~ resources ~

Pond5 Public Domain Project gives free access to 10,000 historical film clips

Online multimedia marketplace Pond5 has just launched a Public Domain Project, which provides free access to a variety of media including nearly 10,000 public-domain film clips from various U.S. government sources and other repositories. It’s unclear what percentage of it has been uploaded to the web for the first time, but simply having such a large, curated collection available under one virtual roof and searchable by keyword should make it an important new resource for videopoets and other filmmakers. According to a help page,

Pond5 is thrilled to begin representing public domain content on our Website through the Pond5 Public Domain Project. We are making this content available to our customers and contributors without any charge, so they can rediscover part of mankind’s history and build upon it in their creative projects. We have designated Content on the Website as being “Public Domain Content” when we believe that it is in the public domain under the laws of the United States, meaning there are no copyright restrictions over that content.


What are Pond5’s sources of Public Domain Content?

We have generally obtained our public domain content from three categories of sources:

  1. U.S. government repositories of creative works.
  2. Other online and offline collections of public domain content that we believe are reputable.
  3. Content that our curators or contributors have reviewed, and based on that review, believe are in the public domain.

I’ve added the link to Moving Poems’ page of Web Resources for Videopoem Makers. Thanks to Anna Dickie for bringing it to my attention.

New version of Vimeo allows searching by Creative Commons license

A Vimeo redesign unveiled in late January for the first time allows users of the popular video hosting site to search for Creative Commons-licensed films. So far, the new design is available only to logged-in users on an opt-in basis. A “filters” box becomes visible on the upper right after one performs an initial search. A drop-down menu within the box allows one to filter the search results by each type of Creative Commons license — Attribution, Attribution-ShareAlike, etc. — but not all of them at once, or all of the ones that are free to modify (i.e. excluding those with “no derivatives” provisions). So it’s pretty basic yet, but better than nothing.

This is significant for videopoem/filmpoem makers looking for high-quality footage for a quick web project. For anything more elaborate, one would still probably want to do a general search, including traditionally copyrighted videos, and plan on asking permission. If using Creative Commons-licensed work, filmmakers should of course abide by the terms of the license, which at minimum means including the attribution in the film’s credits, and may also mean including the terms of the license and even licensing one’s own remix the same way (in the case of a “Share Alike” license), unless one gets specific permission from the copyright holder to waive those requirements. Please see my page of web resources for videopoem makers for links to more information on using Creative Commons-licensed material (as well as other sources of free-to-use video and the like).

“Video & Film Poetry” group on Vimeo

The video sharing site Vimeo tends to get a higher proportion of well-made videos than YouTube, but even still, many poetry-related videos uploaded to the site are not terribly impressive as examples of the filmmaker’s art. I know, because one of the primary ways I find new material for Moving Poems is by searching new Vimeo uploads for anything with the word “poem” in the title, tags or description. I see a lot of dreck.

So I’m very impressed with the new Vimeo group devoted to Video & Film Poetry, which was founded by Brenda Clews just a couple months ago. She had tried to convince me to start such a group, but I declined on the grounds that I was already doing enough here, so she went ahead and founded the group herself — and I think the results so far speak for themselves: a lot of interesting and innovative videopoets have joined the group now, and are adding their new uploads as well as other people’s videos that they might happen to know about. There’s some commenting, but so far it’s been mainly a place to share and discover new work.

This isn’t the first Vimeo group to welcome poetry videos, but I believe it’s the first to take curating seriously. The problem with completely open poetry-sharing sites is that the bad poetry (or videopoetry, in this case) tends to drive out the good. The crucial difference with the Video & Film Poetry group is that, though anyone can comment or participate in the (so-far-unused) forums, only members can add videos or invite new members. If you’re on Vimeo and you’d like an invitation, let me know.

New addition to web resources list: Free Music Archive

How is it I’d never heard of Free Music Archive before? It’s the newest addition to the Free and Creative Commons-licensed sounds and music section of our Web resources for videopoem makers page. According to FMA’s FAQ page,

The Free Music Archive … is an interactive library of legal audio downloads directed by legendary freeform radio station WFMU.

The Archive revolves around our Curators, who select and upload all the music you’ll find here. Curators come from all over the world and have a wide range of experience with good music. They include freeform radio stations, netlabels, artist collectives, performance spaces, and concert organizers. If FMA were a radio station, the curators would be our awesomely obsessive DJs.

In addition to enjoying and downloading free music, site visitors can set up their own accounts on the Archive, make profiles, become friends with other listeners, create and share mixes of FMA music, and write posts on a their personal blogs. Listeners can also show their appreciation to FMA artists by adding them as Favorites or even “tipping” them directly through the site.

Together, our Curator-driven library and our distinctly social architecture create a platform that both guides and is guided by listeners.

I’ve had good luck finding Creative Commons-licenced music for videopoem soundtracks at SoundCloud, Jamendo, ccMixter and the Internet Archive, but it’d great to have one more option — especially one so tightly curated. I’m also impressed by how well the above-linked FAQ page explains the different Creative Commons licenses. If you’re still unclear on that, check it out.

New additions to the web resources page: video effects, videos from space, and Soundcloud

UPDATE (9/1): I’ve added close to a dozen more links in the past three days, courtesy of Nic.

  • I’ve updated the list of Web resources for videopoem makers to add some new links. I discovered last month that SoundCloud, the online audio-sharing site for musicians (and sometimes spoken-word artists), encourages members to apply Creative Commons licenses to their works and make them available for download (though frustratingly, some do the former and neglect to do that latter). Adding to the site’s utility for remixers and filmmakers is a very useful advanced search function, even better than ccMixter, so if for example you want to find a piece of electronica with French horns that’s licensed CC non-commercial, you can do that. The site overall is very comparable to Jamendo, but I think may have even more users.

A couple weeks ago, Diane Lockward let me know about a whole new category of free resources: prekeyed footage, brief stock clips and other video effects. I have so far included just the two sites she recommended, Footage Crate and Movietools.info; others I looked at seemed pretty spammy.

The most recent addition comes from Nic S., who has just made her first videopoem after being so heavily exploited often called upon to provide audio for videos by me and Swoon. In addition to the Prelinger Archives, Nic got the bright idea of using footage from the NASA Video Gallery, which, as I say on the resource list, looks like the go-to site site for videos of the earth from space and other cool spacey stuff. The site’s very easy to navigate, and every video has a download link.

Thanks, Nic and Diane! And if anyone else has a discovery to share, please don’t be shy.

New directories: poetry film festivals, and free-to-use audio and video

I’ve just posted two new pages of resources for videopoem and poetry-film makers.

The Poetry film festival list includes websites and, where available, Facebook pages for regularly occurring poetry film festivals. Left off the list, at least for now, are all the more general film festivals to which poetry films might be submitted.

Web resources for videopoem makers includes information on determining what’s free to use, as well as links to free and Creative Commons-licensed film and video, spoken word, sound and music collections. I also include a link to the software I use for downloading videos from the web, but I welcome other suggestions.

Please use the comments here or at the respective pages to alert me about other links I should include. I would also encourage people who regularly use Creative Commons-licensed material to follow the Golden Rule and apply a “copyleft” license to your own work, as well. (I don’t always remember to do this myself, but I should.)