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What’s the development of a film like Sintel like as in terms of internal development vs community involvement in production? Has that dynamic changed at all from work to work? I partly ask this because some people think “Oh, open movie, they must have their SVN repository open the whole time and just get random contributions from everywhere,” but Blender Institute films don’t tend to work that way. Right, we keep most of our content closed until release. I’m a firm believer in establishing protective creative processes. In contrast to developers — who can function well individually online — an artist really needs daily and in-person feedback and stimulation. We’ve done this now four times (three films and one game) and it’s amazing how teams grow in due time. But during this process they’re very vulnerable too. If you followed the blog you may have seen that we had quite harsh criticism on posting our progress work. If you’re in the middle of a process, you see the improvements. Online you only see the failures. The cool thing is that a lot of tests and progress can be followed now perfectly and it suddenly makes more sense I think. Another complex factor for opening up a creative process is that people are also quite inexperienced when they join a project. You want to give them a learning curve and not hear all the time from our audience that it sucks. Not that it was that bad! But one bad criticism can ruin a day. One last thing on the “open svn” point: in theory it could work, if we would open up everything 100% from scratch. That then will give an audience a better picture of progress and growth. We did that for our game project and it was suited quite well for it. For film… most of our audience wants to get surprised more, not know the script, the dialogs, the twists. Film is more ‘art’ than games, in that respect. Ton Roosendaal by Kennisland / CC BY-SA You also did the sprints this time, which pulled in some more community involvement than in previous projects. Do you think that model went well? Would you do it again? The modeling sprint was great! We needed a lot of props, and for that an online project works perfectly. The animation sprint (for animated characters) was less of a success. Character animation doesn’t lend itself well for it, I think. There’s no history for it… ehh. Like, for design and modeling, we have a vocabulary. Most people understand when you explain visual design, style, proportions. But for animation… only a few (trained) animators know how to discuss this. It’s more specialist too. How has the choice of the Creative Commons Attribution license affected your works? How would it affect our works? Do you mean, why not choose ND (no-derivatives) or NC (noncommercial)? Both restrictions won’t suit well for our work. And without attribution it’s not a CC license. I did get some complaints why not choose a FSF compatible license, but the Free Software Foundation has no license for content like ours either. What kinds of things have you seen / do you expect to see post-release of a project such as Sintel? A lot of things happened with previous films, Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny, ranging from codec research in companies, showcases on tradeshows, to student composers using it to graduate. Even wallpaper! We are working now on a 4k resolution of the film (4096 x 2160). The 4k market is small, but very active and visible in many places. They’re dying for good content. I’m also very interested in doing a stereoscopic ’3d’ version. As for people making alternative endings or shots; that hasn’t happened a lot, to my knowledge. Our quality standard is too high as well, so it’s not a simple job. But further, the very cool thing of open content is that you’re done when you’re done! A commercial product’s work stress only starts when the product is done. That’s what I learned with our first film. Just let it go, and move on to next.
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