Movie Making on a Linux Box? No Way!

Broadcast 2000 aims to bring together the art of making movies and the power of the Linux platform.

Years ago there were these HPUX, IRIX and AIX boxes in the back of college computer labs that did nothing but basic computer infrastructure tasks: file serving, database management, number crunching and maybe a bit of eye candy here and there. If you wanted all of the fun stuff, you had to reboot a Windows PC a few times and wait for the horrendously slow 75Mhz Pentium chip.

But the UNIX boxes were so much faster and efficient than PCs of the time, and a UNIX box editing sound and video seemed like it would transcend all concepts of speed. However, no such software existed. Nothing existed to unify all those efficient utilities and system drivers into a single purpose. Getting a C program that could shuffle gigabytes of sampled audio and video data around in a system, and compile from scratch on thousands of variants of UNIX seemed like the perfect plan.

Windows and Mac advertisements constantly push ways to convert your Windows and Mac workstations into a movie studio. Meanwhile Linux was still pretty much adopted as computer infrastructure glue. If you scour the Internet, however, you might see a few people putting movie studios into a Linux box.

Broadcast 2000 is the Linux movie-making spinoff of mainstream computing in 2000. What Broadcast 2000 does is turn your Linux box into an iMac, a system able to capture, edit and render high-quality multimedia content. The software catapult you into a fury of content sensations normally reserved for those who earn their living by rebooting WinNT.

The Broadcast 2000 software allows you to cut and paste hours of full-motion, full-resolution movies and DVD-quality sound in an instant. The software spits out 2 gigabyte movie files like poptarts. It exercises the full potential of Linux, and most importantly it crosses the barrier between pure computing infrastructure to productivity applications, which is a challenge akin to landing a human on Mars.

Figure 1. An Internet trailer playing backwards.

Trailers from before 1998 can be transcoded to uncompressed Quiktime by xanim, an exporting edition. Since only the video track has a play icon, only the video plays back. Since each track has a record icon, each track is affected by selections.

It is hard to get programmers who choose Linux based on its tight implementation of basic computer science to focus on movie studio programs. It is even harder to get corporations to support productivity applications in Linux. Impossible tasks like this usually require brute force: sponsors, venture capital and old fashioned full-time programming.

But given enough brute force, Linux boxes can be found recording TV shows, editing commercials, editing home movies, arranging audio CDs, transcoding movies between formats, recording time lapse movies, archiving VHS tapes and playing directories full of MP3s. So which activity is going to enthrall you the most? Probably the installation, right?

Installing It the Easy Way

The preferred method of installing Broadcast 2000 is to download the RPM and invoke

rpm -U --nodeps --force <filename>

All you have to worry about is matching the following libraries to the point release:

XFree86 4.0.1<\n>
Linux Kernel version 2.2.17.
Most problems occur with the RPM command usage. The three options are mandatory since RPM does not cope with the point release fragmentation in the operating system.

E-mails to the Broadcast 2000 support staff usually deal with having an RPM system on the Linux box or not having root access. There is an archaic utility called rpm2cpio that substitutes for RPM on these systems. You invoke it in the following sequence:

rpm2cpio <rpm file> | cpio -i --make-directories

This creates a mini usr tree in your current directory, containing a complete installation. Invoke ls -lR usr to view the complete directory tree.

Be sure to relocate the installation to the real /usr directory if you have root. Trying to install Broadcast 2000 without root can be very difficult if you are not familiar with runtime libraries. It is worth it to buy your own Linux box so that you can get these problems out of the way.

The script file usr/local/bcast/ contains the proper runtime library path. If you relocated /usr/local/bcast you must change BCASTDIR to the new location of /usr/local/bcast/.



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i did not read the above.

pseudyo's picture

I can't tell if this guy is ecstatic, or declarative. I didn't read beyond the title. I can say this however; I use linux 100% to produce all art/tv/web for an advertising agency. I've experienced only monetary, and creative gain from using opensource software. Gimp, Blender3d, Inkscape, I'm looking at you.