4th crowd-funded Blender movie: open-source VFX in Amsterdam

February 17, 2012

While unfortunately I just missed the deadline for getting a credit in the movie I still of course pre-ordered my Project Mango DVD, the Blender Institute’s new open-movie project! This one is about upgrading Blender in the visual effects (VFX) department.

I do have a feeling that they could need one or the other new feature for post production/editing on the way and this can only be good for Blender’s VSE (Video Sequence Editor) –  my tool of choice for (video) editing, a wonderful minimal style – yet quite powerful – free and open-source solution that works on/across all platforms: share/edit your .blends across Linux, Windows or Mac – this simply just works!

Concept art: CC 3.0, Blender Foundation

From the press release:

The new short film – code named Mango – is a short story about a disastrous break-up that almost leads to the destruction of planet Earth. It will be filmed on several locations in Amsterdam. A team of six artists and three developers will be working for half a year on realising the visual effects for the film. As for previous short films, the online community will be able to assist on tasks as well. Premiere is being targeted at September 2012.

The 3D tool Blender – open source since 2002 – has steadily been growing to become a popular and serious 3D package for artists. This is thanks to the very active participation of its online community; 3D artists, 3D developers, studios and universities all over the world. A recent development is that also renowned Hollywood studios are opening up parts of their technology. Blender will be the first program to bring together work from ILM (OpenEXR, Alembic), Sony Pictures Imageworks (OpenShading, OpenColor, OpenImageIO) and Disney (PTex).

Check out the project’s blog, pre-order your own copy and support open-source VFX/video post production – as recent months have shown it is indeed a very good idea to have (open-source) alternatives ready: the apple that looked so fresh only a while ago now seems more and more rotten down to the core with every day going by…!

Update: I just saw that yesterday Blender 2.62 was released: see the release log, download Blender for your platform or read the announcement and discussion on Blendernation.

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Bruce McClure projection performance/three day seminar at Schule Friedl Kubelka in Vienna, October 2011

October 24, 2011

This is not-a-filmmaker performing

Two old school 16mm projectors each loaded with (a sandwich of) loops consisting of short pieces of “black” (basically non-transparent) emulsion and bleached (= transparent) emulsion arranged in rhythmical patterns are pointed to the center of the cinema’s screen where they create one single black/white flickering round corner 4:3 window-like shape – covering only something like 1/3 or so of the actual screen.

Two flickering strobe lights (during the first part of the performance) – positioned in front of the screen on the left and right – are pointed to the screen as well.

The what might be described (superficially) as hardcore avantgarde techno music (first part of the performance) is basically generated by what the optical sound head of (one of) the projectors makes of the rhythmically arranged non-transparent/transparent pieces of 16mm film, this sound being manipulated live by going through a series of  distortion pedals and other quite basic analogue sound (mixing) equipment.

Additionally the brightness of the projector’s lamps is being manipulated live as well.

That’s a rough (and possibly a bit inaccurate) description of the technical setup that Bruce McClure used for his “Smells Like Teen Spirit 1991? 2011?” projection performance at the Tonkino Saalbau in Vienna on October 20th, 2011.

This was not-a-movie cinematic experience

The actual experience as a member of the audience was nothing less than mind blowing. It was one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve ever had. Really. And there was no movie to see – at least not a movie in the classical sense.

Before the performance started earplugs were handed out. I ended up not using mine. Yet it was loud. Really loud. Think of going to a rock concert and being somewhere up front close to the speakers. With the difference that there is no band playing but you are watching those hardcore flickering patterns while the artist is creating his music sitting in the back of the room next to/underneath the 16mm projectors working on that old school analogue sound equipment as well as manipulation the brightness of the projector’s lamps.

Basically there were two things you would see: that what happens externally (the performance as described above) and that what happens internally. It’s hard to say which part was more interesting. In other words: think of something like a psychedelic experience while being 100% sober. I had not smoked anything that night. Yet when I left the cinema after the performance (first part 25 min., short break, second part 35 min.) I was pretty loaded. That is loaded with ideas I’ve had for my own project(s) that I’m thinking of at the moment:

This is not-a-classic-film school

Thing is I am back to film school. (I previously did the L.I.F.S., now just L.F.S. back in the early-mid ’90.)

