Video

Sintel, 4k edition (and why it’s useful)

Chris Webber, February 19th, 2011


A frame of Sintel by the Blender Institute / CC BY

This week brings us another open movie milestone: a 4k release of Sintel! This super-high definition version (4096 x 1744 pixels) is being hosted by the fine people at xiph.org. As mentioned in the article, there will be some screenings, though you can also download the files yourself. Be aware however that the files are very large. From the article:

The original 4k version (8 bits per color, tif) now is available via the The Xiph.Org Foundation download site too, which is 160 GB of data! We are currently also uploading the 16 bits per color files, 650 GB of data, and which will be finished around 25 February.

We’ve done an interview with Ton Roosendaal, Sintel’s producer and also have mentioned previous blender institute high resolution releases. But perhaps it’s worth answering the question… why is this useful? Besides possibly doing a super-high-resolution screening, maybe marveling at some individual frames, why might this matter?

So I asked Ton Roosendaal what he thought the 4k release might be useful for. He replied with:

[Our previous film] Big Buck Bunny has become kind of a reference for video devices worldwide. Here’s a good example, an e-ink display playing video. I just got this link today, but I get these all the time.

The (film) industry is incredibly protective, so for a lot of researchers our films are very useful. Like the Xiph.Org Foundation, they support OGG and open codecs; for codec developers, having access to the uncompressed HDR (3×16 bits color) is really cool. That’s how Pixar and Disney manage to make superior DVDs or BluRay encodings.

The film industry will move to 4k as well, and having free / openness here is relevant. Most films nowadays are also shot in 4k digital cameras; 2k or HD is for home usage. In a couple of years it will be 8k even. This is going to be pushed a lot by the industry, like stereoscopic film is. So, instead of having Creative Commons as an expression of “democratic” mass media, we use it for innovation and research first. It’s a small but relevant target audience (who are also very happy users of Creative Commons).

Aside from the usefulness question, I wanted to also ask Ton about the difficulty level of this release. I asked: “<troll>Isn’t rendering in 4k just upping the resolution setting in the render panel and walking away from your renderfarm for a while, perhaps to get a lot of coffee?</troll>”

I also would like to write an article about the 4k experience [editor's note: see also Pablo Vazquez's post on the challenges of rendering in 4k]. For some weird reasons, moving from ‘video’ to HD seems to be easier than from HD to 4k. Computers, networks, hard drives etc work fine for HD work. We can play HD realtime, and any computer user expects such.

The other strange thing is that detail level becomes totally intimidating. You watch an HD screen as a TV still. When looking at a 4k picture you watch it more like in a theater; your eyes wander around the picture to check details. This is why ‘film’ for cinemas usually is much richer and more detailed than TV shows.

But the troll could be right; in theory you just set the button to “4k” and let it render. Our artists didn’t do it, they produced the detail levels that justify 4k screening as well. They may be not optimal, as we only had a couple of 4k screenings to view our work.

So there you have it. The Sintel 4k release shows hope for helping open video codecs, device manufacturers, and the technology industry in general. And, of course, a beautiful sight to see, all under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. Congratulations to the Sintel team on this release!

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New CC-Licensed Feature Length Films from Sweden & Italy

Cameron Parkins, October 14th, 2009

nopCreating a feature films is a massive undertaking, and it is for this reason that we’re always so impressed to hear of film makers using CC licenses. Two recent examples are Nasty Old People from Swedish director Hanna Sköld and Torno Subito from Italian Simone Damianiunder.

“Nasty Old People” was released under our Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license and Torno Subito is available under our Attribution-Noncommercial license. What’s great about these licenses is that they both allow and encourage legal sharing and remixing as methods for promotion and encouraging fan engagement. The results are already beginning to appear: fans of Nasty Old People have raised donations amounting to 10% of the film’s loaned budget, and they’ve also created a Portugese translation of the film’s subtitles.

Over the years, there have been a number of CC-licensed feature films released, and we do our best to keep up with them all on our film wiki page, but please add to the wiki if you come across something we’ve missed.

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Film Annex Helps You Make Money on Your CC Content

Fred Benenson, October 14th, 2009

Film Annex LogoFilm Annex is an online film distribution platform and and Web Television Network with million of viewers and thousands of filmmakers. Recently, the site launched CC license support (complete with ccREL expression via RDFa). This is fantastic news in and of itself, as it means there’s now more choice for creators looking for platforms that support CC licensing options. But Film Annex isn’t just another video hosting site. They’re helping filmmakers finance their productions through a unique blend of advertising and revenue sharing:

Film Annex Web TVs come with interactive players that are syndication-friendly. Web TV owners can maximize their income by syndicating their Web TV players with their content and ads (pre-rolls) on other websites. While these content providers receive 50% of the advertising revenues generated on their Web TVs, they earn another 33% upon syndication. Publishers also benefit from this revenue share as they receive 33% of the revenues upon syndication. Publishers are also given the option to become financiers or executive producers on a project if they choose to donate a percentage of their share to the content provider.

