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Film Gimp 287

gosand writes "DesktopLinux.com is running this story about Film Gimp. It is a movie editor based on The Gimp that movie studios have been developing for their own use for a while now. The article is an interview with Robin Rowe about Film Gimp's use, and includes some interesting info about the film industry's use of GNU/Linux desktops. One quote worth noting: 'Studios have become the leading desktop users of Linux. Three hundred Linux desktops at Dreamworks. That's amazing! While the MPAA is campaigning for new restrictions on content, the artists at the studios are using and helping create open source. Having Linux and open source as a crucial part of studio operations may help executives rethink their corporate position on open source and Linux issues.'"
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Film Gimp

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  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:24PM (#4660819) Journal
    I initially read the tite as "Film Gump" and thought that Jon Katz [slashdot.org] was back writing his inane drivel once again.
    • I thought it was going to be a sequel to "Pulp Fiction."

      In other news, that Marshall backup QB who threw for 4 TDs and ran for one last night apparently had an unconventional freshman year [herald-dispatch.com] as well.
      • LOL. At first I thought this was some cheap trick to get me to go to a pr0n site. I was like "you idiot, didn't even check the link".

        Anyway - funny. I'm suprised they haven't changed it... JR

  • by Cap'n Canuck ( 622106 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:24PM (#4660820)
    Editing films is like a box of chocolates....
    - Forrest Gimp.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... movies make the Gimp!
  • by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:26PM (#4660848) Homepage Journal
    ...because it helped to generate that atrocious looking dog in the scooby-doo movie. ;)
  • by TibbonZero ( 571809 ) <Tibbon&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:27PM (#4660859) Homepage Journal
    the artists at the studios are using and helping create open source
    It seems to be implying that the studios are doing it out of love, but methinks that they are finding that it's cheaper, and more flexable (their programmers can get their hands on all the code)...
    Not that this is a bad thing, just that it's not because they hate MSFT...

    • by maxwells_deamon ( 221474 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:39PM (#4660996) Homepage
      If they get hooked on open source and start to require it, then we have a 5th column inside to fight any banning of open source by Palladium. Digital editing machines should be the fastest available. They will always want to run on the fastest hardware.

      Also it gives a platform inside the media companies which needs to run non-trusted. This means they will have the same headaches as the rest of us when it comes to moving data in and out of the trusted areas.

      Finally, if someone needs to leak a Halloween type of document they have a much better chance of being able to do so.
      • The thing about Hollywood is that they aren't very cost sensitive. Palladium could be succesful on mainstream machines and not effect the digital editing folks because they use different platforms like Apple, SGI, etc... It would be better if this were an industry like HR which uses extremely mainstream hardware. Other than that I agree with everything you wrote especially about the 5th column.

      • It's $$$ Savings all the way. Remember, they are the ones that will make the rules and the rules won't apply to them. So if they want to edit their files on Linux and follow the GPL, great- they will. The rest of us will have to deal with the restrictions.

        They will have their cake and eat it, too- just because they use Linux doesn't mean they (the executives) are suddenly going to rethink all of their plans- in fact, I'd say they are finding out how EASY it is to do this and thus scaring themselves more.

        Its not going away, unfortunately, unless everyone unites and refuses to buy- that'll stop it.
    • by airrage ( 514164 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:43PM (#4661030) Homepage Journal
      You are absolutely correct. Their product is movies, and so, they want computer power to be a commodity product, not something they have to pay a high-gross margin on (thus making more in the long-run).

      If you look around there shop I bet you would find a) low-cost, low-power workstations clustered together b) distributed computing c) generic hardware d) open-source software where possible e) in-house custom software.

      Look at it this way: most people get paid daily (whether they know it or not), but some people choose to drive to work in a Lexus, while others, a Maxima. Does the Maxima driver do it for a love of Maxima's, or because it puts more money in his pocket at the end of the day?

      Just because it's Monday and your car won't start doesn't mean that somehow the day of the week is related to your car not starting.

      By the way, I thought we hate the movie industry here, and now we laud them for use of open-source?

      I'm out.

      • Perhaps that's the whole idea of them using opensource... to get Slashdot support. :)

        Nah, in all seriousness, we hate the MPAA here... the people who make the films and neato 3d effects (esp for those great geek movies) are for the most part cool in our books here...

