR: Compensation
PRINCIPLE: Since we cannot completely eliminate our footprint, we should compensate for it through organizations that offer a carbon reduction equal to our carbon production.

As a producer this is exciting to me because I get to play with the dynamics of actual on set principals. On set has a lot to do with customs, hierarchy and “this is the way we do it” attitude. But since the globe is in dire straits who’s going to argue, don’t you want to save the world?!!

Enjoy this new time of experimenting and finding new cool ways to run sets and make films sustainably. You might be quite surprised if it helps your bottom line and then really does make it sustainable film making!

Links:

The Daily Green
Center for Social Media
Environmental film fest
Greens Speak TV
Sundance Channel Green

Indie and the Internet

For those interested in this topic here’s another article about indie film and the internet relationship. Having been written last year, some of the stats may have changed. The idea and the people behind it are still there though and that’s the point. On a note, I found this article on WIRED. I find this great because film is again so intertwined with tech that making a film has garnered another dimension. That’s all.

The process is very different from using the Web to sell theater tickets or even DVDs. “Companies always wonder why they don’t see more tangible results” from using social networking or viral videos to promote traditional films, he said. “It’s because you are asking people who live their entire life online to then leave their computer, go out of the house, go to a theater, and buy a ticket.”

Dentler and C.R.M. recognize that the tipping point for online film consumption hasn’t been reached yet, though they anticipate rapid growth soon. (In this, they’re not alone. The Web video site Jaman boldly, if somewhat self-servingly, predicts that the online video distribution business worldwide will grow to $12 billion a year by 2012 from the current $2 billion.)

It is certainly being utilized, but primarily by younger consumers, college kids or recent college graduates,” Dentler said. “I think Christmas 2008 is going to be an incredibly big season for the acceptance and the accessibility of a lot of this material and a lot of this hardware because giant HD televisions are going to have this capability programmed in.”

Read Full Article

Online principals - Free(dom) and community

When I think back to the internet in my formative years I remember how happy I was that I could get so much for free. Obviously because back then I was a kid and had no money but also because the idea of “nothing comes for free” was challenged. Sure my mom paid for the bandwidth which meant I was only allowed to be online after eight in the evening until seven the next morning because that was super-cheap time, but these costs where tiny. This lead me to become a night owl over week-ends and even some week days spending every second I could online. Yahoo searching strange things, joining weird chat rooms where I had to lie and click on the “I am over 18” button and download patches and freeware for my desktop. The net was a world where no-one could stop my imagination and everyone was experimenting with this new tool.

Since then two things have really become fundamental pillars for the internet. The constant push in boundaries for usage and most importantly the ecenomics of the free. Free-conomics is something we all have come to expect when on the net. From Bit-torrent to joining social networks and groups, reading blogs and news all for free. If it is not free we simply change the URL and go looking somewhere else, for now…

This economic model of the free is an interesting one because for the first time in our economically driven world this system favors the consumer 100%. So mush in fact has become free that if you wanted to you could run a small business free of most office overheads. Buy a little Netbook (not quite a laptop but costs about 10% of the price), use Linux OS (free), install skype (free), get a Google account to use Google docs (free) or download the Sunsysytems Openoffce (free) which looks exaclty like microsoft office. This personal package is a very small look into what is available in the realms of free business apps.

Here is a video and an article going over some free business apps.
Read
Watch

Ok so the thing is that this freedom is driving business to a stand still. If it’s all free then there is no profit. The New York Times has changes its model from an all free one and many publications will follow. The idea is that if you like the sample enough you will purchase the entire product. I think that is a fair assumption. I would prefer to read an in depth, well researched article on the financial crisis than a vague opinion from a popular blogger. Albeit for now I can still find that free in depth article with a little bit of searching…

So to the movies. The thing is that there are so many ways of making a film these days. You can find funding before you start writing or filming (traditional financing method) or shoot a promo and then pitch on it, or crowd surf and aggregate audiences…the list and combinations go on for a loong time. How does this trend toward free/purchase help you or me? I think psychologically the user will slowly warm up to the idea of paying for top content. Our mission is to get them interested in our films for free so that they will be willing to buy it when it is done and being distributed. Once you have your whole idea in front of you, i.e. your story, marketing campaign and idea of what budget you have in your pocket, coming up with a practical working free-conomics model is like building a puzzle.

