Watch Out, Tinseltown: Cloud Computing and the Democratization of Video

Watch Out, Tinseltown: Cloud Computing and the Democratization of Video

The film industry can basically be illustrated as a tower of blocks that repeatedly topples. First, “talkies” decimated the then status quo of silent films. Then the Coppolas and DePalmas of the Seventies-era “New Hollywood” stormed down the barriers of the antiquated studio system. Next, films like “sex, lies, and videotape” carved out an authoritative place for independent cinema. Flash forward to now, when movies like “Avatar” and “Hugo” are making 3D, once a quirky fad of '50s films, feel like a breath of fresh air.

The cloud just might instigate a cinema revolution of its own, sometime soon.

Hollywood bigwigs, prepare to eat your hearts out. But watch for a new cinema star to emerge from cloud apps like WeVideo before your first bite.

Sunnyvale, a Silicon Valley town, has fostered the growth of new start-up WeVideo, which allows users to edit and share their videos — all within the cloud. This is potentially history-making stuff.  Users anywhere in the world can theoretically collaborate in the making of a new film. And what's more, that film can take over Facebook or Twitter in minutes, long-time uploads being made a thing of the past.

YouTube, the online video juggernaut, has already developed and launched its own cloud video-editing program as well. A new day has come in technology's impact on film. Such new cloud-borne applications are redefining film as instantaneous, malleable, collaborative, and intimately impactful. YouTube's technology has already resulted in a major Hollywood deal for Fede Alvarez, who created a five-minute movie on the site.

Sam Raimi, of “Spiderman” franchise fame, saw Alvarez's short film and has taken him under his wing. Alvarez now enjoys an insider development package, teaming with a writer to shape a full-length feature. Should film be taking some inspiration from the music world? Sensations like Justin Bieber and Kreayshawn have all been snapped up as a result of their self-created videos, essentially ready-made audition tapes for major execs.

The next Martin Scorsese or David Fincher, currently in our midst, might reveal himself — or herself! — by wielding the cloud's new devices, expressing a fresh point of view.

Look for more tales like that of Alvarez, the short film Cinderella story, to emerge in the future — especially when creating cinema becomes as simple as realizing a director's vision in the cloud.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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