THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
By New York Times News Service
This one mentions my hero, Chris Gore! This is about the future of distributing full length films over the web. XENA is mentioned briefly when discussing that Brilliant Digital already offers the multipath movies on-line.
Think downloading software takes too long? Imagine downloading a complete film like Saving Private Ryan, then watching it on your 15-inch computer monitor. Most people would rather line up for tickets. But some film industry observers, like Kay Shaw of Amber Images, and Chris Gore, publisher of Film Threat Weekly, say film distribution over the Internet will become viable within five or so years. One company, Brilliant Digital Entertainment, says it has solved the problem of distributing computer-generated 3-D animated films over the Internet. The company, an entertainment production and technology development studio in Los Angeles, intends to release tools into the marketplace early this year that can be used with 3-D Studio Max, a popular animation program, said Kevin Bermeister, Brilliant Digital's president. With these tools, called B 3-D, Bermeister said, animation developers big and small will be able to use a novel method to send sound and moving pictures over the Internet at much faster speeds. He said the animation would retain much more of its original look, sound and full range of motion when it was seen on viewers' computer monitors. Instead of trying to squeeze an entire film through the usually narrow bandwidths of the telephone lines used to gain access to the Internet, Brilliant Digital breaks up the animated film into visual parts like wire-frame characters and backgrounds. The system downloads them. Next, it sends not the film itself, but instructions (along with the soundtrack) to a viewer's computer on how to reconstruct the film, piecing it together as it is being watched. Bermeister said the system provided as much detail as the viewer's computer could handle. Bermeister said that downloading a 30-second Dancing Baby segment, audio and video, might take some Internet users 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the connection, but that Brilliant Digital's method would trim that wait to one or two minutes. He predicted that as more people discovered how easy it was to make and send computer-generated movies, the wired world would never be the same. "People will create their own 3-D animations, mini-movies, art forms, their own characters," Bermeister said. "They will publish them to the Net, changing its whole shape and form." Brilliant Digital is distributing on the Internet its own short serialized movies, generated by computer, which it calls "webisodes." For $8.95 a quarter, viewers can subscribe to the weekly interactive 3-D films at the www.multipathmovies.com site. (Trial episodes, including versions of Xena, the Warrior Princess and Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, can be downloaded free.)
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