The beauty is there is no right or wrong and anything is possible. Your model will be completely dependent on which resources you have available. If you can a build a site for free start there, maybe something on you-tube to create numbers, the list goes on. Ideally you would want to give away as much as possible and keep the golden nuggets that will make your money back or create alternative cash flow. Just to add, if you are able to make it all free and build a large, active online audience you can leverage that to an investor. Your audience is equivalent to bums on seats which means income…

All onliners are looking for the best (free) thing. Something they can Digg or Tweet or become a fan of. The primary motives for online usage is still community and freedom. Build a smart model around these principals and so much is possible.

Internet 1000 faster

Oh Yes…

I arrived in Denmark on Sunday and picked up a free english newspaper called “The Copenhagen Post”. Almost on the back page I saw a little title about the internet. Coincedently I was having a semi-drunk conversation with Bill, a rocketscientist living in Boldock about new technology of sending information packages along optical cables using photons (light carrier). This way there is no friction and the information is sent at lightspeed…as oppose to using elctrodes along cables which invarably heat up and can only take x amount of information.

So here is the article of the Copenhagen site. In the print edition the speed comparison is made by example of downloading 80DVD’s in 1 second or a 4.4 kilometer bookshelf flying past in 1 second…sexy!

Danish scientists have discovered how to make the internet 1000 times faster

An IT discovery at a Danish university has the potential to dramatically cut the time it takes to send and receive files over the internet by using light technology, the scientific journal Nature reported on Thursday.

Some 13 scientists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are involved in the project which will increase the speed of the internet 1000 times by using laser light and an optic modulator made of silicon. The idea is to send information to and from a computer by using an electric field to create a light-signal.

In stead of going to a video-store people will be logging on to online video-stores. Here visitors will be able to receive movies instantaneously with the click of a button, said Rune Shim Jacobsen, one of the scientists who developed the method.

US computer companies Intel and IBM have also been doing research along the same lines as the Danes - finding methods to use light in a microchip.

In order for the project to be put into use, it will be necessary to run optical fibre cables to computer users. But according to Jacobsen, optical cables are inexpensive and easy to install.

CphPost

District 9. What its all about by /Film

humansonly.jpg
District 9 stars South African talent Jason Cope and Sharlto Copley and is directed by S.A.ex-pat Neill Blomkamp. The film used a lot of Johannesburg crew and everyone on that set was super enthusiastic about the project. Here is a full article on what is District 9 by taking an extensive look at the viral campaign.

Last summer at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, the convention center was peppered with random, cryptic signs such as the one pictured here, which featured variations on the phrase “For Humans Only.” The signs were bizarre, eye-catching, and kind of adorable, with their strange-looking alien figures and their copy warning against non-existent aliens who were supposedly trying to invade our territory.

Since then, we’ve learned that the signs were part of an elaborate viral campaign for director Neill Blomkamp’s newest film, District 9. For the uninitiated, Blomkamp was a protégé of director Peter Jackson, and was positioned to be the director of a film based on Bungie’s Halo franchise (that deal subsequently fell apart). Blomkamp has shown much talent in his short films and commercials, but many wondered if he was ready for a big-budget sci-fi thriller. Hit the jump for an extensive look at the viral campaign for Blomkamp’s District 9, and what it reveals about the movie.

