Site Seeing

Set up to counter cable companies’ self-appointed role as future gatekeepers of the Internet, is an information, educational, and lobbying site which takes the public access battle into the on-line arena. The site’s goal is to keep broadband networks accessible in order to maintain competition and diversity in the Internet access market. The site warns that with cable companies exercising monopoly control over high-speed cable access to the Internet, consumers may end up paying twice to use another service provider–once for the cable company’s ISP and again for the service provider they want. The site’s motto–"Preserve diversity and choice on-line"–is as much a call to arms as a working slogan, and its links encourage site visitors to lobby against the restriction of consumer choice (e.g, AT’s merger with MediaOne and the suit for open access taken against the City of Portland, OR).

This is the first stop for anyone contemplating the production of a digital film. The site’s news section features short write-ups on all the latest video, audio, and 3D equipment, with information on new enhancements, as well as pricing and availability. The site also has a large section devoted to tutorials to help new digital users learn the various systems. These are grouped under four topics–After Effects, 3D, audio, and video. The format is simple: you’re given an instructive summary and two downloads. The site also has a stock media resource (2D, 3D, textures, audio, and video) and an exhaustive buyer’s guide.

The key feature of the site, however, is DV magazine, a must-have for the digitally inclined. Its archive, Data Vault, is very easily navigatable and contains lists of issues and product topics. A search for compression/decompression, for instance, came up with the QuickTime 4 Player Pro and a link to the Apple website. Digital Toolkit is a list of links to freeware, shareware, and demos. The magazine’s news section also features industry news, an international events calendar, and a conference connection.

I-Views contains over 80 clips about Junior Summit ’98 culled from over 100 hours of video footage. Developed by Pengkai Pan, a Masters candidate in the Interactive Cinema Group at MIT’s Media Lab, the summit was a conference about the future of digital technology alongside sociopolitical issues such as environmental awareness, telecommunications access, and child welfare. There were 1,000 children between the ages of 10 and 16 included in the six-month forum, while 100 delegates from 54 countries presented their plans at the six-day summit at MIT.

The interesting aspect here is that viewers can use the site to make their own statement in five easy steps. Begin by viewing as many clips as you like, save the ones of interest, and finally edit them any way you see fit. By naming your sequence, you can then compare it to other videos of a similar theme, viewing some of these other clips, and even emailing the filmmakers. This is a very hands-on way of expressing yourself while learning about the technology.

About :

Lisa Vasta was an intern at The Independent and a freelance writer.