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 +ClearPlay  #EditedMovies  
As a note to ClearPlay, there are a few others out there that allow for edited playback: Mplayer EDL's [3]; powerDVD "remixes" which allows sharing via the MoovieLive website, and sharing via zipping [1], and supports blu-ray; zoomplayer max's "scene cuts" which allow sharing via their forum for it; http://code.google.com/p/movie-content-editor; XBMC support of EDL's, and also it can be made to do auto-edl creation [2]; sensible-cinema [4], which can provide edited playback and also experimentally do edits for online players like netflix instant, etc. Just as an FYI. Bye! [1]https://www.facebook.com/ClearplayFilterForum in the comments [2] http://brockhaymond.com/Software.html[3]http://www.oreillynet.com/sysadmin/blog/2005/06/make_your_own_phantom_edit_wit.html [4]https://github.com/rdp/sensible-cinema
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Jacob Biesinger's profile photoOliver Nina's profile photoDarren Duricka's profile photoRoger Pack's profile photo
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Roger thou art the man!

I had no idea xbmc supported edls. Very cool. Now if only there were a way to make streaming videos cleanflixable. Are you thinking of doing anything about this? It's a very cool idea. And one that could easily be crowd sourced
 
Yeah I did get a prototype going (basically it just OCR's the on screen time stamp for Netflix Instant, tracking it as you go).  Hmm...I'll have to think if I want to aggressively pursue that slant...
 
I've been a ClearPlay member for about 6 years. I don't pay for Cable and I rarely watch movies, but I feel it's worth spending the money to have these filters available so my children can watch edited movies.
Owning a ClearPlay DVD player takes some technical expertise. Downloading filters onto a filter stick and plugging it into the DVD is simple for me - but a hassle - but doesn't pass the Grandma test.
The DVD player needs to have WiFi/Ethernet built in so it automatically downloads the filters to edit the movies so when the kids come over, Grandma doesn't need to get involved
I am a loyal customer and will be renewing shortly and probably purchasing their upconverting DVD player.
Many people have asked for a status on development of a Blu-Ray player. The company is silent on development.
ClearPlay could get out of the hardware business. Load some software on a PS3, a computer or some other device and have it use the filters.
I will look up the items Roger mentioned.
The value with ClearPlay is the filters.
Even if software/hardware was free, without filters, there's no value. I won't be creating my own filters for movies.
For a free business model to work, there needs to be a critical mass of people editing movies.
The future of distribution is changing.
In homes, people don't mind streaming movies.
ClearPlays core competency isn't DVD Players, it's creating filters for movies. They could have a sub-business creating filters for anyone who wants to make software/hardware to deliver movie content. I suspect there isn't much of a market for edited content for there to be more than one or two companies editing movies.
I want to watch edited movies in Blu-Ray, I will eventually want to watch edited movies from a streaming source.
My fear is that there isn't enough money to motivate any large players in the movie industry to get streamed movies edited. The movie industry may not WANT people watching edited movies.
I wonder if we will see the death of this industry in a few years unless a philanthropist steps in out of the goodness of her/his heart to prop up this business model.
Those are my initial thoughts on the subject.
 
+Darren Duricka  I agree with your comment.  Building a standalone player that auto-syncs would be the ideal :)
Maybe like the "boxee" but that allows edited playback.  That's an interesting idea.

I also like the idea of a PS3 program (or possibly google TV app?) that does the job, too (I guess XBMC can do edited playback, but haven't tried it for real DVD's).  I think the easiest way (software development prototype) wise for now is a computer "only" app.  I suppose it doesn't pass the grandma test to plug your laptop via HDMI into your computer, but maybe the grandkid's could help :)

I figure Grandma can start the program and click on the "watch the DVD you just inserted edited!" button, hopefully that passes (she'd just be stuck watching it on her computer, not TV...)

Regarding clearplay, the thing that most bugs me is the cost, really.  It's a huge barrier to use.  I have had 2 co-workers actually try clearplay in the past few years.  Both quit.  One because of "shady business practices" (they double charged his card or something related), the other, IIRC, because the subscription cost, at $8 month, was too high.  If you rent a redbox movie every weekend. That's $5 for rented DVD's, then plus $8 (more than the rental cost?) to watch them edited? And for people like myself, that watch maybe 1 movie a month, it's basically a no go.  I describe my other concerns about ClearPlay here: https://github.com/rdp/sensible-cinema/blob/master/README.TXT#L124 basically, I wish that edited movie viewing were cheaper so that more people could do it (and so that cheap skates like me could do it, too--if it costs anything I avoid it).

