U kijkt naar de archieven van 2009.

Videoclip waarvoor ik het licht verzorgde. Twee dagen in Theater Zuidpool met een onbekende lichttafel, maar wat mij betreft mag het resultaat er zijn.

Beknopte credits

Muziek en performance
Hotel Imun
Regie
Jan Van Dyck
Camera
Iris Vrints
Jef Jacobs
Licht
Ben De Rydt

affiche-frustration-islandMijn geliefde schatjes van jeugdtoneelgroep “De Strontvliegen” spelen op vrijdag 13 maart, zaterdag 14 maart en zondag 15 maart “Frustration Island”, een bewerking van de Odyssee door de Kakkewieten.

Ik was al een tijdje op zoek naar een antieke Griekse comedie om naar onze hand te zetten, en iets van de Kakkewieten kunnen we als Strontvliegen natuurlijk niet laten liggen. Verwacht je aan een episch verhaal met een diepe draai en de nodige onnozelheid.

Zoals steeds is de afspraak in Gemeenschapcentrum ‘t Dorp, Berlaarsesteenweg 2, Kessel, op 13, 14 en 15 maart (zondag in de namiddag om 15h00). Reserveren op 03/489.09.34 of 03/480.89.15.

Frustration Island is een knettergekke chaotische bewerking van de Odyssee door de Kakkewieten. De Odyssee werd geschreven door Homeros en groeide uit tot het bekendste verhaal uit de antieke Griekse tijd. Homeros vertelt ons hoe het komt dat Odysseus er 10 jaar over doet om van Troje terug thuis in Ithaka te geraken. En wij vertellen dat in een goed uur.

Met

Bart Verbrugghe
The Voice
Silke Van Dessel
Bjorn
Sofie Fabri
Odysseus
Sandra Vandeloo
Homer
Lies Scheepers
Metaxa
Roos Deviaene
Circé / Griek
Sara Bollaerts
Cycloop / Griek
Ben Scheepers
Moeder / Griek
Ragna Govaerts
Tereisias / Griek
Lotte De Rydt
Hades / Prins Der Winden / Griek
Michiel Elst
Poseidon
Amelie De Keulenaer
Penelope
Enya Martens
Athena

Achter de schermen

Regie
Ben De Rydt & Ilse Plessers
Muzikale begeleiding
Rein Vanvinckenroye
Make up
Lies De Rydt, Nele Hoogendoorn
Geluid
Bart Verbrugghe
Licht
Bob Hoogendoorn
Productie
Greet Daneels & Ludo De Rydt & Lucien Luyten
Decor & Lichtontwerp
Ben De Rydt
Drukwerk
Lotte De Rydt & Ben De Rydt
Decorbouw
Ludo De Rydt & Wiet Scheepers & Erik Bollaerts & Greet Danneels
Technische installatie
Stephane Van Eester & Bob Hoogendoorn & Sofie Verstappen & Ben De Rydt

Daar ik een grote fan van Paul Thomas Anderson ben, was ik blij verrast The Dirk Diggler Story op de internetbuizen aan te treffen. The Dirk Diggler Story (1988) is P.T. Anderson’s voorbode tot Boogie Nights (1997). The Dirk Diggler Story werd gemaakt tijdens zijn studies en — buiten zijn meesterschap van het fake-documentaire genre — vallen de grote gelijknissen tussen beide films echt wel op. De “You got the touch”-powerballad komt letterlijk terug in Boogie Nights, inclusief de discussie over bas versus vocals, en ook de acteur van het Jack Horner-personage komt terug, zij het als de slechte producer in plaats van de goede. Alleen vrouwen en bloot waren blijkbaar wat moeilijker in 1988 — Raise your hand if you love Rollergirl! –, maar een kleine tien jaar later lag een homosexuele relatie tussen Dirk Diggler en Reed dan weer moeilijker. Eerlijk gezegd, hoeveel respect ik ook heb voor John C. Reilly, de Reed in The Dirk Diggler Story was beter, niet als acteur, maar wel als personage.

Goeie muzikant en knappe documentaire. Ik begrijp niet dat ik er nu pas wat van hoor…

Edit: volledige documentaire alhier.

Three and a half years ago I wrote The Joy of Web Development about the trouble I had embedding movies into webpages. That article is about the most popular article (for spammers :-) on this sparse blog. Now, as I’m gearing up to redo my site and take the movie pages out of self-written CMS limbo and into the 21st century (cough WordPress), I decided to revisit the way I want to publish movies and see what’s going on.

First, publishing movies on one’s own website is out. Youtube and Vimeo rule the pack, and if you’re looking for an easy way to put your family’s vacation movie online you can stop reading now and head their way. However, I’m not interested in putting my movies on someone else’s servers, partly because I’m stubborn, and partly because I don’t like my movies served with advertising.