Yes, that’s right, me being 40 years old and now having explored (some of) the basics of 3D/animation (using Blender) for the last couple of years I decided it’s time to go back to the roots of filmmaking – in order to come back later to what I do with 3D and hoping to find that unique combination of (minimal) 3D, (analogue/avantgarde) filmmaking and digital post production/compositing that I am looking for for my own future projects.

This is a new chapter in my filmmaker’s journey, my own quest in trying to combine all my skills and trying to create something that I am happy with and that others are willing to pay money for. Basically I still think I can make movies and sell art without becoming a prostitute. Maybe that’s (still) naive. But I won’t give up trying.

So last Wednesday was our first meeting at Schule Friedl Kubelka. We are only 10 students and everything here is close to no-budget and (at school) is happening in a rather confined space, Friedl Kubelka’s Atelier/flat. Projects are shot on either Super-8 or 16mm, we will be developing (and for 16mm) printing film ourselves using the filmkoop wien facilities. While editing may happen digitally (for Super-8) my plan is to avoid digital post production – at least for the picture – and  go back to the Steenbeck for editing (16mm) and then cut the negative myself – that I have never done before.

So while sitting in Bruce McClure’s projector performance last Thursday my inner eye was seeing that (possible) project to be made at some point in those coming eight months till the end of May 2012 when school ends. (I still live in Berlin and come to Vienna for the workshops, some key events etc.)

Following the performance at the Tonkino Saalbau last Thursday we had our seminar with Bruce McClure at film school on Friday, Saturday and Sunday last week:

This was not-a-workshop with Bruce McClure

There are a couple of things that Bruce McClure does not like: don’t call him a filmmaker. At least not after he told you he does not want to be called a filmmaker. You also might not want to call him an artist. And what he does is not a-r-t. Yet you might say he does t-a-r. He is much more happy with that.

Another thing that Bruce McClure does not do is give workshops. So what we had was not a three day workshop with BruceMcClure who is not a filmmaker and not an artist. Now that’s the short version.

The slightly longer version is this:

For three days we slowly, very s-l-o-w-l-y, went back exploring – opening one thread after the other, maybe coming back to it, maybe not – for three days we s-l-o-w-l-y went back exploring the roots of what a (presumably) moving (think strobe lights and a hand and its shadow) image is, for three days we s-l-o-w-l-y went back exploring – while freely associating and drifting to a new topic that came up and then coming back, for three days we s-l-o-w-l-y went back exploring the roots and fundamental basics of (re)producing (live) a (presumably) moving image in its most radically reduced form (loops consisting of rhythmical patterns of (non-)transparent (“black”) emulsion), we s-l-o-w-l-y for three days, sometimes painfully s–l–o–w–l–y went back for three days to our ancestor’s caves, their paintings and fire flickering, while we had two strobe lights and one single projector, one loop of found footage plus on top of that those loops Bruce McClure designs (sandwiched/laced up on top of each other, going through the 16mm projector), for three days we s-l-o-w-l-y kept going deeper, and deeper and deeper back to the roots of what a cinematic performance/moving images – and sound – may consist of in their very basic and reduced form.

There also was quite a lot of theory text reading. Excerpts here, a quote there.  S-l-o-w-l-y. Chewing one sentence after the other. Sometimes almost word by word. And then starting all over again after the first paragraph. Reading the same text once more. Chewing one sentence after the other. S-l-o-w-l-y.

Partly it was painful. At one point on the first day in the afternoon I had an impulse to just get up and go. And maybe come back the next day – or not. Yet having seen the performance first I knew I could/should trust Bruce McClure, who is not a filmmaker and not an artist and who gave not a workshop for three days.

So in the end I stayed (and so did everyone else). Going through what happened – both externally and internally – in those three days was definitely worth it in the end. Not everything was pleasant and that’s how it seems Bruce McClure wanted it: “I like to make people suffer” he said more than once. Yet I would question that. Here is my theory, be it something he did consciously or not: due to the s-l-o-w and often repetitive process of getting to a point via freely associating, going one way, coming back another and so on you end up being tired and your mind may drift to a more dream-like state. Just like at the performance at the Tonkino Saalbau. And possibly just like that state of mind where your brain is happy to learn new stuff, that state where you are open for new ideas or prepared to go deeper, and deeper, and deeper and deeper…

I should add that Bruce drew a lot of sketches to make a point. So the spoken/written word was translate to an image/icon for us to see. The workshop that Bruce – who is not a filmmaker and not an artist – did not give was, while minimal, still done with a multisensory approach.