Since August 2009, twenty content providers benefited from the Film Annex Network and its ad revenue share. The amount generated on each Web TV per month has approximately been 350-1000 dollars. Film Annex’s short-term goal is to raise this number to 5000. In addition to promoting each Web TV individually, Film Annex mentions the new projects of the content providers on their respective Web TVs in order to raise awareness about them and receive audience support.

So if you’re a filmmaker looking for some return on your CC video, sign up for account and get uploading!

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The US Government CTO on Creative Commons

Fred Benenson, September 22nd, 2009

Aneesh Chopra on CNET
We caught a great interview with the US Government’s CTO, Aneesh Chopra talking about his thoughts on copyright on CNET.

When questioned about the future of copyright reform (wait for the video to load and scroll to the 7:30 mark) Chopra mentions how he “embraced the Creative Commons licensing regime” when he worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia to publish their Flexbook platform. Chopra then states that he thinks that it was this experience that really informs his perspective on how intellectual property should be remixed, shared, and reused.

Needless to say, we totally agree.

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Remix Open Ed 09

Jane Park, August 24th, 2009

This year’s open education conference was held in breathtaking Vancouver, BC and the ccLearn team (consisting of Lila Bailey, Ahrash Bissell, Alex Kozak, and myself) was there to soak it all in. Vancouver could be the emerald city, or an alternate reality to San Francisco, from whence three of us hail. This parallel universe yielded skyscrapers made of turquoise tinted glass, Lion’s gate (sea foam green instead of Golden Gate’s deceptive red), and a plethora of downtown eats and night life. The conference itself was located right next to the Vancouver Art Museum, home of the Dutch masters.

While my colleagues presented OpenEd (opened.creativecommons.org, the global open education community site we launched earlier this month), the OER Copyright survey, and cogitated on whether international copyright exceptions and limitations can support a global learning commons—I had the chance to run around with lots of people and talk to some of them. I was pleasantly surprised by the increase in diverse persons and locales represented, and I picked each of their brains for a few seconds with the help of my Flip cam.

The result is this video (blip.tv), which we hope you will enjoy and encourage you to remix! It’s all open via CC BY, including the soundtrack—laid with the album Ambient Pills by Zeropage (thanks to Jamendo). We also have lots of footage we didn’t include due to time constraints, so you may see snippier iterations down the line.

The video is also available at YouTube and Vimeo.

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the dotmatrix project

Cameron Parkins, August 19th, 2009

logoThe dotmatrix project is a “collective of musicians, photographers, videographers & sound engineers” who organize, promote, and document monthly shows in Greensboro, North Carolina. DMP subsequently archive these shows online, distributing hi-quality videos, audio, and photos from the shows under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

A recent post on the DMP blog provides ample reasoning for their community’s commitment – a sincere love for the music being made in Greensboro and a desire to share these local talents with a broader audience. By releasing all of the digital archives under a CC-license, the DMP legally enables this sort of sharing while allowing the media created to be re-used as well:

Essentially, we’ve designed the parameters of our project to allow 16-year old Billy Nelson in Austin, Texas to mashup a track by The Bronzed Chorus with one by Laurelyn Dossett, while using DMP show pictures to use as b-roll for the music video [...] I want to welcome a “Billy” with open arms into the DMP collective without even a hint of stodginess or protectionism. The same goes to a blogger who embeds our media in a post to expose the talent of the artists involved.

To learn more about the DMP, upcoming events, and learn more about the shows they have put on be sure to check out their website.

UPDATE: Sean from the DMP points out that while music is the focus of their formula, it wouldn’t exist with out the incredible efforts of their local media crew. As such, they hold bi-annual photo exhibits, with the next one happening in just a few weeks on September 4th!

3787079574_362fbc9fcb
Clement Mathematics, dotmatrixproject / Ioannis Batsios | CC BY-NC-SA

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Carpool Conversations: CC-Licensed Video Collaboration Between Pink Cloud Events and Honda

Cameron Parkins, August 4th, 2009

carpool_conversationsCarpool Conversations is a newly launched video series from LA-based Pink Cloud Events. Produced in collaboration with Honda, the 3-part series aims to capture intimate and unexpected conversations between strangers sharing a ride in a Honda Insight. While the topics vary from episode to episode, a common thread through out is the importance of sharing experiences – a concept that resonates strongly with CC’s mission.

The first episode finds members of LA-based fruit finding collaborative Fallen Fruit and Damien Somerset of green video site Zaproot discussing the merits of hybrid cars, free fruit, and a variety of other topics. This sharing of information extends beyond the car ride as Carpool Conversations is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative license, allowing the video to be legally and openly shared across the web.

Thankfully, this is just the first in a delightful series – the next episode of Carpool Conversations features Top Chef Master contestant, Elizabeth Falkner of Orson/Citizen Cake, community manager Michelle Broderick of yelp.com, and tech-chocolate maker Timothy Childs of tcho.com.