Read full article

Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009
By David Chen

Rehash.Remix.Revise

I wrote a post that included some philosophy about our Remix culture, this was never published because it got boring.instead:

I say our culture because we are the digital generation and this generation is creating new culture every day. The truth is though that our new culture is being disrupted and blocked by license/copyright holders, albeit sometimes for fair reason. However, after reading Lawrence Lessig’s ‘Remix’ I am convinced that the next decade is going to bring some major cultural shifts and the battle for new culture has only started.

This post is about a documentary that is being made in Canada called RIP: Remix Manifesto’ which underpins and brings to life all these issues and stories. Director Bret Gaylor is the creator of Opensourcecinema.org and traveled the world in order to create and investigate a Remix Manifesto. The snippets that I’ve seen are great. Entertaining, interesting and most importantly very relevant to anyone who uses the internet and participates in digital, so ya, everyone. There are already remix’s of the film by EclecticMethod which are awesome!

I am so happy he has made this doccie because is brings the topic into the space where most of the dissension is taking place, the net. When you visit the site you are cordially invited to contribute to this film by remixing it, adding music tracks and uploading your own video to be put into the film. This is not an invite that comes along everyday and will hopefully draw some interesting contributions. The film is licensed under Creative Commons and it will stay that way so your additions are safe in the public domain but may and hopefully will be mashed sooner or later. RiP talks to, amongst many others, Girl Talk about his experience in mashing music and becoming famous for it. Girl Talk has just brought out another CD and states on his MySpace “pay as much as you like for it”. It smells of Radiohead but without the marketing machine behind it he is a complete different beast.

Check out the site, add something, read ‘Remix’, listen to some Girl Talk and see what and where our digital culture is going and how much is at stake.

http://dev.osc.clients.raincitydev.com/shanghai-record-110-seconds“/> video platform video management video solutions free video player

Story is Dead.

Scott Brown from WIRED mag wrote a fantastically entertaining piece on why ‘Hollywood Story’ is DEAD. It revolves around a new story format he calls the ‘Brown Ziggurat’.

The Mymax is not a lame old Freytag climax but a hot Escher mess of narrative possibilities suggested by you, the audience. With a mere click of your handset (and a charge of 99 cents), you furnish a Youclusion(tm) to your liking. This is how McClane somehow ends up defeating terrorists—and winning American Idol—with his ultrasonic melisma. McClane and Holly then celebrate by making a sex tape. (Awww!)

This article will definitely start you thinking along the right paths for marketing and future storytelling avenues!

Read Full Article
Scott Brown on Why Hollywood Needs a New Model for Storytelling
By Scott Brown 01.19.09

Your Tube…Getting it

Scenario: You’ve just filmed actors (your friends) in a comedy-skit and your strategy is to upload the skit to YouTube and then get famous. Your video is under three minutes, it is actually funny and you’ve even tagged Leo De Caprio to get a bigger audience. Before you tell your dad to piss off and start packing for LA check the stats and then go back upstairs to check the hits on your masterpiece. Oh, none…except for the five you hit to check if the video is working.

With 65000 videos being uploaded daily and generally the most popular being sleeping cats and farting fatties it should come as no surprise that your intellectual, quirky, self deprecating comedy goes unwatched. Tisk, tisk. In order to create a successful video campaign here are three tips that may help.

1) Being funny is a good start.

Being funny in the first couple of seconds is the challenge. Mostly videos that stimulate immediately go onto becoming popular. Considering the amount of videos You Tube audiences watch they have become quite savvy in deciding the content they want to see, hence the sleeping kitten and singing baby “phenomenon”.
Another simple but effective example is the “will it blend” select. Blendtec from Utah started by posting a clip of their blender discombobulating a rotisserie chicken, a McDonalds Extra Value meal, a bag of marbles and a rake. Shortly after Digg.com picked up the piece and within a week the video had more than 5 million hits.

Blendtec now has a regular segment “Will It Blend” on You Tube and their videos have been viewed more than 200 million times. Blendtec VP George Wright said very aptly ” We’re not creating commercials, we’re making videos people want to watch”. And that’s the point….

