Dig into net neutrality in Barbershop Punk

Only a few hours ago, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced his proposal to reclassify Internet services as “common carriers,” a major victory for net neutrality and the prospects of an open Internet. We’ll come right out and say that this is fantastic news. The American Library Association has made it clear that open and unfettered … Continue reading “Dig into net neutrality in Barbershop Punk”

Only a few hours ago, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced his proposal to reclassify Internet services as “common carriers,” a major victory for net neutrality and the prospects of an open Internet. We’ll come right out and say that this is fantastic news. The American Library Association has made it clear that open and unfettered Internet access is a public good, and we strongly agree with this sentiment. This won’t be settled until the FCC approves these changes, of course, but it’s still a great development.

The road to net neutrality has been rocky, but as a relatively new issue, it has also been extensively documented. If you want a first-hand look at the labyrinthine legislation and rules that originally governed Internet regulation, look no further than Barbershop Punk, a documentary available streaming through our catalog. Barbershop Punk uses the story of the filmmaker’s attempts to distribute his rare barbershop quarter music collection as a microcosm for the larger net neutrality debate. Interviewees include politicians, musicians, and other notable figures with a stake in digital free expression.

Barbershop Punk is highly recommended viewing if you’re trying to get a handle on the net neutrality issue. And hopefully soon it’s one we can put behind us.

Pixar offers a cautionary tale for filmmakers reluctant to back up their work

The good folks at mental_floss recently uncovered a particularly incredible story from film history that serves as a warning for filmmakers working in the digital age. Pixar was one of the first studios to work with fully digital animation, and as trailblazers in the industry, they learned hard lessons about the perils of that once-new … Continue reading “Pixar offers a cautionary tale for filmmakers reluctant to back up their work”

The good folks at mental_floss recently uncovered a particularly incredible story from film history that serves as a warning for filmmakers working in the digital age.

Pixar was one of the first studios to work with fully digital animation, and as trailblazers in the industry, they learned hard lessons about the perils of that once-new frontier. Specifically, during production of Toy Story 2, Pixar staff accidentally deleted the entire movie and only continued production after finding an incomplete copy on a colleague’s personal laptop.

The whole story, available here, explains that a malicious line of code slowly deleted the studio’s files, and a faulty backup system prevented their total recovery. It’s startling to think that a mammoth company like Pixar can still be prone to these sorts of failures, but since they were the first major studio to explore this field, it’s clearly possible that no one had yet assessed the full dangers of working in an all-digital production environment.

These sorts of historical stories are great reminders of how the film process is continually evolving. Pixar’s backup system has drastically evolved since the Toy Story 2 incident, but it’s still possible to imagine that current filmmakers working on effects-heavy movies are still learning from the cautionary tale of this near-miss. A similar incident occurred recently in which the entire run of a children’s television show was accidentally deleted before it aired (we sadly couldn’t find the exact story about this), so it’s clear that these sorts of backup problems will continue to be something filmmaker’s deal with for a long time.

Super Bowl trailer offers a rare insight into the modern CGI process

You may have watched the Super Bowl yesterday and caught the new trailer for Jurassic World. Pretty cool, right? Dinosaurs! Panic! Familiar music! But between the screaming crowds and velociraptor herds, you might not have noticed the significant changes to the film’s general tone an appearance. As Slashfilm points out, the two trailers are a … Continue reading “Super Bowl trailer offers a rare insight into the modern CGI process”

You may have watched the Super Bowl yesterday and caught the new trailer for Jurassic World. Pretty cool, right? Dinosaurs! Panic! Familiar music! But between the screaming crowds and velociraptor herds, you might not have noticed the significant changes to the film’s general tone an appearance. As Slashfilm points out, the two trailers are a fascinating window into the extent to which special effects and color correction allow filmmakers to alter their original shots dramatically.

Wired specifically focuses on the shot of a giant aquatic dinosaur (creature?) eating a baited shark. Within the three-to-four months since the initial trailer, the special effects artists have completely changed the backdrop of the scene, improved the quality of the water, and adjusted the overall palette – all without refilming the scene. We sometimes get to see this sort of work-in-progress technical magic as a DVD special feature, but it’s somehow more entertaining to see it happening in real-time. We don’t just get to see where they put the green screen: we get to watch the art direction change.

We’re of course looking forward to Jurassic World, but now, we sort of just want to see how the final product differs.

Alternative programming: The art of healing

Super Bowl XLIX is imminent, and the NFL is under arguably greater scrutiny than ever over many of its policies and behaviors. Some of the greatest continued focus is reserved for the league’s treatment of concussions and injuries, which we covered during last year’s Super Bowl. This is still a big topic, but we discovered … Continue reading “Alternative programming: The art of healing”

Super Bowl XLIX is imminent, and the NFL is under arguably greater scrutiny than ever over many of its policies and behaviors. Some of the greatest continued focus is reserved for the league’s treatment of concussions and injuries, which we covered during last year’s Super Bowl. This is still a big topic, but we discovered a video in our collection that addresses it from a less-discussed angle: the ethical and moral role of the doctors who treat athletes.

Playing Hurt: Ethics and Sports Medicine (available via streaming) is a recorded hour-long panel discussion with team physicians, doctors, and other figures in the sports world as they examine the murky world in which medicine and athletics intersect. Professional sports and the NFL in particular are covered, but college and high school also receive some attention. When you hear about athletes who play on injured legs, you only ever hear about the coach’s decision and not the doctor’s. This is a perspective that we’re missing, and you can hear it in this video.

This discussion will certainly not be settled in the next few years, and as long as there continue to be new angles to examine it – and relevant videos – we’ll continue to share them.