The world’s most innovative animation and game companies have just put their video software in your hands.
The world’s most innovative animation and game companies have just put their video software in your hands.
Summer may be over, but there’s still time to get some action footage while the weather’s nice. Wired reviews your options for point-of-view cameras–and yes, shows an electric skateboard holding its own against a Corvette.
Call centers? Check. Custom software? Check. Music videos? Yes, now creative work can be outsourced to Bangalore.
Does this threaten the livelihood of North American artists, or just give them more options to choose from?
Bored of the same old movies and TV shows? Flicks programmed by computers are making a debut at prestigious venues like the Sundance film festival, while TV watchers and video artists are turning to unusual processes for making decisions. Can creative formulas make video less, well, formulaic?
Hollywood’s resort to draconian tactics like SOPA may have cost them the moral high ground.
Venture capitalist Paul Graham is already looking to fund Hollywood’s successors.
Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.
That’s one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV….
Fortunately those successors can take advantage of technical infrastructure like the Cloud, as the chief creative officer of a small digital arts company attests.
After turning to Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing service for the first time to finish animation under tight deadline, [John McNeil] was impressed by how it would let him compete with bigger studios. He said, ‘Cloud computing is the first truly democratic, accessible technology that potentially gives everyone a supercomputer…it’s a game changer. I could never compete or be able to deliver something at the level of a Pixar or a Disney, given what I have at my disposal inside the walls of the studio,’ McNeil said. ‘But if I factor in the cloud, all of a sudden I can go there. And then the limitations of whether or not I can deliver something great will be on my own talent and the talent of the people that are part of the studio.’”
Meanwhile, an admission from the horse’s mouth: the movie industry’s real worry is not piracy but the loss of control.
“Miramax CEO Mike Lang has admitted to what we all suspected. The biggest worry is a distribution monopoly, not piracy. They saw what happened to the music industry with iTunes, and vowed to not lose control and be at the mercy of Apple or whoever becomes the dominant distributor. From the article: ‘Lang, whose company today debuts the Blu-Ray version of the cult classic Pulp Fiction, emphasized that people don’t necessarily want to pirate, as long as they get what they want. “Innovate or die,” should be the motive of entertainment industry companies, where it’s key to listen to customers.’”
Gabe Newell, chief of the company that brought you Half Life and Portal (and former classmate of mine, hi Gabe!), finds a comparable misunderstanding in gaming:
“In general, we [at Valve] think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the U.S. release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.”
One game company is taking control of this…loss of control?
“Indie game company tinyBuild Games, who released a platformer called No Time To Explain recently, uploaded their own game to the Pirate Bay. However, there’s a key difference between the game they uploaded and the version you can purchase: the game characters wear pirate hats, and everything else has a pirate theme. One of the company’s founders, Alex Nichiporchik, said, ‘[S]ome people are going to torrent it either way, we might as well make something funny out of it. … You can’t really stop piracy, all you can do is make it work for you and/or provide something that people actually want to pay for. For us this is humor, we like making people laugh.’”
The biting video promo for “Fotoshop by Adobé” (pronounced a-do-BEY) imagines the popular image editor marketed by Revlon et al. The scary thing is how close the video is to reality.
Have you recorded a podcast, or written songs? These internships may be for you.
Wired showcases some stop-motion shorts that break the rules, including Filmmaker Tomas Mankovsky’s “Sorry I’m Late,” which plays with uses a camera on the ceiling pointed at the floor to weave objects near and far into a rambunctious narrative.
Motion capture used to require actors and stunt artists to perform in a controlled studio. This radically different approach can capture a child swinging on monkeybars in a playground or a figure skater performing in an ice rink.
“Traditional motion capture techniques use cameras to meticulously record the movements of actors inside studios, enabling those movements to be translated into digital models. But by turning the cameras around — mounting almost two dozen, outward-facing cameras on the actors themselves — scientists at Disney Research Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University have shown that motion capture can occur almost anywhere — in natural environments, over large areas, and outdoors
Demonstrating the power of many-to-many image- and sound-making, artist Aaron Koblin and his collaborators stitch compelling interfaces from huge data sets. Watch Koblin transform airline flight data into global travel patterns, frame-by-frame drawings into an animated tribute to Johnny Cash, and Google Street View into an Arcade Fire video personalized for each listener.
As new laws force ISPs to become copyright cops, the ramifications of intellectual property in the digital age just get more and more absurd.
