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March 15, 2004
Client-Side Remixing Conundrums
Lucas Gonze, who has added client-side remixing to his RSS+SMIL format (Analysis of RSS+Time as a playlist format) discusses the strengths and weaknesses of such client-side remixing here: Client-side remixing is sloppy. His post is in response to a couple of posts I've done on the idea of remixing "recipes": A History Palette for Music and The Grey Album - No Copying Necessary. Gonze argues, rightfully, that RSS+Time and similar such formats are not well-suited to client-side remixes:
Geeks around these parts have done many experiments with client-side remixing in SMIL, and what we found was that it works reasonably well as long as you don't need precise synchronization. If you do need precise synchronization, you'll just make yourself unhappy.
What that means for Danger Mouse and other dance-type remixers is that they will not be doable on the client side. That kind of thing requires a really tight set of operations. You have to clip out segments of a few seconds at most, then line them up with a lot of other clips. Marking a beat is a picky process with no room for sloppiness, which is exactly what HTML is not.
Mike Linksvayer agrees and provides more analysis (Client-side remixing isnt so loopy).
Their both right. However, my vision of client-side remixing is not of the RSS+Time type, which "is to precise syncrhonization as HTML is to precise layout. If you dont need precision, enjoy." Actually, I imagine a rather robust client that can achieve the level of precision that the remixer used to create the remixing "recipe." As I noted, my comparison is to Photoshop's History Palette:
Imagine if someone edits a photo [with Photoshop] and sends me the history palette but not the original photo (for copyright reasons). If I already have the original photo the editor worked with, I could recreate the new version from the history palette.
In the case of music, I imagine the client having something like a copy of Apple's GarageBand software. If you save the "history palette" for GarageBand and send me both the history and the original sound files used, I should be able to recreate the exact same finished product you have.
Such a thing is not yet available, but I don't see why it couldn't be. See, Dangermouse, the Jay-Z Construction Set and the Videogame Content Creation Model.
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