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Open Source

How Open Film Project "Cosmos Laundromat" Made Blender Better 31

An anonymous reader writes: At the beginning of August the Blender Institute released Cosmos Laundromat: First Cycle, its seventh open project. More than just a 10-minute short film, Cosmos Laundromat is the Blender Institute's most ambitious project, a pilot for the first fully free and open animated feature film. In his article on Opensource.com animator and open source advocate Jason van Gumster highlights the film project and takes a look at some of its most significant contributions to the Blender open source project.
Piracy

More Popcorn Time Users Sued 143

An anonymous reader writes: The torrent-based video streaming software Popcorn Time has been in the news lately as multiple entities have initiated legal action over its use. Now, 16 Oregon-based Comcast subscribers have been targeted for their torrenting of the movie Survivor. The attorney who filed the lawsuit (PDF) says his client, Survivor Productions Inc., doesn't plan to seek any more than the minimum $750 fine, and that their goal is to "deter infringement." The lawsuit against these Popcorn Time users was accompanied by 12 other lawsuits targeting individuals who acquired copies of the movie using more typical torrenting practices.
Space

World's Most Powerful Digital Camera Sees Construction Green Light 88

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Energy has approved the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telecscope's 3.2-gigapixel digital camera, which will be the most advanced in the world. When complete the camera will weigh more than three tons and take such high resolution pictures that it would take 1,500 high-definition televisions to display one of them. According to SLAC: "Starting in 2022, LSST will take digital images of the entire visible southern sky every few nights from atop a mountain called Cerro Pachón in Chile. It will produce a wide, deep and fast survey of the night sky, cataloging by far the largest number of stars and galaxies ever observed. During a 10-year time frame, LSST will detect tens of billions of objects—the first time a telescope will observe more galaxies than there are people on Earth – and will create movies of the sky with unprecedented details. Funding for the camera comes from the DOE, while financial support for the telescope and site facilities, the data management system, and the education and public outreach infrastructure of LSST comes primarily from the National Science Foundation (NSF)."
Television

Netflix Is Becoming Just Another TV Channel 293

An anonymous reader writes: Netflix revealed in a blog post that it will not renew its contract with Epix, meaning you won't be able to watch movies like The Hunger Games and World War Z through the service anymore. With the increase in cord-cutters and more original content, Netflix is positioning itself to be like any other TV channel (one that owns its own distribution model) and is betting that customers won't miss the Epix content. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says, "While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods."
Movies

Brain Cancer Claims Horror Maestro Wes Craven At 76 35

New submitter JamesA writes: Wes Craven, the famed writer-director of horror films known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. Though he's far less known as a novelist than for his various horror film jobs (writer, director, producer, actor ...), Craven also wrote a few books; I can't vouch for "Coming of Rage," but "Fountain Society" is pretty solid speculative fiction. Wikipedia notes that Craven also "designed the Halloween 2008 logo for Google, and was the second celebrity personality to take over the YouTube homepage on Halloween."
Movies

Bozza Wants To Be Africa's Answer To iTunes, Spotify and Netflix 42

Mickeycaskill writes: South African startup Bozza has grand ambitions of becoming a trusted platform for pan-African music, video and poetry, with artists keeping 70 percent of revenues. Whereas Netflix and Spotify can deliver high quality streams to users in North America and Europe with superfast fixed and 4G connections, 50 percent of Bozza's traffic comes from feature phones. Data compression technology and transcoding techniques try and keep costs down, while Africa's mobile market is much less app-centric. Bozza founder Emma Kaye explains how she plans to help turn Bozza into a major medium platform.
Movies

Movie Studio Sues Individual Popcorn Time Users For Infringement 144

An anonymous reader writes with another story about Popcorn Time, after yesterday's report that two Danes were arrested for sharing information about how to use it. From the article at BGR: Often described as 'Netflix for pirates,' Popcorn Time users are now being targeted for infringement. The makers of a film called The Cobbler recently initiated a lawsuit against 11 Popcorn Time users in Oregon for copying and distributing the aforementioned film without authorization. The Cobbler, in case you're unfamiliar, stars Adam Sandler and was released in early 2015 to tepid reviews. "Tepid" is putting it nicely.
Television

