Harry Potter, the deadly ads, still great and the timing for this is eerie indeed

November 19, 2010

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” is my favourite quote from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Pt.1) and pretty much nails our Zeitgeist. Eric Schmidt could not have said it better (yro.slashdot.org)!

Specially the beginning of the “Deathly Hallows” is quite eerie since right now here in Germany we have to endure government “terror warnings”: as you might have guessed, those in favour of more restrictive (on-line) surveillance laws could not have hopped for a better occasion.

Who is trying to scare whom and for what purpose one might ask? Surely the financial crisis that the Euro/Europe is facing has nothing to do with it. And there is also no currency war as our papers, our “Daily Prophets” let us know.

Harry Potter fans will also find it too easy and inappropriate to replace “half-blood” with the latest minority scapegoat: Niedersachsens Innenminister fordert Handy- und PC-Verbot für “Gefährder” (Niedersachsen’s Minister of the Interior asks for PC and mobile phone ban for “endangerer”) (www.heise.de).

Meanwhile, also in real life, we have a new “Enemy Undesirable no. 1″, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, now there is even an international arrest warrant for him. Like before the charges are rape. Whatever the truth turns out to be, the whole story surely must be extremely inconvenient for some…

The timing for the release of the “Deathly Hallows” could not have been better, the only real downturn today were those 45 min. (!!!) of ads before the movie started. But not even they could ruin it for me. You just might want to be really late if going to see the “Deathly Hallows” at the Cinestar/Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. 45 min. of ads that’s half a feature film! They really try very hard to make you not wanting to go you to the movies these days and then even insult you with state television ads (for ARD, ZDF): I don’t have a TV, I don’t watch TV, yet I have to pay my GEZ fees since I own an “internet ready PC”. And when I go to the movies and pay for seeing a film I now have to watch ads for some crappy TV shows that I surely don’t want to see yet even had to finance with my GEZ fees for that “internet ready PC”… I’m just glad we still live in a Democracy, have free media and fair competition in the TV/media world!

Oh well, back to film life. There is a really quite wonderful and also beautifully edited moment/scene in the “Deathly Hallows”: Harry/Hermione dancing in the tent… This movie works because the film makers trust their own story, the pacing is very good, the music subtle and never over the top till the very end of the credits. J.K. Rowling’s story telling power totally pays off, I’m really looking forward to the last part of the series now.

While certainly not an indie movie, I’m writing here about the “Deathly Hallows” since the (hidden), what I’d call subversiveness of the story/the books (I’ve read them all) is really well captured and should be inspiring for anyone interested in (what I believe is great) story telling.

“Deathly Hallows” is told in darkish, almost pastel style colours *) (similar to the previous one from the series, also directed by David Yates who now did three in a row), the young heroes are on their final journey through a post-time England, London, small towns, (snowy) landscapes and forests, on the run and searching for those Horcruxes that need to be destroyed... *) After a second viewing: the colours are maybe better described as somehow desaturated, blue/grey and brown pastelish, the overall mood of the film being dark.

Having read the books I know of course how it all will end, yet I wonder, where a real life Harry Potter type hero would be looking for a Horkrux and what they might look like…?

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.” That’s a good one, really.

Will we be hearing more of those type of quotes in the not so distant future…?

Check your “Daily Prophets” to find out…

Advertisements

CC licensed documentary: “Patent Absurdity – how software patents broke the system” (2010, 29 min.)

May 21, 2010

Watch online or download

About the movie (patentabsurdity.com)

CC licence: by-nd/3.0

(if you need it: VLC)


WebM (Google’s open video codec VP8) is here!

May 19, 2010

Maybe we now can make all of this about fair competition that serves the consumers/users/artists/filmmakers instead of a few wealthy companies/institutions…?

WebM an open media project (www.webmproject.org)

Introducing WebM, an open web media project (webmproject.blogspot.com)

“The WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the web that is freely available to everyone.”

(Update 1)

An introduction to the WebM project:

Google Frees VP8 Codec for HTML5: the WebM project (openvideoalliance.org)

The WebM Project : about : WebM Supporters (www.webmproject.org)

(Update 2)

The announcement/discussion on the web:

BREAKING: Google Opens VP8 Codec, Enables it on YouTube (www.osnews.com)

Microsoft: Internet Explorer 9 To Support VP8 (www.osnews.com)

Google, Mozilla, And Opera Take On H.264 With The WebM Project, A New Royalty-Free Video Codec (techcrunch.com)

Google tries freeing Web video with WebM (news.cnet.com)

Microsoft planning to support VP8 in Internet Explorer 9 – with a catch (www.neowin.net)

Google launches open WebM web video format based on VP8 (update: hardware partners and Microsoft statement) (www.engadget.com)

Theora Founder: WebM Project is ‘Wonderful’ (newteevee.com)

The first in-depth technical analysis of VP8 (x264dev.multimedia.cx) – [Wikitech-l] VP8 freed!(lists.wikimedia.org)

Software and Hardware Companies Jump on Google’s WebM Train (mashable.com)

Google launches open WebM web video format based on VP8 (update: hardware partners and Microsoft statement)


And the message is… (hint: Free Culture)

May 18, 2010

TorrentFreak reports that The [Swedish] Pirate Party Becomes The Pirate Bay’s New Host (that is after the Pirate Bay supposedly “sank” in recent days).

