We aren't going to miss a beat
So unless something surprising happens in the next hour, we wont reach our funding goal. So what? We've never been more confident that we're on the right track, that this is important, and that the timing is perfect.
We've quickly connected with a community of people who we admire deeply... truly, we've brushed shoulders with so many of our heroes during this that we feel a little star struck. So we're going to take all this energy... and move forward without missing a beat!
We don't yet know what the next step is. But there will be one and it will be soon. Expect us to announce something soon. So if you want to continue this journey with us, please stay in touch with us on Twitter, identi.ca, or Facebook. And watch for updates on our blog and website. And hop on our mailing list while your at it.
Jason, Tara, Jeff, and Ammon
What is it?
We're developing a free open-source video editor with a unique distributed design:
- Distributed workflow - collaboratively edit video with other artists over the Internet
- Distributed storage - seamlessly store and synchronize video files across multiple computers and the cloud
- Distributed rendering - seamlessly spread rendering and encoding across multiple computers and the cloud
The Novacut editor is aimed at professional-grade TV and movie production using HDSLR cameras (like the 5D Mark II). These cameras have drastically lowered production costs, but we want to reduce costs even further... so we're taking the lean, distributed workflow perfected by the open-source community, and bringing it to video. Distributed teams are a big part of what has allowed open-source to amazingly produce better software, yet for less money and in less time. We can do the same for video.
Artists, the Novacut video editor will help you reduce costs, work faster, collaborate with the right people, and increase your chance for success.
Why are we developing it?
We're developing the Novacut video editor because there's no reason for Joss Whedon to ever have a show canceled. We're developing Novacut because we're going to help artists leverage disruptive HDSLR technology to take entertainment back from the entertainment industry.
We want to see an explosion of financially viable independent TV shows distributed directly to fans over the Internet, funded through direct fan support, licensed under the Creative Commons. We love The Guild and think Felicia Day has blazed a trail others can now follow. If The Guild is successful with only a million fans, shouldn't there be thousands of shows like it? And on the other hand, Felicia Day does have a million loyal fans, so shouldn't she be making more money from The Guild? This is only the beginning.
Of course, the Novacut editor will be completely free and open-source software, so you can use it however you see fit, regardless of our own longterm goals.
Why do we need money?
Basically we need the money because software development is an all-consuming full-time job. We already have a well defined-architecture for the video editor and have some code written, but to charge ahead, we need to work on this full-time. If we reach our funding goal, the money will be used to:
- Help cover the living expenses of our 4-person team so we can hack on the video editor full-time
- Pay for us to travel to several conferences so we can get face time with artists and free-software developers, build a community
- Fund several short, cheap "Test Pilots" - we take the best pilot episode scripts from the community and shoot the pilot with local actors, let everyone edit and remix the result
- Pay Amazon EC2 and S3 costs for providing distributed synchronization service to our beta testers
Anything we raise above our funding goal will be used to produce more "Test Pilot" episodes, travel to more conferences, and fund further development.
What technologies are we using?
We're utilizing existing open-source components wherever we can. Honestly, others have already solved our hard problems, and solved them well. We're especially lucky to have a drop-in solution for our ambitious distributed features, all thanks to a quirky document-oriented database called CouchDB.
Some other key technologies we're using:
Ubuntu because it's an artist-friendly platform that we can nicely run on everything from workstations to servers to virtual machines in the cloud
Webkit for many user interface elements
Python for rapid test-driven development
GStreamer for a powerful, graph-based multimedia backend
By the way, the entire video editor will be licensed under the LGPLv3. This is a completely open-source project, not merely "open-core".
Seriously, our spidey sense is tingling: a disruptive new business model is just becoming viable for TV (and pretty much any other entertainment that you can ship around as bits on the Internet). It's gonna be wild-west, and we want you (the artist), and you (the fan), and you (the free-software developer) to help us steer this wagon train to a place we can all be happy with. Novacut is building a community, and we want you to be part of it. So please strike up a conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter, or identi.ca.
Heck, we even have a mission statement: "To be the platform that enables as many artists as possible to live from their art, enables fans to get the entertainment they want and to support the artists they love." (Yes, we've all been reading Jono Bacon's The Art of Community... it's great!)
All software development is being coordinated through our Launchpad project. Join the novacut-community team on Launchpad to participate on the novacut-community mailing-list or in community surveys.
You can follow our progress on our blog and learn more about Novacut on our website.