Archive for March, 2012

New OnFilm4 Logo

March 19th, 2012

After a request from Film 4 I have changed the OnFilm4 logo to make it less like the official Film 4 logo so people do not think it is an official service of Channel 4. As they asked so nicely and have a good reason I have no issue with doing this. Hopefully it retains the essence of Film 4 without being confused with the official logo.

If only other organisations (I have two in mind) would write polite emails instead of threatening ones with sudo legal bull they might have got what they want as well. There might have been a little rant sneak in there. Sorry about that.

On Film4

March 9th, 2012

On the quiet there are a lot of good movies on Film4. This is now available for free through the UK on Freeview, on satellite and on cable. The problem is that I keep missing so many good films or turning on just at the end. Because of this I decided to come up with an over engineered solution to this problem. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you my hack On Film 4.

What this hack does is to take the Film 4 TV listings and tweets on @OnFilm4 10 minutes before the film starts. I also check if the film will be repeated and include that information in the tweet. This has already proved most useful and there have seen a few films that I would otherwise have missed, albeit on in the background while working.

I then decided that I needed a way of summarising the listings so I could easily scan the for good films coming up and set the PVR to record them. I did this by setting up the On Film 4 Google Group that sends an email a couple of times a week with the films that are upcoming on the channel. I try and sort these with the most popular first.

There are several sources of Film 4 programme listings but I have opted to use Andrew’s web site as it is simple and reliable. So I don’t put a load on Andrew’s server I only pull down any days I don’t already have listings for at random times of day. I also update listing for the day ahead in case it has changed. The result of this is I should have a complete weeks listing, accurate for the next day at least, but by only pulling a few KB in two files.

The system also looks up each film on The Movie DB and caches the film information. TMDB is a great community supported resource and I am now helping support it by identifying errors and unlisted films as part of this process. Currently I am not doing much with this information but I intend to do more with it in the future. I am experimenting with using the data to order the films in the email although I have found that going by user vote alone tends not necessarily identify the popular films.

I feel I should also say that this is not intended to be a replacement to the Film4 Twitter stream that is a far more rich and interactive service.

If you find this useful or have any suggestions on how I can improve it then please get in touch.