2) Aggregate an audience.

I’ve touched on this previously on Read/Write in that online is all about a following and somewhat dedicated audience. This is not a short process. It takes diligence and time. By writing on blogs that may share your view or like your content you may gain some audience. Don’t be that person though. You know, that person that spams someone’s blog page all in CAPITOLSWATCH THIS AWESOME VIDEOCOS IT’S AWESOME!!!!!!” that sucks. Community is important, be a voice that contributes not just overwhelms. It’s much better to have a group of people that know you voice. They will ultimately help you in finding your audience by linking to your clip or posting it themselves or mailing it onto others. If you have a clip already and you don’t know the blogger post it and ask them to watch it. If you do this a couple of times over on various blogs you may get lucky….

3) Optimize the search.

Entering all the info when uploading i.e. clear title, description and key words are the basics. As the old saying goes, get the basics down. They are important, they will help your audience find you.
There are tools such as Youtube Analytics that shows you how your video is being found and who is watching it. There are mixed responses to this tech but I’m an optimist and any tech to help on the on-line sphere is happily welcomed. If you find that people from England watch your video the most, add England as a keyword for further searches.

Some “Tubers” have focused on ‘piggy backing’. Basically hitching a ride on an already popular video. You can do this by responding to specific popular videos. A great example of this is a video highlighting a glitch in an Electronic Arts’ video game that appeared to show a pixelated Tiger Woods walking on water. In response, the gamemaker posted a video that showed the real Tiger Woods literally walking on water.
This should give you a kick start to your video watch-count. It has happened that responses become more popular than original video so keep that in mind.

Since Youtube is now also paying their selected video-creators it may not be a bad career start. Make something that people want to see, find an audience and keep your information updated and precise..sounds simple enough.

Good luck to all, and may the Tube be with you.

P1 Pocket Projector

Now you can be your own cinema with your Iphone an empty room and this little device….

By AZADEH ENSHA
Published: February 18, 2009
New York Times

Miniprojectors are a dime a dozen these days, which is why most don’t stand out from the pack. Fortunately the same can’t be said about AAXA Technologies P1 Pico Projector

In addition to its six-ounce weight and 640-by-480-pixel resolution, the P1 offers one gigabyte of memory, a microSD slot and an onboard media player, which means the P1 can decode most media formats and play them straight from the projector.

Additional features include a built-in speaker, 1,000-to-1 contrast ratio and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. The battery, which can be replaced, lasts 45 to 60 minutes, depending on speaker use.

The AAXA P1 Pico Projector is available from the company’s online store (aaxatech.com) for $260. You can also buy a $15 AAXA P1 iPod A/V cable so you can adapt audio and video files to your Apple iPhone, iPod and iTouch.

pico.190.jpg

Lance Weller: Head Truama

Lance Weller was one of those kids who was making home movies from the age of eight. With the advent of the internet and user video upload he swiftly became an indy-film maker showing, distributing and selling his films online. His biggest project, or most prolific was his film “Head Trauma”. The film was made completely independently and recouped investment through multiple distribution methods.

When trying to get his film to be a top hit on Google he started a bunch of sites and then cross linked them. He used interactive and mash-up techniques to broaden his audience. Finally the project was picked up and is now being turned into a TV series.

Through every project process he puts all the information back on his film maker site Workbook Project and so grows the knowledge base for other film makers. Watch the video on Workbook Project of Lance talking about Head Trauma and how it got made. It may inspire…

Celtx - No more excuses

In 2007 during our initial Big Eyed Deer stint Sebastian found Celtx. Of course Sebastian found Celtx, he finds most cool things on the net, he also coined the phrases “Digital Native” and “Produktors” both terms I love and you will hear again…Point being, he found Celtx so that we could and write and schedule scripts online and thus not be office bound. The reality of an office free office is one I dream of. A complete organization that works independently only linked via internet. Why not I say! Wear what you like, smell if you want to, just as long as you log yourself in and make your deadlines!

