[-empyre-] fwd:re:re:re: Download Finished

#! /usr/bin/doma doma at bitnik.org
Tue Sep 29 18:41:31 EST 2009

Dear Empyres

We were a bit reluctant to barge into an ongoing and interesting 
discussion by starting a new topic - it also took us a few posts to try 
to understand what you have been discussing..
Maybe it can nevertheless be interesting though, to try and add to your 
ongoing discussion by tryig to discribe our approach to what networks / 
internet can contribute to video / film making. It is easiest for us to 
explain by describing some concrete works that came out of this approach.

Gabriel asked us firstly to describe the work "Download Finished" 
(http://www.download-finished.com), a project we started in 2006. 
Download Finished is basically a website which transforms and 
re-publishes films found in P2P networks and online archives. If we were 
to describe Download Finished as an input-output-machine, the endless 
abundance of video material found in online archives, P2P networks etc. 
would be the data stream input; On the output-end of Download Finished 
you receive 5-minute cut-up-clips with a transformed visual layer - "new 
originals", as we called them. The transformation the raw data video 
input receives through Download Finished brings the underlying data 
structure of the input films to the surface.

Let us go into this underlying data structure just quickly to explain 
what we mean:

Before a film, originating either from a camera take or a DVD, is 
digitized and fed into a file sharing resource, it has undergone several 
transformations. It has been digitized, encoded and compressed, aplying 
complex mathematical transformations to the original data.
A film found in a filesharing network is the sum of [>1] the original 
film, [>2] the work of the mathematicians who laid the theoretical 
foundations for [>3] the programmers who designed the encoding software 
/ the codec and [>4] the file sharer who finally uses all that software 
to intentionally make the [>5] film widely available. The processes 
behind [2] - [4] usually stay invisible, leading to the wrong assumption 
that [1] = [5]. Download Finished transformes [5] such, that the 
processes behind steps [2] - [4] become visibile and show that films 
found in file sharing networks are actually collaborative works. The 
transformation process in Download Finished shows the collaborative 
effort behind the sharing of cultural contents and clearly shows that 
[1] ? [5].

Download Finished uses this characteristic of online video files to 
transform the input files: The one Download Finished exploits, is the 
compression technique of delta frames. Unlike the original film, an 
encoded film does not consist of 25 full images per second: The amount 
of full images is reduced to save space, and the parts in between full 
images (key frames) are calculated on the fly. The frames generated from 
the differences between key frames are called delta frames. By simply 
deleting the key frames of a film the file data is transmogrified to 
reveal the nature of the found footage files as a collaborative work 
with a very complex data structure.

What we also wanted to comment on with Download Finished is the question 
of authorship. There is no way of knowing (from the data structure) the 
copyright status of online footage. On machine level it is just a set of 
data. People who use DF to transform a video input "own" what they 
prduce and Download Finished also asks them to download their new film 
in DVD quality in order to be able to insert it into other pieces of 
film or even to send it off to film festivals, screen it etc.
This actually worked quite well - we  know of some Download Finished 
films being shown in screenings, some films entered in festivals and 
there are probably some more of which we have no idea...

-carmen & doma

!Mediengruppe Bitnik

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