Here two works by vimeo user kogonada, the guy probably has the coolest editing job on the planet making these kind of videos for a distinguished DVD etc. label and a UK film magazin. I highly recommend watching all of his online videos! Enjoy:
Video may need to load first for smooth playback! A smaller Flash and a high-res open-source encoded version will be posted later. Thank You! (You can also right click “Click To Play”, then “Save Link As…” to download the video and use the VLC for playback!)
Space Visual – Early Period (v2) (2011), 3:48
The above video is version 2 of this project first posted last October.
Some thoughts to the project
Overall Space Visual (v2) is closer to where I want it to be than version 1 was, yet a couple of things are not quite there yet:
– there is an issue with the toon edges, they appear in places where there is a certain 2D/3D logic, yet where they don’t make real sense. Not sure if this can be fixed easily… Overpaints (can be time consuming and not so much fun) will be the most practical solution here. If so then for a full HD rendered version:
– it is still only rendered in 960×540, Full HD simply takes that much longer and files are that much heavier to handle (in compositing). A hardware upgrade will make it much easier to go full HD with my online videos.
– there are a couple of features missing that I originally wanted for version 2 but then left out for various reasons: a believable cam shake, stars and grass (on the outside)
– it’s not been colour corrected in a technical sense, most of my online videos are not. There are practical reasons (effort vs necessity) and then there are artistic, or rather philosophical questions that I still have: basically the artist in me wants this to be a fully trust-your-own-eyes-and-feelings-process whereas the reality of colour correction is a rather cold, technical one with neutral-Grey-workplace-calibrated-monitor-trust-the-scopes-readings.
I want to understand how a Leonardo, a Van Gogh or a Turner could do what they did in a pre-digital time and why we today need all this complex high-tech equipment and then still are rather limited and have to make sure we don’t e.g. broadcast “illegal colours”. The artist in me says: no colour can be illegal. It’s simply a limitation and therefore can/should be challenged.
– while the minimalism of it is fully on purpose, I am wondering if part 1 (going down) works as well as it could. Since in part 2 we see halo light it may work to have dust/sun rays in part 1, this could further help with getting a feeling for the room (this I already tried to improve via textures and light:)
– this was my first Blender project where I was not able to do an all in one render at the end: (in addition to a Sun and a Spot, and Sun/Sun for the Color/Shadow pass layer) I was using AO, Environment Lighting, toon edges and that Color/Shadow pass. So I had 3 copies of the same mesh in different layers for light/compositing reasons. Now in this setup, even if you exclude AO/Environment Lighting from the Color/Shadow pass layer, it seems that you will still get an “overall” AO/Environment Lighting render for this mesh once combined in the Compositing Nodes (=unwanted effect of meshes on top of each other)…! There is a certain logic to it, yet it also seems limiting (at least in this setup) and not quite right at the same time. So I ended up rendering my main layer first without any nodes, and then do a second round and render toon edges as well as Color/Shadow over that first render plus add other 2D effects on top (all by going through the Compositing Nodes, loading the first render and adding the rest).
As with all things 3D: there may well be a better solution for this workflow, I just may not have figured it out yet… Non photorealistic rendering (NPR) can be more tricky than you first think!
(Note: The 3D/visual part of this project was entirely made with Blender 2.57b.)
– I still find it ridiculously hard to do open-source video (e.g. VP8) encoding (and no Blender is not the problem…). I really want this. I’m really trying. (See here and here). I’ll get there, our tools are about to get there.
Yet I also know who is to blame for high-quality open-source video encoding not being there today in every video “app” – on all platforms – in the year 2011, about 15-20 years (!) after the digital post-production “revolution” took place:
There are forces out there, multinational corporations as well as specialised law firms, who want a monopoly on a particular video codec since:
– it would be the key to control content ($$$) (imagine the possibilities if you were to own parts of a Hollywood film studio at the same time as well as an online store for movies…)
– it would be the cash cow of the century if you could just get people to pay fees for every single frame of video that is shown (“commercially”) at every given moment on this planet!
Just think of it: you could first sell them the cameras (or better: sell them a “smart” phone with a camera), and then make them work for you! Imagine a whole generation of minors, working for free for you and uploading their videos to Web 2.0…! You could make the video platform pay licensing fees and those stupid kids who work for free for you will on top of it then pay for it via having to watch yet more ads! Wouldn’t that be a plan or what…?!