      • by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:48PM (#4661080) Homepage Journal
        By the way, I thought we hate the movie industry here, and now we laud them for use of open-source?
        Heaven forbid some of us have more complicated opinions than "x sucks" or "y is awesome." And heaven forbid different people who read Slashdot have differing opinions.
      • By the way, I thought we hate the movie industry here, and now we laud them for use of open-source?

        Yes. Why not preach the benefits of Open Source? That is the point, everyone can benefit from it. Let them benefit from it. Let them see first hand WHY it is beneficial, and why they shouldn't destroy it by supporting DRM and Palladium. There is no harm that can come of that, only the potential for good. If OSS gets kicked in the gnuts by Trusted Computing, then maybe they will feel a twinge of pain. It is obvious that they don't listen to reason, or the general public, so let them feel our pain.

        The way I see it, the more people that use GNU/Linux and Open Source Software, the better. After all, that is the point. Dreamworks gives it more credibility than you or I do.

      • We hate anybody who doesn't give away their stuff for free... Or let us trade their stuff for free... Or let us modify their stuff for free... Or...
    • Not that this is a bad thing, just that it's not because they hate MSFT...

      Strange that you equate loving open source with hating Microsoft. I like open source, I also like many Microsoft products. It's not an either/or situation.
      • I like MSFT too. Many people around here (esp the trolls)- seem to think that the kingdom of Bill is the worst thing in the world. Mention using Visual Studio, and you will get bashed for not using vi, make, and gcc. Mention Outlook (which I do use), and get thrown around for not using pine, or elm.
        I personally like open source. But actually, at the time being, I am using almost all MSFT stuff, just because i have some proprietary hardware that only runs on Mac OS 9.2 or on Windows XP (Protools). I will be moving to a new Mac g4 as soon I as I sell my laptop...

  • But other than having Linux on the "inside" where does this get us?
    I remember, about eighteen months ago, really trying very hard to enjoy my hobby - music. I can't believe that sequencing really is that much of a minority activity and yet it was damn near impossible to do anything. Will there be a day when music/film studios release their programs?

    Alas, I doubt it.
    • What do you mean, "where does this get us?" Which "us?" You make it sound as if we're all employees at BigLinuxCompany and we're debating business plans or something. It doesn't get me anywhere in particular, it might not get you anywhere in particular, but evidentally the people who are using it found it useful enough to continue development. Plus it's just cool that a Gimp derivative is getting a bit of attention.
  • by mla_anderson ( 578539 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:28PM (#4660868) Homepage

    Having Linux and open source as a crucial part of studio operations may help executives rethink their corporate position on open source and Linux issues

    Not likely. They're in the movie business to make money, anything their customers use for free is a threat, anything they use for free is more money.

    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:32PM (#4660925)
      Fortunately they aint seeing it that way. Even Pixar gives away some verrrry cool stuff.
      • I think there are always going to be both types of people in the industry, those that understand and except what consumers want even if that includes OSS and more options/rights. And there will be those that only care about profits. Unfortunetly as history has shown, profits (or should I say more profits) will win out over anything else.
        • Unfortunetly as history has shown, profits (or should I say more profits) will win out over anything else.

          Every for-profit corporation is designed to only care about profits. Nothing else matters--unless you can phrase it in profitability terms.

          Ideas like "Long Term Investment" and "Goodwill" are how one expressed the value of OSS to accountants.
    • Not likely. They're in the movie business to make money, anything their customers use for free is a threat, anything they use for free is more money.

      And why should they think or behave any differently ? All that OSS advocates are entitled to demand here is that code these guys use and distribute adheres to all applicable licenses. If the license for, say, GIMP, demands redistribution of source, well then the movie companies should adhere to that license. Period.

      The GPL or other license should have NOTHING to say about what one must do with code/content that is NOT under said license. Should the FSF be able to squawk if (say) Microsoft programmers use Emacs to type in the code that ends up sold (under closed licenses) as Excel ? Not under the present licenses that cover Emacs, anyways.

      IF the content developed and owned by the MPAA were derivative of some work that is covered by some other viral (for lack of a better word) license like the GPL, then this kind of hyperbole or criticism would make some sense. As it is, movies and music are content whose licenses are owned wholly by their respective companies, and noone should feel entitled to violate those licenses, just like people who don't want to adhere to the GPL should not feel free to violate that license.