HBO, Netflix, and Amazon Targeting Kids 46

An anonymous reader writes: The latest high-profile show to join one of the major streaming services probably isn't one you watch: Sesame Street. However, it's a clear signal for a growing trend: these services desperately want to corner the market on kid's shows. Netflix has gotten tons of praise for its original series, and it's been quietly putting that production power behind new shows aimed at children. They've also made deals with Disney and Dreamworks to get movies onto the service as quickly as possible. Amazon has been debuting series after series as well, with six pilots for new children's shows landing last month alone. "The battle for kids, at bottom, is about keeping their parents around even when a favorite show about a murderous politician is on hiatus. Streaming services are far easier to cancel and resubscribe than cable-TV ... so the goal is to make that decision harder." Now that HBO is starting to commit to streaming, it's faced with the same problems. By deriving their funding through subscriptions, these companies can avoid the flak YouTube and Hulu are getting for targeting kids with advertisements.
Australia

Australian Courts Make Life Hard For Dallas Buyers Club Copyright Owner 25

New submitter Harlequin80 writes: There has been a significant update in the landmark case between the Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) and iiNet, an ISP in Australia, where DBC has been trying to blaze new trails in obtaining downloaders' personal details. DBC had previously won the right to access subscribers' contact details, for the purposes of sending a letter, subject to the judge reviewing the form letter. El Reg is now reporting that the case Judge has reviewed the form letters proposed by DBC, and felt that they were too close to speculative invoicing. As a result, he has struck down two of their four claims and, because he feels they are not likely to operate in good faith, mandated a $600,000 bond from DBC if they want to send any letters at all. The price has been set so high so that DBC can't expect to make any money on the claims if they break the court's rules. While not an end to the matter it will make life very hard for DBC going forward.
GUI

Redefining Security Visualization With Hollywood UI Design 55

An anonymous reader writes: Most security interfaces today leave a lot to be desired, and many security pros are gaming enthusiasts, accustomed to a sharp and engaging virtual world. ProtectWise CEO Scott Chasin and CTO Gene Stevens wanted to give them a helpful security tool with an interactive visual dashboard that looks straight out of Call of Duty. The UI is called ProtectWise Visualizer, and its creator is Jake Sargeant, FX pro and a visual designer at MN8 Studio. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he was the Lead Animated Graphics Artist for the movie TRON: Legacy. There's plenty of inspiration available for movie-style UIs; the problem with much of it is that not everyone likes an interface that looks like an especially busy video game.
Movies

"Pixels" DMCA Takedown Even Worse Than We Thought 272

ForgedArtificer writes: So we all know about the Pixels takedown on Vimeo, and that it was pretty bad in a lot of ways. But did you know that they took down the short film that inspired the movie? Turns out, the 2010 Pixels, which was taken off Vimeo due to copyright notice, was responsible for inspiring the entire Adam Sandler flick. Unlike Sandler's film, it's critically-acclaimed and has won awards. Talk about kicking someone when they're already down. First Patrick Jean gets to watch them violate his work and now they're claiming that his work violates theirs.
Piracy

Anti-Piracy Firm Sends Out Wave of Takedown Notices For Using the Word 'Pixels' 224

An anonymous reader writes: Columbia Pictures recently released a movie called Pixels to widespread ambivalence. As part of the movie industry's standard intellectual property defense strategy, it hired anti-piracy firm Entura International to try to police infringing downloads. The firm went at the task with vigor, hitting Vimeo with DMCA takedown notices for anything with the word "Pixels" in it. As you might expect, this disrupted a number of independent filmmakers and organizations who did nothing wrong, and in most cases picked a name for their video long before the new movie came out. Even worse, it's incumbent upon the owners of the targeted videos to prove that their content does not infringe upon Columbia's. Even if they get it restored, simply being targeted counts against them in Vimeo's eyes. And of course, Entura is unwilling to help.
Movies

Fantastic Four Reboot Released To Tepid Reception 168

An anonymous reader writes: Another month, another superhero movie based on the Marvel universe. Today marked the release of Fantastic Four, an attempt to reboot a film franchise that did poorly in the theaters as recently as 2007. This isn't the same crew that's been pushing out blockbuster after blockbuster, though — it's the crew that keeps releasing mediocre X-Men flicks. From early reviews, it looks like we can expect to see another reboot in 2025. Rolling Stone calls it "the cinematic equivalent of malware," saying that even a solid cast of actors couldn't save it from failure. A.V. Club says it "struggles to fill out its relatively brief runtime," the NY Times says even its special effects aren't up to snuff. Metacritic shows rare agreement between fans (27/100) and critics (2.7/10), and it does just as poorly on Rotten Tomatoes. Even director Josh Trank seemed to have a problem with the film. Those who have seen it, what did you think?
Movies