Once in a while Bruce said a couple of other notable things in between our discussions like: “At home I eat shit every day.”

Did I mention he is not an artist and he did not give a workshop for three days…?

So in the morning of the second day of that workshop that Bruce McClure – who is not filmmaker and not an artist – did not give he was sitting outside in the courtyard waiting for us to arrive. (Wearing shorts while it was pretty cold. To make those who are late “feel guilty”.) When I arrived I had a short conversation with him and I said something that – seemed to – upset him:

Bruce: So you think I’m a jerk…?!

Me: Yes.

Bruce: Thank you!

Me: You’re welcome.

We then all went to church. That is we tried to get in but the actual entrance inside the building was closed. Bruce McClure’s former day job used to be the one of an architect. Hence the interest in that small church close to our school. Later in the afternoon when Bruce set up one of his projectors – using a compass and pointing it North our visit to that church was mentioned again, in regards to the geographic direction of how it was built. The found footage loop we went on watching – each time for 10 minutes – without sound, with sound and with one of his loops laced/sandwiched on top showed pelicans. One of them just took off and flew away. As one of us observed the bird was flying exactly South – that is in relation to Bruce’s projector/the screen that was pointing exactly North.

Bruce was quite thankful for that observation because this was the way he intended it to be – the bird flying South while the projector was pointing North – he simply had forgotten to actually mention it.

P.S.

If you are reading this and were there in those last couple of days feel free to comment and possibly let me know if I got e.g. some of the description of the performance at the Toonkino Saalbau wrong, if you feel something important is missing, if you disagree with what I write, you just want to add your own thoughts or link your own related blog entry etc.

This blog is published under a Creative Commons license – BY-NC-ND 3.0 – that e.g. allows you to copy/republish this text for non-commercial use as long as you give me credit.

Comments belong to their authors.

This blog currently gets around 600-700 hits/months. The unique visitors number may be quite a bit lower. A large part of the traffic comes via Google and people searching/reading only specific blog posts. Yet depending on how much I write etc. there may be about 100-200 (unique…?) visitors checking out the blog’s main page each month. Most of those might be interested in 3D, video and/or film. It’s a small platform but over the years I think I am able to reach at least a part of that audience that this blog is meant for. Why I mention this…? If you have something to say and comment there is a chance that – over time – those you may want to reach will actually read your comment. They might never contact you or let you know that they have read what you wrote. But your thoughts are out there and – over time – become part of a wider discussion about independent and/or avantgarde filmmaking etc.

Thanks for reading.

Update 25.10.11:

As usual when writing a longer blog post I now went through the text once more after publishing it and found/got rid of a couple of (minor) spelling etc. mistakes. English not being my first language and blessed with a dyslexic talent writing these things takes hours, sometimes days.

Also when thinking of that short projector/pelican story I’m wondering if something here may be 90° the wrong way round – or not. Maybe I’m misquoting directions, maybe not. Yet the essence of that story is still 100% true. So I leave it the way it is. Also: mistakes can be a true source of inspiration for new discoveries. That’s simply how we learn.

Underneath I now uploaded three pictures I took this morning of Bruce McClure’s program he handed out before the performance at the Tonkino Saalbau. I publish those images under traditional copyright since I am not the author of that program. I only took those pictures.

The third one may be the most interesting since it shows a sketch of those loops that Bruce McClure used for his performance and I have not mentioned those details in the text.

Update 26.10.11:

I just realised Bruce McClure’s performance at the Tonkino Saalbau took place on October 20th, 2011 (an not on October 25th as it says on the program – the location was Flachgasse 25…). So I changed the dates in my text even though the images say something different.

Additionally I also made it clearer where those two strobe lights – description performance beginning of text – were actually located.

