We're building the future of collaborative, cloud based media production, curation, and distribution.
Media is a big word, and we mean it. Video, audio, music, television, film, photography, art, etc. We're building a suite of tools designed to empower artists in their quest to make art together.
The vast majority of our work will be open source, the vast majority of our output will be CC-BY-SA.
We're making tools for the production, distribution, and curation of Community Media. These tools will be generally useful to the larger media producing community as well, but they are not our primary user base.
My pal Ernie said:
The creator economy will always struggle so long as the tooling is controlled by some massive body that can set the terms of creation. The solution is to make the tools cheap enough to scale and accessible to the point where they’re table stakes.
And I think that says nearly everything that needs to be said about what we're doing.
The tools will be free to self host! We will charge for the expertise of managing infrastructure, and for access to compute resources. We will do this in a fair and transparent fashion. There will be no secrets.
Our goal is specifically to enable the rapid creation, distribution, and discovery of video and audio based media (music, TV, film) by a network of distributed collaborators working in real time or time shifted, and to enable communities to find, share, and pay for those things.
Our moat is pretty simple. No major company is going to touch things that are AGPL licensed, so no major company is going to run our technology stack (unless they do, in which case we get their improvements, or they do it illegally and we sue.) If someone else comes along and starts playing in our space, that's great! Most of what we're building is designed around federated protocols. Rising tides raise all ships.
Our Moat, in as much as we have one, is trust. We will be transparent and open about what we provide, how much it costs, and what can be done with it, and we will talk about that. We will demonstrate that we can be trusted, and then we will preserve that trust.
There will always be cheaper (or free!) alternatives. We're not trying to get rich, we're trying to sustain, thrive, and re-shape the future of media production.
The Big Ol Media Box is a suite of tools for real time collaborative video and audio production and distribution. It is made of several distinct components:
(Look, it's google docs for video editing. EDLs are the RTF of the video world.)
Our NLE editor works in an open XML based EDL format, is powered by FFMPEG, provides Fossil based distributed version control and a CRDT based solution for real time collaboration.
(There's no reason this isn't also a DAW.)
Leveraging Livekit and the basic toolkit provided by our NLE, we also enable live broadcasts, with raw, 10 bit color, NDI input support, and tunable latency parameters, enabling creators to produce multi-camera, multi-location live streaming productions with multiple concurrent independent production workflows (broadcast, save to disk, edit the files that are saved to disk, instant replays, etc. etc. etc.)
We're going to need to pull videos in from various sources on the web, and we're going to need to offer a place for people to store:
Our DAM needs to be tightly coupled with everything else we're doing. It is probably the place that makes it the easiest for us to build a sustainable business model.
It's peertube. It's paid. Billed yearly. For an extra fee, you can have a dedicated microsite on our domain or one of your own, automatically built from your peertube RSS feeds (and any other feeds you choose to incorporate.)
We'll develop a roku channel for you, for live stream and/or hosted video content. Basic packages are cheap and have a very fast turnaround. Advanced packages cost more, and are highly customizable. Code from base package is entirely open source so you can DIY.
We use FFPlayout to power the live component of our roku channel. It's fine, but underdeveloped. We should enhance it and build a better clockwheel solution.
This is a big complicated topic that I've been writing about for years but at it's core, distribution must be tightly couple with curation, and both must happen at a small, community level before reaching escape velocity. Without Community level curation and distribution, you end up with Mick Jagger releasing hit singles at 90, and incredibly tallented songwriters struggling to sell 10 copies of their album.
So we plan for distribution and curation from the go. This means Activity Pub. This means dealing with the payment cartels. This, like every other bit of planning in this doc, will require a broader discovery and detailed roadmap.
Don't get bogged down in the details, I'm selling the vision today.
Bandcamp will likely be a ghost town within a year. Providing a home grown alternative to bandcamp that is tightly coupled with the rest of our tooling has a huge potential upside over very low ongoing maintenance costs.
The vision is federated, with payment handled only by the home instance.
The things that make bandcamp work best are social sharing and curation. There are already robust frameworks in place for social sharing (the fediverse) and curation (I've run a local music zine for more than a decade, RSS exists, combine the two with a little activity pub action, and you've got something that begins to resemble the power of bandcamp.)
Communities need the ability to share the things we're producing in the spaces they already exist, in a format that makes it easy to find where the thing came from, and easy to pay the person who made it. Activity pub + paypal.
Proper metadata tagging and a system that demands clear licensing information (and gives remixers the ability to specifically list the sources from which they have remixed, etc. etc. etc.) could be a revolution in asset production and distribution.
Make it obvious how a thing can be used. Make it obvious who was involved. Make it easy to pay people who help you.
Transparency is at the root of what we're building.
New Ellijay Television exists. JOKERJOKERtv and Athens GA TV are in the works. Let's make more. Let's make them work together.
There's more. There's a larger vision. But this will get us started.
We have enough money available to run the basic infrastructure it will take to set this up, but that's pretty much it. We're bootstrapping these things from the ground up. The goal is to build a sustainable business in which everyone is being fairly compensated within 6 months.
There is a basic bizdev strategy, but it is somewhat handwavy and imprecise at the moment. It is the area in which we will be expending the most short term effort.
I plan to build this cooperatively. We will never be worth billions, but everyone should be paid fairly.
That is to say, we hope we'll be able to pay you tuesday for a hamburger today.
Right now, I'm looking for developers.
Reach out to us on the fediverse (@firstname.lastname@example.org) or element (@ajroach42:talk.ellijaymakerspace.org) and we'll get you added to our matrix room, where we collaborate, our git repos where we store our code, and our kanban board where we manage our projects.