I know who to thank if high-quality, open-source audio/video encoding still does not work out of the box in 2011.
I know who took care of this and who is to blame.
And I won’t forget!
So I was preparing this blog entry about how Julian Assange was finally granted bail (www.guardian.co.uk), about Reporters without Borders among many others supporting WikiLeaks (en.rsf.org) this week, about the US House Judiciary Committee conclusion (wlcentral.org) “…four argued that Wikileaks is protected by the Constitution, two argued that it should be prosecuted, and witness Stephen Vladeck abstained from making a determination on WikiLeaks” and about the Bank of America that now joined the club of “independent” banking entities that won’t process donations to WikiLeaks (www.kansascity.com) any more while you can always find out how-to donate to WikiLeaks on this page (wikileaks.ch).
But then I saw the following video and even though I am not really that much into rap I think this one summarizes pretty well in pop culture speak what is going on right now and what is at stake…
Much more interesting than what I had prepared!
Rap News 6 – Wikileaks’ Cablegate: the truth is out there (6:23)
The video’s website on YouTube offers an interactive transcript in various languages (click icon bottom right of video).
What follows are the lyrics from http://www.reverbnation.com via saving the whole page as a .html – somehow that widget did not allow me to simply copy/paste the lyrics…:
Rap News 6 – Cablegate: The truth is out there
Lyrics by Hugo Farrant & Giordano Nanni
Good morning, this is a Juice News call out
in the wake of Cable Gate and the subsequent fall-out
balls out revelations, observations of diplomats
giving actual confirmation of hidden facts
spilling backroom deals, leaking leaders’ chit chat
money laundering and tit for tat spits and spats:
The picture that emerges, provided by the servers
shines light further behind the wire curtain
Certainly this has divided views of the populace
Some say it’s obvious, ‘nothing new in these documents’
Others say it’s ominous, and applaud the revelations
Others still call for the messenger’s assassination
Following Assange’s arrest and calls for his head,
over nine 9000 counterattacks on all of the web,
the state department being forced to defend
spying at the UN and a secret war in Yemen
Despite DDOS attacks on Wikileaks’ system
Day by day cables still spray through mirror reflection
Will cable-gate change the game or lead to repression?
We get face-to-face with Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton, how does it feel to get leaked on?
It’s scandalous, this is a case of high treason
It’s against the land of the brave and divine freedom –
We’re the good guys, for democracy, we fight evil
And we’ve waged peace around the world, proud of the flag
These leaks could devalue this powerful brand
Bring military operations straight to a halt
Our shareholders, clients and partners would plainly revolt
But, aren’t you beholden to the American Public?
And isn’t the US one of the primary culprits,
In overthrowing governments?
Such as? Chile, Iran, Nicaragua?
Please, stop with the drama!
The American People are our employees
whose taxes fund the wars that support our schemes
their kids become troops we send overseas
in return for mega malls and the American dream
And if our client states don’t like the things that we do
we install a dictator with a CIA coup
in foreign relations, subversion is the method we use
Wikileaks threaten this system so it’s a terrorist group
But the people of the world seem to generally approve
of Wikileaks’ actions in spilling the truth…
They do? Well, then, they’re terrorists too!
dissentors are traitors, as history proves
And they always lose. That’s curious,
weren’t some of our greatest heroes persecuted for this
reason. Who? Mandela, Gandhi, …Jesus
Ahhh… you idealists.
Now for a different perspective, Prison-Planet host,
Alex Jones. Sheeple, heed the megaphone,
This Assange has apparently shown
The emperor on the palace throne grabbing at clothes
But I’ve heard anecdotes, I’ll show it fits
This Patsy’s a triple agent for the globalists
He claims openness, but he’s actually a catalyst
For the one world government of commie nazi fascists
Robert, I’m getting paranoid, I need to state
This is a false flag to bring in a police state
A cyber 9-11, that’s the secret vision
Right now they’re de-briefing Julian in a British prison
So Wikileaks is an inside job? They hide the thruth
To distract from the climate deal in Cancun
You try and do my job without hiding something
I ain’t called the SECRETary of State for nothing.