Click the images (“open in new tab”) to see a larger version:

Detail (from page 1 out of 4) of the program for Bruce McClure’s projection performance at the Tonkino Saalbau in Vienna on October 20th, 2011

Page 4 (out of 4) of the program for Bruce McClure’s projection performance at the Tonkino Saalbau in Vienna on October 20th, 2011

Detail (from page 4 out of 4) of the program for Bruce McClure’s projection performance at the Tonkino Saalbau in Vienna on October 20th, 2011


Lightworks: (sort of) open-source NLE available now, first impressions

December 5, 2010

Lightworks is the grandfather of NLEs and went open-source, well at least sort of, a couple of days ago: it currently only works under Windows (so no use for me at this point) and you need to register. There is no source code available yet and Mac and Linux versions are said to be available later in 2011.

So this is basically like an Alpha/Beta test run for getting started with Lightworks if you don’t mind using Windows and know what you are doing.

Having seen Paul give a Lightworks demo at our last final BUG meeting I was still quite impressed. So assuming the source code will be released in 2011 and all remaining issues they might have will be solved I definitely can see the potential here:

* I believe after seeing that 30 min. or so demo I’d feel comfortable enough to start editing/working on a (short test) project without any further manual reading (assuming I’d have a stable version already installed). Lightworks is pretty easy and intuitive to use while also being different to others NLEs:

* Basically there is not much to see at first except for that left hand (floating) side bar with those icons. What you then do is choose the tools you need for the particular task you wish to perform. So at first it’s tabula rasa and not the usual timeline with the player/recorder (or whatever they might be called) windows on top. Experienced Blender (2.49b) users will be familiar with this kind of philosophy…

* It has advanced trimming features some of which not even Avid has. Again these tools are easy to use, also easier compared to what you need to do in Avid and certainly much easier and much more useful than what in comparison seem to be only half hearted trimming features in FCP.

* While the Blender VSE (see my Tutorials page for more) is a wonderful, minimal style NLE that already works on all major platforms and will most probably remain my tool of choice for my own (3D) shorts, Lightworks has the potential of becoming something like the LibreOffice (was OpenOffice) of the NLE world: it’s a specialised tool for (film) editing, it’s very powerful, quite elegant and has a well known track record in the industry.

From the Lightworks website:

Having cut hundreds of films such as Pulp Fiction, The Departed, Centurion and Shutter Island, it includes a full feature set of editorial tools, from advanced trimming and media management, through to stereoscopic support and realtime effects including multiple secondary colour correctors.”

In any case: competition is always good for the users. :-)

There will be another Lightworks session at the next final BUG meeting, so drop by if you are in Berlin and want to check out what may well turn out to be the (open-source) film and video editing solution in the not so distant future.

So Avid, FCP and all others beware of that shark…!

Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne

Und die trägt er im Gesicht

Und Macheath, der hat ein Messer

Doch das Messer sieht man nicht

(Source)

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear,

And he shows them pearly white

Just a jack-knife has Macheath dear

And he keeps it out of sight

(Source)


31.12.10: Closing this blog, taking all my media offline and moving from Berlin…? Reason: JMStV

November 30, 2010

Be it a wicked plan to install some serious online censorship in Germany or simply corruption and incompetence, it now looks like the very controversial German Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) may well be signed soon and could become binding law from January 1st, 2011 on. Blogs machen wegen neuen Jugendschutz-Regelungen dicht (www.heise.de)

The legal hoops for a small blog like mine with self produced media content (incl. links and “making available for free download” of my own feature film Vincent, 44 min., 16mm > 35mm blow-up, made in Austria in 1996/2003) seem too complicated, expensive and for sure too risky to take without legal advice, that I now seriously ponder about doing the following:

* remove my indiworks.wordpress.com blog
* remove my indiworks.blip.tv videoblog
* remove all my online videos from the Internet Archive (incl. Vincent and His Girl Friday – Between the lines edit (www.archive.org) as well as all my 3D shorts)

and

* move from Berlin/Germany to another EU country where I find political sanity and understanding of new media/online art/blogging etc.

If you happen to be a new media investor, blogger, artist, film maker etc. planning to move to Berlin/Germany (as I did in 1999) because you’ve heard of a vibrant, off-mainstream (online) art/media scene:

* you may want to think twice now and keep a close look at the events unfolding in the days and weeks to come and opt for another location than Berlin/Germany for your investments and business to be

* it may well be that we now only have 31 days left until a de facto censorship law will make it easy for (big media) lawyers to either get rid of your work or to force you into classifying your work with a (from) “18” (years on) label

I do hope that EU commissioner Neelie Kroes (and her staff), who recently held a vibrant speech for a copyright reform (europa.eu) will recognise these established media tactics for what they are: force indie content provider (self made, original works!) to shut down distribution of their e.g. Creative Commons licensed works using laws like the Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) that is really only going to be there to help big media widen it’s existing monopoly-like position.