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CC Talks With: Kenzo Digital

Cameron Parkins, July 21st, 2009

Kenzo Digital is New York-based multi-talented creator that works in video, audio, and mixed media to create both artistic works and commercial products. Aesthetically informed by early 90s hip-hop, his latest and most well-publicized work, City of God’s Son, is a CC-licensed “opera for the blind.” The project finds Kenzo sampling and remixing numerous sources to create a vivid sound-scape that invokes imagery and a cinematic narrative through audio.

Today, in conjunction with our interview, Kenzo is releasing the most recent addition to COGS titled City of God’s Son: Cinema for the Blind. The piece features interviews with blind musicians on “sight through sound, synesthesia” and the film itself, crafting a fascinating perspective on how our senses work in conjunction with (or without) one another. You can watch the piece, which is released under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial license, in HD at YouTube – check out a still of the video below:

CINEMA-FOR-THE-BLIND-Remaster_H.264

We caught up with Kenzo recently to pick his brain in regards to the project generally, his approach to creation through sampling and reuse, why he chose to CC-licence this project, and much more. Read on to find out what he had to say.

KenzoDigi1

photo by Tommy Agriodimas | CC BY

Can you give our readers some background on yourself and the project? What inspired you to create City of God’s Son? You call it a hip-hop opera and a film for the blind – what do you mean by these descriptions?

I am a digital artist, video artist, director and music producer based in NY. Early 90ʼs hip hop was always a big inspiration to me growing up, it served as the soundtrack to a lot of my childhood and adventures growing up. I was really into graffiti as a kid, and used to sneak out of the house all the time and run around with my friends or sometimes by myself and go bombing. I considered the city at night to be kind of an altered reality. No one was around except for the junkies, prostitutes, and gangsters who occupied the same streets that by day would be bustling with business men, school kids like myself, and delivery men. I loved the fact that in my mind only a few people were privy to seeing these same streets during the day while I was entrenched in my civilian life (school and family), and at these late hours were things were pretty wild, and as a kid of course I was very excited by that. What really inspired me as a kid was also the fact that the only traces of my existence in this alternate reality were the tags and graffiti art left behind. Music played a huge role in this. My walkman was probably one of the most essential things going out at night, as the music was a key component to setting the mood and getting myself in the proper frame of mind to create. By experiencing the city this way, and listening to the music, everything through the night played out cinematically. So much so that it would leave these super visual impressions in my imagination that I could recall and trigger through the music.

Musicʼs relationship to time, both as a medium and a device to manipulate time, in addition to a listenerʼs historical relationship to a song is what “City of Godʼs Son” seeks to expand and explore. “City of Godʼs Son” is a hip hop opera in that it is an epic, a greek tragedy, and like opera, understanding the actual lyrics and slang is not necessary to understanding the story and experiencing the drama of the story. Understanding the slang and verses definitely adds another level of meaning and depth to the story, as well as a knowledge of hip hop music history. “City of Godʼs Son” while seemingly a strictly music focused project, is equally about gangster cinema culture as well, as references to everything from pre-code Edward G. Robinson gangster flicks, to 70ʻs Japanese gangster flicks like “Branded to Kill”, to “Le Cercle Rouge”, “Clockers”, “Goodfellas” and of course “City of God” litter the story and soundscape, as some of hip-hopʼs most influential artists of this generation collide with the gangster film icons that helped define their genre. It is about weaving the various mythologies from each medium and creating a new language called “Beat Cinematic”. It is a film for the blind in that it exists in the listenerʼs imagination and recalling of their own psychological associations to music, film, and sound. I specifically wanted to play this for blind people because I wanted to see how blind people reacted to a film made to be experienced sonically. I am interested in how a blind personʼs mind works like a visual sampler depending on whether the person was born blind or lost their vision along the way, and what those visual impressions mean to them now. It is also a film for the blind in that my own artistic journey into music production was inspired to make this project. As a completely self-taught disgustingly bad keyboard player, creating the music for this project was in and of itself a very blind process in that I had to really feel out my entire way through this new world of sound.
Read More…

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We Have Band: “You Came Out” Video Stills Released Under CC-License

Cameron Parkins, June 15th, 2009

wehaveband
We_Have_Band 1709, we_have_band | CC BY-SA

We Have Band, and electro-pop act from London, recently released a great new video for their single You Came Out in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy. The video is stop frame animated and composed of 4,816 still images, all of which are CC BY-SA licensed and available on We Have Band’s flickr page. This allows fans of the band the ability to reanimate the video and reuse the images as long as they attribute We Have Band and share derivative works under the same license.

Find out more about the single at the band’s mysapce blog, including ordering info.

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Tony Shawcross Explains CC Licensing

Cameron Parkins, June 10th, 2009

Former interviewee and Executive Director at Deproduction Tony Shawcross points us towards a recent video he produced to educate the Deproduction community on how CC licenses work. Focusing primarily on our CC BY-NC-SA license, the video is informative and to the point, acting as a great primer for those who have never heard of CC or need extra help understanding what our licenses do.

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