"My" project is https://github.com/rdp/sensible-cinema (which currently does DVD/file playback edited, and hopes to do netflix instant edited sometime, if I can dust the cobwebs off).  The interface sucks (like "alpha" level) but it works ok for me.  It also parses subtitles to scan for profanity, etc.

The eventual hope is to build a community (crowd sourcing) that has a large list of quality filters available (I call them EDL's -- Edit Decision Lists :) Unfortunately, as you mention, it takes some kind of critical mass before you crowd sourcing works (I found this out).  I hope to eventually pay people to write EDL's, to try and reach that point, once it's stable enough.

I did discover, however, that you don't always need a polished existing EDL to watch some shows edited.  If you just parse a list of the film's subtitles for profanity, you can "remove" quite a bit of it.  So interestingly, you can basically create an EDL "on the fly".  Thank goodness, since I don't want to edit them all myself, and some movies have dozens of profanities.  Obviously it still misses things (ex: violent or sexy scenes are still in) but if there isn't too much of them then the viewing experience is ok.  So basically I can watch them sans profanity, and add the "few" other scenes to it as I notice it, and the viewing/editing process is much less painful.

I have "heard" that powerdvd's remixes can playback blu-ray edited, but haven't tried it.  I guess mplayer/VLC have libbluray support, too...I should test it.
If clearplay were to license their filters for use in other apps (ex: a plugin to Boxee or XBMC) that might work, but, my fear is that it might cost the end user  (they'd obviously have to charge something), which is what I'm trying to avoid.  Because at least for some people if there is any cost associated, then they will not consider it, so freer may promote use (though make the initial startup harder...)

Licensing (i.e. the movie industry not "wanting" people to watch edited movies) is a concern.  I'd guess it's the biggest hurdle to, for instance, getting Netflix Instant to accept filters from clearplay and use them to allow for watching edited content.  The producers would probably be up in arms, and Netflix may not want that.  Sensible cinema's edited netflix instant gets around this by basically just OCR'ing the on screen time display time, then muting the audio or overlaying a window on the playing movie to simulate "skipping" a scene by obscuring it).  So it's a bit tricky there, for the licensing side (and demand for it). I know there is demand for edited netflix instant, but maybe not enough to make it work with clearplay.

Overall, it is true that there isn't a huge market for edited movies, so crowd sourcing might be effective there.  

Feedback welcome, and thanks for the contribution.
 
Roger, I'm with you. ClearPlay is expensive. I rent probably 1-2 movies a month. Adding on the ClearPlay additional expense puts this in the luxury category. I'd still rather spend the money.
So it's time for a business model discussion.

Let's start with filter development. 
I like your crowd sourcing idea. I believe that there is a model where people will pledge dollars to have an enhancement made to Open Source software. A brief search yielded this result: http://www.springwise.com/media_publishing/crowdfunding_software_projects/
and this result: http://micropledge.com/

A website like micropledge could be developed with the purpose of filter development. Individuals like me could pledge pennies or dollars for the development of filters for movies. When enough funds are pledged to a particular movie, a "filter developer" would have enough motivation to create the filter and then cash in and receive the pledge money. There would need to be a way to rate the filter creators so that money could be pledged to filter creators who produce good filters. Perhaps there needs to be a waiting period so people could test the filters before the creator receives their money. Creators could compete. The creator with the best filter would get the pledge money. $90 a year in ClearPlay fees gives me money to pledge.

Now to the hardware. The problem with using PowerDVD is that filter developers don't control the platform. What if PowerDVD decides not to support the EDLs? All that work is down the drain. An open source DVD player or some type of contract with a legit company might work. 

You could require mplayer with libdvdcss2 installed on the machine so encrypted dvds will play. Or, (I don't totally know how this works but I think you do) mplayer with a paid codec to decrypt dvds. I suspect the same model would work with Blu-Ray. 

I suspect that people that are ClearPlay users are technical people. They know how to download files, extract them, load them onto a thumb drive and then put the thumb drive into the DVD player. This is the first target market. The innovators. (Remember crossing the chasm). These are the people that will hook computers up to their TVs. Once there's a working model, then you work to pass the grandma test. That could be a custom ubuntu distribution that you load onto a nettop and then grandma hooks it up to the internet and her television. Maybe there's an opensource blu-ray player that runs on Linux that's hackable. Perhaps an application could be loaded onto the PS3. Lot's of hardware options here.

The trick would be to get the custom edl portable across platforms.

(I just checked and clearplay has about 3500 filters.)

freemovie.com isn't available. libremovie.com is available - not sure I like libre but you see where I'm going.

You could sell advertising on the website or charge 10% of the pledge to run the site. 

those are my recent thoughts on the matter. 

I'd like to see something like this take off.

You need to somehow gauge the interest in the community for something like this. With 7 billion people on the earth, I'd like to think there is enough interest to make something like this a profitable model.

Let me know what you think.
 
Roger, I have some more thoughts on the subject.

I understand that mplay supports Edit Decision Lists:
http://mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/edl.html

The limitation of the EDL capability is that it appears to be linear. Meaning, if I load an EDL it will skip and mute only those items in the EDL.Unlike ClearPlay that allows me to set criteria around what I want to filter. If I don't mind a level of violence then I can allow some violence where if I don't want profanity, I can tell ClearPlay to disallow profanity.

If a robust open source alternative to ClearPlay is the goal, I see a few necessities.
1. The player needs to support a variety of blocking levels that ClearPlay supports.
2. A filtering methodology needs to be created. Meaning, we have categories: Violence, Language, Morality, etc. Each of those categories has sub levels of strength associated with each category. For example, language would 3 levels. Level 1- block just bad words, level-2 block bad words and other words, level -3 would block everything. Is there something in existence already?

Other items that the player would need include:
1. A streamlined plug in that allows the player to search for an EDL whenever a movie is inserted/played. 
2. Download new EDLs on demand/when available.
3. Upconverting for DVDs
4. Support for blu-ray disks. (I did a brief search and mplayer appears to support blu-ray.)

I like the idea of having EDLs that can be used across applications. This might require a re-coding of how mplayer handles EDLs or perhaps a harmonization of the code between opensource applications so they can use the same EDL code. You mentioned XBMC above.

Part of this project is to figure out where we would get the most traction/support in creating EDLs.

Roger, would you prefer to continue development on Sensible Cinema or expand mplayers capabilities by creating add-ons, tweaking the code, etc. or both?

Thanks.
 
And is there a way to watch threads in G+? That way I don't have to scroll down to find the thread. :)
 

> Roger, I'm with you. ClearPlay is expensive. I rent probably 1-2 movies a
> month. Adding on the ClearPlay additional expense puts this in the luxury
> category. I'd still rather spend the money.
> So it's time for a business model discussion.
>
> Let's start with filter development.
> I like your crowd sourcing idea. I believe that there is a model where
> people will pledge dollars to have an enhancement made to Open Source
> software. A brief search yielded this result:
> http://www.springwise.com/media_publishing/crowdfunding_software_projects/ > and this result: http://micropledge.com/

That's a good idea.
I saw this site the other day:
http://pcnoevil.org

which began attempting what we're envisioning...kind of..  As named as
"powerdvd remixes" :)

I guess my theory was that I could just find somebody to employ to do
it for me that would work for "$5 a movie" or its like.  I mean, there
are probably lots of people out there who would love to get paid to
watch movies, after all :)

The other good news is that there's only a small corpus of "the most
popular movies" out there, really.  I mean, I bet if you had just 250
filters, or maybe 500, you could cover 99% of the movies.  So that's a
point in our favor (hopefully :).

> A website like micropledge could be developed with the purpose of filter
> development. Individuals like me could pledge pennies or dollars for the
> development of filters for movies. When enough funds are pledged to a
> particular movie, a "filter developer" would have enough motivation to
> create the filter and then cash in and receive the pledge money.

That would be good too.  My assumption is that before a big enough
"crowd" can gather, some project has to "take the lead" and get a
reasonable corpus of filters created.  *Then* enough traffic will
occur that others could pool it together.  Actually I kind of like
this idea, maybe this would be a great way to encourage filters for
"lesser known" DVD's or the like.  Awesome.

> There would
> need to be a way to rate the filter creators so that money could be pledged
> to filter creators who produce good filters. Perhaps there needs to be a
> waiting period so people could test the filters before the creator receives
> their money. Creators could compete. The creator with the best filter would
> get the pledge money. $90 a year in ClearPlay fees gives me money to pledge.

