Small turn out last night, me, Ed Armstrong (making a Korsakow film about place for honours), Paul Ritchard (making some Korsakow ‘probes’ around place as part of a larger documentary project about the Snowy River), and Hannah Brasier, who’s just started a PhD with me around interactive essay films, who showed one of her honours Korsakow projects, Noticing. Was a really good discussion about structuring works, the emergence of patterns and rhythms, and what we are all currently working on. Looking forward to the next one, should be some really interesting work in progress to look at.Tags: Korsakow, mKIG, practice, softvideo
Korsakow Interest Group, RMIT city campus, next Monday (September 30), 5:30pm to around 7, in 9.2.6. Share, critique, engage, plan, read. Get in touch if you’re in Melbourne and interested in coming along. Interested in online video nonfiction, with I guess some strong leaning towards interactivity/multilinearity.Tags: Korsakow, mKIG, practice, softvideo
Proposed topic for the Placing Nonfiction Symposium, December here at RMIT:
Technical media are a media of ‘record’ and all are, primarily, sampling machines. Sound recording, photography, film, and video, each with gay indifference samples all that is present to its particular technological view, recording what is with machinic apathy towards meaning and significance. This grants such technical media a privileged relation to what we characterise as the real, while also providing an immanent digital poetics that is situated within constraint, repetition, and the patterns that might emerge.
‘About 7am’ is a speculative nonfiction video project that investigates technical media as a sampling machine by adopting a constrained personal practice of recording where the machinic logic of indifferent noticing is made concrete through an everyday observational practice. This constrained task is used to create a particular suite of patterns that the project makes literal, constituting the intent of the work, while also relying upon and making visible a particular digital and technical logic that becomes a poetics of minor variation and the accidental.
This allows ‘About 7am’ to become a way of thinking in digital, networked video about the ‘agency’ of the human and the posthuman in the context of technical recording media, and allows the work to argue that technical media’s indifference to that which is recorded allows not only for a poetics of minor patterns, but that the associated and inevitable indexical ‘accidental’ becomes a guarantor of the real.Tags: documentary, network practices, nonfiction-practice, practice, softvideo
Every morning, well, nearly every morning, around about 7am, I film the ridge over the way using Vine on my phone. A small daily gesture, inscribing a particular sort of observational media trail. The intent is to do this for a year. The First Quarter is a web based observational video work that uses the first three months of clips. The First Quarter, (http://vogmae.net.au/works/2013/firstquarter).
In the archive views each is a 120 x 120 video, mouse over and it will play (it’s Vine, they’re only six seconds long). Click and you get the 480 x 480 version. Mousing in and you get clickable ‘metadata’.Tags: documentary, practice, softvideo, video, Vogging Theory
From the two who bought us YouTube, we now have MixBit. Social video web service, with apps. On mobile MixBit is a simple and elegant film/edit/publish app, publishes to the mix bit server. On the server side it seems a lot of the same functionality has been provided, with some small scale control over access (public, limited, draft). Seems with Lightt, Vine and now MixBit that this is the current future of video on the web. Personally, the shoot, edit, aggregate model is compelling. Just don’t want it all on one big public site, which probably means I need to write something specific, maybe using WordPress? Anyway, back to MixBit, a lot of money behind it so it is better looking, with a thicker feature set, than some of the other video services when they first arrived, and I think this, or Montaj, would be my preferred sketch video edit app of choice at the moment. Still feel the social aspect needs work.
Stop press. Couple more clicks and realised you can remix each others clips. Now, that is a big change. Stay tuned.Tags: practice, softvideo
Last Monday evening the first Korsakow Interest Group session kicked off. Five punters, with a couple of apologies. An outstanding core group all interested in some making. The discussion was free flowing and general, and as most present had not had much experience specifically using Korsakow I talked about what I would characterise as its poetics. I have pretty strong views about what systems like Korsakow are good for (for example here), one expository, directed narrative isn’t it. So I discussed clouds, corridors, and connectors, using Matt Soar’s Ceci N’est Pas Embres to provide examples. In the process discussing clip lives, dead ends, the importance of repetition, the way a good Korsakow film can be conceived of (conceptualised) as musical, and the choreographing of possibilities for your audience. Ed Armstrong, one of the participants, has an excellent post about it.
