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ACQUISITION Open Source for Film and TV Production by Daniel Mulligan, Managing Director, Rogue Element Digital T here’s nothing like a new project to make you feel excited about life, and excited is definitely how I’ve been feeling since I adopted an Open Source policy to my companies’ camera and workflow divisions. My background is in cameras. I started out assisting and focus pulling before moving up the ranks to Camera Operating for F1, BBC Dramas and eventually Second Unit Cinematography for Feature Theatrical Productions. During this time I set up Rogue Element Digital and Pure Digital Services, companies that specialise in all aspects of digital cinematography including camera rental, workflow services and location post. Both ran successfully until 2011 when I was offered a job by Technicolour to set up and run its Digital/Data Operations. As locations and digital dailies supervisor I was involved in a variety of projects including Jupiter Ascending, Mortdecai and The Man from UNCLE. Fast forward now to the summer of 2014 when my time at Technicolour came to an end. After a few weeks off to watch the FIFA World Cup, I decided to resurrect my existing businesses and start trading again – only this time with a difference. Just prior to leaving Technicolour I developed an interest in the Open Source concept and started researching it in more depth. It seemed to me that if Open Source could be applied to film and television production, there was the possibility to really revolutionise the industry and encourage creativity in an entirely new way. During the many years I’ve spent in this industry I’ve seen a few changes and re-iterations of the current digital workflows and it has struck me how much we rely on proprietary systems for most delivery. There’s nothing wrong with this because, for VFX to DI to onset LUTs and more, they do a good job. However, my research into Open Source led me to believe we could do more and I started asking myself some fundamental questions: 62 | KITPLUS - TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 98 FEBRUARY 2015 What if we could ensure that 4k cinema (and beyond) was fully open to everyone? What if digital filming equipment could be made available to all via a transparent open policy? If this was possible, could we expand 4k out of the domain of paid Professional Feature projects and make it accessible to filmmakers who couldn’t normally afford to work with 4k cameras? If we took a truly Open Source approach to film and television production, couldn’t we liberate the creative spirit and inspire freedom of expression? Of course, having a dream is good but if you want to make dreams come true you need to get practical. And that’s exactly what the Open Source movement is doing. What Areas Can Open Source Be Applied To? When you start discussing Open Source in relation to film and television production, you soon recognise that this topic has many strands. Basically it covers everything from cameras and location post through the entire production pipeline and workflows including sensor processing, transcoding, VFX, DI and colour, LUTs and more. In reality, though, the first areas that need to be tackled are digital camera technology, network/server support and delivery and distribution. Ideally we need to see products and solutions maturing and establishing credibility through proven use. People who have open sourced their work and their projects by allowing access and inviting collaboration need to be recognised. We also need to give people the freedom to study, understand, modify and sell their products or derivatives so that the ideas and principles of Open Source can be consolidated within a forum. To this end, Open Source Cinema UK has been set up to help develop and create solutions for Open Source Film production. The aim of this web site and community forum is to introduce new ways of working so that we can enhance creativity, cut costs and explore different approaches to technological development and financing.