Celtx is the answer for this quest. We still used the Beta vers.0997 and it was, I admit, slow, unresponsive and buggy. However we saw the potential of Celtx and it was free. Final draft cost $169, that’s about R2000 too much for me! We have since written a comic book, and two scripts using Celtx. The latest version is now vers. 1.0 and its great.

Celtx starts wherever you want to. You can start by inputting your characters, name, description, antagonist, protagonist etc. You can then build your characters into great detail including likes and dislikes, history and even hair colour. When you lock an actor you can then enter that information into your database. Essentially you write an entire script on Celtx which links to the production database you have assembled during this time. There are options to link media, upload files and bookmark web pages to your specific scripting project. If it’s true that it all starts with the script, and it is true, then this is the resource you would want to use in writing your script. Finally you can then link and share with other users and they in turn comment/review/add to your work.

Once the script is nailed you can do a production schedule, get various breakdowns and start to plan the shoot. The key here is that its all centralized and by adding your production team everyone is able to see information, add, comment and so on and so on. Celtx is allowing a producer and director to sit at opposite ends of the world and know exactly whats going on with their project. BRILLIANT!

You are able to download for Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s easy to use and gives you a complete new experience for writing scripts. Now there’s no more excuses of not having software. It’s here, it’s free it’s awesome so start writing!

Download Celtx Here

When the audience takes control

You will see one my first posts here is about1000 True Fans. D.I.Y. presents an insightful panel that takes a look into what is really needed to aggregate that 1000 keep them “live” and help them help you.

The future of independent film is not in content aggregation, which is quickly becoming commoditized, but in audience aggregation. Sustainability for filmmakers lies directly in the hands of the audience. Direct to audience models have shaken the core of the music industry. But the power of Kevin Kelly’s “1,000 true fans” seems good in theory but where do you start? What are the steps to building an audience around your work and most importantly how do you keep the conversation going? Discussion Leader: Saskia Wilson-Brown (Current TV) - Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) - Micki Krimmel (expert in social media and online community) - Alex Johnson (digital media strategist / filmmaker) - Lance Weiler (The Last Broadcast, Head Trauma)

Zuna Vision

This little piece of technology is fantastic. Scenario: You shoot a music video, complete it, and post it. After a while a corporate wants it or you see a great opportunity to make some money and include the brand in your video. Instead of having to re-shoot, you simply go to Zunavision and use their tech to upload and place the desired brand logo inside your completed video.

Now don’t imagine a badly pasted Windows Paint looking job, the technology allows the logo/pic to really blend with the video.
The company invoices job-to-job basis as every job has different needs.I cant imagine that it’s too costly as they are aiming this product at people who cant afford big post costs and want to make it a user base program. They want people to integrate their technology with websites and businesses.

Besides being able to stick labels on walls and surfaces you can also include videos inside your video. Zunavision also do clickable ads but say that their focus is logo overlays.
If any of this appeals to you visit ZunaVision

Oblong Industries

I went to a panel at Sundance where one of the founders of Oblong participated. These guys are techno film making futurists. The big thing they are trying to create is a complete interactive space for video editing. You watch your footage in front of you, then you stop, cut, drag and drop the footage you want to a screen below you all using your hands. Oh yes, your hands!

It is Minority Report in real life. What was great about John Underkoffler was that his instincts are guerrilla film making but on a whole new level of digital and technical understanding. With hedge fund money they are building this tech piece by piece. Some of it is already in use in government organizations (read military) or very big corporations.

Here’s what Oblong had to say at Sundance.

For us, what’s important is the style of work: real-time manipulation of media elements at a finer granularity than has previously been customary or, for the most part, possible; and a distinctly visceral, dynamic, and geometric mode of interaction that’s hugely intuitive because the incorporeal suddenly now reacts just like bits of the corporeal world always have. Also, it’s glasses-foggingly fun.