What was exciting was that everyone wanted to make work, and that for the next session (Monday, August 26, 5:30pm, RMIT City Campus, building 9, level 2, room 6).Tags: Korsakow, mKIG, practice, softvideo
A few years ago I started this conversation over a coffee with Jay.
Let’s be blunt. I don’t get this, the whole claim that with HTML5 and the video tag now ‘within’ the specification that video is now a first class citizen of the web. As if before, because it required a plugin, it was second class. Three things that I really need explained to me. Slowly.
The first, is that video, like still images, is all about codecs. It is consent about the codecs that matters more than whether or not the video tag is ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ the specification. As we have already seen, even with HTML5, video is not straightforward (we still need to use different video formats and test browsers if you want to cover everyone) because of the licensing requirements around the de facto (current) video standard, H.264. De facto to nearly everyone who works with video, but not for those that insist on an open format all the way down. So Chrome is not supporting H.264, as it is a licensed and proprietary codec (which means you have to pay to use it commercially). At the moment with video while we have moved away from plugins the current situation is as messy as before so that in the short term there appears little difference on the surface. However, whether the video element is native to the specification or not has nothing to do with codecs. The image tag has been a part of the HTML specification of a long time, but if you try to embed a tiff image in your web page using the img tag it will not work. Not because the image tag makes pictures a first class citizen but because .jpeg, .gif (and more recently.png as a format to get around some proprietary issues) are first class citizens.
The second is that how on earth does a tag being included in the specification make something a first class citizen? The language around this smacks of an odd sort of apartheid where prior to HTML5 video was second class, because it needed a plugin, or perhaps different code and media for different platforms. It is now more elegant. This is a big positive. But first class? From day one of Mosaic I could drag my mouse over some text in a web page, go Edit, Copy, and then paste that text anywhere else. An email, a text document, it didn’t matter. That is what being a first class citizen means. I have never been able to do this with video, still can’t. Standalone video players (QuickTime Player for example) have the ability to make a selection within the timeline (as do some web platform players), and do the usual Edit, Copy, and then Paste that video somewhere else. That is what video being a first class citizen should mean, that I can do with video in my browser what I don’t think twice about doing with text.
Finally, it is about the codecs. I’m told (again and again) that a non-proprietary or unencumbered codec really matters. Why? I have two things here I can’t get my head around. Every camera we film on uses industry defined, agreed upon standardised formats. These were determined by the ITU, the international regulatory communications body. The three most common are PAL, NTSC, and SECAM. None of these are ‘open’ formats as far as I’m aware but are specifications written and ratified by an international consortium. If we’re serious about open systems then surely the capture/recording end is as important, if not more so, than the encoding end?
The second aspect of video codecs is that things like H.264 are sophisticated, robust codecs that work. I have worked with video from when cinepak was the only codec we had and recognise how far we have come. Development of this scale means someone needs to pay, not only for development but also to help with what is the bureaucratic activity of standardisation. Meetings, specifications, testing. Some form of licensing is not unreasonable. The terms of the licence might be (though they currently are not), but in principle, why shouldn’t the organisations that develop the codecs that work have that development financially enabled? This is not an argument for accruing crazy profits, monopoly capitalism or anything else of that ilk, it is just recognising that these things cost money, somewhere, and for further development it needs to be funded.
In this vein let’s not forget that the HTML specification itself is written by the W3C. To get a vote on any of the W3C working groups you must be a financial member, which for an Australian university is currently USD 7,900 and USD 2,250 for a nonprofit. This entitles you to vote and participate on any of the working groups, and to directly influence the specifications. No, they don’t charge for its use, but the money is necessary to sustain the bureaucracy that makes such activity possible and to develop open standards. Open standards does not mean free. It means, as their principles state:
Standards specifications are made accessible to all for implementation and deployment. Affirming standards organizations have defined procedures to develop specifications that can be implemented under fair terms. Given market diversity, fair terms may vary from royalty-free to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) (Principles)
An open standard means that anyone can use it. It may require a fee in order to do so, but it is non proprietary to the extent that no individual or corporation owns the intellectual property. This is the model for PAL, SECAM, and NTSC, so I’m just wondering why the same model is not a good idea for the encoding/delivery end of the digital?Tags: practice, softvideo