In September, Burton launched RRKidz, which promises to resurrect Reading Rainbow for kids in a multimedia fashion. The site currently sells episodes of Reading Rainbow, but Burton has other products in mind.
The first: a mobile app. “The center-point of the App is books,” Burton told Mashable. “Wonderful, lightly enhanced digital books for children. However we’re also very interested in delivering an enriching experience to kids, much like classic Reading Rainbow did on TV.”
He calls the app “the first offering in a game plan” that will also include DVDs and streaming of classic Reading Rainbow episodes.
January 26, 2012 at 4:36pm
Whoa. Every second, one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube. That’s nearly a decade every single day.
January 25, 2012 at 1:02pm
What Really Lies Beneath the SOPA Debate?
By Chris Dorr
The battle raging around the SOPA bill these past several weeks has been fascinating to watch. There have been a lot of blog posts and interviews full of bluster, confrontation, some sanctimonious, others nasty and yes, also informative. It is worth spending the time to read them all to get a feel for the complete picture of this epic battle.
We are reminded yet again that a great gulf exists between mass media (companies in the movie, TV and music industries) and the tech industry as broadly defined. This gulf has many features ranging from the psychological, the economic, to the political and the cultural.
However, beneath this debate lies something much more fundamental and rarely discussed. This dispute is really between two types of network architecture and the unique belief system each creates.
I know this may sound a little esoteric, but please bear with me.
The New Year offers a fresh start. It’s a fantastic time to reset your goals, aims and ambitions. In addition to making positive changes in the real world, it’s also a great opportunity to refresh your digital life.” —Amy-Mae Elliott, Mashable.com
There is a new movie making the rounds of the web that we thought we would share with the readers of the Future of Film. It teases out the implications of a fully networked society, reminding us that this is the kind of society that we approach more closely with each passing day.
As Harvard’s David Weinberger states, we are now in “a time that is enabling humans to be more of what we are.”
This short movie looks at technology and connectivity as it has evolved and where it continues to evolve, tracing the impacts on all aspects of society. All of this drives the future of film and how it will be shaped next year and every year thereafter. So we must all understand it if we are to help shape that future.
It is a great way to spend 18 minutes of your time particularly if you are interested in exploring how the explosion of online video will shape the world of innovation—especially innovation in the film business.
And explosion is the right word. As Chris says:
The first few years of the web were pretty much video-free, for this reason: video files are huge: the web couldn’t handle them. But in the last 10 years, bandwidth has exploded a hundredfold. Suddenly here we are. Humanity watches 80 million hours of YouTube every day. Cisco actually estimates that, within four years, more than 90 percent of the web’s data will be video….Video is high-bandwidth for a reason. It packs a huge amount of data and our brains are uniquely wired to decode it.
Then he goes on to say:
Reading and writing are actually relatively recent inventions. Face-to-face communication has been fine-tuned by millions of years of evolution. That’s what’s made it into this mysterious powerful thing it is…this is the connective tissue of the human superorganism in action…500 years ago, it ran into a competitor with a lethal advantage…Print scaled. The world’s ambitious innovators and influencers now could get their ideas to spread far and wide, and the art of the spoken word withered on the vine. But now, in the blink of eye, the game has changed again. It’s not too much to say that what Gutenberg did for writing, online video can now do for face-to-face communication. So, that primal medium, which your brain is exquisitely wired for…that just went global.
So take 18 minutes to watch this TED talk. Then think about how the world of film should respond to the new reality of the entire world’s population being connected by online video. And let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Chris Dorr is a digital media consultant. His clients include MTV Networks, Samsung Electronics of America and the Tribeca Film Festival. He can be followed on Twitter @chrisdorr.
October 19, 2011 at 5:50pm
Exploring the Frontiers of the Recently Possible With HTML5
By Elizabeth Bahm and Ben Moskowitz
You find yourself in a surreal world, flowers blooming over a cityscape as you travel through. In the next moment, a herd of buffalo stampede across a countryside in a dark wave. The visuals are lucid, dreamlike - and most like a dream, you’re the one influencing these dynamically generated images. This is the world of Google Creative Lab’s Three Dreams of Black, an HTML5 music video experience that lets users reshape its landscape, generating new visual experiences in real time.
Three Dreams of Black is just the tip of the iceberg. The web opens up massive potential for completely new kinds of storytelling: documentaries that constantly update with breaking information, storyworlds built and shaped by users, and interactive films that let viewers chart their own path.