Not only copyright law needs to be reformed but Europe also needs to protect art and artist from hidden censorship like the German Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV).

In other words: even if you are trying very hard to abide to the already very restrictive copyright and “intellectual property” laws (e.g. doing remix works with Public Domain footage like myself) you may still get into expensive legal troubles or have to label your work with only for “18” in order to be on the safe side. I’d rather move to another country. Thank you very much Greens for betraying us (parlamentarische-zwaenge.de)! Yet another reason for only voting Pirate Party in all future elections!!!

So this in short is why I now soon may have to say:

Goodbye to Berlin

Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome

Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret

Update(s):

see also:

http://t3n.de/news/neuer-jmstv-286977/

http://www.schockwellenreiter.de/blog/2010/11/30/jmstv-und-weiter/

http://yuccatree.de/2010/11/jugendmedienschutz-staatsvertrag-bundeslander-beschliesen-juristisches-chaos-fur-blogger/

http://blog.pantoffelpunk.de/brechmittel/wieder-neue-wahlplakate-der-gruenen-geleakt

http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/0,1518,732060,00.html

http://www.netzpolitik.org/2010/wider-das-grose-blogschliesen-wegen-des-jmstv/

http://www.netzpolitik.org/2010/jugendmedienschutz-wende-nach-dem-shitstor/

http://www.netzpolitik.org/2010/jmstv-in-berlin-parlamentarische-zwange-auch-bei-der-linken/

http://www.golem.de/1011/79772.html

http://ak-zensur.de/

and some first legal analysis (found via http://blog.fefe.de/):

http://blog.beck.de/2010/11/30/jugendmedienstaatsvertrag-und-altersfreigabe-im-internet

yet more…:

http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2010-11/gruene-nrw-internet-jugendschutz

http://www.testspiel.de/archives/2010/11/30/linksammlung-zum-jugendmedienschutz-staatvertrag-jmstv/ (more links, some listed here some not)

http://berlinnow.org/?p=737

http://www.robertbasic.de/2010/11/jmstv-novellierung-herkunft-und-gruende/

http://www.indiskretionehrensache.de/2010/11/deutschlands-parteien-unwahlbar-eine-wutrede/

http://itspublique.de/archives/8795

and don’t forget:

https://twitter.com/gruenenrw/status/9305356467445760:

Wir sind weiterhin gegen den #JMStV, die Fraktion hat sich aufgrund parlamentarischer Zwänge anders entschlossen.

some more links:

http://pressetext.at/news/101201003/internet-jugendschutz-geht-an-realitaet-vorbei/

http://diepresse.com/home/techscience/internet/614762/Jugendschutz_Deutschland-droht-die-InternetWueste

and not much more to say than that one…

http://www.fischfresse.de/2010/11/jugendschutz-medien-der-neue-jmstv-satire-jugendmedienschutz-staatsvertrag/

31.12.10: Closing this blog, taking all my media offline and moving from Berlin…? Reason: Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV)

 

Be it a wicked plan to install some serious online censorship in Germany or simply incompetence or corruption, it now looks like the controversial German Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) may well be signed next Thursday and could become binding law from January 1st, 2011.

 

The legal hoops a small blog like mine with self produced media content (incl. links and making availabel for free download of my own feature film Vincent, 44 min., 16mm > 35mm blow-up, made in 1996/2003) seem to comlicated, expensive and for sure risky to take without legal advice, that I now seriously ponder about doing the following:

 

* remove my indiworks.wordpress.com blog

* remove indiworks.blip.tv

* remove all my online videos from the Internet Archive (incl. Vincent and His Girl Friday – Beetween the lines edit as well as all my 3D shorts)

* move from Berlin/Germany to another EU country where I find political sanity and understanding of new media/online art/blogging etc.

