Re: [Frameworks] The Digital Video Exhibition Problem: And An Offer To Address It

From: Beebe,Roger W (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Dec 04 2010 - 14:38:13 PST

Aren't there some obvious arguments against Blu-Ray? Like discs are horribly easy to scratch & Macs don't come with Blu-Ray burners at present (so makers would have to learn a whole new set of tricks & add another external gadget) & that like DVDs a Blu-Ray disc can also have mysterious glitches that make it impossible to play on specific decks (as recently happened to us at FLEX--although we were able to find another deck to replace the one that wouldn't work)?

Not sure why a file-based system seems less elegant than that.

Two cents,
G'ville, FL

On Dec 4, 2010, at 2:56 PM, Aaron F. Ross wrote:

> Blu-ray is the obvious choice for festivals and
> distribution. It's a solid format that poses no
> significant technical hurdles beyond those of
> standard DVD authoring. So I don't know what the
> fuss is about, or why it's being adopted so
> slowly. I've been waiting for this since the
> 80's, now it's here, and people aren't using it. What up with that?
> This business of using Quicktime or iTunes for
> exhibition is really not a good idea. I
> understand it's cheap and convenient, but
> festivals and museums should have higher
> standards than that. There are about a billion
> variables when playing multimedia files on a
> computer, I won't bore anyone with all of them,
> but suffice to say it's a minefield of problems for everyone.
> If we want our work to look good, we should be
> using Blu-ray. End of story. But in my recent
> volley of submissions to festivals, the only ones
> I saw that accepted Blu-ray were 1) HDFEST, and 2) Cannes Independent.
> Aaron
> At 12/4/2010, you wrote:
>> Based on a number of conversations on and off
>> list, Iíve come to the conclusion that our
>> community is facing a systemic problem in
>> distributing and screening work (whatever its
>> origination) in the new digital forms. I also
>> think I happen to have the ability to offer a solution.
>> The Good News:
>> Digital video technology now offers the
>> possibility of creating very high quality copies
>> of moving image work at low cost, and the
>> ability to play these copies on low cost hardware.
>> The Bad News:
>> This is creating what the kids would call a
>> Ďcluster#$%*í. There are no widely accepted
>> standards, too many options. Too few makers, and
>> staff at festivals, schools, galleries etc.
>> really understand how the new technologies work.
>> So they fumble with the tools and make needless
>> mistakes. The parties wind up making
>> unreasonable demands of one another: e.g. the
>> exhibitor expects the maker to submit work in
>> format X (say HDCAM), which will cost the maker
>> an unreasonable amount for a dub, OR the maker
>> expects an exhibitor to be able to screen the
>> work in format X (maybe the HDCAM she was forced
>> to make by the last exhibitor), which the
>> exhibitor doesnít have and would cost thousands
>> to acquire. Almost everybody (except for Bart
>> Weiss) is way behind the technology curve,
>> dealing in specs that are not only costly, but
>> all-but-obsolete (HDCAM, Digibeta). Attempts to
>> resolve these technical issues on a case-by-case
>> basis produce massive wastes of time and mental energy.
>> So what happens is that: A) too often showings
>> default to the lowest common denominator, the
>> plain old SD-DVD. The result being playback in a
>> mediocre quality that is still subject to
>> problems if the makers donít know to avoid the
>> many sub-standard blank discs on the market, or
>> donít know how to use their compression,
>> authoring and burning software without running
>> into the little hidden traps. Or B) stuff simply doesn't get shown at all.
>> How to Fix It:
>> It has to start with the exhibitors. They can do
>> this individually, but it would be better if as
>> many as possible banded together for the sake of
>> efficiency and standard setting. They would
>> obtain the services of a savvy consultant, who
>> would A) help them set up their playback
>> facilities to accompany a reasonable range of
>> cost effective, high quality digital formats, B)
>> help them create clear and precise guidelines
>> for makers on what formats are acceptable, what
>> specs need to be met etc., C) create clear
>> tutorials for makers on how to produce copies of
>> their work in the appropriate forms, using
>> common tools (like Final Cut Studio) and/or
>> tools that are free or very cheap (MPEG Streamclip, Quicktime ProÖ)
>> Who Could Set This Up:
>> Well, me, for one. For a teacher/maker/scholar I
>> have a lot of geeky tech knowledge, and Iíve
>> dealt with all these issues successfully in
>> terms of running screenings at my old school,
>> and sending out HD shorts to various festivals
>> that have been in various states of confusion
>> about this (again props to Bart for having the
>> Dallas Videofest on the tipÖ). That is, I've
>> actually done the stuff I'd be proposing, so I
>> know it works. I also happen got be in a
>> position where I can take the time to do this,
>> since Iím out of teaching due to health problems
>> that prevent me from keeping up with the regular
>> grind, but wouldnít preclude working on something like this.
>> What Would It Cost:
>> Alas, Iím not in a position to do this pro bono,
>> but I wouldnít be looking to make big bucks,
>> just get my expenses covered basically. What
>> that would amount to would depend on how much
>> someone would want me to do, and would be
>> cheaper if indeed several exhibitors pooled
>> their efforts, since a certain amount of the
>> work (creating tutorials; putting info on the
>> web) would be redundant. You would need a small
>> budget for some new equipment, probably just a
>> few hundred dollars (the whole point being good
>> results can now be ached on the cheap if you
>> know how). An exhibitor might want to upgrade
>> their video projector or sound system, which
>> would not be cheap, but would be optional. I
>> would, of course, stand behind anything I would
>> do, and provide follow-up to address any kinks that might arise.
>> How Long Would The Solution Survive Before It Becomes Obsolete:
>> Well, I donít have a crystal ball, but I figure
>> the basic HDTV spec is good for at least 10
>> years, and once effective and inexpensive means
>> are established for working with those
>> parameters, the arrival of some new gadget wonít
>> upset the fundamental apple-cart. The most
>> important thing, IMHO, is to end the chaos NOW,
>> but I do think an effective system will not only
>> do that, but stay functional for quite awhile.
>> Why Am I Putting Myself Forward:
>> Basically, I find the situation frustrating and
>> annoying even from a distance; I am confident I
>> have the ability to make things better; it would
>> give me personal satisfaction to solve problems
>> for a community I care about; it would give me
>> something to do and get me out of the house; Iím
>> in a position to do this for less than any sort
>> of ĎAV professionalí would charge (and Iíd do a
>> much better job); I not aware of anyone else
>> making any effort to address the issueÖ These
>> factors would make up for the fact that the work
>> involved isnít necessarily fun, and can be quite
>> frustrating. Which is why Iím not willing to do
>> it absolutely for free. But my intent here is anything but mercenaryÖ
>> In Conclusion:
>> Please pass this msg. along to anyone you think
>> might be interested. Anyone with an interest, or
>> with questions, please contact me off-list at (address suppressed)
>> _______________________________________________
>> FrameWorks mailing list
>> email suppressed
> -------------------------------------------
> Aaron F. Ross
> Digital Arts Guild
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