Dungeons & Dragons Is Getting a Film Franchise 210

New submitter IT.luddite sends word that Hasbro and Warner Bros. have announced Dungeons & Dragons will be getting its own film franchise. They already have a script, and they'll be working with production company Sweetpea Entertainment, but they haven't picked a director, yet. They'll have at least some of the people on board who worked on the D&D movie from 2000, which was a flop. The deal between Hasbro and Warner Bros. comes after a prolonged legal battle about who owned the rights to a D&D movie. They note, "All rights for future Dungeons & Dragons productions have been unified and returned to Wizards of the Coast, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro."
Science

Tiny Black Holes Could Trigger Collapse of Universe—Except That They Don't 156

sciencehabit writes: If you like classic two-for-one monster movies such as King Kong vs. Godzilla, then a new paper combining two bêtes noires of pseudoscientific scaremongers—mini black holes and the collapse of the vacuum—may appeal to you. Physicists working with the world's biggest atom-smasher—Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—have had to reassure the public that, even if they can make them, mini black holes, infinitesimal version of the ones that form when jumbo stars implode, won't consume the planet. They've also had to dispel fears that blasting out a particle called the Higgs boson will cause the vacuum of empty space to collapse. Now, however, three theorists calculate that in a chain reaction, a mini black hole could trigger such collapse after all.
Piracy

UK Government Proposes 10-Year Copyright Infringement Jail Term 274

An anonymous reader writes: According to a BBC report, the UK government is proposing increasing the jail term for copyright infringement from the current two years to 10 years, which they say would "act as a significant deterrent." "The proposed measures are mainly targeted at the distributors of pirated content — the people creating copies of movies, sometimes before release, and uploading them to be downloaded by thousands upon thousands." Another reader notes a related court ruling in the UK which has once again made it illegal to rip lawfully-acquired CDs and DVDs for personal use. "A judge ruled that the government was wrong legally when it decided not to introduce a compensation scheme for songwriters, musicians, and other rights holders who face losses as a result of their copyright being infringed."
Movies

Famed Aircraft Designer James Bede Dies 28

linuxwrangler writes with a bit of news overlooked from last week, but worth noting: Prolific aircraft designer James "Jim" Bede has died at age 82. Although Bede designed numerous aircraft he is most commonly associated with the BD-5J, the "world's smallest jet", that was famously used to help James Bond escape in the movie "Octopussy." Bede's company currently has that aircraft for sale.
Movies

Marvel Tweaks Their Superhero Film Formula With Ant-Man 58

An anonymous reader writes: Over the past decade, Marvel has been rolling out superhero film after superhero film. They've found a successful formula, and each of the last half-dozen films has brought in over a half-billion dollars in ticket revenue. Today they added to the franchise with Ant-Man, based on a superhero who can shrink himself to the size of an ant (while maintaining normal strength), and control insects. But where the spate of Avengers-related movies only occasionally interjected humor into their world-preserving plots, Ant-Man focuses more on being funny and simply entertaining. Reviews are generally positive, but not overwhelmingly so — Rotten Tomatoes has it at 79%, with a 91% audience score while Metacritic has it at 64/100, with an 8.4/10 user score. The LA Times calls it "playful." Vox has good and bad to say about Ant-Man, but notes that its failings are very common to Marvel's other films. Salon says, "...in its medium-stupid and mismanaged fashion it's not so awful." Wired posted the obligatory physics of Ant-Man article, as did FiveThirtyEight.
AI

Which Movies Get Artificial Intelligence Right? 236

sciencehabit writes: Hollywood has been tackling Artificial Intelligence for decades, from Blade Runner to Ex Machina. But how realistic are these depictions? Science asked a panel of AI experts to weigh in on 10 major AI movies — what they get right, and what they get horribly wrong. It also ranks the movies from least to most realistic. Films getting low marks include Chappie, Blade Runner, and A.I.. High marks: Bicentennial Man, Her, and 2001: a Space Odyssey.
Television

Comcast Launches Streaming Service and Unveils Pricing For 2G Fiber 107

An anonymous reader writes: Comcast has announced the release of its Gigabit Pro service which offers speeds up to 2 gigabits per second. The service is $300 a month (agree to a two year contract and get the early promotional price of $159 per month) with a $500 installation and activation fee. The new service is only available in the Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Florida area. This announcement comes on the heels of the $15-per-month "Comcast Stream" launch. The live TV and streaming video service does not require a cable TV subscription, but live TV channels can only be watched on customer's home internet connections.