Editors’ note: We like this post from Fred Wilson at AVC for 2 reasons: 1. He mentions us, and 2. More importantly, he highlights the trend that all filmmakers, film lovers and readers of our blog should note: technological innovation—think the internet—creates new opportunities for artists that they should explore. We think his thoughts can also apply to all aspects of film.
I was passing by Cooper Union the other day and was struck by the words on the front facade of its iconic building on Astor Place.
This phrase “to science and art” has been stuck in my mind since. I’ve been thinking about what happens at the intersection of science and art, how science impacts art, and how art impacts science, how New York City has been blessed to be at the intersection of science and art for at least two centuries, and how much of what is interesting to me in the technology revolution of the moment, the Internet, is at the intersection of science and art.
DSLRs, Websites and 3D, Oh My! New Technology for Changing Audiences
By Peter Hawley and John Otterbacher
To us, it’s all about the storytelling. If the story grabs, it doesn’t matter what form it takes – books, radio, TV, cinema, games or yet-to-be-categorized interactive media –it’s all about the story being told.
As times and technologies change, content creators have many more readily-available options for how they tell their story. But as technology makes production and distribution both more accessible and much more competitive, storytellers are finding themselves in a heated competition for audience attention. As a result, the filmmakers of tomorrow must more than ever consider their audience and how a story will reach them before making important choices about the content itself.
Once upon a time, film sound consisted of one channel: mono sound. In 1940, Walt Disney astounded the world by presenting his groundbreaking film Fantasia in four-channel sound via a system called FantaSound (developed by RCA). Stereo arrived in force in the 1950’s, and the next change came in 1969 with Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock, which was also in four-channel, but in a configuration different from Disney’s. In 1979, Apocalypse Now gave us full 5.1 Dolby surround sound. Today, 5.1 continues to be the standard format in which most films are released, but 7.1, which adds two more channels, is quickly gaining momentum in more modern movie houses.
Audio has come a long way in the last half-century or so, but what about the next 50 years? What will film audiences have to look forward to when they walk into the theater of the future? Gazing into the crystal ball is a notoriously dangerous pastime, and trying to divine the future of film sound doubly so. However, if we look at the rate of progress we’ve made over the past few years, there are some educated guesses we can safely (more or less) make.
Some theorists have proposed a multi-speaker array far beyond today’s 5 and 7 channel audio, with upwards of 250 individual and discreet loudspeakers arranged around the theater space. It is commonly thought that being able to control, amplify, and present such sound is highly unlikely, but sound artist installations have been surmounting this challenge for decades. For example, as early as 1958, Edgard Varese composed his Poem Electronique for the Brussels World’s Fair utilizing over 400 discreet audio channels.
But even utilizing such arrays, theater audiences still don’t accurately experience sound as it would take place in the real world. One of the ongoing problems with film sound, even with a multi-speaker array, is that the sound is presented on a plane. In other words, the speakers are arranged at a constant height around the theater space. In our everyday lives, on the other hand, sound engulfs us and comes from everywhere – above, from the sides, from the rear, even from the ground. Although some installations, such as IMAX, contain speakers above the screen as well as behind the screen and around us, they don’t give the convincing illusion of the real world.
Of course, some believe that film audio should not attempt to recreate the real world, since film is an art form that represents the world from a specific vantage point. But if we take for granted that realistic, natural-sounding audio is something to strive for, here’s what I would propose: a three-dimensional, “holographic” approach to sound reproduction.
To better understand what I mean by holographic sound, imagine a 3D polygon standing before you. In a holographic sound theater, the audience would be on the inside of that hologram. Rather than having localized points of sound scattered around a theater, imagine a room – six planes: four walls, ceiling and floor – with each surface acting as one seamless sound transducer. In a theater of this kind, sound could be placed anywhere on the surface of these planes and move freely to any other point. With this model, the entire theater space would be active in delivering sound to the audience, freeing us from the single-point loudspeaker array that limits us today.
What would the surfaces be constructed of? Hey, I’m in the audio prognostication business here, not material invention! Some sort of flexible polymer perhaps, similar to what is found in the speaker cones of some loudspeakers. But this is 50 years into the future and we have plenty of time to figure that out. What’s important is that if this type of playback technology were to become available, the ways in which craftspeople work and think about the sound would undergo an analogous revolution, and the next great leap in film sound would have arrived.
Tom Blakemore is a Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer for film and television. He is a member of the faculty of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in Chicago, IL where he teaches Sound Design for Film.