Read Full Article
OBLONG


oblong’s tamper system 1801011309 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

On Creative Commons

In a world in the future we will make a film using digital technology and upload it to our virtual platform. The Film will automagically be distributed to agreed cinemas, sites, networks and festivals on the agreed dates. The idea of a hard copy may dissapear completely. Your marketing will be 70% digital, and will seep into every digital social space your marketer can lay his grubby fingers on. Imagine….

With the advent of You-tube and since then multiple other video streaming apps, the idea of digital distribution for films, using digital technology in actually making films, P2P sharing, video mash-ups, social networks and finally making money I am finding myself looking more to Creative Commons. For those of you who have not heard of it or think its gone away, think again. Just to refresh your memory:

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of other creators.

Now I know these commons don’t directly cross paths with what is known to be film rights. They also don’s contribute the same way that existing laws do regarding sales and distribution activities. However, this is a tool to get your film out there without anyone having to become a law breaking citizen. Imagine you have a scene in your film being mashed up by 20 different people who all post it, flog it on Facebook etc. These mash-ups and content grabbing vid’s retain the status of the originator but is accessible to many more eyes. You’ve just broadened your possible audience and created an alternative marketing tool by doing, well, nothing.

There is power in a digital community because there are numbers. With millions on the net daily and video content a big hitter you must consider that we cant keep the current way of making and distributing our films. If the way we do it changes so will the laws and business models have to change. The economics will remain because try as I may I seem to have to eat and then consequently sleep. I feel though that CC is an inroad into getting our films to an audience effortlessly through the digital medium.

Although I have not seen the CC license actually help get a film sold over the net, I think the digital revolution will need new rules.Liberté, égalité, fraternité is just another way of saying Creative Commons.

For more info:
Wikipedia
Creative Commons South Africa
DeProductions

14 Steps to Social Media Plan

This post is focused for business people but with a little imagination you can use these steps for your own film. Have a look, bookmark it and read it again when you actually have a film project going.

Many folks ask how to go about creating social media for their company. As a service to the industry, find here an open source version of a draft social media content development process.

This process is general enough to guide development of specific initiatives. It does not recommend blogging or video, per say. Rather the process allows content creation to move towards the market’s needs, and within the company’s resources. There are 14 steps in all:

1) Clearly articulate who your stakeholders are before you begin.

2) Clearly articulate the key issues these stakeholders care about as it relates to your offering. Use a bulleted list with no more than three or four words per item.

3) Begin by researching which, if any, top bloggers are discussing these issues. Use your bulleted list to search. The following are good places to start:

  • Technorati
  • Del.icio.us
  • Google Blogsearch
  • Ask.com Blogsearch

4) Inevitably, any substantial subject matter area has a back channel where top bloggers and influencers chat. For example, PR and marketing bloggers and tend to connect on Facebook, Twitter, and to some extent, LinkedIn. This back channel can yield powerful connections to highly influential minds who may not have blogs with top statistical ranking.

Read all Steps

Found link on Trulyfreefilm

1000 True Fans

This post is for musicians and film makers alike. If you want to quit your job at the video store and live off the people that love your art here is a (relatively) simple equation to do so. The theory of a 1000 True Fans is fantastic. It gives us motivation to pay more attention to those people coming to our gigs and viewings and fostering a strong relationship with them. Ultimately they are the reason you can do what you do and they will be the reason that you do it. Hmmm, I should get those Thank You cards out and start writing!

The long tail is famously good news for two classes of people; a few lucky aggregators, such as Amazon and Netflix, and 6 billion consumers. Of those two, I think consumers earn the greater reward from the wealth hidden in infinite niches.

But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist’s works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.

Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail?

One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans. While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

By: Kevin Kelly Home Page

Read Full Article