Unspooled Movie Film , with reference to production of short unadorned digital videos for indexed expertise


I. What the words mean:


Scientist is a pretty general term.

The Scientist tells the videographer what to shoot; the videographer edits the sequences for length.

The Quicktime Compressionist is fluent in LiveStagePro, which can export any Quicktime movie project as an XML file. .

Katsu Ben is what they used to call the person in Japan who stood on the stage of the silent movie theater and told the story of what was being portrayed on the screen (in the US, mostly we just had a piano player playing.) In our case, katsu ben inspects, or screens, the short video(s), and dictates what the action appears to be, on a tape or disk or flashcard, timed to the video, after the manner of a text track.

The Transcriptionist types the timed narrative into a timecoded narrative, to establish the pacing and spacing and sync'ing of the text track. This timecoded narrative is a .XML document.

The Jargonist edits this timecoded .XML narrative into a timecoded narrative that has all the right words, all spelled correctly; the Jargonist can append additional narrative at any timepoint in the movie, without changing the pacing of the movie. The Jargonist is almost the same thing as a SME (pronounced smee), Subject Matter Expert.

The WebmasterOUT makes sure that the XML document from the Jargonist and the XML document from the Compressionist integrate to form a usable movie; and, of course, the Webmaster makes the movie available to the world, on the Web.

The WebmasterIN may very well be the same person as the WebmasterOUT, but it would be a lot better if they were two separate entities. It's amazing how the original vision gets off the track along the way; the pathway here shows a definite step from Webmaster to Scientist, implying that the Scientist is supposed to review the finished products, as well as be informed of how good or how bad the finished product turned out to be. The Webmaster also informs the Scientist if the movies got watched at all; and in the future, the Webmaster will be able to give the Scientist information about how the movies were used/played in the sandbox.


II. Explication of the graphic:


All of this revolves around the central graphic image of unspooled movie film.

Unspooled movie film is the form of all the images in your head, of everything you've ever seen or experienced in any way. They are so fully indexed that any clue can retrieve any image (as a still, if you like), and play the movie from that point forward, if you like. As Professor Einstein said, "Voluntarily or involuntarily."


The unit of information in these movies couldn't be as small as one pixel, probably. Just the other day, my son Abe and I were using his fancy sound equipment to play back the smallest unit of sound we could play, and we fairly quickly got down to a sound so short that it was completely unrecognizable, I.e. you couldn't possibly retrieve any images or other information based on that sound. I'm personally pretty sure of that; hell, I could barely hear it at all, but my hearing is pretty shot from all that Diesel noise. So somewhere between that sound (which Abe told me was a snare drum being played and now replayed for 1/44,100 of a second or thereabouts) and the same track, same place being played for a tenth of a second (which was a complete note on that snare drum trailing off to not much sound on the waveform on the computer screen) is the unit of remembrance, which is about the same thing as the unit of retrieval I'll bet.


And all of that information is in the unspooled movie film, randomly accessible, somehow.


Here's something interesting. I noticed that real unspooled movie film, like the partial reel that I took a picture of for this illustration, is incredibly clunky. It looks reasonably silky and lovely in this picture, but the reel thing is no fun at all. It's junky and clunky. You can't forget that part of the story. That's the part that keeps you from anthropomorphizing any of this stuff. Everything that we have in the "real world", like cameras, projectors, talking, just about everything, is clunky. Of course it's made out of small stuff, but when we discuss it, we're discussing it usually in pretty clunky terms, e.g. "What we observe." What's really going on is lots of little things, things that operate on the quantum stage in huge numbers. So you end up with unexpected results, like a smell that solves a truckloading conundrum for you; it reminded you of something. I refer usually to all that as the "mystery of the organism" and just try to work with it. What we've got going here is a first approximation to what seems to be going on, where we just make a stab at writing a good text track -- I.e. get a good katzu ben dude on the job and don't edit what he or she says very much, except for spelling and erudite addenda -- and let the text track in your head get to work on the rest of it, connecting up with the video tracks and the audio tracks and the olfactory tracks and feelings tracks and tracks yet unknown. These text tracks, both types, just intermediates between all the small stuff in your head and all the small stuff in the computer. You know, nanotechnologies.


Richard Katz

February 2004