Reinventing the wheel isn't going to work, my friend. Believe me, if I thought simply setting up a new movie site, moving the content across from the old one to the new one and running a hoover and a duster over these here forums was gonna work, I'd have done it already (ok, so maybe I did flap a cloth here and there in a vague effort to drum up some interest )
The scale of the job that what you're talking about would entail is well beyond the means of a handful of part-time amateurs, even with the best will in the world, and the cost of hosting, purchasing and setting up scripts, moving massive quantities of data from database to database without losing anything (even if access to that data was available, which it isn't) is going to be prohibitive, even supposing there is going to be help available to do it (again, with a handful of people, all of whom have a lot less free time on their hands these days than we used to back in the Before), it's just not feasible
TMU as a whole unit grew out of Ken's desire to ensure that the "community" that formed out of TMO before it died had somewhere to go. At the time, he had the disposable income to buy the domain, purchase the necessary scripts, set up and support the site, and the enthusiasm of over a hundred people when the site first started, that rapidly grew when TMO shut down for the last time, and was grown further by large numbers of active users spreading the word amongst the fledgling forums of the likes of iClone and Moviestorm, which were in their early days at the time.
He also had the help of code monkeys like Tarison and Rileyman who gave their coding expertise freely to get the site configured and working (which would be another cost that would have to be absorbed these days,too, unless you have the knowledge yourself or know someone who could do it for you for free).
We managed to interest a number of people from both other communities (iClone users always seemed to be more willing to leave their corner of the internet than MS users ever did, for what reason I could never figure out) and the numbers of members jumped up.
The cost of such a thing nowadays, coupled with the sheer paucity of numbers, doesn't make such a task a viable option.
If we had half the numbers of active, engaged members we had in the site's heyday, then I'd say it might be worth a shot. But not with maybe 3 or 4 regular posters and maybe another 5 or 6 occasional visitors.
The cost alone would be prohibitive, as previously mentioned; with the world wide Covid situation as it is, I doubt very much anyone has more than a spare dime available, and I certainly don't have the kind of money spare to throw at a project this big (god knows how much it costs Ken to keep it running; one would imagine a lot less these days than 5-10 years ago, with no extra load on the movie server and a lot less streaming bandwidth required, but he must still be paying something, so god love the Big White Chief for still letting us have a pen to play in, even if the decoration is getting a bit tired and the wallpaper is peeling and the latch on the back gate is stuck...).
I looked into it briefly a week or two ago when I came back, just to scope out what it might cost to replicate the existing setup in the current economic environment; scripts to run a movie site cost anywhere from a few bucks for a very basic set (nowhere near the functionality the site used to have before it went down) to nearly $1k for the all singing, all dancing ones. So let's say $500 for the script; not an amount that just anyone has knocking around in their wallet that they can throw at something like this.
Bandwidth alone for a site the size of TMU (with probably over 10k movies ranging from a few seconds in length to over 2hrs for the longest single movie uploaded to the site) is gonna cost a lot from any host (yes you could set up and configure your own physical server, but what happens if it falls over, you have a power outage or hard drive crash, or your internet feed dies, or your ISP decides you're gobbling too much bandwidth? Everything dies, so makes sense to go for cloud hosting with redundancies.... but that stuff costs. And it ain't cheap.)
Professional quality hosting, which is what you'd have to provide in order to keep the sites maintained and running to the standard that at least we've got now if not to the standard that they used to be at, for a site the size of TMU is probably gonna cost around $100 a month, if not more. Again, that's not pocket change for people.
And, on top of all the costs above, you've then got to have enough admins and moderators from different time zones to manage and check uploads, provide assistance with people having issues, etc, etc, etc... and that means available bodies... which, as we've already discussed, there aren't enough of.
Plus, the biggest hurdle you're always going to face; YouTube is much more of a household name, and people are going to stick stuff there for free in the hope of getting better exposure than they will ever get sticking in on some speciality media site (which is effectively what we are).
Yes, we all know the reality is you have to be mighty lucky and talented to attract even a small and reasonable following, but enough people all dream (especially these days) of becoming a "Professional YouTuber" that that's where all the time and effort goes these days when it comes to video hosting.
