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Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday news: Imax going digital, User-gen content, Disney history, and YouTube

- The LA Times has a great piece on the problems facing Imax -- among them, how to navigate the transition to digital projection. Lorena Muñoz writes:

    For Imax, reels of its film are one of the biggest costs, an especially burdensome cost in an era of digital technology that doesn't require them. Imax's 70-millimeter prints — which run wave-like through projectors at 24 frames a second to produce razor-sharp images — cost about $22,000 each and nearly twice that, $43,000, when they are in 3D. Standard 35-millimeter prints cost just $1,200.

The company is working with Sony to develop a digital projector that will fill Imax screens by late 2008. That's a long ways away...

- Jon Pareles of the NY Times had a piece yesterday about the impact of user-generated content -- he prefers to call it "self-expression." It was headlined, `2006, Brought to You by You'. He writes:

    While some small percentage of the user-generated outpouring is a first glimpse of real talent, much of it is fledgling bands unveiling a song recorded last Thursday in a friend’s basement, or would-be directors showing the world their demo reels. There’s deadpan video vérité, raw club recordings, “gotcha” moments (like Michael Richards’s stand-up meltdown) and wiseguy edits, along with considerably more polished productions. And users generate all sorts of recombinant art: parodies, alternate video clips, mash-ups, juxtapositions, “Star Trek” scenes accompanied by U2 songs, George W. Bush rapping.

    User-generated content — turning the audience into the auteur — isn’t exactly an online innovation. It’s as old as “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” or letters to the editor, or community sings, or Talmudic commentary, or graffiti. The difference is that in past eras most self-expression stayed close to home. Users generated traditional cultures and honed regional styles, concentrated by geographical isolation.

- Want to see one of Disney's earliest experiments with computer-generated animation? It's great fun to imagine what Disney's traditional animators thought about this back in the 1980s...

- Steve Bryant says what I was thinking about YouTube's decision to allow CBS to take viewer comments of the main pages of each of its videos. One of the things that made YouTube successful was it turned video into a conversation -- you could type a response, or post a video of your own. But clearly, traditional media companies are more comfortable with one-way communication. Lecture, not conversation.


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