Anti-Piracy Lawyers Accuse Blind Man of Downloading Films
“As the mass-lawsuits against BitTorrent users in the United States drag on, detail on the collateral damage this extortion-like scheme is costing becomes clear. It is likely that thousands of people have been wrongfully accused of sharing copyrighted material, yet they see no other option than to pay up. One of the cases that stands out is that of a California man who’s incapable of watching the adult film he is accused of sharing because he is legally blind.”
Maybe he just liked the music?
Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?
“Last week, the Daily Mail published a story about some monkeys in Indonesia who happened upon a camera and took some photos of themselves. The photos are quite cute. However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer. Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that it’s unlikely the news agency could hold a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn’t matter. Techdirt claims that using the photos for such a discussion is a clear case of fair use, an argument which has so far been ignored.”
“Dice Age,” sounds like…?
Dice Age — Indie Gaming Project vs. Hollywood
“Dice Age, a independent game project that raised nearly $35K through Kickstarter, is apparently facing some scrutiny from a certain movie studio that has produced movies with a similar name. From the latest project update: ‘As if the Ice Age was exclusively the name of a movie, or if Dice Age was a movie itself, the 20th century fox has just asked for an extent of time (till 10-26-2011) to oppose to the registering of our beloved Dice Age game name. My point of view, as a scientist, is the Ice age is a geological era before it is a movie.”"
Wendy Seltzer is an ace cyberlawyer who’s worked with Still Water to craft more enlightened forms of intellectual property law.
ISPs Will Now Be Copyright Cops
“Wendy Seltzer, Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy, talks about the new plan by ISPs and content providers to ‘crack down on what users can do with their internet connections’ using a 6-step warning system to curb online copyright infringement.”
Looks like six is the new three:
“American Internet users, get ready for three strikes^W^W ‘six strikes.’ Major US Internet providers — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable — have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won’t filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth ‘strike,’ you won’t necessarily be ‘out.’” It’s not suspicious at all that most of the ISPs signing on for this are owned by or own media companies.
On the pro-sharing front:
A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven. It’s not often that republishing an entire work without permission is deemed fair use.
A federal judge backed the music storage-locker business model Monday while ruling that companies may develop services that store their customers’ songs in the cloud. The closely watched case brought by EMI against MP3tunes comes as Amazon and Google recently launched similar services without the music labels’ consent. Apple is expected to launch a cloud-storage service… http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/XGIJztQaOPw/
Who knew? Maybe the Pirate Bay should start an ecommerce site called Arrrrmazon.com.
Suppressed Report Shows Pirates Are Good Customers
“The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales. In order to prove this fact a number of studies have been commissioned to help demonstrate the effect a pirate has on sales of entertainment. GfK Group is one of the largest market research companies in the world and is often used by the movie industry to carry out research and studies into piracy. Talking to a source within GfK who wished to remain anonymous, Telepolis found that a recent study looking at pirates and their purchasing activities found them to be almost the complete opposite of the criminal parasites the entertainment industry want them to be. The study states that it is much more typical for a pirate to download an illegal copy of a movie to try it before purchasing. They are also found to purchase more DVDs than the average consumer, and they visit the movie theater more, especially for opening weekend releases which typically cost more to attend.”
Just because your phone captures video doesn’t make you Steven Spielberg. Wired offers a few pointers on how to shoot videos that don’t suck.
Francis Ford Coppola may be best known for directing blockbusters like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, but he’s giving over control of his latest flick to a digital DJ.
While Coppola’s remixable film may sound outlandish to some, in new media circles it’s almost old hat. Mike Figgis remixed his 2000 film Timecode–already unusual for its four screens of the same footage shot in one take with no editing–live at the 2006 Zero One festival curated by Steve Dietz. And a self-remixing film has been the subject of a number of U-Me capstones.
Timecode (2000) Four cameras. One take. No edits. Real time. http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0220100
Coppola turned members of the Hall H crowd into test subjects for his wild idea to turn movies into live entertainment. Accompanied onstage by musician Dan Deacon and actor Val Kilmer, Coppola used a touchpad to select scenes from Twixt on the fly as Deacon tweaked the soundtrack.
Coppola said Twixt was conceived as a way to inject a live feel into cinema.
“What I’d love to do is go on tour,” he said, “like a month before the film opened, and go to all the cities myself, with my collaborators, with live music and actually perform the film for each audience uniquely for them — a different version for each audience. That’s what opera was like.”
Twixt centers on a horror writer who stumbles onto strange goings-on, and maybe vampires, in a small town. During one segment screened Saturday, the writer, played by Val Kilmer, brainstorms alone in his hotel room. Coppola and his tech crew spliced together different mixes of the montage, during which Kilmer assumed various personas.
