Digital Cinema and a Film Festival

Gadget Guru is a short weekly radio show on World Radio Switzerland that I do with Tony Johnston.

Here’s the show from March 17th, 2015:

Here’s the usual set of links & videos from the show:

Digital Cinema

Festival du Film Vert

The DCP – or Digital Cinema Package is the format that cinemas play – it’s a lot better than DVD and even blu-ray! Count on a 2k (like HD) movie taking between 75-160 Gigabytes and a 4k (like ultra-HD) movie taking up to 600 GB.

Professional kit for making DCPs is expensive, but fortunately for festivals like mine there’s great open source software for making DCPs for your local cinema!

Open DCP

DCP-O-Matic – this one is brilliant as you can cluster together computers to reduce encode time. With this software I went from 3 days to 7 hours to make a DCP.

The film festival starts today, hope to see you there. If not, see you next week on WRS!

Pangloss Labs – Open Innovation for Grand Geneve

Pangloss Labs is a centre of expertise in open source hardware, software and most importantly ideas and techniques.  Currently both a French association and a Swiss association, run by entrepreneurs, we hold experimental (hardware, software and social entrepreneurship) labs, and prototype innovation activities across various sectors.

For more information check out our web site.

Ecological-FabLab in the Geneva region

Dream, Build, Repair, Learn, Share

My main project right now is the creation of an ecologicalfablablogo Fablab here in the Geneva region.

“Fab Labs give people the tools they need to create technology and make (almost) anything”

Professor Neil Gershenfeld – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Eco-Innovation is at the cutting edge of the third industrial revolution.  When you combine innovations in energy production with the open source hardware movement you create very low cost & high value technologies.

We are building a creative space to stimulate local innovation.  We dare to dream big, start small and grow fast. This has become Pangloss Labs. If you’re interested in joining us, take a look at our web site

Festival du Film Vert in Ferney-Voltaire

The fourth edition in Ferney will be held on 18th-22nd March 2015.

In 2012, the Eco-Pratique association decided to put on a green film festival.  Rather than start from scratch we joined with the Swiss Romande “Festival du Film Vert” and brought it across the border into France.

Each year we choose from dozens of the best new documentaries in both English and French and choose 11-12 for the film festival.  To be chosen they have be a great film first, show a problem and propose a concrete solution to the problem.  No “we’re all doomed” films at our festival

Eco-Pratique

In 2010 I looked around for a local ecological group to join. I was completely fed up with people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do, but no-one telling what my life would be like if I did these things. I wanted to know if a compost bin smells bad in the summer (no), how dangerous it is to cycle to work in Geneva (fine as long as it’s not icy), or what it’s really like to eat a vegan diet (not for me, but cut back on the red meat). and I wanted to find answers to these questions from people that weren’t trying to sell me something. Nothing existed around me so I started a local ecological association in Ferney-Voltaire, Eco-Pratique.

Environmentalism is not a religion

My response to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/26/climate-change-skeptic-religion?commentpage=6#start-of-comments

I’d say it’s the exact opposite of a religion. We environmentalists have looked around at the state of the world, gathered evidence, considered the possibilities and (quite often) reluctantly come to the conclusion that “someone should do something” and “I am someone”.

Believe me, I would much rather that the world was fine and I could spend my time on something else instead.

I am convinced by the evidence, where global or local it all points in one direction. I’m also convinced by the successes, from the action against CFCs, the ever-growing amount of organic food available (again – it was all your grandparents had), and the cleaning up of rivers in many countries through to the many permaculture projects regenerating wasteland and making it productive for human civilization.

Humans are amazing. We can fix the world and we will fix the world. It does however seem that we will have to get on with building a better world without waiting for agreement from everyone, let alone governments.

Are ‘super farms’ good for the environment?

My response to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jun/07/super-farms-environment-livestock-climate

The case for super farms ignores two things.

1. It is increasing the case that monoculture proves to be a bad thing, in farming like anything else. Moving to larger scales of monoculture merely increases the likelihood that diseases and pests will claim the entire huge crop. Mixed cultures are much better from that perspective.

2. A “super” farm is only possible with large amounts of cheap energy. The costs of energy are rising and will continue to do so.

I also heard on the radio this morning that super farms will create jobs because 1 man can now do what 10 used to. Not sure how that works?

What seems to be more useful is the opposite: small, human scale organic farms with mixed crops, probably designed using permaculture principles. This would seem to be a more productive way forward to produce more food, of different types, and more employment, while using less energy.

Zac Goldsmith: climate change pushes other issues off the agenda

My response to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/06/climate-change-other-issues-goldsmith?commentpage=all#start-of-comments

I would blame the media, who only seem capable of focusing on one issue at a time. Politicians respond to that.

Most environmentalists (like myself) know that we need to change nearly everything we as a species do if we want to avoid a collapse of our civilization. Pick your scenario – economic collapse, 6 degree temperature rise (and counting), sea level rise, resource depletion, peak oil, soil sterility, antibiotic resistant disease, crop failure, pesticides in our foods poisoning us, the obesity epidemic, the fact that we eat fish today that were considered inedible when I was a kid, the lack of fresh water etc etc. There’s plenty more and they’re all very feasible right now.

It is our economic system that delivers all this, supposedly in the name of progress. If we were all happy, perhaps it would be worth it, but most of us aren’t. Why, exactly are we destroying our own habitat in order to make ourselves miserable?

Saying no-one votes for the environment misses the point. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology don’t negotiate. If we have to wait for our “politics is the art of the possible” to reluctantly see the need for action then we’re in deep trouble.

Unfortunately what we need are brave politicians. I don’t see any in the West, so I guess we’re going to have to collapse before we can start to build a sustainable future for humanity. At least that will be better, but it’s going to be interesting getting there.