Yeah good point, I wonder if we could get some clearplay subscribers
to come to our side :)


> Now to the hardware. The problem with using PowerDVD is that filter
> developers don't control the platform. What if PowerDVD decides not to
> support the EDLs? All that work is down the drain. An open source DVD player
> or some type of contract with a legit company might work.

True.  In reality sensible cinema tries to be all free, all open
source, which has better control.
Also I believe there may be a possibility of a way to convert
"filters" from one source type to another, like "you want it as
PowerDVD? great!" you want it as something else? great!

> You could require mplayer with libdvdcss2 installed on the machine so
> encrypted dvds will play. Or, (I don't totally know how this works but I
> think you do) mplayer with a paid codec to decrypt dvds. I suspect the same
> model would work with Blu-Ray.

Almost all mplayers for windows out there come with libdvdcss
"included" AFAIK.  It's what I use for commercial DVD's and seems to
work fine for most DVD's (almost all, really).

> I suspect that people that are ClearPlay users are technical people. They
> know how to download files, extract them, load them onto a thumb drive and
> then put the thumb drive into the DVD player. This is the first target
> market. The innovators. (Remember crossing the chasm). These are the people
> that will hook computers up to their TVs. Once there's a working model, then
> you work to pass the grandma test. That could be a custom ubuntu
> distribution that you load onto a nettop and then grandma hooks it up to the
> internet and her television. Maybe there's an opensource blu-ray player that
> runs on Linux that's hackable. Perhaps an application could be loaded onto
> the PS3. Lot's of hardware options here.

That's a good idea--a dedicated hardware box with Linux and a DVD
drive.  Yeah that might be a good distribution model.
I'll admit that I am more focused on the PC platform
currently--grandma for instance can probably run a program on her
computer and insert a DVD there.  Yeah it scares me to target hardware
since 1) it costs the end user and 2) it's more of a business like
model, whereas I'm more looking into the "free distribution" model I
suppose, though I'm open for suggestion, and being funded can definitely encourage more work on it.

> You could sell advertising on the website or charge 10% of the pledge to run
> the site.

Unfortunately I basically stink at all things "business."  I'm more of
the back end programmer that wants to make things tick.

> those are my recent thoughts on the matter.

Thanks, they're good ones.

> I'd like to see something like this take off.

Yeah, me too.

There's also this thread:
http://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=89466 you could read
through and respond to, there are some similar like minded people
there :)

Another possibility would be to target the "online streaming" viewers,
like netflix instant.  Since we'd be the only boat in the water, it
might be easier to build a contributing/self funding community.  Hmm...

I guess I'm torn as to the next "step here"...should it be a netflix instant "edited" viewer, or a website that allows for easy sharing of EDL's...hmm...
 
+Darren Duricka re: EDL being linear, I suppose you could pre-program the EDL to skip "just those things that you find offensive" or the like. My current plan in that regard is to go a little different route than clearplay--basically when they insert a DVD, it could have several EDL's that apply to it, and then it can prompt the user "do you want to  apply one filter (that removes profanity) or another filter (that removes violence)" or both?  The motivation being that, at least for my own use of it, I don't actually care for fine grained control of which profanities, I guess I don't mind if they're all gone.  The reality is I'm afraid of infringing some clearplay patents, but, then again, I suppose if clearplay doesn't complain, that's tacit consent :)

Also my assumption is that most clearplay users just leave it on the default settings (i.e. edit out everything), and are happy with that.  Especially since I've heard that clearplay's level adjustments are confusing (what's a "high" level of profanity? or the like), but that's a different story.  What I also found frustrating with clearplay is that somehow I watched saints and soldiers edited with it once, and it didn't actually edit out all the profanities. Yikes clearplay, yikes.

Also if we go for "netflix instant edited" we don't necessarily need a player as "robust as clearplay's" since they don't have one yet :)

I have done a bit of hacking on Mplayer to make its EDL functionality more robust (and it's working well, I use it for DVD playback today in sensible cinema), and might do a bit more, but also might not, depending on what the next focus target for the project ends up being.

Perhaps the next step in the project would be to create the "sharing" website, then auto-syncing capability could be added.  Today the download just includes "all known EDL's" and (since only about 2 people in humanity have created good working EDL's) it doesn't miss too many updates.  But then again, it's only a prototype thus far :)

Thoughts?
Thanks!
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