An open content film (or open source film) is a movie or film produced using open source software and open source methodology. It is usually released with samples or source material (screenplay, script, footage, etc.) that are released under a license which permits other parties to create other derivative works or fan fiction. Its production is either an open call system in which a changing cast and crew collaborate in movie production, a system in which the end result is made available for re-use by others or in which exclusively open source products are used in production.
The technology required to produce open content films was a limiting factor until recently. Starting in 2002 the Arc2 Project, consisting of twenty-four high school students in Manteca, CA, produced a film called Cactuses. In 2005 through 2006, a team of seven artists and animators from around the world created a film under the codename Orange, which later changed to Machina and Elephants Dream. Although Cactuses is licensed in its free content license, it is not considered as an open source film, due to its Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, rather it is considered a free content film.
In 2004, Brett Gaylor launched Open Source Cinema, a website to collaboratively produce a documentary film about free culture. The film went on to become a cp-production with the National Film Board of Canada and features Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Dan O'Neill, Gilberto Gil, Negativland and Cory Doctorow
Due to the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet, more open source films are being made available online. Their source materials are also made available under a license which permits the public to use them to modify or for derivative creations, as well as fan fiction.
The increased interest in adapting open source methodologies for filmmaking are seeing different interpretations of what open source filmmaking and culture can be. Open Source Pictures is a production company that uses its website as a Wiki for users to collaboratively create screenplays, but not necessarily be heavily involved in production.
As of 2007, there is no commonly accepted definition of the term, and as such, it needs to be qualified to be precise in its meaning. However, in order to be considered as an open content film, it has to be produced through several distinct, but related concepts:
- The production of films using the majority of open source software such as Linux, The Gimp, CinePaint, Blender, and Celtx.
- The release of samples and source material from a film under a license which allows other parties to create fan fiction or similar derivative works.. This material sometimes may be released into the public domain.
- The release of movies under free content licenses, including the Creative Commons or the GNU General Public License.
- The release of movies under licenses which are more permissive than traditional copyright, but which would not satisfy common definitions of free content or open source (such as licenses prohibiting commercial use or the creation of derivative works).
- The production of films through open, collaborative processes, such as the editing of a script using a wiki and Celtx.
Open content filmmaking Edit
The introduction of digital video technology, combined with the releases of numerous open source software like Celtx, The Gimp, CinePaint, and Blender, has made the means of open source movie production become more democratized. Like independent filmmaking, open-source filmmakers can conceivably shoot and edit a movie, create and edit the sound and music, and mix the final cut on a home computer, but through open collaborations. However, while the means of open production may be democratized, financing, distribution, and marketing remain difficult to accomplish outside the traditional system. Open-source filmmakers sometimes rely on film festivals to get their films noticed and sold for distribution under free content licenses. However, the Internet has allowed for relatively inexpensive distribution of open source films; many filmmakers not only release their films online for critique and recognition, but also post the samples and source materials online under the license that permits for fan fiction creation and other derivative works.
In the media Edit
Like fan filmmaking, open content filmmaking is still in its infancy, and is probably still occurring below the radar of much mainstream media. As recently on November 7, 2006, Newsforge reporter Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier wrote an article which implies that the open source methods will not map successfully to film-making.
On April 10, 2007, five months after the Brockmeier article appeared on November 7, 2006, London's largest daily broadsheet newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, with a circulation of more than 901,000 daily copies, ran an article which stated that open source video was already having an impact even on at least one major Hollywood studio, New Line Cinema, which it has reportedly changed the title of Snakes on a Plane, starring Samuel L. Jackson, in response to pressure from the Internet audience during the run-up to the film's release. This article also cites the existence of three open source video projects and two completed feature-length films as examples of the growth and viability of open source methods for producing films.
See also Edit
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