      And noone should question someone else's rights to use software covered by the GPL or other OSS license, while releasing their own (non-derivative) content under a different license. All that people can ask is that companies adhere to the licenses that govern the products they use.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:28PM (#4660872) Homepage Journal

    FilmGimp? Can they not change the name to something more politically correct? ie:


    - FilmChallenged
    - FilmSpecial
    - FilmJerrysKids
    - FilmTheres"Abilitity"In"Disability"
    - FilmDroolingTard

    Hmm.. no, on second thought "FilmDroolingTard" is out.
  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:29PM (#4660886) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't that be amusing if someone misconstrued the GPL to mean "free movie tickets if FilmGimp were used?"

    Of course, Scooby Doo would have been overpriced at "free", but that's completely beside the point.

    • "Of course, Scooby Doo would have been overpriced at "free", but that's completely beside the point."

      Heh. What's the beef with Scooby Doo? I thought it was quite entertaining. Although I did see it shortly after Episode 2... Hmmmm. Come to think of it, I could probably find a root canal entertaining after AotC.
  • Um, no (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by ekrout ( 139379 )
    Studios have become the leading desktop users of Linux. Three hundred Linux desktops at Dreamworks. That's amazing!

    I know that typical Slashdot math (49 + 2 - 1 = 49) is a bit "creative", but I hardly see how a dozen (or even two, three, or four dozen) movie studios with a couple hundred Linux boxes measures up to the predicted number of Linux desktop users (18,000,000) [li.org] from the folks who run the Linux Counter Web site.
    • Um, they could be running in clusters.
    • Re:Um, no (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tolldog ( 1571 )
      Maybe not on the desktops, but on the render farms, some studios have more linux cpu power than most research institutes.
      At a fairly small studio, we had 500 dual proc systems clustered. I know that the larger, California based studios have at least twice as many. And some places make a big deal about ordering 200 boxes...

      -Tim
    • The point is that they are all in one place, under one roof, and that (presumably) the company has mandated Linux. It's not much in terms of the global number of users no (18mil is a tad optimistic imho though) but the point is that most of those users will home desktop users and sometimes at work because they asked for it.

      This is a professional level deployment, a very different kettle of fish.

    • I know that typical Slashdot math (49 + 2 - 1 = 49) is a bit "creative", but I hardly see how a dozen (or even two, three, or four dozen) movie studios with a couple hundred Linux boxes measures up to the predicted number of Linux desktop users (18,000,000) [li.org] from the folks who run the Linux Counter Web site.

      Because they aren't dorks like you and me (ok, just you) ;-). These are big movie studios, and that gives GNU/Linux mainstream credibility. That is something that you or I don't do.

      It isn't earth-shattering news, but I do see it as good news. The more people, including high-profile businesses, that use GNU/Linux, the better. The even nicer part is that they aren't just users, they are giving back too.

      Several people seemed to take the idea that the film studios using this had some kind of implication in the MPAA's fight against piracy or DRM, but I just saw it as a nice little bit of irony. After all, if they are able to impact OSS, at least they will feel part of the pain too. Let's hope it doesn't come to that though.

  • by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:29PM (#4660893) Homepage
    Is it strictly correct to call this a movie editor, or should it be called a frame editor or something, since it's not for true editing or compositing (like Avid), but for frame-by-frame clean-up?
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@@@email...com> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:31PM (#4660911)
    Silicon Grail (now part of Apple) and Rhythm & Hues are the only listed studios involved in the development. And after the GIMP committee declined to incorporate the Film GIMP features, Silicon Grail stopped sponsering it. So Rhythm & Hues is the only continuing sponser.

  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:32PM (#4660921) Journal
    I'm really glad to see that Film Gimp work (which seemed dead or at least very sleepy for a while) is actually continuing. Thanks, Robin Rowe!

    As I understand it (can anyone improve my understanding?) a lot of the work done for Film Gimp will likely end up rolled back into Gimp. This sounds great. I hope though that the "right click" menus are not completely replaced; I rather like the way they work. I understand that a lot of people don't like them, though ... I just hope that any new menu approaches are offered as options rather than The New Way.

    CMYK is the constant complaint I hear wrt to Gimp vs Photoshop, even from people who aren't sure what CMYK is or why they should want one for the kitchen. So I do hope that film gimp work results in CMYK support.

