Sunday 23 June 2013

Glastonbury Video Stasi

Imagine my surprise when literally days before the Glastonbury Festival opens, I receive this email:

Sorry if this is a duplication email, but are you planning on using the
screen at West Holts for The Orb? If so, I need to recieve (sic) all content by
Tuesday. I have to get all footage signed off by the festival legal

Hmm, so as a precondition for The Orb being allowed to play, I am expected to simply hand over my entire video library - my life's work -  in an easily pirated format, to a complete stranger who doesn't have enough time before the show to watch it? 
This isn't going to be so easy. My work with the Orb is a visual improvisation, drawing on moods in the music and following the band as they dip in and out of the set list. I have days worth of content that I draw on as well as creating a great deal of it in real time via video synths and all kinds of tricky cleverness.
Just the  logistics of buying a hard drive, copying the files and then arranging it to be delivered takes us past the Tuesday deadline. Or I could upload it, but that will probably take us past the festival and into July. And really, I need to watermark it all to prevent it being stolen or used without permission - this happens a lot more than you would imagine - I've had very bad experiences in the past at major events with footage being copied, altered slightly and reused.  So thats going to take the best part of a week and will be completed after the festival ends, maybe even by the end of the festival season. And of course, Glastonbury wont be paying a penny towards the costs of these weeks of unnecessary work.

And thats just The Orb. Even if by some miracle all this comes to pass, on Tuesday there is going to be a portacabin in a field in Somerset with a good two months worth of footage in different formats on different hard drives from the 200 or so visual performers that will be working there over the festival. And that doesn't take into account the ones who use realtime video systems and visual synthesisers. Besides, even after all this fuss and box ticking, there is absolutely nothing to stop anyone changing the footage prior to the show, so why bother?

So I have to ask myself, is this the shape of things to come? We already have the Police in London insisting on being informed of what kinds of music will be played at events and refusing licenses on that basis. Added to this we now have inept attempts at self policing by event management, which at best amount to little more than censorship and at worst, force video performers to hand over all their content in an easily pirated digital format to an anonymous 3rd party with no safeguards whatsoever.

I have a feeling the Orb show may just well start with a disclaimer:

We would like to inform the audience that all footage being used in this performance has been vetted by the festival legal department. 
As a result of this you will not be exposed to anything radical and you might as well stay at home and watch the adverts.

Having spoken to a very reasonable chap who was  aware of the 'lack of insight' of festival management in bringing about this whole situation (apparently Morrissey is to blame for trying to protest about dairy farming) , we are currently able to make a compromise using stills for approval ( which is ridiculous of course), but next year is another story.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

E3 Square Enix video game

As video games move into immersive environments, so too do the presentations at gaming conferences. E3 in Los Angeles is the most important date on the video games calendar with all the major companies launching their new products - this with year XBox 1 and PS4 coming out.
deepvisual was asked to initially demonstrate a proof of concept for a detective game and the client loved it so much that I was brought in to execute the complex mapping of the game set onto the interior walls of the demonstration theatre. Extrusions were added to create extra depth, with a wonderful trompe l'oei where the video meets the set. It was a lot of very difficult complicated work that simply had to be 'right first time' -  and of course it was.