This week the 49th annual San Francisco International Film Festival starts, and I’m happy to report that the team of media hackers I work with at Yahoo! Research Berkeley was able to contribute to part of it. That contribution is International Remix, a web-based tool for re-editing selections from this year’s festival. 19 directors from Brazil, Canada, England, Macedonia, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and the United States agreed to allow their films to be sliced and diced by the world’s remixers. From Indio Nacional to The Pretty Boy Project, these films are yours for the cutting. Read on for details, or go play with it now. If you have any problems or suggestions, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After logging in to the tool (a simple matter of choosing a username and password under which your work will be saved), you’ll see a selection of “Director’s Clips” in a list on the left side of the screen. These are the original selections from which you can choose. Click on clips to load them into the preview window for viewing and editing. You’ll see some details about the clip’s origins displayed below the clip list.
In the preview window you can watch clips, and then adjust the “Clip Begin” and “Clip End” points to select a segment you want to use in your remix. The buttons to either side of the central play/pause button allow you to move foward or backward 1/10 of a second. You can use the right and left arrows on your keyboard to do the same thing. This is especially handy for fine adjustments to the clip begin and end points: just select one of the yellow triangles by clicking on it, then use the frame advance buttons or arrow keys to move it. Once you’ve clipped the segment to your liking, press the “Add to My Clips” button to add it to your clip bin. Or you can drag it into your clip bin by clicking and dragging anywhere on the preview screen. Or just drag directly to the remix timeline.
On the right side of the screen is “My Clips,” a list of all the segments you’ve clipped. These clips are persistent across logins, so you can start working on a remix, log out, and come back later to pick up where you left off. You can rename your a clip by clicking on its title. You can also add special black and title clips for your transitions. To add a clip from your bin to your remix, just press the “Add to My Remix” button, or drag a clip to the timeline.
The timeline at the bottom of the screen is where you sequence the clips you’ve trimmed into your final production. Just click and drag clips around to re-order them. If you click on a clip in the timeline, it will load into the preview window, so you can tweak the endpoints until they are just right. You can add a soundtrack to your remix using the drop-down select list on the right side of the timeline–hover over the selections to hear a preview. You can also turn on and off the audio for individual clips by clicking the “Audio On/Off” buttons at the bottom of each clip in the timeline. When you’re ready to view your work, press the “Play My Remix” button.
After you’ve had a chance to see what you’ve wrought, you can go back and work on it some more, or declare it finished and submit it to the Remix Gallery. You’ll have the chance to give your remix a title and a description, and to select up to five “poster frames” or keyframes to represent your remix in the gallery. Drag the slider back and forth to get the frame you want. Press the orange button with a plus to add another frame. To get rid of a frame, slide it as far as you can to the right or left, and it will disappear. Once you’re happy with the presentation, press “Submit” and your remix will show up in the gallery, looking something like this.
That’s it! So go check it out. Submit your remixes. And definitely show up for the party we’re throwing at Edinburgh Castle on the 24th. Finally, if you have any ideas, complaints, or just want to chat about International Remix, you can email email@example.com, or join our Yahoo! Group. Or just leave your comments below.