Again, if there were three times as many active members (by which I mean people posting regularly, at least once or twice a week, with ongoing projects of different types to interest the different interests of the active userbase), then maybe it might be worth looking at if you had the money burning a hole in your pocket and nothing else to spend it on, and enough spare time or helpful resource to turn to setting the whole thing up.
But we don't.
Don't get me wrong; I'd LOVE this place to be alive and kicking again, but it's never going to happen (beyond the 10 or so regular or occasional posters we get, maybe half of which are still actively involved in making movies of some kind or another these days). We have no place to upload movies, not enough diversity of platforms (that aren't already sequestered away in their own communities and won't leave, because what is there to interest them outside that we can offer these days?), not enough people to make it worthwhile any more (other than the lone newbie just starting out maybe and perhaps one or two old hands who might drop by and decide to dabble in it once again for a while).
As much as I want to be proved wrong, the mere fact that in the last 7 years the active userbase has dwindled away to nearly nothing is evidence in itself; just look at the comments on my return thread; people moved on. The ones who are still involved in the hobby are mainly iCloners, who have their own forums and content on the Reallusion site, upload to YouTube or Vimeo, etc, and really, other than those few still active members over there that were either icloners already, or became iCloners through TMU and left for greener pastures when the ship started to go down, none of them are going to bother coming here, except for nostalgia maybe.
Moviestorm is effectively dead in the water; their forum died earlier in the year and was down for over 6 months and recently came back up, their movie database is all but extinct and no longer works, but they have no active central user base any more either; there are again a handful of users who still use the platform that check in from time to time over there, but the majority have either moved on to iClone, still beaver away with a platform that was dropped unceremoniously and hasn't had an update in 4 years, or have given it up entirely. They have a discord channel, I am led to believe, but it doesn't appear to have much in the way of activity (at least, so I'm told, in regard to the making of movies anyway). For some reason, TMU never really appealed to MS users the same way iClone did (maybe because MS had it's own movie upload site which made MSers a bit more parochial, whilst iClone never did... maybe that's why?)
TM is slowly going; the only new users now are the odd folk who'll pick it up in the bargain bin or cheap here or there, probably mess with it a bit and then put it aside. We will always have a few dedicated folk who'll go looking for whatever afterlife it has, but as evidenced over the years, 90% of users who start out with TM after TMO vanished end up vanishing off the face of the earth after playing around with it for a bit; yes, there are always stalwarts, but they are always in the minority.
Other platform users never got hooked in here in enough numbers to ever make that big an impact; it was always the TM crowd, the icloners and the few MS users who keep this place alive and kicking and, with the loss of greater and greater numbers of active community members over the years, the life just drained out of the place.
It's a shame, but again it can't be expected that we'd ever get anything like the number of participants that we used to, for anything. Talking to an old pal the other day who was around for a long while after I got sucked away, apparently once TMOA (which was the lynchpin holding the community together) stopped being a regular thing, people started to drift away in greater and greater numbers. As with all things, those on the periphery, those who hung on purely due to nostalgia or friendships, went first, followed by people who had no time to indulge the hobby any more, then those who moved on to other things, and so on and so on. The "hard core" guys who stuck around managed to keep the lights going for a few more years, but most of them have gone onto other things by now, too (and no finger pointing or accusations about anyone in the abve, it's merely an observation from a long time community member who watched some of this happen and recounted their own opinion to me of what they saw).
God love the folks who stuck it out through thick and thin in the "lean years" and tried to drum up interest enough to revitalise the community, but I think by that point too much leakage had occurred and not enough new blood had arrived to replace it. I think that the heyday of our kind of 3d animation is over now; we burned bright, but the kind of interest it got back then has burned out now and I very much doubt it'll ever come back.
It doesn't mean I don't miss it, it doesn't mean I wish it were different, it doesn't mean I don't clap and salute the hardy souls who tried to keep it going through the lean times; I do. I just don't think that a handful of not-as-committed-as-they-used-to-be-able-to-be people can undo the slow decay of 5 or so years of slow decline.
Christ, that was a stream of consciousness and a half! Apologies to anyone who sat and read all that, but I felt I had to get my point of view out.
TL:DR - would love it to be as busy as it used to be round here, but it ain't gonna happen. Not enough to keep folk around, not enough to attract new blood, just a few dogged souls touching base with each other now and again and occasionally turning out a movie from time to time.