Introducing Kanopy, now streaming the Criterion Collection

Cinema fans and students rejoice: you can now stream a huge chunk of the Criterion Collection through Kanopy. Kanopy is a digital video service the AU Library just subscribed to that offers access to full-length films – and in our case, that means hundreds of the titles available through the Criterion Collection, the go-to brand … Continue reading “Introducing Kanopy, now streaming the Criterion Collection”

Cinema fans and students rejoice: you can now stream a huge chunk of the Criterion Collection through Kanopy.

Kanopy is a digital video service the AU Library just subscribed to that offers access to full-length films – and in our case, that means hundreds of the titles available through the Criterion Collection, the go-to brand name for film buffs. Their titles read like a list of the greatest movies of all time. Hoop Dreams, Seven Samurai, The Great Dictator, and Tokyo Story are some of the most cherished, ever, and all five are available to stream instantly from your choice of device.

To access Kanopy, visit this AU-specific website. You might notice movies labeled “Request”; we only have access to the Criterion titles, so not everything on Kanopy will be available. Follow this link for a list of just the Criterion Collection’s films. Many of these are also accessible through the catalog now, so if you searched for Burden of Dreams on DVD, you’ll find a streaming version too. (As with all our streaming video sites, you’ll have to log in with your library credentials if you are off-campus.)

We’ve bragged about the quality of our world cinema and silent film databases, but access to 300 titles from the Criterion Collection takes the cake. If you need to see a significant film for a course or just want to watch one of the classics, there’s a good chance you can see it for free, right now, on the same device you’re using to read this.

We’ll wait here while you check out Kanopy. You’ll want to.

A grueling look at making The Simpsons, start to finish

Digital techniques have greatly sped up the rate at which animation is produced. South Park can turn out a full episode in a week, and some topical YouTube videos can be cranked out even faster. But the producers of The Simpsons have opted to keep things slow, spacing our production over nearly a year to … Continue reading “A grueling look at making The Simpsons, start to finish”

Digital techniques have greatly sped up the rate at which animation is produced. South Park can turn out a full episode in a week, and some topical YouTube videos can be cranked out even faster. But the producers of The Simpsons have opted to keep things slow, spacing our production over nearly a year to ensure that every little background detail and facial tic has been revised and remastered. For maybe the first time, The Verge offers a look behind-the-scenes, telling the story of how an idea for a Simpsons script grows into a full episode.

Despite the lengthy turnaround, it sounds like this process still often comes down to the last day, and the staff certainly never gets a break. Of particular interest is the work of the “timer,” a production member who breaks down every action and detail frame-by-frame as a blueprint for contracted animators. Ongoing quality issues aside, you’ll develop a lot more respect for the show’s craftsmanship when you see how every single detail – even character fidgets and mouth movements – have to be spelled out for an entire 22-minute episode.

If you want a practical example of why all the revision matters, check out our DVD copy of “Some Enchanted Evening,” the last episode of The Simpsons‘s first season (HU DVD 14324, disc 3). That episode had a famously troubled production cycle, eventually produced twice and resulting in the quality control process described by The Verge. The DVD includes commentary explaining the process as well as a few select clips of the doomed original episode. It’s a great complement to the article to prove why the show needs a longer production cycle.