    So after "that awful interface" (not my opinion, but hey) and CMYK support, what's the *next*-biggest complaint people have about the GIMP? :)

    timothy

  • by UberLame ( 249268 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:32PM (#4660923) Homepage
    Film gimp adds lots of support for superior playback. However, the biggest and most importanted different is that it uses 16 bits per channel instead of only 8 like the regular gimp. That means that instead of roughly 16 million colors, you get 16 million squared colors. This adds much less chance of rounding errors on compositing, and gives you more room to play with when adjusting brightness and color balance over 8 bit images.

    The downside is that film gimp is based on an old version of the gimp, and it doesn't really look like that is going to change soon. But at least they are talking about syncing up a bit before 2.0 whereas before they seemed to be planning on waiting for the Gimp 2.0.
    • by ajs ( 35943 )
      It uses 16 bits per channel instead of only 8 like the regular gimp. That means that instead of roughly 16 million colors, you get 16 million squared colors.

      And since that math doesn't work, let me explain for those in the cheap seats:

      8 bits *per channel* means a total of 24 bits, which yields 16777215 color combinations. When you hear people say things like "32-bit color", they're talking about storage, not bits-per-channel (which will still be 8, and the excess 8 bits is used in various ways, including as an alpha or transparency channel that desribes the opacity of the resulting color).

      This adds much less chance of rounding errors on compositing

      That's quite untrue. What it does is reduce the impact of rounding errors. The errors persist all the same, and really the solution is to film digitally, composite digitally and master digitally. At which point such problems become insignificant even at 8-bits-per-channel.
      • That's quite untrue. What it does is reduce the impact of rounding errors.

        Which is highly misleading. What 16 bits per channel really gives you is more dynamic range.

        We CRT users are used to going from black (electron gun turned as far down as possible) to white (electron gun turned up as far as possible). "White" for us is a certain point on the black body radiation curve at a certain intensity.

        Film users know that this is not the maximum number of photons which are available. In real life, you can always add more. On film, you can usually only add about 20 times more before it's fully exposed, but it's still more, and it's noticeable on specular highlights, such as on chrome or water.

        Cineon digital negatives specify 10 bits per channel in logarithmic space, which appears to be sufficient for capturing the high dynamic range. Converting this into linear space (which is more convenient for manipulation) corresponds to about 16 bits, about 12 bits of which (i.e. the range 0-4096) are what we think of as the black to white range. The rest is "headroom" for those times you need the full dynamic range.

    • This is a fork. Duh :)

      It's not like the GIMP is extremely well-suited to video editing. However, large parts of the code _were_ suitable for processing frames of video.

      This is the ENTIRE point of Open Source/Free Software - the ability to take something and make it work for *you*.

      If the vast majority of the changes between GIMP 1.2.x and GIMP 2.x are unsuitable for this FilmGIMP, I pray that they don't try to integrate them just for the sake of integration (as your comment seems to suggest).

      It's not a downside that it's based on an older code base. It's not an upside either. It's a non-point, it shouldn't even be mentioned.
  • Give Me a Break (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superdan2k ( 135614 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:33PM (#4660939) Homepage Journal
    Content Restrictions Issue != Linux/Open Source Issues.

    This article has nothing to do with the MPAA campaigning for content restrictions. It's all well and good that the movie studios have discovered Linux and have built FilmGimp, but again, what does this have to do with Open Source? Not a damn thing.

    Why? Because the various Open Source licenses don't cover content created with their software, unlike the stuff the Evil Empire could pull if it wanted to.
    • Re:Give Me a Break (Score:3, Insightful)

      by J. J. Ramsey ( 658 )
      "This article has nothing to do with the MPAA campaigning for content restrictions. It's all well and good that the movie studios have discovered Linux and have built FilmGimp, but again, what does this have to do with Open Source?"

      If Hollywood is using Open Source, that means that the MPAA can't push for content restrictions that affect Open Source without compromising the tools (and money flow) of the Hollywood folks that the MPAA is supposed to represent. That constrains what the MPAA can lobby for.
      • The MPAA isn't lobbying against Open Source software, they're lobbying against free exchange of copyrighted works. There's a world of difference. The MPAA has no beef with Open Source, they have a beef with people illegally sharing files of copyrighted movies on the Net.

