Critical Commons is an online resource for film educators that pushes the boundaries of fair use (copyright) legislation by making clips from films available with academic commentaries, in both text and audio format.

Devised by the USC School of Cinematic Arts Institute for Multimedia Literacy, it enables lecturers to organise collections of clips and commentaries as lectures for classroom delivery. The website is built on Plumi (created by EngageMedia), a free open source software video sharing web application based on the Plone content management system. I’ve done project management and front-end development on a few iterations of the software working with EngageMedia, Infinite Recursion and the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. It’s a really exciting cinema education project, that opens up all kinds of possibilities for the future of film schools.

The site encompasses features from Plumi including server-side transcoding and HTML5 video playback – building features such as grouping clips into lectures on top of this, and a substantial re-design and re-architecture of the user-interface.

We also developed a mobile site, optimised for Android and iPhone to allow students and lecturers another way to interface with the database of clips.

Update August 2012: I’m working on another iteration of this project with Unweb, a web development co-operative based in Athens, Greece. We are working towards updating the platform to a new version of Plumi 4.x.