In the light of the recent aggressive attacks against filesharers this is an interesting turning point in this real life drama/story about (our) culture…

As I previously said it’s a bit silly to help your ideological/cultural “enemy” push the warez, but seen as political activism my sympathy is with the pirates:

Hollywood needs to understand the message behind all of this instead of trying to put that genie back into a bottle that never was right in the first place.

Hollywood, Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture book is a very good starting point to learn more about your fans/customer’s world and needs…!

Update 1: This is related, seems like a good time for a (new) discussion about copyright…! Why I Steal Movies… Even Ones I’m In – Peter Serafinowicz – Gizmodo (14.05.10)

Update 2: And this is the official announcement on the Pirate Bay blog (in lolcat):

PLZ LEARN: TPB CANT BE SHUT DOWN
LOL!
AS U MITE HAS READ OR NOTICD, PEEPS ONCE AGAIN R TRYIN 2 SHUT US DOWN. DIS WILL NOT SUCCED, LOL. OURS RLY NICE WEBHOST WUZ THREATEND WIF RLY HUGE FINE, SO WE DECIDD 2 MOOV TEH SIET SO DAT THEY DIDNT GOT INTO TROUBLE, LOL. TEH DECISHUN 2 MOOV WUZ TAKEN BY US, TEH PIRATE BAY, LOL.
TEH PIRATE BAY IZ AN UNSINKABLE SHIP. IT WILL SAIL TEH INTERWEBS 4 AS LONG AS WE WANTS IT 2. REMEMBR DAT, K THX.
TPB, ONLY IN IT 4 TEH LULZ SINCE 2003


Save free web video incl. my own movie “Vincent”: vote with your browsers (dump all your Apple/MS browsers!)

May 16, 2010

If the MPEG-LA, the patent pool behind H.264 and MPEG-2, has it their way I am an endangered species: “Vincent“, being 44 min. long would not qualify for the MPEG-LA’s “free” offer, latest after 2015 and there is no way that I (or someone else) will be paying protection money to a fucking patent pool for “Vincent”.

My work would simply not be available online any more (thanks to software patents no alternative). Welcome to the age of Corporate Fascism. It’s standing at your and my front door. But you can still act now:

* vote with your browser: since Apple and Microsoft – both H.264 patent holders – are pushing for H.264 as the future web standard for video: simply dump your Apple/MS browsers now and use Firefox, Chrome or Opera. If not: you might be paying for the rest of your life with more ads (yes, H.264 is “free” for the end user…).

* let others know what is at stake here: those people would like to/are about to establish a MONOPOLY ON THE MOVING IMAGE (lock-in via video codec) – a pretty scary systemic change:

Why Our Civilization’s Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA

And for all my younger – and not so young – readers: if this was a Harry Potter movie Dumbledore would say:

“Dark times lay ahead, Harry. Soon we’ll all have to choose between what is right — and what is easy.”


“The Hurt Locker”: here is one DVD buyer less now!

May 15, 2010

TorrentFreak reports that the makers of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest “The Hurt Locker” are going to sue “Thousands of BitTorrent Users.

I see.

And here in Europe there is now one buyer less for “The Hurt Locker” DVD: me.

I’m quite of a fan of Kathryn Bigelow’s work, I was hyping that movie (among my friends) long before everyone was only talking about the movie that brought DRM to the mainstream cinema, “Avatar” (and no, I still have not seen “Avatar” yet because of the DRM they use).

From now on I will write about individual Hollywood movies and pick them out for boycott – just like Hollywood picks out individual fans that they’ll sue!

I love (good) movies. I don’t “pirate” movies for one good reason: “piracy” simply helps promoting (Hollywood) movies and I wish people would stop distributing what I think is really to about 9/10 unwatchable anyway.

Yet if Hollywood continues to sue my movies loving brothers and sisters I will stop buying from Hollywood entirely and I will stop watching new Hollywood movies entirely.

And in the long run:

I hope that all sane and creative people will stop working for an industry that has lost its touch to the audience long ago.

And this is not even talking in detail about the incredible superficiality and the poor handwork (e.g. scripts) that Hollywood pushes on the market these days.

I am specially sad that the makers of “The Hurt Locker” are now joining in the corporate fascism tactics that Hollywood is using. This movie is an exception, it’s actually really, really good – yet I will not buy it on DVD now, the movie simply will not exist in my collection, it will be missed, yet this is what needs to be done now.

This system needs to be changed. I won’t shut up. Not me.


Steve Jobs, MS, MPEG LA: keep H.264, I’ll use VP8…

May 1, 2010

…since H.264 is patent encumbered. I’ll never use H.264 again and will re-encode all my online videos with VP8 (once open-sourced and usable).

Steve Jobs (quoted from Open Letter to Steve Jobs): “All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.”

And as it seems there is “a patent for everything”: MPEG LA

Good analysis: Jobs: Patent Pool Being Assembled To Go After Theora

Very interesting read, from the Theora mailing list: Mutually assured minefields

This is not only about video codecs, this is about the future of (free) video/moving images distribution (including post production) across a variety of devices and services. And it’s about (corporate) control over media content (via licensing fees, that you need to be able to afford, as e.g. big media always would…).


%d bloggers like this: