This is an article from 2002 about the technology behind Motovun Film Festival.
The Motovun Film Festival surprised itself again this year, attracting an even larger audience than in previous years. The increasingly visited festival, except for the film and entertainment program, is less known as a location where new technologies are successfully tested; this year, the central tech event was Croatia’s first wireless public network!
A small town in Istria, located near the even smaller town of Grožnjan, has been successfully “putting up” every summer for four years with an influx of trendsetters and film buffs, who more than successfully exist in such a small space; when in the early morning hours from the city walls you look at the fog that covered everything below Motovun, you can’t help but wonder about the magic formula of this successful festival. One of the reasons for the success is undoubtedly the technological foresight of the organizers, who, year after year, look for something new in this sense as well. And it’s been like that since the first year. This year’s Motovun Film Festival hosted a total of about 36,000 people, about seventy films and a few club nights, but above all that, socializing with informal conversations about the seventh art, but also tech novelties such as the Nokia 7650, rises above all that.
The atmosphere of a city that lives from 0 to 24 for those few days is not easy to convey; you simply have to experience it. What gives one, sometimes not so visible, massive support to the festival is technology, without which the festival would be unimaginable but which is increasingly successfully integrated into the existing content of the festival. Above all, we mean lectures related to film and computers, such as the one on digital film processing, SFX or Final Cut Pro workshop.
This year, lectures on SFX were organized by people from the company Vizije, who take care of technical support for the festival, while director Tomislav Rukavina led the Final Cut Pro workshop. The workshops attracted quite a few people, and the “voice of the people” cried out for even more such things next year; interest in developing films, that is, concrete work on them, is very high. “SFX is actually another tool, a slightly more dexterous stuntman,” said Tomislav Vujnović from Vizije, “it is a revolution equal to the one when they put colour on film. However, I think that for film art, it is just another tool that will make you make the complete vision even more realistic and better. I’m tired of movies after which I can only say how well it was made; without a good story, it means nothing. In our SFX workshops, we wanted to show people that nothing is impossible, and that was the thought guide – to let the imagination run wild and, of course, not to use effects where they don’t belong. In addition to SFX, we also showed one machine – Smoke HD – which has only been shown in Cannes so far; it’s an impressive ‘Photoshop’ for the film.”
In addition to such lectures, the Vizije studio also participated in the production of the MFF show, which was done partly on a PC and partly on Silicon Graphics computers; the peak was created for ten days and with all layers, it weighed 36 GB! “The Final Cut Pro workshop,” says Rukavina, “was well attended, mostly by people with a Mac at home. We showed little what can be done with this program, nothing spectacular but informative.”
In addition to PCs, a good part of the festival was covered by iMac/iBook computers, which were used by the design duo responsible for the visual identity of the festival and the MFF newsletter, Bruketa and Žinić. These very well-designed computers came partly from the studio Bruketa&Žinić and partly from the company Powercom sistemi; they were located in one of the festival offices, where the mentioned newsletter, posters, and other graphic solutions were made. “We have,” Nikola Žinić showed us, “two new iMacs and two new iBooks, which we call Snow Whites, and two G4 computers with large monitors and two digital cameras (Olympus Camedia) arrived from our studio. The MFF newspaper is produced throughout all day.” Xerox is in charge of printing. “Xerox in Motovun has digital colour printing; the device is Docu Color 12. As Nikola said, when the Motounn’s newspapers are finished, it goes to press, and the circulation depends on the demand,” said Goran Žuvanov. DocuColor 12 was named Product of the Year in 2000 by PrintImage International participants.
The tone goes, the picture goes
And that’s thanks to a piece of equipment from the Atman company, which, like everyone else, brought a good amount of equipment to Motovun. “We brought screens, projectors, sound systems. The best quality equipment is definitely the Epson projectors; besides that, there is no point in singling something out because it is all top-quality equipment from the best manufacturers; it is enough to know that we did not have any technical problems, so everything is from the technical side it worked perfectly, partly because of the equipment but also because of our experiences from past MFF festivals,” Tomislav Veltruski from Atman told us. What stands out from all the technologies is the first public wireless network in Croatia (WLAN), which covered most of Motovun and enabled users to connect to the network with laptops or handheld computers from a favourite Motovun cafe.
