Archive for January 3rd, 2008

Jellyfish color grading

Click the picture to see before and after color grading shots from my jellyfish video.

The Avidemux failure

With the recent release of v2.4, Avidemux could have been one of the few apps that could support pulldown removal for PF24. I have been emailing its developers the past 6 months for over 10 times to fix two important bugs, but they ignored me. The bugs are:
1. If you use audio shifting of -222msec while you use pulldown removal filters for the video, the audio ends up being 220% longer than the video.
2. The h.264/AAC .mp4 files created by Avidemux don’t playback on Quicktime.

For the first bug, they ignored me because obviously it’s simply a hard engineering problem. They just don’t seem to want to work hard. They probably have a fucked up architecture, and they don’t want to touch it and potentially make it worse.

For the second bug, they replied “it’s Quicktime’s problem”, failing to understand that iTunes/QT has 80% of the market and it does not matter whose problem it is. If you can’t playback your videos what’s the fucking point of using Avidemux to encode them? The irony is that they could easily fix that on their end, they just don’t want to (apparently the bug is in their implementation of the MP4 container).

These open source guys really need to get a clue sometimes. I like and endorse the open source ideals for the benefit of the user, it’s just that I HATE its development model.

Regarding artistic creativity

I have come to realize that I am not an artist. By “artist” I mean the ability to take something ugly, boring or not important and make it look attractive, abstract or just “different”. I can’t do that. For example, look at Fabian’s video here, he’s obviously an artist. I could never create something like it. If someone gave me a storyboard and mockups, I could easily put such a video together at the *technical* level. I know how to recreate it, but I can’t initiate it.

I think the reason why I am not an artist is because I am a hard harsh realist. If something doesn’t make “logical sense” (visually or not), I just don’t use that footage. I discard it. And yet, that same footage can be a work of art at the hands of an artist. Although not everything is lost: I believe that I can put documentaries or other realistic material together pretty well, and I believe I can go as far as creating a presentable music video clip. Maybe even a simple short movie. But creating truly “artsy” stuff, that, I can’t do.

Gnothi seauton.

Apple’s new label

AppleInsider reports that amidst the majors dropping away from iTunes, Apple is said to be creating a new label with the help of Jay-Z (a person who does better as a businessman than as a musician IMHO).

I think that this is a natural evolution of Apple’s stronghold in music. It’s the next step, but it’s exactly the next step because the majors are not happy with Apple and they force the hand of Jobs to take such measures. However, what I am hoping for is that this is not “just another label”. We don’t need more “labels”. What we need is a revolution, and thankfully Apple is good in delivering revolutions. Hopefully, Creative Commons licenses will be used for sane fair usage, and Apple won’t be stupid to just “sign away” random artists, but truly pay up for radio/PR for their best artists.

When I read this news yesterday, the first thing that came into my mind was Lessing’s talk at TED. He said that the last time that the music business situation was as shitty as today it was 1939, when ASCAP was raising rates by 448%. So radio businesses of the time created a new consortium in 1941, using only independent music, the one that became BMI. You can relate this to RIAA and the indie labels. The interesting bit here is that when BMI was created, ASCAP said “whatever dudes, this kind of music is not what people want, so you will end up coming back to us“. However, they weren’t. Listeners liked the “indie” music of the time, and a new generation of music business was created. As time goes by, each new state of being is getting corrupted (just like democracy does over the years), so at this second evolution of music, BMI/RIAA have become the new ASCAP. Which is why it’s time for them to go away for the new thing to come. For the next 20-30 years they will play good too, but then it will be time for them to get replaced too. We will go through the same strangle again, but that’s how life is.