What we made at Mozfest

We’ve had a week to reflect on the explosion of creativity that was Mozilla’s Media, Freedom and the Web festival (MozFest). The festival marked the launch of Popcorn 1.0, and the alpha version of Popcorn Maker. We also partnered with the National Film Board of Canada to premiere One Millionth Tower, a documentary film made entirely in WebGL, using Popcorn as the event system. David Humphrey has written a great writeup on his impressions on the festival, I’d encourage you to read it. Meanwhile, on this blog, I wanted to round up some of the early press reactions, as well as a few links to demos that were made at the fest.

Popcorn.js @ Mozilla Fest 2011

David Humphrey and Brett Gaylor announce Popcorn 1.0 at Mozfest

The Press

From the front page of Wired.com (Nov 5):
“The makers of the new film One Millionth Tower reinvented the documentary format…. The resulting film is unlike any before it.

One Millionth Tower, which is premiering on Wired.com the same day it premieres at the Mozilla Festival in London, is not just a static story recorded on film and then edited together for audiences…. Everything is triggered by [Mozilla’s] Popcorn.js, which acts like a conductor signaling which instruments play at what times.

Webmonkey: Mozilla Reinvents Web Video With Popcorn 1.0
“Video on the web has always been a bit disappointing. After all, it’s pretty much just like television, only smaller. Unlike the rest of the web, video is just as much a passive experience in your browser as it is anywhere else.

Mozilla would like to change that.

Gizmodo: Here’s How You Make a Documentary Only Using HTML5 and WebGL

One Millionth Tower makes specific use of a Javascript tool called [Mozilla] Popcorn, which was designed to integrate web APIs into online video. What director Katerina Cizek did was utilize Popcorn to control the movement of the video frame, having it effectively behave like a video camera.”

Boing Boing: A documentary built with WebGL and other open standards

Damn cool.” –Cory Doctorow

TechCrunch: Mozilla Festival salutes more Popcorn and less developer-ghetto

Emmy-award winning filmmaker Kat Cizek described herself as ‘super-chuffed’ when she came on stage to present the world’s first HTML5 film at #mozfest. It was the world premiere of ‘One Millionth Tower’, a documentary that works like the web itself: ever-changing, updated by the minute.

The film was developed with the help of Popcorn.js, Mozilla’s recently launched JavaScript library that works similarly to the hypertext principle in seamlessly mashing up online video with virtually anything online – the most obvious examples would be Wikipedia, Flickr or Twitter. It turns film into a more semantic experience, allowing for more dynamic and interaction.

“We can’t just think about interaction at the end but need it from the beginning to create a conversation between the filmmaker and the audience,” agreed the students involved in the development of Popcorn. “This kind of storytelling is just getting started.”

The New York Times:
One new technology launched and then workshopped at MozFest was Popcorn.js, a library of video augmentation tools that makes it straightforward to overlay content layers per the time signatures in digital video. The Popcorn.js workshop developers took little more five minutes to produce their Web version of popup videos.

The demos

The biggest thrill was seeing the largest gathering of popcorn developers ever assemble roll up their sleeves. There were many new faces, as well, such as the developers from RAMP, who came to the festival to launch their recent foray into popcorn development. Much of what was made over the 2 days is impossible to capture – new connections, new ideas, the start of many projects. A few demos stood out, however, and were showcased at the “closing circle” of the festival:

Popcorn.js @ Mozilla Fest 2011

Popcorn Remote

A great showcase of having popcorn content play simultaneously on 2 screens – imagine a television show with related content on your tablet. Created by the CDOT crew: David Seifreid, Jon Buckley, Christopher DeCairos, Scott Downe.

Popcorn Colour Tracker

Berto Yanez made a great demo showing the possibilities of tracking a colour within a video element, and inserting HTML into this colour.

The Pirate Bay “Augumentary”
With help from the Popcorn community, filmmaker Simon Klose realized a proof of concept for his upcoming documentary “The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard” in which related content appears in a sidebar.

See you at next year’s Mozfest!

(photos CC BY-NC-SA by Jonathan Mcintosh)

2 responses

  1. Benton Middleton wrote on :

    As a basic HTML’er myself, this looks cool as hell, and quite promising to the web. I just hope this, or other similar technologies, will also transfer to other browser platforms as well, thereby making HTML5 video the new web standard. Good work , Guys. Keep it up!

  2. Pingback from HowTo: Mozilla Popcorn Learning Lab | Michelle Thorne on :

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