        I think you're confusing Microsoft and the MPAA -- which is understandable, both are short-sighted money-grubbing Evil Empires -- Microsoft hates Open Source, and the MPAA hates the free trade of copyrighted works.
  • Note likely. (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 )


    > While the MPAA is campaigning for new restrictions on content, the artists at the studios are using and helping create open source. Having Linux and open source as a crucial part of studio operations may help executives rethink their corporate position on open source and Linux issues.

    Whoever wrote that has obviously never had a job. Executives don't give a fig what their employees want or need to get their jobs done.

  • But I don't get excited when I hear that yet another company is using Linux. Why don't I get excited? Well, I guess it's because I'm assuming that it's all related to the companies bottom line and not a love for Linux or a hate for all things coming from Redmond, WA.

    Dreamworks wants to make a profit. The larger the profit they can make, the happier everyone is. One way to increase your profits is to reduce your costs. Simple math right? So how do you reduce the cost of your software? You switch to open source of course.

    Just because it's a large company and they chose to use open source software isn't anything special in my book. It's the logical choice for those in the know. But then again I guess it's nice to hear about Linux's ever-increasing acceptance.

    • Dreamworks wants to make a profit. The larger the profit they can make, the happier everyone is. One way to increase your profits is to reduce your costs. Simple math right? So how do you reduce the cost of your software? You switch to open source of course.

      I HIGHLY doubt they switched to Linux desktops to save money. That may have been a benefit, but it couldn't have been the only reason. They switched because it worked better for their needs (and SGI was out). The article states that they do a lot of work to improve the software, and to customize it to do what they want. I have a feeling that is the real driving force - it is the solution they need.

      Just because it's a large company and they chose to use open source software isn't anything special in my book. It's the logical choice for those in the know. But then again I guess it's nice to hear about Linux's ever-increasing acceptance.

      I think that it is important becuase it is big movie studios. Companies? Big deal. Big companies who can get to the point where they rely on it for their business, and those same companies are fighting for DRM? Hmm, a little more interesting. Not that having Linux in house will prevent them from supporting DRM, but if they do it, they will feel the effects. The more people that use it, the better.

      My using it doesn't give it credibility, but Dreamworks using it sure as hell does.

    • "But I don't get excited when I hear that yet another company is using Linux. Why don't I get excited? Well, I guess it's because I'm assuming that it's all related to the companies bottom line"

      Isn't that how it's supposed to be? Doesn't it say more about Linux when people employ it because it's useful to them rather than because they have an attachment to it?
  • by circusboy ( 580130 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:37PM (#4660980)
    from working two years trying to sell a piece of technology to the members of the entertainment industry, I have come to realize that there is no group more interested in getting something for nothing than the entertainment industry.

    as a result, I'm not at all surprised to find OSS in the major studios, being used to create stuff.

    places like ILM exist successfully largely because people give them hardware for the joy of being known as the hardware that ILM chooses. then people ignore the fact that the reason they choose that hardware is largely based on it being free.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check this out: [nvidia.com]

    "Digital Domain is transitioning all of its 2D and 3D production workstations to include NVIDIA Quadro4 XGL professional graphics solutions, NVIDIA's Unified Driver Architecture (UDA), and the Linux operating system. The company is also deploying NVIDIA Quadro4 graphics hardware and Linux software drivers in its software development, digital content creation studio and systems administration departments."

  • The trouble is... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pmbuko ( 162438 ) <pmbuko&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:38PM (#4660988) Homepage
    There's a difference between movie production studios and other companies/corporations. Studios are extremely "tool-driven" in that the timeliness and quality of their production is extremely dependent upon the quality and flexibility of their tools.

    The average corporation, on the other hand, is not as dependent on an extremely flexible desktop computer. All you need is a compter that runs an office suite, and they've already got that in Microsoft.

    So the thought that studios might be setting an example for other corporations is a longshot indeed.
  • Free Film Project (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) <michaelmtripp@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:40PM (#4661012) Homepage
    Does anybody know if this uses anything from GNU's Free Film Project? [gnu.org]

    I haven't really heard much about the project myself and so I haven't looked, but from what I read on GNU's info page about it [gnu.org] it seems pretty interesting. Also the GNU Octal [gnu.org] stuff seems interesting, what about that, every decent film editor has at least rudimentary sound manipulation utilities.