 

If you happen to be a new media investor, blooger, artist, film maker etc. planning to move to Berlin/Germany (as I did in 1999) because you’ve heard of a vibrant, off-maistream (online) art/media scene:

 

* you may want to think twice now and keep a close look at the events unfolding in the days and weeks to come

 

* it may well be that we now only have 31 days left until a semi-corporate-fascist supported law will make it easy for (big media) lawyers to either get rid of your work or to force you into classifying your work with a (from) “18” (years on) label

 

I do hope that EU commisoner Croes, who recently held a vibrant speech for a copyright reform http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/10/619&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en will recongnise the established media tactics for what they are: force indie content provider (self made, original works!) to shut down distribution of their e.g. Creative Commons licensed works because of laws like the Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) that is really only going to be there to help big media widen it’s monopoly like position.

 

In oder words: even if you are trying very hard to abide to the currently already very restrictive copyright and “intelectual property” laws (e.g. doing remix works with Public Domain footage like myself) you may still get into expensive legal troubles or have to label your work with only for “18” to be on the safe side.

 

Good-by to Berlin

 

Corporate Fascism is about to start in 31 days.

Meine Damen und Herren,

Wilkommen, Bienvenue…

Au Cabaret, au cabaret, au cabaret…

 


18+, “looking younger”…? Depictions of your naked body may be illegal in the EU soon!

November 25, 2010

A new EU legislative proposal may well in fact turn out to be a de facto criminalisation of any kind of “erotic” depiction of adults who, in the eye of a judge, may “look younger than 18”: EU verbietet erotische Darstellungen von Erwachsenen (EU banning erotic depictions of adults) (www.pornoanwalt.de).


“David” by Michelangelo can – at this point – still be seen at the Galleria dell’ Accademia, Florence/Italy

(Source: Wikipedia)

In the near future it may not matter how old you actually are (!!!), “erotic” depictions of your naked body or any erotic material may be highly illegal to produce or possess, even if you can prove that those involved are e.g. 25!

Of course there is a very cynical pretext, this legislative proposal says it aims at child pornography. Yet de facto this is “freedom from porn” the way Steve Jobs was preaching it. This law should be a pope’s wet dream come true…

So e.g. if your partner happens to be Asian and you made some nude snapshots on the beach you may already be out of luck: if a European judge feels that your Asian partner “looks younger than 18” you and your partner may already be in serious legal troubles.

And what about art…? Caravaggio’s nude boy in “Amor Vincit Omnia”…? Will it have to be moved from the museum…? Could Michaelangelo’s David not seem (too) erotic and look like he was under age…? Careful if you are a film maker and planing a coming of age drama! I guess Larry Clark’s “Kids” could already be highly problematic in this context…

Of course a whole generation of Xtube, Porntube etc. (young) adults of 18+ will face a serious problem: if someone thinks you “look (!!!) under 18” it will be enough to criminalise you and your fans. Your ID card will not help you here! And once e.g. a news paper writes that you have produced or possessed child porn it will be almost impossible to defend your good name.

“Amor Vincit Omnia” by Caravaggio can – at this point – still be seen at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin/Germany

(Source: Wikipedia)

This really is simply how censorship starts. Just take a delicate topic like CP, broaden the definition and once the laws are put in place it will be easy to use this to get rid of anyone you wish to target. An art book with nude paintings or a David Hamilton photography book may be enough. And an erotic Manga style comic book may be even more dangerous to possess… Also be sure to get rid of that old sex education book or your parent’s naturist guide from the 1960s, it may well get you in serious trouble!

I wonder if those “looking younger than 18” or those possessing “erotic” depictions of those “looking younger than 18” will at one point have to wear some kind of label…? I suggest a star. Pink should do. This worked before and should work again.

As the lawyer linked from that article above says: this legislative proposal does not help children at all, actual victims of CP. What it does is possibly criminalise any “erotic” depiction of those who are 18+ and it also potentially criminalises a whole generation of teens/young adults. The only legal porn in Europe then would be one for and with old people. I’m sure there is a market too. Yet all youngsters and couples who might share nude pics and videos among one another or anyone using sites like Porntube could easily face jail time. So if you are a parent beware of your teenage kids: their naked bodies are about to be declared “illegal”. Be prepared to visit them in prison.

Europe beware. It looks like a storm is coming. (Corporate) Fascism is definitely just around the corner. This one is about censorship and the pretext is as cynical as it could possibly get.

