Friday, January 18, 2008

Democratization of Hollywood- film making for the masses

[Not only does Hollywood have to worry about the challenges of distributing movies over the Internet, a new breed of Hollywood developers is using open source tools to develop full length feature movies, with a cast of thousands, for a fraction of the price of traditional processes. The posting from Slashdot showing how 4 young film makers recreated the battle of Omaha beach is amazing. In a very short while I can see the Internet being dominated by professional looking, block buster movies and TV shows made by individuals or very small teams of amateurs. Some excerpts from Slashdot. Thanks to Rollie Cole for the pointer on Animation for the Masses--BSA]

Filming an Invasion without extras

"Kevin Kelly has an interesting blog post on how a World War II D-Day invasion was staged in a few days with four guys and a video camera using batches of smaller crowds replicated computationally to produce very convincing non-repeating huge crowds. Filmmakers first used computer generated crowds about ten years ago and the technique became well known in the Lord of the Rings trilogy but now crowds can be generated from no crowds at all — just a couple of people. 'What's new is that the new camera/apps are steadily becoming like a word processor — both pros and amateurs use the same one,' says Kelly. 'The same gear needed to make a good film is today generally available to amateurs — which was not so even a decade ago. Film making gear is approaching a convergence between professional and amateur, so that what counts in artistry and inventiveness.'"

Animation for the Masses

Adobe is developing software to let home users create movie-quality 3-D graphics.

Computer-generated effects are becoming increasingly more realistic on the big screen, but these animations generally take hours to render. Now, Adobe Systems, the company famous for tools like Photoshop and Acrobat Reader, is developing software that could bring the power of a Hollywood animation studio to the average computer and let users render high-quality graphics in real time. Such software could be useful for displaying ever-more-realistic computer games on PCs and for allowing the average computer user to design complex and lifelike animations.

Open Source for the Big Screen

Elephants Dream is a computer-generated short film that was produced almost completely using open source software, except for the modular sound studio Reaktor and the cluster that rendered the final production which ran Mac OS X. It premiered on March 24, 2006, after about 8 months of work.. The project was joint funded by the Blender Foundation and the Netherlands Media Art Institute. The film's purpose is primarily to field test, develop and showcase the capabilities of open source software, demonstrating what can be done with such tools in the field of organizing and producing quality content for films.

The film's content was released under the Creative Commons Attribution license [3], so that viewers may learn from it and use it however they please (provided attribution is given). The DVD set includes NTSC and PAL versions of the film on separate discs, a high-definition video version as a computer file, and all the production files.

The film was released for download directly and via BitTorrent on the Official Orange Project website on May 18, 2006, along with all production files.