    If they're not, can anybody give reasons why? Projects like those and GYVE [gnu.org] (GNU Yellow Vector Editor) are things that confirm my faith in GNU and RMS in my times of doubt.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:43PM (#4661031) Homepage Journal
    The open source community needs to buy a Senator. We have to have a law passed that makes it a federal crime to run Linux and/or GIMP on hardware which is capable of running Digital Rights Management. If the studios start opening up lawsuits in response, we'll simply do what Microsoft did -- we'll buy a President and make the lawsuits disappear.
    • "buy a President"?
      No need, the Bush Junta provides easy payment plans so that you can rent anything from a minor White House official up to the 'President' himself.
      By the hour.
    • I whole heartedly agree we need a senator, but not just an OSS senator, but a slashdot senator, that way we can go after stupid patents too.

      However, wouldn't making it illegal to run OSS software on DRM capable machines sort of defeat one of the purposes of having OSS software?
  • by Crayola ( 250908 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:48PM (#4661082) Homepage
    Yes, the larger animation studios are using open source/Linux, mainly because SGI is having problems and the cost/benefit on an SGI IRIX box is really slipping. You'd think that they'd love the idea of "free" software, but it really drives them up the wall. When you're working on a multi-million dollar project, the last thing you want is legal liablity because some Joe stuck some patented or copywritten code into the module you use on the movie. With proprietary code, the guy selling the software takes the legal heat for mistakes like that. With open source, you're on your own.


    Not to say that it's all bad for the studios or open source. The place I work for shelled out money for an open source developer to finish some of his development work on a program they wanted to use. Cheaper than buying a commercial package, and everyone benefitted.


    But the biggest reasons the studios go for Linux is the cheaper/faster hardware (despite all sorts of compatibility headaches -- getting reliable 24 frame per second playback for 1k images is a little touchy) plus reduced porting costs for their legacy IRIX software and avoiding the whole Microsoft headache. The sysadmins really don't want to go there, and the studio doesn't really want to start springing for license packs for a few hundred users and a few hundred renderfarm machines.

    • True.

      I see more to the effect some studios wanting to open up some of their code for others to help develop as opposed to working on previously opened code.

      I know I have considered opening up stuff that I have worked on, but unfortunately it is too site specific and I didn't make it modular enough to break apart.

      Open source is used and loved by studios, I just don't know how much development goes on open source projects.

      The other side of the coin is that many studios see the software and process of how they work as being what seperates them from other studios and it is what gives them a competitive advantage, so they do not want to release what makes them money.
      Studios that work on their own projects are a little more free because they know that as long as they have ideas and projects that they are releasing, they don't really care too much about working with other, similar studios.

      -Tim
    • by Chops ( 168851 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @03:01PM (#4662413)
      When you're working on a multi-million dollar project, the last thing you want is legal liablity because some Joe stuck some patented or copywritten code into the module you use on the movie. With proprietary code, the guy selling the software takes the legal heat for mistakes like that. With open source, you're on your own.

      Curious. By what logic would the end-user of a Free product be liable for such a situation?
  • by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:49PM (#4661092) Journal
    Some good years ago I read an interview from some M$ developer in one serious journal (PC Magazine? Byte? I don't remember) where is showed pride that Windows95 had some piece of code that was taken from some free source. It seems it was something related to those irritating "lemedoitfoyou" wizards that populated Windows since then. Moreover, Windows has some features that were directly taken from X interface.

    That's one example taken out of the *NIX world. On *NIX world we have tons of examples on how certain "purities" dissolve in the mass of needs and wishes of its users.

    The fact that Warner Bros uses GPL is nothing extraordinary. And, frankly, it has nothing to do with their stances for protecting ownership. The problem of content, information sharing going beyond software is something to be dealt with extreme care. A film, book or other media content is not a product of software exclusively. And the means to share it should be completely different. In our software world, we still may play a barter between programs and things related to them. In the other spheres of activity, like films and books, the author is usually offering something that cannot be retributed in the same way. I am not a writer and I cannot offer a book for every book someone offers me.

    Anyway, the restrictive politics that MPAA and its cousins play, surely hurt everyone. They are creating a feud out of certain media and they are seriously hindering the chances for people to have a right for information (entertainment is also a form of information) in these environments. Considering this highly restrictive stance and their use of free software tools is surely a paradox. But it does not mean they should free something. Anyway, their money helps a little our world, right? But they should be more democratic and flexible in what relates to the media they work with. Because if they will keep this stance, the consequences will backfire at them. For example, they may produce new fresh laws that will hinder developers from making cheap software they highly depend on...
  • by Kieckerjan ( 38971 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:50PM (#4661098)
    While the MPAA is campaigning for new restrictions on content, the artists at the studios are using and helping create open source.