Coincidentally, Mark Pilgrim published his Gentle Introduction to Video Encoding just about now, so head that way if you’re looking for a concise overview. These are just my observations:

  1. mp4 has won. Back in 2005 when I wrote The Joy of Web Development, the battle was between .mp4 (only playable by Quicktime back then) and Windows Media (.wmv). This old page still kind of acknowledges that battle. Flash video (.flv) was and is a strong contender but the good On2 VP6 codec is expensive and kind of hard to get.1 Plus, flash video does not integrate nicely into a Quicktime based workflow and .flv-files are basically unplayable once downloaded.

    The ubuquitous availability of iPod’s, PSP’s and other MP4-capable portable media players helped a lot, but the final nail in .wmv‘s (and .flv‘s) coffin was the decision of Adobe to put mp4 playback into Flash Player. Early versions of the mp4-capable Flash Player were too slow but as of Flash Player 10 the performance is sufficient for most computers, although Quicktime still is much faster on my old PowerMac G4.

    Bottom line: if you want to compress your movie for the web, choose .mp4 with h.264-compression and check wether it plays in Quicktime Player.2

  2. Flash has won. This may look like a contradiction with the previous observation but as an embedded player in a website, Flash technology is unbeatable (see Youtube and Vimeo and countless others). Flash has the 90%+ install base, it loads fast, is cross platform (Windows, Mac OS X and Linux) and there’s a really nice free movieplayer3 in the form of Jeroen Wijering’s JW FLV Player.
  3. Embedding movies has become even more horrible. Due to blatant patent abuse by Eolas, Internet Explorer ceased playing flash applications (and other <object>‘s) in a webpage from february 2006 until april 2008. Users had to click to activate the embedded object, but only if it was embedded directly in the page, not if the player object was programmatically inserted via JavaScript.

    This means that from then on, the best way to insert a movie is to do it by JavaScript, preferably by using something like swfobject. Luckily, swfobject hides the <object> and <embed>-mess (still not solved!) that was the source of my troubles in The Joy of Web Development. But not so luckily, swfobject brings another dependency to the table: now your viewers must not only have the right version of flash but JavaScript needs to be enabled too, and you must test for both.

    Thus, we’ve gone from this mess:

    <OBJECT CLASSID="clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B"
     CODEBASE="http://www.apple.com/qtactivex/qtplugin.cab"
     HEIGHT=yy
     WIDTH=xx>
      <PARAM NAME="src" VALUE="MyMovie.mov" />
      <EMBED SRC="MyMovie.mov"
       HEIGHT=yy WIDTH=xx
       TYPE="video/quicktime"
       PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/" />
    </OBJECT>

    to this

    <html>
      <head>
        <title>My movie</title>
        <script type="text/javascript" src="swfobject.js"></script>
        <script type="text/javascript">
        swfobject.embedSWF("jwplayer.swf", "myMovieID", 512, 288 + 16, "9.0.98", false,
                           { file: "mymovie.mp4", image: "mymovie.jpg" },
                           { allowfullscreen: true });
        </script>
      </head>
      <body>
        <div id="myMovieID">
          <p>Please enable JavaScript to view my movie</p>
        </div>
      </body>
    </html>

    All of your movies need placeholders in the body and the actual movie files in the header of the page and you need id‘s to keep them all apart.4

So, what’s a man got to do? I’m not going to implement that mess in item #3. Besides, posting a video online is simple in principle: all you need is a movie file (the .mp4) and a poster file; an image that describes your movie and serves as placeholder while your viewer waits for the movie to download. So here’s what’s my markup is going to look like:

<a href="mymovie.mp4"><img src="mymovie.jpg" width="512" height="288"
   alt="Click to download my movie" /></a>

Other than that, I’ll use even more JavaScript — jQuery to the rescue — to pull out all of these .mp4-links, invent ids for swfobject and display the movie with JW FLV Player (and some more)…

  1. The bad old Sorenson 3 based flv codec is widely available but gives horrible results.
  2. I believe Quicktime is the lowest common denominator of all mp4 capable apps and players, i.e. if an mp4 plays in Quicktime it will play everywhere else. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
  3. JW FLV Player is free as in beer for strict non-commercial use only.
  4. I know you can still do static publishing but this is the recommended swfobject way. Besides, conditional html comments are evil.

Today’s Apple Keynote* sure feels like an early funeral.

I’m sure that when (not if) Steve Jobs dies, we’re all going to get three beautiful materials (horse shit, fake grass and real oak veneer) for our Keynote charts, an iPhone Memorial app (“carry your our loved ones near your heart”) and a DRM-free Beatles tune for $1.29

* I watch this stuff for theatrical value. Steve Jobs’ keynotes are among the best in the industry, whether you like Apple or not. This one feels fake from the very start and drags on and on.