Kickstarter for Ross McElwee’s New Movie

Now Ross McElwee is on Kickstarter, and he needs your help! Although I somehow never had a chance to take one of his classes, Ross was a frequent presence around the basement of Sever Hall at Harvard. I first met him when he made an excellent cameo appearance in my film Camera Noise. Later I provided some sort of technical support while he was editing Bright Leaves, although I can’t remember what it was.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ross, here is one of the best quotes I’ve ever seen about anyone:

“If Ross McElwee were a novelist instead of a creative-nonfiction documentarian, he’d have awards by the mantelful, he’d be an Oprah’s Book Club millionaire, he’d be beloved by—at least—the 47 percent of Americans who reportedly read literature of any stripe. His sympathetic, cogent, witty voice would make seductive reading, satisfying a contemplative intercourse we’ve long since learned not to associate with movies. In a less supercool, more thoughtful world, McElwee’s new film would be an event, to be sighed over by reasonable adults, and imitated by ambitious camcorderists.” —Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

But Ross makes movies, so he doesn’t go on Oprah, he goes on Kickstarter. He finished Photographic Memory last year and now he’s trying to release it. Support him! You can pledge to pre-order a DVD right now.

Kickstarter for Hal Hartley’s Latest Film Meanwhile

My good friend, marriage officiant, alleged Indie Film Legend, and frequent employer Hal Hartley just started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finish his film Meanwhile. In addition to being a big fan of Hal’s movies, I edited Meanwhile, and I am very excited to see it get a chance to go out in the world. It started its life as a short feature, and kept getting shorter as we pared it down to its essential elements. For a while we thought it was a TV pilot, but sadly the world is still not ready for a Hal Hartley TV show. There isn’t really space in the traditional distribution system for a movie like this, so Hal has decided to take it to the people.

For only $25 you can pre-order the limited edition DVD of Meanwhile. It’s a great deal. You get to support a truly unique and independent filmmaker and at the same time you get to take home a copy of a terrific movie. It also will help support me, since I edited the movie for free, and I only get paid if the movie makes any money.

And here’s the trailer for Meanwhile:

The Thunderbolt Logo Looks Like Electricity

Apple just announced the Thunderbolt port on its new Macbook Pros. Thunderbolt is a dumb name, but so is Firewire if you think about it, which I never had before. And it’s better than its old Intel code name Light Peak, which was no longer accurate because the first generation of Thunderbolt cables don’t use optical technology.

This seems like a good thing. Firewire is slow. USB is slow. USB 3 hasn’t caught on, and nobody ever adopted the higher speed Firewire protocols. We needed something really fast to replace the ExpressCard slot we lost in 2009 when 15″ MacBook Pros switched to SD Card slots. And if this could replace expensive things like fiber and SAS and open up high speed data transfers to inexpensive peripherals I am all for it. I’m not sure it can, but why not try?

But seriously. This?

That is the standard symbol for electricity, or an electrical hazard. If I saw that on a computer I would think that’s where the power cord goes, and I would be sure not to stick my finger in it. And personally I would be confused because it looks like a DisplayPort (which it is too). Here is what you get when you search for “Electricity Sign” in Google Images:

Looks like electricity. Why use the exact same graphic for Thunderbolt rather than inventing a new graphic like USB & Firewire have? It’s unnecessarily confusing.

Android YouTube App 2.1.6 Shows the Wrong Thumbnails

I have a new video on YouTube, and I have an Android phone (a Nexus One. Love it!) and so I wanted to check out how my video looked on my phone. So I pulled up the YouTube app and loaded my channel. I saw this:

Which confused me, because only one of those thumbnails is the right one. In fact, the app shows the third thumbnail generated by YouTube (3.jpg), regardless of the one I’ve chosen to display (default.jpg). Here are the thumbnails available for those videos with the one I’ve selected for display highlighted in yellow. It turns out even the one that looked right was right was the wrong one:

Using this method, you might get the right thumbnail 1/3 of the time, although it turns out I almost never use the 3rd thumbnail. And since I’m a YouTube Partner I often use a custom thumbnail, which makes the odds of getting the right thumbnail through the app even lower.

I checked with my fiancée, who recently bought a Droid Pro, and she saw all the correct thumbnails. It took me a while, but I figured out that she is running the stock Froyo YouTube app, and I had updated mine to 2.1.6 in the Market. I uninstalled updates, and got the right thumbnails.

When I re-installed the update, the bad thumbnails came back. Is anyone else seeing this bug?

Also, while I’m talking about YouTube thumbnails, they seriously need to increase the quality of thumbnails embedded in large windows. Compared to the bandwith and processing requirements of streaming HD video, it should be a piece of cake to generate and serve up higher resolution thumbnails to go along with the greatly increased video quality.

Watch Two Night Stand Two

Just finished today! It’s been six years, and Jennie and Steve are waking up in bed together again. Why does this keep happening?

And in case you need a refresher, here’s what happened six years ago. Sorry about the fuzzy video. YouTube is a lot better now.

Wow! I didn’t even plan those shots to match so closely. I totally forgot the original bedroom had one set of folding closet doors open!