    This is highly suggestive. AFAIK Open Source does not equate to being against anti-piracy measures. I am not trying to defend the MPAA here. I am only saying that these are two different things, and mixing them up is bad polics.
    • "New restrictions on content" doesn't have much to do with piracy per se -- if you look at comments like the ones attached to this story [slashdot.org], you'll see that the Slashdot hivemind is at least grudgingly supportive of genuine anti-piracy measures.

      The problem is that the things the MPAA is asking for basically amount to a ban on general-purpose computers -- open source software, in particular, is incompatible with a scheme under which it's impossible to copy or view certain data, which is what they want (and in a wide variety of digital devices, not just GP computers.) Seen in this light, the more the movie studios grow to rely on free software, the better.
  • Baby Steps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr_Blank ( 172031 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @12:50PM (#4661102) Journal
    Having Linux on the desktop of three hundred users at a film studio is a nice little step in the right direction. But, it is still a long shot from having Linux on the desktop of large corportions. Large corporations make industries move. If GE says to Micorsoft "we need a feature" then Microsoft delivers. When Boeing says to Dell give this or give me that, Dell delivers. When GE's tens of thousands of desktops, -or CocaCola's, or Procter & Gamble's or any other Dow thirty bell weather company - uses Linux, then there will be parades in the street proclaiming Linux has arrived on the desktop.

  • Well, if the GNU license is as viral as microsoft claims, all movies are now public domain.

  • All that hard work that you've spent coding for FREE on the Gimp project is finally paying off! Now, the same companies that bring us great technologies like CSS and great laws like the DMCA are now PROFITING OFF OF YOUR BACKS!

    Okay, maybe my attitude is wrong about the whole thing, but could someone please help me figure out why?
  • Having Linux and open source as a crucial part of studio operations may help executives rethink their corporate position on open source and Linux issues.
    Step One for rethinking open source issues:
    Drop all CSS related lawsuits.
  • "Having Linux and open source as a crucial part of studio operations may help executives rethink their corporate position on open source and Linux issues."

    If my grocery store has a super friendly cashier then maybe the marketing executives will rethink their privacy-invading club-card discount crap?

    If I have a Mac at home then maybe I will become a good artist?

    If 18,000 peace activists sit in a stadium thinking about world peace then maybe we'll have it?
  • P2P != Open Source (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xenocyst ( 618913 )
    It seems to me that lots of people are saying that movie studios are inherently against open source because they are big and corporate and, most importantly, against P2P. Everyone needs to stop for a second and realize that P2P and Open Source are two completely different issues that are linked, in this case, by the fact that /.ers have strong opinions on both, which are anti-msft and anti-movie studios respectively. So please think before you equate the two. Are movie studios really publicly against Open Source or are they just fighting P2P, show me....

    Disclaimer: No I don't like msft, studios, corporations, government or anything else you'd like to take a shot at, just broadening perspective here
    • by Zigg ( 64962 )

      Of course, this is true, but it's also important to remember that anti-piracy legislation (which is really what the {RI,MP}AA is shooting for) has and probably will continue to have negative effects for free software and open source, and not just a link by way of Slashdot.

      For example, the DMCA has created a crime out of creating a "circumvention device" (i.e. CSS). So, to play DVDs on my Linux laptop, an entirely legitimate use, I must download a CSS decryptor from a country that doesn't have the DMCA (yet).

      Attempts to legislate a DRM requirement will also have a very chilling effect on free software, as it would really be impossible for free software to meet any DRM requirements, as its source is open.

  • From the article:
    Movies are normally scanned at 2k wide resolution and 16-bits per pixel component. A significant difference between Gimp and Film Gimp is color depth. Gimp uses 8-bit component (24-bit rgb), and Film Gimp uses 16-bit component (48-bit rgb). Even though you can't display uncompressed 16-bit on a conventional monitor, it becomes apparent if you work in 8-bit and later print back to film. Film has more dynamic range.
    If a conventional monitor can't display the colors at that depth then how does the film editor know exactly what will end up on film after printing?
    • The monitors are color calibrated to the film out.

      So you get used to matching some sort of standard that works when it is transfered to film.

