Open Source projects are proving their value in Movies & Media

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Jul 29, 2019

via Flickr © jalbertbowdenii (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © jalbertbowdenii (CC BY 2.0)

  • Launched just a year ago the Academy Software Foundation is attracting projects
  • And members. It’s latest include Amazon Web Services, Netflix and Pixar
  • OpenTimelineIO (OTIO) has become a Foundation-hosted project

The Academy Software Foundation is the Linux Foundation’s foray into open source for the motion picture and media industries, in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars organisation). 

Launched nearly a year ago, the Academy Software Foundation is attracting attention and projects and claims to have doubled its membership over the past year.

The LF has just announced that Netflix has just joined the Foundation as a member and has also announced that OpenTimelineIO has been accepted as a Foundation-hosted project and is one of the first projects Netflix will contribute to as a member.

Initially created by Pixar Animation Studios, OpenTimelineIO (OTIO) is an Open Source API and interchange format that facilitates collaboration and communication of editorial data and timeline information between a studio’s Story, Editorial, and Production departments all the way through Post-Production. More on this  here.

Netflix is a big supporter of open source and has open sourced many projects of its own and has become a contributor to many more, says David Morin, Executive Director of the Academy Software Foundation.

OTIO itself has already had 11 releases since 2016 with contributions from many studios and vendors including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Netflix. It has been used in production for films including Coco,Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4.

“Picture-less data produced by editorial departments is very useful across the pipeline. We developed OpenTimelineIO to provide an open source alternative to proprietary formats and enable our community to easily and efficiently interchange editorial timelines,” said Guido Quaroni, Vice President of Research and Development at Pixar. “As an Academy Software Foundation project, we hope OpenTimelineIO can help facilitate content creation within the motion picture and other similar industries.”

The foundation claims OTIO makes it easier to build tools that use editorial timeline information, filling a gap in film production pipeline that was previously underserved by similar, proprietary technologies.

It supports clips, timing, tracks, transitions, markers, and metadata in an API that is easy for studios to integrate with their tools and for vendors to integrate with their software. Use cases include tracking shot length changes, providing context shots in dailies, communicating shots added or removed, conforming new renders into a cut, and dealing with picture-in-picture shots.

The Academy has also welcomed Amazon Web Services as a Premier member  - many open source projects and developers rely on AWS’s cloud services for content creation and production, says David Morin. “We look forward to their contributions as our projects continue to evolve and grow,” 

Developers interested in learning more or contributing to OpenTimelineIO can sign up to join the OTIO mailing list or attend the OpenTimelineIO Meet-Up at SIGGRAPH 2019 on Tuesday, July 30, from 1-2pm in the JW Marriott, Diamond Ballroom 7-10. The OpenTimelineIO Meet-Up is part of the Academy Software Foundation’s “Open Source Day” on July 30, a full day of Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions focused on open source projects used for visual effects, animation, and image creation. Additional details are available here.

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