Why large downloads?

We’ve been discussing – again – whether we should make ‘big’ versions of the SciCast films available for download, or just the embedded H.264 versions. By ‘big,’ I mean about 20Mb/minute, 640×480 resolution or higher, H.264 or WMV9 (VC-1?) – nigh-on broadcast quality, and in most cases high enough quality to reveal problems with the original camera rushes. Archival-quality big.

I’ve felt all along that it’s the right thing to do, and of course this is all Creative Commons-licensed so there’s nothing stopping me doing it on my own time and bunging the films into Archive.org. But yesterday I found myself saying something that ‘feels’ right:

We publish high-quality versions of the films because they allow people to do things with SciCast we haven’t thought of.

I’ve even got an example of this – somebody has a quasi-commercial idea that would rely on their being able to munge the films in specific ways, and they couldn’t do that without access to large-frame versions.

We should be pushing these ludicrous-quality versions up in the next week or so, though we haven’t yet worked out how to integrate them with the site, so it might be a bit of a kludge in the short term.

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