      -Tim
    • Re:Dumb Question. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @01:37PM (#4661589)
      "If a conventional monitor can't display the colors at that depth then how does the film editor know exactly what will end up on film after printing?"

      I think you're looking at it the wrong way. It's not about what's displayed on the screen, it's about having enough color information to prevent color banding when doing things like brightness and contrast adjustments. The color banding is a result of rounding errors that stair-step the color values when adjusted too heavily. 16-bit images have a greater degree of accuracy, so rounding errors are reduced, as is the resulting color banding.

      The end result is dithered down to 24-bits, but anything can look good at 24-bits. It's not a problem until you need to tighten in on information. It's kind of like resizing an image from 320 by 240 to 640 by 480. The image looks great at 320, but there are artifcacts to blowing it up to 640. If there was subpixel information in the original image, then the expansion to 640 would go a lot smoother. Try to imagine that in the color space.

      *hoping I expressed that in a way that makes sense*
    • Re:Dumb Question. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thagg ( 9904 )
      > If a conventional monitor can't display the colors
      > at that depth then how does the film editor know
      > exactly what will end up on film after printing?

      Not a dumb question at all -- unless by dumb question you mean one that will start hour-long religious arguments that have no resolution :)

      Seriously, one typically sets up one's monitor or display software to show a 'window' into the film's dynamic range. You can choose where you want to clip the bright values based on what part of the scene you're working on.

      In the end you can get a good enough idea of what will show up on film that you are rarely too surprised -- and if you are surprised, you make changes based on your experience, and film it out again.

      thad
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @01:19PM (#4661391)
    It's about the tool. Whatever tool will get them the biggest bang for the buck. If a $5k/seat tool would do it better than a free one (and return a better product/movie at the end), then they'd use that instead.

    How many studios are using Blender instead of Maya/3DSMax/Lightwave for real production work? Very, very few, if any. Even though Blender has the potential to save serious $$, it's just not good enough.

    It appears FreeGimp is good enough, so that's why they use it.
  • The MPAA and Linux...

    Does this make Kaiser Soze the "Gimp"?

    Chris
  • by wardk ( 3037 )
    isn't it a bit odd that movie studios are aparently embracing linux to MAKE movies, but seem to desire it being illegal to VIEW the same movie on linux (via DVD) ?

    • The same applies to several other products. Like, the Darwin streaming server is opensourced, but there aren't players for all the available codecs for Unix. (The MPlayer Sorenson 3 isn't quite ready yet.)

      <sarcasm>
      There must be a good reason for this. Look: Linux is a server OS. Windows and MacOS are desktop OSes. It's true because BillG and friends say so. Keep things simple and don't mix up your servers and desktops.
      </sarcasm>

    • You have no idea how huge, disparate, and tiered film production is. Even within a studio, there are miles of distance between production and legal departments. But the production houses that actually do editing and other post-production work are usually subcontractors, at 2 removes from the movie studios themselves.
  • by Skip666Kent ( 4128 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @02:46PM (#4662241)
    "We use Film Gimp on all talking animal jobs"...

    Reason enough to pull the plug on this baby right here and now.

  • by stubear ( 130454 ) on Wednesday November 13, 2002 @03:15PM (#4662571)
    Question: What are the implications of Film Gimp?

    Film Gimp is the most successful open source tool in feature motion picture work today. Programmers at many studios are helping development, including Rhythm & Hues, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and ILM. This is great cooperation in an industry that historically has been rather secretive.

    Studios have become the leading desktop users of Linux. Three hundred Linux desktops at Dreamworks. That's amazing! While the MPAA is campaigning for new restrictions on content, the artists at the studios are using and helping create open source. Having Linux and open source as a crucial part of studio operations may help executives rethink their corporate position on open source and Linux issues.


    Movie studios migt be giving back to the community by helping develop the tools but this is completely different from the studios giving away the IP created with these tools. Because the studios benefit from OSS is not enough reason for the studio execs to allow their IP to be freely distributed. Don't expect this to happen anytime soon, if ever.

    Perhaps RMS should add a line to the GPL which requires any work created with GPL based tools must be given to the community under the same terms as source code.
  • Their thinking will be "We get the special production tools, and all you theiving scum, er, consumers get are playback systems. We'll just have our lapdogs in congess get that into law." Why would you think that they wouldn't want to keep 'special' tools for themselves, particularly when they see how powerful they can be?

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