With Apple maintaining that the iPad will not support Flash, HTML5 is the new boss, just like the old boss.
Mark Pilgrim has posted his guide to HTML5 on a site named Dive Into HTML5.
The guide is a nice little jaunt that smacks of McSweeney’s typograpy and design. An easier way to take your medicine…
Streaming Media takes a close look at the new Google VP8 codec and how it measures up to h.264 as a web-streaming technology. The compariso has revealed, seemingly, nothing earth-shaking. But VP8 is free.
VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn’t substandard, so that’s not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H.264 at half the bandwidth.
The examination finds almost no difference in talking-heads footage and other limited-motion video. But in high-motion video, the VP8 images begin to break down a bit as compared to h.264.
In this pita video, blocks are visible in the pita where the H.264 video is smooth. The pin-striped shirt in the right background is also sharper in the H.264 video, as is the striped shirt on the left.
In my tests, MainConcept has been a consistent leader in H.264 quality, and is certainly a very solid choice for any commercial encoding tool. We have an x264 evaluation on the editorial calendar—I know it’s quite good, and I look forward to seeing how it stacks up with others in terms of quality and downstream compatibility. I didn’t ask Sorenson how long it took to encode the files, but Google’s FAQ does indicate that encoding can be quite slow at the highest quality configurations, though they’re working to optimize that.
Oliver Peters at digitalfilms.com has a detailed post about using a variety of approaches to one of Final Cut Pro’s weak links: Media Management.
Peters is an editor who works in multiple edit programs – Final Cut and Avid, primarily – and “the shortcomings of FCP media management become apparent when projects are moved around among different edit systems, hard drives and editors.”
He recommends some tools, such as FCP Reconnect, QTchange, both from netherlands-based VideoToolShed.
The post covers aspects such as renaming, relinking with XML, and consolidating clips.
Peters notes that “VideoToolShed’s FcpReconnect is one of a number of applications being developed to fill in the gaps of Final Cut Pro’s media management. It’s clear to see that with a little care, it doesn’t take much to make FCP a far more robust NLE.”
Rodney Charters is a New Zealand-born cinematographer who has worked on a variety of big-budget movies and who, like many in his trade, has made the switch from 35mm film cameras to the high-end HD video camcorders.
Mac video has an interview with him in which he discusses camera technology – specifically RED, the Arri Alexa cameras, and the DSLRs that have risen to prominence.
“As in the stills world, almost anybody can now by a camera with quality as good as the pros use,” he says.”It’s going to sort of level the playing field, and anybody can come forward by buying a $2,500 Canon 5D Mk II… and people will say “this is brilliant filmmaking.”
He says “It’s really about lighting…”
Alex Gibney is getting some blowback on the tone of his newest documentary, “Casino Jack,” and the criticism comes for an approach to this film, on high-profile influence peddler (and DC lobbyist) Jack Abramoff, that wasn’t in his last two, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and the Academy Award-winning “Taxi to the Dark Side.”
The Deseret News’s Jeff Vice refers to the tone of the film as “flippant,” and makes the case it detracted from an otherwise excellent work. Vice says,
The continually snarky, almost goofy tone is reminiscent of what Michael Moore might have done with this story.
And while approaching this story too seriously could have made it too dour for some audiences, this take on things actually detracts from smart, heady material. The jokier parts also help pad out an already long-winded examination of insider politics, corporate greed and human tragedy.
The “Michael Moore Effect” has been a factor in the films of the last decade, especially as less-expensive technology has made it easier for people to enter filmmaking. Moore made it OK for the filmmaker to be the star of his own film. Some have emulated and succeeded (Morgan Spurlock) and legions have tried and failed, often polluting their own subject with their determined intrusiveness. The trend of actors suddenly becoming documentarians seems rooted in the notion that documentary is just one more way of getting your face in front of a camera. And even highly regarded films such as “The Cove” have been testament to the Moore Effect – In the Academy Award-winning “Cove,” Louie Psihoyos positions himself quite well and quite prominently as crusading swashbuckler, with no apparent compunction. It seems more odd these days when you don’t see the documentarian on camera – such as in Gibney’s films.
And the fact is, Gibney, for his critical success, would not be picked out of a police lineup, whereas Moore has become a personality recognizable by people who haven’t seen his films. To us, that may be a badge of honor, but as Vice notes, approach matters as well, saying…
…the tone seems completely inappropriate.
If Gibney can’t take the subject of human slavery — in the Marianas islands — seriously, how can we?
YouTube as a venue for video work has always had the challenge of overcrowding – when there is no selectivity, it is the viewer who must wade through the morass. And a study shows that the YouTube window is shrinking. The average YouTube video has 50 percent of its views within 6 days, and 75 percent of its views within 20 days. In 2008, it took 14 days to get to the 50 percent threshold and 44 days to get to 75 percent.
Part of that may be due to the increasing number of news-related videos going up, and of course many bloggers post video with their daily posts. But it also indicates that in the YouTube ether, videos generally lack staying power.
For the filmmaker putting a trailer out on YouTube, it’s worth considering how to makes its effectiveness move beyond that 6-day threshold. It can include embedding or linking in any press releases, updating in posts on the film’s blog or website, using substantial keywording, and linking the trailer in comments to any mention or publicity on the film. As with films generally today, it takes work on the filmmaker’s part not to let the work just fade away.
Jon Reiss is the guest blogger at Truly Free Films and says “Proper Prior Planning Prevent Perplexing Problems.” Reiss, well-known for his advocacy of hybrid, self-distribution, makes a thoughtful case, of which we’ve pulled the topic headings here:
1. To provide a systematic way to train a new cadre of crew people to be responsible for the distribution and marketing tasks on a film. I call these new crew people Producers of Marketing and Distribution.
2. Filmmakers who have no intention of shooting their films still take classes in (or read books about) cinematography so as to understand the art.
3. As independent filmmakers, we need to be prepared to take on any task in the filmmaking process, because we are never sure if we will have someone else to do that task for us.
4. Maybe, just maybe, in learning about distribution and marketing you might discover some new creative way to express your vision that you did not previously know existed.
5. Maybe, if you are interested, you might create a long-term relationship with a core audience, that might help to sustain you as an artist.
The full post is excellent reading, and the key thought in almost all of Reiss’s posts is that the filmmaker can be involved in all facets of the craft, often because of the ease of use of new technology. He says,
The central point is this: Don’t limit yourself. Open up your arms to the vast amount of creative potential that awaits you, and do so with the collaboration of others who are eager to help you. I believe this should be the model for us as a community to face the new financial realities of our world.