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Elephants Dream on Microsoft.com

33

afbeelding-1.pngOnly six weeks ago we spotted a bunch of Blender screenshots in the French Microsoft knowledgebase. Today, we have something better: Microsoft.com turns out to be hosting two copies of Elephants Dream to showcase their VC-1 video codec. Is the software giant starting to appreciate the benefits of Open Content?

Jacob Andersen wrote:

This is interesting!

I was just casually looking through download categories on Microsofts homepage, and guess what i found on the Windows Media page, as an example of the capability of encoding in the .vc1 format.

I will let you explore the link.

Jacob

I also found another copy, encoded at a higher bit-rate.

A check with the Blender Foundation confirmed that Microsoft has contacted them to ask for the original HDR files, for encoding testing. They played by the Creative Commons rules so this is actually a GREAT showcase for the power of Open Content!

They did get the name wrong, of course, and called it Elephant's Dream - with the apostrophe ;-)

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

33 Comments

  1. i was walking through a german department store, and they had a pretty impressive plasma tv on display, and guess what open movie was being played to show off ;-)
    this was kaufhof...dont know if they do that everywhere, or if the clerk is a secret blenderer....

  2. Ivan Paulos Tomé on

    They use anything as if it where on their side, probably they will someday try to buy any people near the expertise of the Blender communitty to make a program for themselves in closed source. VC-1 is a proprietary codec, and can be DRMed as well, the video only functions in Windows or MAC, not in Linux as stated in their site. And then F%&k VC-1 and the DRMed proprietary codecs.
    The second hing is they are caugh in a desperate situation, trying to dominate the software world with a complete spyware ( Vista ), who are trusting in Vista with so many DRMed stuff, and things like the idiot idea of criptography the communication between processor and video cards ?
    The humanity is mature, and course are not accepting more poison.
    And silverlight ? They are pushing it forward to the consumers as if it's a viable solution to adobe flash, but, in fact, is just a one new stardard to complex the computer world with a thing that's well knowed to be, well, just flash. Imagine a world with 300 plugins to a browser every time they want to face another company ? OMG.
    There is one million viruses for Windows, half million malefic software, WGA spyware, Vista remote shutdown and who knows if there isn't a remote control under Vista ?

    Who trust Vista is secure ?

    But the humanity is getting mature, Microsoft is sinking.
    Users of Live Messenger have to gain money to support so many advertises on a simple communicator bothering all the time, with a great consumption of Internet resources to Microsoft gain more money. You payed the software Windows, and still have to deal with a bunch of advertises on a communicator. Microsoft messenger is a popular ad-aware.

  3. Microsoft have some HD resolution movies ; they could post a lot of conferences / meetings . Always recorded in hight definition. They also have a big set of HD advertisement that could be seen on TV / Cinema.

    I think the way to take Elephant Dream is cause other codec do it also now , and user or technician can compare the quality jumping easily throw all version of "E.D." and sizes .

    So:
    - I'm happy "E.D." look to become this codec test standard.
    - I'm angry about no information/licences in the overview.

  4. @Ivan:

    I dunno, but it seems to me that you are just bashing Microsoft for the wrong reasons.

    "And silverlight ? They are pushing it forward to the consumers as if it's a viable solution to adobe flash, but, in fact, is just a one new stardard to complex the computer world with a thing that's well knowed to be, well, just flash."

    If people always thought liekt his, we wouldn't have different OSes, different 3D apps and so on.
    I had a look at Silverlight and thought it was more "open" than flash... of course it will have its downsides but I don't think it can be worse than flash (btw, I don't like flash).

  5. I don't think they're breaking the Creative Commons license by not crediting the authors provided the credits are at the end of the video, I haven't seen it yet so I wouldn't know. Regardless of the company using the video it's great to see how ED & CC licensed work is used to demonstrate new emerging video technology, it really shows how effective Open Content can be.

  6. "Brief Description
    Optimal encode for Xbox 360 Spring '07 update
    High quality 1920x1080 24p .wmv clip"

    Does that mean this movie will be put on Xbox Live?

  7. @Jmh1

    "I don't think they're breaking the Creative Commons license by not crediting the authors provided the credits are at the end of the video, I haven't seen it yet so I wouldn't know."

    Sadly i need to agree with that. Maybe next time (Peach) is better to put a link close to the movie title and include this link as part of the credits inside the Creative Commons license. ;)

  8. I always thought... that microsoft should change strategy against open source.
    From old LINUX IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL, to something like... WE SELL EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE. Windows is getting more and more restrictive, that is a bad strategy for future. More diversification (like that one with x360) would help in their business... and users would be more happy. If somebody remember that At the times windows was something like linux to other systems... ehh.

  9. Ivan Paulos Tomé on

    @MOM , Think again, it's Microsoft.

