kNOw Future Inc.

law, technology and cinema, washed down with wine

Steal The Film Footage Archive:
We have just released oa searchable collection of interview footage for the film, comprising nearly three hours of material with eleven of the interviewees from the film. For those interested in the themes dealt with in the film it constitutes an ‘extras’ package, but if you are interested in making a film on the subject, it is both a tool and a resource.

We are making this footage available in high quality format (HDV 1080i), having cleared permission from the interviewees to release it under an attribution share-alike license from Creative Commons. Practically this means that you can use this material for your own projects, including commercial work, provided you credit us and make your work available in turn under a share-alike license.

Each interview is accompanied by a time-coded transcript, allowing you to navigate to parts of the interview that you wish to watch. It is also possible to search the entire collection via text query, which returns clickable results pointing to the exact point of the video where the term appears. This functionality is based on the technology used to build the searchable film database 0xdb, and the footage collection at

The intention behind this archive is to try and catalyze the development of a world of collaborative filmmaking, making use of the low costs of distribution and online communication. A significant cost facing low-budget documentary makers today derives from the expense of travel, accommodation, food and equipment hire involved in filming; sharing footage is a means, albeit imperfect, of mitigating these costs. It also offers the chance to open film to criticism in a new way, by reworking the materials in a way that undermines the closed nature of the filmmaking process.

There are important differences in sharing footage and sharing code, and we are not convinced that the alternative licensing approach offers the full answer. Questions remain, such as what share-alike licenses require in terms of the conditions of access to material (in what quality?), and whether it should also mean releasing the master EDL file, so that other users can learn how you achieved the outcome. But these types of questions can be best addressed amidst a process of actively sharing footage, and are not theoretical questions which can be resolved in advance.

On the site, you will find the interviews in two formats. The first is a light Ogg Theora version which you can watch through java enabled browser like Firefox and Safari; Internet explorer is not supported.

High quality versions of these files are also available for download via Bittorrent, and if you would like to rework these materials you will need this version. Transfer speeds should be fast thanks to support from Mininova.

Firstly if you spot mistakes in the transcripts of files or the website, please let us know so that we can correct them

Secondly, if you like to edit video, download some of the HD materials and let us know if you there are problems opening them on your editing software. We know that they work immediately on Final Cut, but we haven’t tried them on systems such as Premiere, Cinelerra or any others. The interview sequences are encoded using the HDV 1080i codec, and we want to be able to document problems and workarounds arising out of this.

We want to maximize the visibility of the archive, and you can help by modding up stories of the announce on Digg, reddit and other syndication sites. This is the first time such a comprehensive set of raw materials for a film have been made available under a free/GPL style license with searchable functionality. We believe that this is newsworthy and not mere self-promotion.

Lastly, talk back to us, make a film! Respond with your own arguments! Complete our film! The value of this collection will be realized when you, the prod-users, do something with it. Let us see the results. Let’s argue, Let’s conspire.

The Future
The archive will be an ongoing project and new materials will be added, for now we want to see what type of a response we get, and how much use the archive actually receives, as it has been really labor-intensive to build.

There’s more to come from the STF2 footage and other interviews will be shot. Subtitling the footage to make it searchable is arduous, and we’d love your assistance in doing that. We will also be contacting other filmmakers in this area to ask for their collaboration. The site has an RSS feed so that you can stay informed on new developments.


May 22, 2008 - Posted by | cinema, p2p, social cooperation, steal this film


  1. That is just absolutely brilliant!

    What an unbelievably rich source of material.

    I’m blown away by this. This is amazing. Just amazing.

    Much kudos!

    Comment by Michael Walsh | May 24, 2008 | Reply

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  5. […] documentary that explores shifts in technology, distribution, and creative production. The recently released footage includes three hours of material from eleven interviews, all of which are released for your […]

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