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“Lost” Rod Serling Interview From 1970

Serling interviewed by University of Kansas professor James Gunn. Part 1 and Part 2.

This video was to be part of the professor’s film series “Science Fiction in Literature,” but was not included due to rights issues with Serling’s work. Blame CBS. Via SF Signal.

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Writing better dialogue

The fourth in a series of “Scriptcasts” by the screenwriter John August. I find that John’s advice in screenwriting applies to writing for the web, as well.

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H.264 To Remain Royalty-Free Indefinitely

This is good news. I can’t help but think WebM had something to do with it.

via Lukas Mathis

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Video of Boosters Separating From Space Shuttle, Splashdown

The video is 7 minutes long, from separation to splashdown all from a camera attached to one of the solid rocket boosters. Incredible footage.

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Film Titles by Paul Julian

Title sequences from a number of classic low-budget Corman-produced films, here. It’s a shame Julian probably got scale (or less) for these.

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For The Uninitiated: Web Video Fracas 2010

Adobe wants people to use Flash to play videos, primarily because they own the technology behind it (which makes them lots of money), and have enjoyed the majority of video on the web being played via Flash for quite some time. Adobe, by virtue of owning Flash, is the only real player in the Flash playing and video encoding game. They want Flash on every device in the world, so they can sell their tools to author Flash. Adobe as a company still makes most of their money on selling people tools to make things with. Adobe has spent a lot of money making Flash and their Flash editing tools.

Apple wants people to use H.264 to play videos, primarily because their mobile devices (which make them a ton of money) can decode the video stream in hardware which is a big win in battery life .vs. decoding in software like Flash. Apple controls the decoding of H.264 on the Mac and iPhone/iPad lines, so they don’t have to wait for anyone else when they want to do something new with it. Apple has spent a lot of money and time making H.264 work great on their devices.

Google just wants people to play videos. They’d prefer it if the technology used to encode and playback those videos didn’t belong to anyone, so they don’t have to deal with the politics of being nice to some other company because they need their support vis-a-vis video. They bought a company called On2 and open sourced a video codec and container format (which may have some severe patent problems) to accomplish this end and try to diffuse the situation. Google is the only company in this tug-o-war who actually makes money selling videos, or more precisely, renting the eyeballs of people who are viewing videos to advertisers.

Due to the above, video on the web is a nightmare right now. There is no video format you can encode to that will play in the big three: Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, unless you want to use Flash to play the video. Which means users will need to have Flash installed on their device, in which case it will not play on the largest mobile device market: the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, or even current releases of the smaller ones, like Android, which also do not support Flash. If you encode to H.264, it won’t play in Firefox or the current version of Internet Explorer (8), but will work in Safari, Chrome (on the Mac), and the upcoming version of Internet Explorer (9). Adobe has pledged to support WebM in it’s Flash products.

There is no way Apple is going to support WebM for their mobile platform unless it can be decoded in hardware. Broadcomm, a major producer of chips for mobile device, has announced a chip which will decode VP8 in hardware, but this is fairly new development. It is not unreasonable to consider that Apple has plenty of so-called “skunkworks” projects to play all kinds of Video content on iPhone and iPad, but it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see any new video support in the upcoming new iPhone model.

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WebM

As some anticipated, Google has open-sourced the VP8 codec they acquired in their purchase of On2 Technologies on 17 February this year. They’ve taken the VP8 video codec and combined it with Ogg audio, and a new container format to create the WebM project: “a broadly-backed community effort to develop a world-class media format for the open web.”

If you’ve been following the HTML5 video debate, this is very interesting news, indeed.

This is certainly the death knell for Theora, and depending on just how good VP8 is it may be a serious competitor to H.264. There are two big hurdles for WebM’s adoption:

  • Getting browsers to support the format, so it makes sense for content producers to use it and

  • Hardware decoders for mobile devices. Software decoding just isn’t going to cut it. Part of H.264’s strength is that it runs great on iPhone and iPod Touch and iPad. The reason: All of those devices have built-in hardware decoding for the codec. I highly doubt Apple will ever include hardware decoding for a directly competing tech like VP8.

Vorbis audio is still kind of a stinker compared to AAC, but WebM doesn’t need James Cameron to be on board with this for the project to be successful. They just need to start making some dents.

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The Onion’s ‘The Cressbeckler Stance’

“Semi-literate former gold prospector given own cable show,” and I love literally every second of it.

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Dynamo Player Embeds Micro-payments In Flash Video Player

This would be cooler if it weren’t flash, and enabled the player to show a sort of ‘teaser’ before the prompt to pay up.

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Apple’s Guided-Tour Videos of the iPad

Get ’em while they’re hot.

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Microsoft Promises HTML5 <video> Support in IE9

Which for them means H.264, apparently, and no Ogg support. I’m glad to see the IE team getting on board, but I wish Ogg was a more viable option for authoring web video.

As it stands, it’s really not worth authoring two formats of video (Ogg and H.264) if you’re aiming at accommodating the most people for the least effort/space. I imagine most places will author an H.264 version and a Flash or Silverlight version, just based on usage.

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Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Dan Sivers’s TED Talk about First Followers, and how Lone Nuts become Leaders. I am not sure I agree with his overall conclusion, but Dancing Guy is a monument to something no matter how you slice it. Runs 2 minutes 58.

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MPEGLA Announces H.264 To Remain Royalty-Free (For Free Content) Until 2016

This is a good thing, for now, but licensing-wise H.264 is actually probably worse than Flash. It works great with a hardware decoder, but why should I trust the MPEGLA to not pull the rug out from under the internet in 6 years? Of note: The 2016 deadline only applies to “Internet Video that is Free to End Users.” Who gets to define “free?”

The press release should’ve been subtitled “Your Move, Adobe.”

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Lookwell

Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel’s 1991 television pilot, starring Adam West.

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Tales from the Darkside – Seasons of Belief

A little late Christmas horror story (part two here) for you, courtesy of 1980s anthology television.

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70-Minute Video Review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Okay, this sounds stupid, but my god it is glorious. It is not merely a “derp Phantom Menace sucks derp” thing.

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Patton Oswalt Parodies The Room / Tommy Wiseau

Do you have monies from things you should not have done to get the monies that you have now?

At about the 2:00 mark your mind will be blown to bits by SYNERGY.

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Paul McCartney: ‘I’ll Kill’

Peter Serafinowicz reveals the truth behind this classic Beatles song.

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Dive Into HTML5: Video

Mark Pilgrim dives in to HTML5 video, and swims around. This is essential reading for web developers.

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“At the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry”

Bruce Sterling’s keynote, given at the launch of Layar’s Layer Reality Browser, is fun, smart, and full of a genuine excitement from Bruce that I really enjoy.