    Do you remember what happens to Java ?
    After years, who bought MSJVM still have to make their clients choose between one
    standard and other to make certain apps running in their browser, Sun Java
    is different from the MSJVM, who are suffering ?

    People.

    The only possible solution for web based animations is standardize it too,
    like the ISO did with Open Office standards.

    AND, if a real innovation occurs, will not be "quasi equal " software, one facing other.

    This is not a good innovation, they continue excluding Linux from their software,
    and it's a signal tha Microsoft is not interested in innovation, they are only interested
    in more space to act.

    There is no one Linux distribution excluding other distribution in the world, nor
    Windows users from open source software.

    Open source is including people in the computer world.

    Silverlight is not an inclusive software, they are thinking only in face ADOBE,
    playing in their side of the stadium, nothing more.

  10. I don't know about you lot... but i've just tried to download ED and it cannot even find the page...

    ...

    Leave it to Microsoft to manage to lose a whole elephant...

  11. trust them, they gave us compression that leaded to the divx standard.
    for me microsoft stands for quality. And for the people who dont wanna pay them ? they can use the pirated stuff. so whats the problem? Get over that mac hype and stop whyning :P

  12. charly, mpl, and others:

    I wrote to Microsoft to complain about them not giving credits to the people who made Elephant's Dream and not putting a link to Elephant's Dream's website. Here was their reply ...

    "Hello,

    Thank you for contacting Microsoft Online Customer Service.

    I understand that http://www.elephantsdream.org/ should be credited for their work on the videos that are distributed on the following pages:

    1. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=270AEF06-4CA5-4E0C-A116-F7FA721BD6BE&displaylang=en

    2. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=522cde5b-68ad-4d79-a446-a25c2e126e24&DisplayLang=en

    We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.

    I am currently working with my colleagues to resolve your issue. As soon as one of my resources replies, I will forward the information to you. Typically, we hear from them in 24 to 72 hours, depending on the complexity of the issue."

    So they should be credited soon I would think. :)

  13. Adobe has even blender mentioned in there official documentation. I think they talk about 3D product visualisation inside flash with pre-renders from blender and even point to blender.org to download it. I found that somewhere this week when I was working on a flash application.

  14. Personally, I think the codec is fairly nice. It was a small file, and the quality was pretty good. A couple frames were damaged slightly, but considering how small it got, that's not too bad. This was actually the first time I have been able to DL Elephant's Dream since my Internet is too slow to DL the ones from the elephantsdream.org, since they are so large files. And my computer refuses to run Quicktime at all in any program.

    And about Orange team not getting credited, well anyone that would watch the movie would see the credits, and there is plenty info there. And if the people wouldn't read what is in the credits, I doubt they would read what is on microsoft.com for learning about the movie.

    And after all the movie is licensed under one of the most liberal licenses out there, so people can do what they want with it. That includes Microsoft too, no matter how much you hate it.
    So I think we should just be happy that more people will see the movie, hear about blender, open source apps, etc. Grumbling about it among our selves serves no purpose.

  15. "And after all the movie is licensed under one of the most liberal licenses out there, so people can do what they want with it. That includes Microsoft too, no matter how much you hate it.
    So I think we should just be happy that more people will see the movie, hear about blender, open source apps, etc. Grumbling about it among our selves serves no purpose."

    @superkoop

    I agree and besides shouldn't all this Anti-Microsoft rhetoric best be left to the Ubuntu forums?

  16. Ok, think about it. Microsoft is advertising Elephants Dream and Blender for free .. yeah, they don't give direct credit to the software or the makers, but if people are interested in finding out more they're going to google it anyway. So what's the big deal? Yes, MS is using ED for their own purposes ... why wouldn't they? Not exactly innovative, but a smart move. It's really a win-win situation. They get a free video to play and the community and ED get free advertising. What, did you expect MS to put links all over their page, maybe with a large banner saying 'BLENDER ROCKS!!" or something? Realistically, they left the video generally intact and that's all they need to do.

  17. @jmh1, superkoop: thanks for your comments. I was hoping the discussion would head that way but, alas, it ended up in the predictable Microsoft bashing once again ;-)

  18. Hey guys.
    While ED wasn't credited on MS Downloads, it was credited in a blog post by the guy who put it there. Ben Waggoner, a once independent compressionist and more recently, a member of the Windows Media team, originally posted about ED here:
    http://on10.net/Blogs/benwagg/elephants-dream-sample/

    He later followed up with these posts:
    http://on10.net/Blogs/benwagg/elephants-dream-720p--2-mbps/
    http://on10.net/Blogs/benwagg/elephants-dream-720p--2-mbps-file-now-posted/
    http://on10.net/Blogs/benwagg/encoding-for-the-zune/

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