And what a coincidence that at the same time the TSA porn scanners, that are according to experts not helping with safety at all, but as Americans found out are only there to humiliate you, are being installed at an airport near you. This is all about intimidation and control. “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.”

ACTA is on the way (EU-Parlament begrüßt Anti-Piraterie-Abkommen ACTA/EU parliament welcomes Anti-Piracy-Agreement ACTA) (www.heise.de), “terror warnings” make the round and lobbyists are trying to pass laws that will bring us back to the middle age. That’s real “freedom from porn”. By all means do enjoy your iPad – while you still can…

It’s so good to know that young people will still be sent to fight wars and while they may drive a car and buy alcohol at (around) 18, “erotic” depictions of  their bodies and their sexual practices may soon be illegal and could destroy their and their loved one’s lives.

I also wonder if those very young, semi-nude boys with wings in all those Catholic Churches around Europe will then have to be removed one day too…? Probably they will be exempt from censorship for “religious” reasons – now that the pope has allowed condoms for male prostitutes it looks like these are going to be good times indeed for those highly respected moral guardians of our society. Think of the children…!

Witches will be hunted. Books will be burned. Again.

 

18+, “looking younger”…? Depictions of your naked body may be illegal in the EU soon!

 

A controversial EU legislative proposal may well in fact turn out to be a de facto criminalisation for any kind of “erotic” depiction of adults who, in the eye of a judge, may “look younger than 18”.

 

In the near future it might not matter how old you actually are (!!!), “erotic” depictions of your naked body or any erotic material may be highly illegal to produce or possess, even if you can prove that those involved are e.g. 25!

 

Of course there is a very cynical pretext, this legislative proposal says it aims at child pornography. Yet de facto this is “freedom from porn” the way Steve Jobs was preaching it, this law really should be a pope’s wet dream come true.

 

So e.g. if your partner happens to be Asian and you made some nude snapshots on the beach you may already be out of luck: if a European judge feels that your Asian partner “looks younger than 18” you and your partner may already be in serious legal troubles.

 

And what about art…? Caravaggio’s nude boy in ““Amor Vincit Omnia”…? Will it have to be moved from the museum…? Could Michaelangelo’s David not seem (too) erotic and look like he was under age…? Careful if you are a film maker and planing a coming of age drama! I guess Larry Clark’s “Kids” could already be highly problematic in this context…

 

Of course a whole generation of Xtube, Porntube etc. (young) adults of 18+ will face a serious problem: if someone thinks you “look under 18” it will be enough to criminalise you and your fans. Your ID card will not help you here! And once e.g. a news paper prints that you have produced or possessed child porn it will be almost impossible to defend your good name.

 

This really is simply how censorship starts. Just take a delicate topic like CP, broaden the definition and once the laws are put in place it will be easy to use this to get rid of anyone you wish to target. An art book with Caravaggio paintings or a Larry Clark photography book may be enough. And an erotic Manga style comic book may be even more dangerous to posses… Also be sure to get rid of that old sex education book or your parent’s naturist book from the 1960′, it may well get you in serious trouble!

 

I wonder if those “looking younger than 18” or those possessing “erotic” depictions of those “looking younger than 18” will at one point have to wear some kind of mark…? I suggest a star. Pink or yellow should do. This worked before and should work again!

 

As the lawyer linked from that article above says: this legislative proposal does not at all help children, actual victims of CP. What it does is possibly criminalise any “erotic” depiction of those of 18+ and it potentially criminalises a whole generation of teens/young adults at the same time. The only legal porn in Europe then should be one for and with old people. I’m sure there is a market too. Yet all youngsters and couples who might share nude pics and videos among one another or anyone using sites like Porntube could easily face jail time. So if you are a parent beware of your teenage kids: their naked bodies are about to be declared “illegal”. Be prepared to visit them in prison.

 

Europe beware. It looks like a storm is coming. (Corporate) Fascism is definitely just around the corner. This one is about censorship and the pretext is as cynical as it could possibly get.

 

And what a coincidence that at the same time the TSA porn scanners, that, according to experts are not helping with safety, but are really only there to humiliate you, are being installed at an airport near you.