But surely, now the leaks are exposed out on the stage
You’d expect the world’s leaders to be outraged
By the spying, lies, emerging charges
Now on the line it’s Colonel Gadaffi
Are you outraged? Well, now that there’s a muslim
Brother President of US, we expected secrets
to be kept, but now we have to keep abreast
Of these.. huge… security leaks.
Obama must get firm grip on Wiki-tits
Er.. ok, how about you Mr Berlusconi, will
your reputation fall more in this pandemonium?
Ma Roberto! Gli italiani mi amano come bambini
E glielo metto in culo come Mussolini
The American flag is symbol global of liberty
And I love Hillary… though she’s a bit too old for me
By the way, Robert, how much for your news show?
I pay cash — I just got some Rubles
Sorry, Silvio, we have scruples, it’s not for sale
Va bo, Hillary, come have a cigar at the hotel
Well, Hillary it appears that the leaders
Are not that outraged. Ha! Are you serious?
Of course not. We’re one happy family tree, son
As you’ll see soon when we hang Assange for treason
Treason? could an Australian ever stand trial?
Ha! Australia’s in the American Empire!
We have puppet states, franchisees, subsidiaries,
Provided they obey, they’re guaranteed liberty
We’re not letting Assange get out of our grip
You know how hard it was to plant a condom that split?
Hill, ya turd, your Bilderberg lies are blatant
But, Alex, where’s your evidence that Assange is an agent?
Well, obviously this is a globalist psi-ops plot designed to keep us in the dark
They’re climbin in your windows
They’re snatchin your income tax
tryna enslave you so y’all need to
hide your kids, hide your wife
buy a gun , buy a knife
watch my show, buy your gold
and buy your silver
cuz they enslavin errbody out here
We don’t have to look for no facts
we know this is true …
they gon chip you
they gon tag you
but we can run and yell that,
run and yell that
run and yell that! New World
New world order!
We got his IP
he done left data discs and all
he is so done
he is really going, on trial
But what is Assange accused of?
I was molested by Julian in the Stokholm
So done, so done, so done, so
Ok, It’s almost time to end for the day
But until we meet again, a few questions remain
Is Wikileaks really the greatest threat that we face?
Or is it the response we are seeing in defense of the state?
A response which is building and seeks
To turn back the clock on freedom of speech
And fundamental rights earned over a century
This should ring alarm bells for all who know their history
From this evidence, are we neglecting our memory
And repeating the trajectory of the twentieth century?
And if so, upon seeing the facts
But ceasing to act, don’t we deserve the leaders we have?
What needs to befall before we open the door
and yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”?
Or shall we sit waiting for messiahs or aliens,
Or a super-hero, if they’re not all one and the same meme?
History, dear viewers, is happening
Will we ever get a similar chance again?
History books will be written about events this month
The story they will tell — is up to us
(you may want the VLC for playback)
“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!
“Yes, in view of the marketplace uncertainties regarding patent licensing needs for such technologies…”
= “In view of the FUD we spread…”
“…there have been expressions of interest from the market urging us to facilitate formation of licenses…”
= “…we’ve been repeatedly told that we are nothing but a patent troll Moloch (supported by Apple, MS and others)…”
“…that would address the market’s need for a convenient one-stop marketplace alternative to negotiating separate licenses with individual patent holders…”
= “…that is simply collecting protection money…”
“…in accessing essential patent rights for VP8 as well as other codecs, and we are looking into the prospects of doing so.”
= “…since we actually believe we own the moving image per se.”
Once more the translation:
“In view of the FUD we spread we’ve been repeatedly told that we are nothing but a patent troll Moloch (supported by Apple, MS and others) that is simply collecting protection money since we actually believe we own the moving image per se.”
Source Larry Horn interview: Digital Daily (digitaldaily.allthingsd.com)
Further reading and discussion: Patent Troll Larry Horn of MPEG-LA Assembling VP8 Patent Pool (www.osnews.com)
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…!
“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
* 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.
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.”
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)
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 tries freeing Web video with WebM (news.cnet.com)
Theora Founder: WebM Project is ‘Wonderful’ (newteevee.com)
Software and Hardware Companies Jump on Google’s WebM Train (mashable.com)