We admit, for us IT journalists, it was fascinating to be part of that public wireless network, that is, to be on an equal footing with Western countries, where it has been the most talked about in recent months. This network was made possible by the company Span, and we got the details from Dragan Jelčić, the “master of all computers” from Motovun. “Span ran the first such network at WinDays, but it was only for conference users, so we can probably rightly say that it is our country’s first public wireless network. In addition, there is the inevitable wired infrastructure: we have two links, which consist of 3 channels, i.e. 3 times at 2 Mbps each; two are designated for streaming, i.e. video transmissions and Radio Free Motovun, and the other two provide the possibility for guests to connect to the network themselves through a special router. The complete infrastructure is based on the Cisco system; the network is 100 Mbps, while the main line between the Fast Ether Channel switches is 2×100 Mbps, so 200 Mbps.
As far as the wired infrastructure is concerned, we covered most of the city, while wirelessly, with six base stations, we covered the entire Square, the hotel terrace, and the area from Volta to Volta. In total, about forty people use the wireless network, ten of whom borrowed cards from us, while the rest have their own cards through which they connect. As you noticed, this year there are slightly fewer users with handheld computers; the reason is probably the large number of free personal computers, from which you can, for example, read e-mail. However, we have taken care of them too, so whether someone comes with a laptop or handheld computer, they can connect to our wireless network. By the way, not counting wireless, there are about fifty registered computers in the city. We calculated there would be around twenty computers, but that was a lousy forecast because people can’t live without their “pets. The crew of radio Slobodni Motovun (radio 101) said they would bring two computers, but they got four; Bruketa and Žinić were supposed to have t two, but they have seven computers. That was not a problem because we successfully networked everything via three servers; the network itself was more protected from the outside than from the inside, where we did not set any restrictions. There were no major technical problems, only occasional announced power outages; in addition, one hard drive was found at Klaudio’s (a cafe where Hinet had a cyber cafe),” concludes Dragan Jelčić from Span.
Of course, the festival was also accompanied by a new version of the website created by the Code16 studio at www.motounfilmfestival.com, through which you could follow HTHinet’s live video streaming or find information about the events themselves. Undoubtedly, the site has improved technically this year, but the team from the Code16 studio, which is prone to more radical design solutions, kept their imagination from running wild this time; the site could have been more attractive from a design point of view. We also missed more frequent daily news updates, which we made up for in the newly opened forum. “We made some technical changes to the site,” says Gordan Smuđ, from Code16 studio, “like a new admin system, through which it is very easy to update the site.
The whole concept of the site is new, so everything was done from the beginning, following current standards. The site itself was put on the web about seven days before the festival, which was the deadline. The bottom line is that the users and those who work on the site are satisfied.” The team from Code16 studio used a wireless public network, updating the site from wirelessly covered locations. The inevitable HTHinet was also present in Motovun, as the main partner of MFF; most of the events were broadcast live, and for the visitors of the MFF, they organized a cyber cafe, which will remain in Motovun even with HTHinet’s donation.
Namely, in addition to computers, HTHinet gave Motovun and its residents a year of free surfing. One computer was donated to the district school of the Motovun municipality, and HTHinet sponsored the “Motovun online” 1000 euro award. “The whole of Motovun is on 6 Mpbs, of which 2 Mpbs are for local surfing, and 4 Mpbs go to the Hinet node. We mostly dealt with webcasts, which the already coordinated team did without error, so we had no technical problems. The first year, we did these transmissions with the help of two computers, which we brought ‘on our backs,’ while this year we came with a webcast van, which we are not sure if anyone else in the world has.” Nikola Prib, from HTHinet Webcast, told us. And indeed, that van drew curious glances from IT enthusiasts, who jealously hid an interesting set of equipment in its interior. “It’s a kind of reporting van; all the audio and video equipment is inside, along with nine computers; it allows us to broadcast wherever we go simply by connecting to the Internet with complete audio and video directing capabilities.” The award for “Motovun Online” HTHinet, for 1000 euros, went to Ahmed Imamović for the film “Ten Minutes.”
Following the new technologies and the progressive approach of the organizers of the MFF, this year’s festival ended with electronic music, i.e. the Stylish Party, which was streamed via the HTHinet webcast. The author of these lines actually happened to be in Motovun as the organizer of Stylish, and in addition, PC Chip’s journalist also did the first VJing at the mentioned party, with materials from Irene Andreić, who for this issue told us about some of the secrets of this kind of party. And there was again the inevitable equipment, more specifically, a laptop and a projector, of course, with the corresponding audio elements for Stylish DJs. Projections that rotated on one of the walls of the central Square, together with pleasing house sound, brought another Motovun film festival to an end, leaving us to await the next, fifth MFF with even greater impatience.