 

ACTA is on the way, “terror warnings” make the round and lobbyists are trying to pass laws that will bring us back to the middle age. That’s “freedom from porn”. By all means do enjoy your iPad – while you still can.

 

I also wonder if those very young, semi-nude boys with wings in all those Catholic Churches around Europe will then have to be removed one day too…? Probably they will be except from censorship for “religious” reasons – now that the pope has allowed condoms for male prostitutes it looks like these are going to be good times indeed for those highly respected moral guardians of our society. Think of the children…!

 

It’s also good to know that young people will still be sent to fight wars and while they may drive a car and buy alcohol at (around) 18, “erotic” depictions of their bodies and their sexual practices may soon be illegal and could destroy their and their loved one’s lives.

 

Witches will be hunted. Books will be burned. Again.


Me and h.264 (Vincent remix no. 1)

June 5, 2010

Watch the Flash Video on blip.tv

or

download

(you may want the VLC for playback)

This is a 2 min. remix using footage from my own movie “Vincent”, the original soundtrack to “Vincent” is by Konrad Richter.

“Me and h.264” is distributed under this (by-nc-nd) Creative Commons license.

This is now the last video I upload in h.264, it’s also going to be the only one of my online videos left that will be in h.264.

All the others, old and new ones, will be in VP8 and/or Theora and other open-source codecs.

Yet this one just needs to be in h.264: as a reminder for why I have no plans to ever use h.264 again for anything!


Software patents have almost arrived in Germany

May 20, 2010

FOSS patents reports that the German high court declares all software potentially patentable (19.05.10, fosspatents.blogspot.com)

“After a landmark court ruling, the German perspective on the validity of software patents is now closer than ever to that of the US.”

When looking at the financial situation in Europe we should ask ourselves if we can afford these dangerous kind of situations. The H.264 licensing fiasco will probably go on for a while and might cost some (Apple…?) more than they would like to.

Update 1: Bundesgerichtshof ebnet Weg für Softwarepatente and BGH-Urteil zu Softwarepatenten stößt auf viel Kritik (www.heise.de)

Now what if political instability (due to the financial situation in Europe) is the next thing…? If my to be founded company will suffer in the future thanks to this (I live in Germany) I will remember that it were Microsoft’s FAT patents that brought us to this. Will those people ever learn? Will they ever be held responsible for their greed? This is the second time within a few weeks that Microsoft’s actions/patents are potentially threatening my future as an independent artist/filmmaker (first the H.264 licensing fiasco and now this).

Update 2: The discussion on Slashdot German High Court Declares All Software Patentable (yro.slashdot.org)

Entry for this particular patent, Xa ZB 20/08 (a Siemens patent), in the End Software Patents Wiki (en.swpat.org)

The part that worries me: (from the second http://www.heise.de article above)

“So gehen sie etwa bei der “Verbesserung des Kontrastes” eines Bilds oder bei der effizienteren Aufteilung von Arbeitsspeicher durch eine auf einem Computer laufende Software von einem “technischen Effekt” aus, der schutzwürdig sein könne.”

In short this basically says that enhancing the contrast of an image might be “a technical effect” that could be patentable…

Seems like an invitation to patent trolls, maybe from the video codec department…? At least we’ll have a very public discussion about why one would (not) want to use an H.264 camera…!

From a comment on http://www.heise.de (user B-E-N):

“Er hat, was es Computersoftware betrifft, ein
Urteil im Sinne von “Alles unter der Sonne ist patentierbar”
getroffen. Damit sind wir selbstständigen Softwareentwickler und
kleinen Firmen im Abmahnland Deutschland juristisch gesehen tot,
beziehungsweise alle mit einem Bein im Knast. Der gesamte Kampf um
die Softwarepatente in Europa ging gestern für das größte und
wirtschaftlich bedeutendste Land der Union verloren.”

The user basically says that now “anything under the sun” could be patented, de facto a legal disaster for all small shops/software developers.

On a personal level this is just extremely disappointing, and having followed patent troll cases on Slashdot for the last ten years or so I now also have to consider the options of:

* leaving the country

* going back to analogue film/video

or

* changing profession and

* becoming an atheist monk in the Himalayas

Well done ladies and gentlemen from all those institutions/companies/corporations in this world that hold patents on software, well done!

You made my day.


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