“Theoretically, I could push the Shuffle button,” Coppola said.
Like making stuff? Like filming movies? This film festival is looking for you.
Power of Making On Screen
Call for Submissions:
You are invited to create a short film that celebrates making – Each film can be between 10 and 120 seconds in length and will celebrate the power of making – it may explain, illustrate and/ or observe ‘making’ skills, techniques and process.
The films will be creative, inspiring, exciting and perhaps unexpected, and will explore a diverse range of skills and look at how materials can be expressed in imaginative and spectacular ways.
Around 40 of the submitted short ‘making’ films will be selected for inclusion in the forthcoming V&A/Crafts Council exhibition Power of Making (6th September – 2nd January 2012) and screened throughout the duration in a dedicated area of the exhibition known as the ‘Tinker Space’.
We are looking for short films that depict and/or creatively respond to the making process of an object, including; crafting, experiments, demonstrations of making skills, use of tools, equipment /machinery, hacking objects etc.,
Films do not need to be highly polished and edited and we welcome material from hi and lo-fi sources such as digital camera or mobile phone.
Keywords that describe the ways in which skills and craftsmanship should be demonstrated in the type of film we are looking to select, are;
Submission requirements and guidelines:
• You can submit as many films as you wish – they can be old work or new work, however we cannot accept nudity, sexually explicit scenes, swearing and violence.
• Your film must be non-commercial; all your own work, and you should have obtained copyright or relevant permissions for all images and films used in your piece.
• Acceptable film lengths range from a minimum of 10 seconds to a maximum of 120 seconds of content.
• Each submitted film must include a black front screen with text credits WHITE ON BLACK –to include your name and title of the film/work, your geographical location (town & country) and the date the film was made. This front end section should be no longer than 5 seconds in total.
• Each film may have acknowledgements at the end which should not exceed 5 second on screen. Each film must end with a 1 second FULLY BLACK screen.
How to enter:
• Go to craftscouncil.org.uk/powerofmakingfor full instructions on submitting your film(s) to the dedicated Vimeo site, and if your work fits the brief we will publish it. If selected by our Panel of Experts, your film will feature in the Power of Making exhibition.
• Should be no longer at 136 seconds long (max 10secs Title credit / max 120secs film content/ 6secs end-screen).
Closing date for submissions is Sunday 31st July 2011 For more information see craftscouncil [DOT] org [DOT] uk/powerofmakingor contact exhibitions [AT] craftscouncil [DOT] org [DOT] uk
With the Lytro camera, it’s shoot first, focus later, thanks to a special sensor and software that lets users change the focus on the file itself. These interactive demos suggests how this can add a new dimension of interactivity to otherwise ordinary photographs.
Meanwhile, for moving image mavens, Apple’s Final Cut is reborn at a third the price. Not everyone is pleased with its reincarnation, but most are sure to like the biggest difference: no more waiting for rendering. Yes, you heard that right.
At the same time that the Obama administration is underwriting hardware for helping citizens of other countries circumvent their own government’s Internet censorship, Apple is patenting a camera that performs a government’s censorship for it.
Check out these summer opportunities from past NMD grads, media organizations–deadlines soon!
It’s a bit like The Pool, for movie studios.
“Amazon.com is getting into the movie business by opening Amazon Studios, with the goal of using the Internet to put fresh movies on the big screen. The new Internet movie studio will allow writers to upload screenplays to its website where the global Internet audience can read them and offer feedback, or producers/directors can use them to make test movies. The test movies, which must be at least 70 minutes in length, can also be uploaded.”
As pointed out by a Slashdot commenter, Max Keiser has another model where script writers could share profits: Pirate My Film.
Keiser, a film-maker, broadcaster and former broker and options trader offers a vision of what this could really be like.
“The system automatically creates enough shares to match the funds request and then makes those shares available for PMF members to reserve.” Why just read and offer feedback when you could support a work from day one and perhaps share in some value.
Who knew Processing could be a gateway drug to these hallucinatory animations? The distributor of this open-source library, that’s who.
toxiclibs is an independent, open source library collection for computational design tasks with Java & Processing (and soon other languages). After over 3.5 years of continuous development & refactoring, the collection consists of >25k lines of code, 270+ classes bundled into 8 libraries. The classes are purposefully kept fairly generic in order to maximize re-use in different contexts ranging from generative visuals, data visualization to architecture digital fabrication, use as teaching tool in these fields and more…