Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cut to the point

There are numerous editing contests popping up on the web lately.

Since the last post, there seems to be a huge boom on mashup and editing competitions with different focus on subject, objective and rules.

So, unlike the last post's Total Recut, there is a more professional focused contest making waves on the web. It is the Open Cut Contest. If you want to have a try go check the rules. Unlike many others on this one you have to pay a small fee and provide them a external hard drive in which the footage will be loaded and posted back to you. This condition was a "turn off" to me, since paying a two way posting trip for a HD to/from Portugal to US would boost costs considerably. Also, there are some technical considerations to have in mind. Never the less, the possibility of having access to this kind of footage, 4k full resolution clips, from the short Susannah, is a milestone on collaborative film making on the web. Congrats to them.

But if this contest is not just about selling "cheap" RED camera footage (which my guess is that's not the case), why not adopt a workflow that allow people to pay only the contest fee of 25$ and give it a shot at real world film editing by having low-res proxy footage available to download?

Why limit it, logistically, by requiring 250gb HDs to costly fly all over the world? Copying that amount of data of and to multiple HDs, packaging and posting them is also a very time and labor intensive task to them compared to down sampling the footage and uploading it to the web just once (bandwidth costs can be more easily managed).

Contestants could then edit the material, in a low-res offline, and easily upload it to the Open Cut site. The winning entry could then be eye conformed (or a FCP XML or generic EDL provided by the contestants) to DI and final print output. Of course, this is not either mine neither a new idea, just the standard workflow.

Also, would be great to have samples of the footage online for review as I am sure would attract more people to the project. And last, it says that the footage is under a Creative Commons license, but I could not find which one on their site (this blog claim it is CC BY NC SA), if that is the case, will this footage be available legally for free, for anyone to use, if any of the contestants share it online after the end of the competition?

I noticed that they changed some of the requirements (see the comments on this post) to accommodate non-Mac users, showing some will to have a broader scope to this effort. Maybe in a future edition they consider a more inclusive workflow.
Image under Creative Commons By: Antediluvial

Update: By the time I published this post, all entries on the contest were already closed due to high demand.