Matt Hanson talks about his project A Swarm of Angles and the general concepts behind collaboration in the digital era. I personally would love to see collaborative editing tools evolve to the point where you could upload raw footage and anyone could add to the meta data like it was a wiki. They could ad captions, comments, notes, languages, time code based tags etc… And in some cases it might be possible for meta data to be automatically added to your footage similar to the way everyzing.com uses computers to transcribe footage. The key in my mind is to have both automatic as well as organic transcribing and then use software to have the automatic transcription basically become time code anchor points to the human transcription.

In a system where raw footage is online rather then trapped on your computer anyone can be involved either as someone simply watching and rating raw footage or by actually selecting clips to add to a timeline they create and then post back online.

The missing link here is a URI for raw footage. URI stands for uniform resource identifier and they are very important to the what comes after web 2.0 which is the Semantic Web. A URI is basically a standardized home base that any other site or software can refer to when it needs that object. If you had that for raw footage then you’d have a place where software could refer to when it needed meta data information or needed to download a portion of the master in high res to compile a final edit.

And of course your final edit would already have all of it’s meta data that it needs thanks to the software being able to refer to the URI. You could choose to flatten or keep the meta data live if it was still a rough cut.

Brett Gaylor from Open Source Cinema and I have spoken about this concept and he says it would be a god sent for his open source collaborative editing film he’s working on called Basement Tapes. Susan Buice and Matt Hanson also had a quick talk about it after power to the pixel and he expressed a lot of interest and we’ll probably be working together in some capacity to continue to brainstorm how this all could work.

After the Power to the Pixel Conference at the drinks reception I also met Michela Ledwidge who has a project called ModFilms that is also exploring URI based video editing stuff and is interested in future development.

While we are all about opening up raw footage other filmmakers I’ve spoken to feel weird about having raw material available to the public. Thats why I think it would be smart for a system like this to allow passwords on custom RSS feeds that are generated for a particular user. That way if you aren’t that user, the RSS feed doesn’t work and you don’t get all of the dailies from the film in your Miro player.

The thing about video editing is you never have enough time with the footage and you never have enough tools to dig through it to find the gems. I hope a system like this can be built in time for our next film which will be very inspired by a Swarm of Angels because it will also be an online collaborative project that I’ll write more about in the future.

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