An early copy left project I setup while at undercurrents
Ruff cuts MPG1 Video CD-ROM
The project is complemtery to the VHS news video; it entails putting lots of roughly edited news shorts and good video clips on to a computer playerbal CD-ROM.
The CD’s can be freely copied and given away
The CD’s can be sold by us and the video producers to raise production costs.
They could be used for campaigning fundraising.
This is a radical alt-media project using existing simple, universal and very cheap technology. The common CD ROM, entwined with the international video standard MPG, and the web standard HTML.
Easy to edit
Basic editing is much easier now. Once you have an editing laptop it becomes second nature to do a ruff edit of any story you cover.
Of course making something that people will really watch is a little more time consuming and difficult. This project isn’t aiming to be whatchabel in the traditional way. It’s more for the people who were at the action or as a video resource. Also a means of communicating the fact that things you don’t see on tely are going on. People can get one of the actions they were on and of course will also get video of lots of other actions… It’s a stepping stone for people to create more polished and finished pieces for the undercurrents news video.
It’s a great distribution tool for an indymedia vagabond with a laptop with a CD burner and a DV camera. Get a long contacts list, a round the world ticket, shoot stories as you go and create and sell CD’s to finances the whole shebang, in the process nurturing the alt-media distribution network.
Copy-left and funding
The CD’s would be copyleft, that is, free to reproduce not-for-profit in whatever form. Anyone could create copies and give them away… If they sold them for profit this would break the copyleft agreement, unless they had a fund raising agreement. The outcome of this would be that the CD’s would be free to activists, who would get off the behinds and copy the CD’s (for free) for there friends and campains.
Sell the video CD’s for say:
We would agree to the selling of the CD’s in most circumstances
As a fund raser for a good course or project.
If the individual or organization produced one of the video slots on the CD.
With a funding sharing licenses
The project becomes sustainable to all concerned because the CD’s can be sold by both the producers and contributors with certain limitations.
Free to give away
The CD’s are of course free for anyone to produces and give away.
The producer of each video segment (or for each 5 min) automatically has the right to create and sell £100 ponds worth of CD’s. After this they can sell CD’s on the normal fund sharing bases.
The CD’s can be sold by people who have an agreement with ruff cuts, this will be on a funding sharing bases with 1/3 going to Ruff cuts and 2/3 of the sale prices going to the fundraising organization. This would be around £1.50 for a £5 sale and £3 for a £10 sale.
Notes on funding
The “free” contributor sales are limited to stop abuse of the system, with out some limit an enterprising capitalist, who made one piece, could make seruse money out of other people’s work. Why have money coming into the center? After working all my life in the alternative I am very awear that projects tend to disintegrate if the is not a strong focus to what they are doing. For this project to work well we need a sustainable core to the project, from both an infrastructure point of view and the people working on the project.
Sustainability need to cover the cost of the technology, Laptop, DV deck, Camera, tapes and Blank CD’s. The replacement cost of the laptop or Camera is around £1500… they will brake or get stolen. Thus need a cersurten level of funding not only to subsist but also to cover replacement cost of expensive equipment. For the project to have a strong core it needs to be abeal to provide the people working on it with a resnebal subsistence’s wage, which they would augment threw what ever other projects they were involved in.
Out reach persion
Video activist training
At the core of this project is not only the means of distribution, but a strong commitment to training as a means of creating content to distribute. If the project managed to create excess funding, that is it makes a profit this would be plowed back into firstly video activist training. This would also be a process of re-distributing the core funding to the producers, as the obverse choice to run the video training would be the very dispersed and embed in there communities producers of the ruff cuts video them self. And secondly to fund outreach screenings to the wider community.
Ruff cuts is both a process and a distribution technology that needs to be imbedded in the full breapth of the alt-media and wider globalization moment. Should be a joint project with indymedia? As a means of getting new video stories, fundraising and sharing distribution. But all the problems of working with a disorganization!
The basic Ruff Cuts MPG1 CD-ROM can be complemented by the higher quality MPG2 SVCD standard which allows around 40 minits of “DVD” quality video on a standard CD, this would allow more established video activist groups to distribution of more polished full length documenetrys threw the copy-left network.
The advantages of the Video CD over VHS:
Copying time CD takes around 10 minutes, VHS 1 hour
Similar quality of video
Can fit over 1 hour of video on a CD
Can be instantly edited, rearranged, dubbed or subtitled
Small to carry and cheap to post.
Will play on very widely availably low-speck computers
Will play on any computer platform, Mac, PC, UNIX etc.
Very cheap to mass-produce.
Making them one off with CD-R’s takes about 10 min and costs around 50p with label and cover
Commercially printing them makes them cheap anufe to give away 25p or less.
Sexy – cool image of video CD
Could be distributed threw more traditional outlets? Given away on magazine covers?
Advantages of the project for Undercurrents Archive (optional but worthwhile)
The undercurrents archive is both a wonderful resores for video activist film makers and a place were the ethical mainstream can get access images and voices from “our” point of view. The archive manages to servie and pay one meager wage threw these sales. The ruff cuts encoding of the MPG1 would bring much new footage coming threw the archive, which if the original producer agreed could be placed in the archive. This would be good both from a historical point of view; it would preserve the history of this alternative movement and from a finatial point of view of the producer and the archive if the video was used in more mainstream ethical productions. The CD-ROM would act as a good shop window for the archive – as the MPG1 video is only ¼ of broadcast resolution anyone who seriously wonted to make money from the video would need access to the full resolution original.
The global ruff cuts network
This project at the moment is an English language one, we need to think of other language versions – I prefer languages rather than nations as a means of making divisions, to be discussed during the process of launching the UK (global) model. It is relatively easy to make the Txt on the CD’s multy language, and the with some clever programming subtitles on the video could be made multilingual – that is you could choice the language but this would be a lot of work and commitment which I don’t think is around at the moment.
The advantages of the copyleft system
It means that any productions using part of the MPG1 video from the CD would have to be distributed under the copyleft system, thus could not be charged for. It normalizes the problem/delight of rampant piracy of the video pieces which exists already with out undermining the fundraising potential of the original producer of the video. It always camera people to feel more secure letting there video out into the world, thus allowing more people to see radical images. It is a positive alternative to the problem of hording lots of dusty tapes unviewed on shelves…
It decentralizes the distribution system while allowing some money to come back to the producers. Even if they have to sell the Video CD’s them selves!
Some technological aids to the distribution problem of alt-media
Ruff cuts video CD project – provides VHS quality video which can be instantly edited or changed, dropped into people own projects. With web links to organization and more info. Have two CD’s finished.
Video CD’s simple to use and copy VHS quality video, am in the process of encoding the undercurrents tapes 1-10 in this format. Have done undercurrents 10
SVCD’s are 40 min’s of hi-quality “DVD” on a standard CD, a good format for relicesing new documentary’s have Globalization and the media on this format.
A copy left contract (needs to be cutermised)
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