God's Companion 1~ official movie website
Adventure, excitement, and romance too.
New software tools for a new movie industry
We are developing the tools and methods for this Open Source Studio system, and have not yet moved all of the action on-line, we still use mail delivery for renders due to the size of the files and also for some acting recordings if the actor isn't that clued-up on computer internet methods. Our first production, a 60 minute animated film called "God's Companion - the search for Jefratus" is now out of beta and ready for release 1.0 which is due in summer of 2006.
The people involved in the production are in America, Brazil, England, Germany, & Spain and probably other countries - being connected by internet you don't necessarily know where your collaborators are. I have only met a few of them face to face and I haven't spoken to many of the others. The process has involved lots of email and file exchange, but little conversation.
Any software can be used as long as it handles common standard files, but because we want it to be very easy to enter the Open Source Production system we have a preference for readily available low cost software. Much of this is open source, but not all of it. We use wings3D for models which is free, we use DAZ-Studio for posing and animating articulated models (humans and animals) because it is also currently free, we use Audacity and Wavepad for audio both of which are currently free and we use Bryce for landscape and machine animations because is is low priced.
The reason for using free or low priced software is because anyone can obtain it, try it and see if they like being a movie maker without the trauma of spending a large amount of money and then finding that they don't enjoy the process.
We have nothing against higher priced software, its just that to be OPEN, we need to also be CHEAP, so that everyone can try their hands (and eyes and brains) in this fantastic new process the Open Source Studio movie production system.
Our virtual studio was featured in the August print edition of 3DWorld magazine, the leading source for 3D software artists.
Open Source & Open Call
The actual production process is Open Source, and we operate an Open Call system.
Open Call is a conventional term used in theatre where anyone can come and audition for a part. We use that concept not just for actors but also for software model makers, graphics artists who do materials, sound effects creators, animators and even persons who have little artistic input but who have spare computer time and would like to render (film) the animations created by others.
To join the system a person goes to our (new) forum website and registers there explaining what aspect of the film production process he or she would like to be involved in. Then the person 'auditions' by posting an example of work (art, models, voice overs, etc).
If the quality of the audition is high enough and we currently need that ability in one of the projects we accept that person into the project and give access to a private resource which includes the details of each project. The team member can choose from the list of segements and make a claim on that by indicating which he or she would like to tackle.
If the finished work is accepted then it is edited into the project and the person gets a screen credit for the work.
As no movie is ever 'finished' it is always possible for a team member to put forward a new version of any scene and if it is accepted as being an improvment for the overal movie it will be edited in and a new release (upgrade) made.
Virtual Studio busts conventions
In conventional film making there is filming and post-production with a finished product 'the movie' at the end which is then distributed by some, probably physical, means.
As software there is a beta stage where a selected audience try-out the software and it is improved until it seems good enough to release and then there is Release 1.0 - not a finished product, but good enough to ship. From Release 1.0 work continues and the product is 'upgraded' and identified as an improved version by being given another number, Release 1.1 or 1.2 or if it is a major improvement release 2.0
That is how we release our movies, as we work on them they are tested with a selected audience (we call them beta-testers based on the software convention) and when the movie has been improved to the point where it is watchable as a reasonably polished product it is released as Release 1.0.
Being available for download (it's software remember) we continue improving it and issue the newer versions as upgrades 1.1, 1.2 etc.
If you think that the released movie isn't good enough - take responsibility by making it better.
Open Source Movie Production & the Virtual Studio
Our Open Source Studio system is an advanced concept based on the open source software method applied to the production of animated films.
We go far beyond the use of open source software, actually applying the concept of open source to the production process itself.
Animated films are software from the models and programs that create the images, the speech sound FX and music, to the finished frames per second- they are all software in bits that can be created on computers and shipped down the line through the internet using standard protocols.
So as everything is software and bits we have adopted the conventions and methods of software production applied to movie production.
This is a deep and exciting project; we think we are building a new industry paradigm.