16th April 2024

A Virtual World of Live Pictures

Technology and Computer

B.C. Ferries footage winds up on over a billion Windows computers

If you’ve ever played with the display settings on your Windows computer, you might have noticed a scene familiar to British Columbians. 

Two filmmakers recently discovered a clip they shot for a music video 10 years ago on a B.C. ferry is shown as a preview when users adjust the HDR (high dynamic range) video settings on the most recent versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. 

The clip, which is about 11 seconds long, shows a man walking on board an open boat deck with a sunrise in the background, and a B.C. flag waving in the upper left. 

The man in the clip is Miguel Barbosa, who directed the music video. He says he learned about it last week after a friend shared a thread on the online discussion website Reddit with him. 

“I was so blown away,” said Barbosa. “You never know where your shots will end up.” 

A computer screen shows under System, Display, and HDR, a small video of a man walking on a ferry at sunrise.
The video clip can be seen under HDR display settings on Windows 10 and 11 computers. (Microsoft Windows)

He says the clip was shot in the spring of 2014 on an early morning ferry to Nanaimo. 

It was for a music video called Radio Hell for Langley punk band Gob. 

“We just got the camera out from the car and filmed a beautiful slo-mo shot of me walking and the sun was peeking out perfectly,” he said.

Jesse Hunt, who filmed the music video, including this particular clip, uploaded some of the footage to a film licensing site afterwards. 

Hunt said he didn’t notice the footage had been bought. But looking back in his records now, which Hunt provided to CBC News, he discovered Microsoft had purchased a licence for the clip back in 2017 for $1,000. 

As the licensing site takes a cut, the records show Hunt received $500. 

Over a billion computers worldwide

According to Microsoft’s 2022 annual report, there are more than 1.4 billion active computers in the world running Windows 10 or 11, both of which appear to use this shot as the preview video in their display settings. 

“The chances of one of my clips being that clip that is used is pretty insane,” said Hunt. 

B.C. Ferries identified the vessel in the clip as the Queen of Oak Bay, based on its surroundings and the plates visible behind the life rings. 

“It’s no surprise that Microsoft recognized some of the beautiful scenery our passengers experience every day when they’re sailing with us,” Jeff Groot, executive director of communications for B.C. Ferries, said in a statement 

Frankly, it’s surprising that Apple hasn’t taken similar notice – we’d be happy to help them out with new images for their MacBook desktops if they’re interested.”

Credit and compensation 

Theo Goutzinakis, a vocalist and guitarist in Gob, said he was surprised to learn footage shot for his band’s music video was on computers across the world. 

“We got no compensation, it’s not even like we’re credited or anything, and we feel a little shafted about it,” said Goutzinakis. 

“It would be kind of cool to even have some acknowledgement from it.” 

Barbosa said he and Hunt own the footage because there was no contract between them and Gob’s music label.

He says while the label covered production fees for the video, he and Hunt did not walk away with any payment for their time or work, as he put most of the video’s budget toward the production itself. 

He remembers the shoot as a fun day working with a “legendary” band. He says he’s glad a part of B.C. has made it onto computers around the world. 

“It’s just totally surreal and cool,” said Barbosa. “It was a welcome surprise.”