Category: Video

My favorite Holiday light show

Featured twice on ABC’s Good Morning America – song is “Christmas Can Can” by Straight No Chaser. This is my first year decorating and this is my first sequence ever. I built almost everything from scratch using wood and acrylic. I am a music/teacher director for a living (COVA Conservatory in Oakland and Centerville Presbyterian Church in Fremont), hence the massive instruments! The guitar is 17′, the piano is 19′ — Tom BetGeorge

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Earth in 4K — pretty snazzy even in 1080p

A timelapse of Earth in 4K resolution, as imaged by the geostationary Elektro-L weather satellite, from May 15th to May 19th, 2011. Elektro-L is located ~40,000 km above the Indian ocean, and it orbits at a speed that causes it to remain over the same spot as the Earth rotates. The satellite creates a 121 megapixel image (11136×11136 pixels) every 30 minutes with visible and infrared light wavelengths. The images were edited to adjust levels and change the infrared channel from orange to green to show vegetation more naturally. The images were resized by 50%, misalignments between frames were manually corrected, and image artifacts that occurred when the camera was facing towards the sun were partially corrected. The images were interpolated by a factor of 20 to create a smooth animation. The animation was rendered in the Youtube 4K UHD resolution of 3840×2160. An original animation file with a resolution of (5568×5568) is available on request.

To answer frequently asked questions; why are city lights, the Sun, and other stars not visible? City lights are not visible because they are thousands of times less bright than the reflection of sunlight off the Earth. If the camera was sensitive enough to detect city lights, the Earth would be overexposed. The Sun is not visible due to mechanisms used to protect the camera CCD from direct exposure to sunlight. A circular mask on the CCD ensures that only the Earth is visible. This mask can be seen as pixelation on Earth’s horizon. The mask also excludes stars from view, although they would not be bright enough to be visible to this camera.

Thanks, Mike

Grandmas smoking pot for the first time

Smoking dope for the first time? Mid-1950’s with a fellow poet in the ghetto where his cousin lived. Of course, the weed was mellower, less powerful than even homegrown, nowadays – decades later. First offense, back then, caught with a joint was seven years hard time.

Daniel and I would bake some cornbread and play chess till dawn. I haven’t the slightest recollection who won – or how.

Only a few years later, I quit smoking anything; so, the odd toke at a party seemed stronger every year. And sometimes it would be a dozen years in between.

The last time was still in the 20th Century. At the wet opening of a one-man show here in New Mexico. The artist wanted to sell one of his paintings to a bud of mine who’d invited me to the opening. He trotted out his best local homegrown weed and we each had a couple of tokes. At least that was all I had. It knocked me for a loop and I had to leave before I ended up paralyzed on a couch.

I think it took me three weeks to drive home. :)

Ghost Peleton

 
In the public art performance Ghost Peloton, dancers and cyclists don LED lightsuits and hurtle through the dark in a jaw-dropping choreographed spectacle. The performance couples a night ride by LED-lit cyclists following the 2014 Tour de France route through Yorkshire, England, with illuminated dancing by performers from Phoenix Dance Theatre. The custom lightsuits worn by the participants can be controlled remotely, resulting in stunning synchronized patterns.

Ghost Peloton took place at the 2014 Yorkshire Festival, last summer, and was documented in beautiful night photography and a remarkable film. The performance is a collaboration of public art organization NVA and Phoenix Dance Theatre, in partnership with the transportation charity Sustrans.

Beautiful and creative — and great videography.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

OK Go — an Amazeballs music video

When Honda unveiled the slimmed-down βeta version of its Uni-Cub last year, it might have thought the minimalist electric vehicle would find its most enthusiastic audience inside office buildings, where it would simultaneously lighten the load of worker drones and perhaps inject a bit of rolling robotic tech-type fun into an otherwise drab and dreary day. It was wrong. Clearly, this personal mobility machine was destined for greater things.

For instance, it could be used for electric unicycle square dancing (Okay, technically the Uni-Cub β employs one wheel and a caster-type ball, thereby disqualifying it from unicycle status, but whatever.) Or even better, it could be a platform upon which the power pop group OK Go and a few hundred Japanese school girls could perform awesome maneuvers, including the aforementioned electric unicycle square dancing, in their latest totally amazeballs video. Honda reportedly paid for the new video, which was shot at half-speed and when you watch it, you’ll know why.

As is the band’s wont, it’s all done in one take, and is sure to drop your jaw. Ok, go!

Let’s get a geek thing or two out of the way. This was shot in one take which means it was shot with a drone. That’s way cool – there obviously is sufficient stability, control and capability to produce what you see before you. Every choreographer and cinematographer must be playing with drones, by now.

Next – Honda gets better every minute of the day at building-in stability to inherently unstable mechanisms. Especially robot attendants for not-very-mobile senior citizens. All the other uses for one-person mobility over moderate distances are counter-productive to human health – in my mind.

Yes, I’ve worked in facilities that used electric vehicles when speed was an important component of getting from one part of a sprawling facility to another. Working in a major teaching hospital with buildings connected by tunnels for unimpeded traffic, techs who needed a load of equipment for their work utilized electric tricycle go-carts to get from engineering central to the job. And when a code was broadcast on the hospital public intercom for “smell of smoke” – everyone in engineering stopped whatever they were doing and walked briskly or hopped onto the nearest electric cart and went immediately to the designated point of danger.

We were the first line of defense against a hospital fire. Carts would arrive with two or three or four techs, anyone trained to stop a fire, hanging onto the top of the carts.

Otherwise – especially in comparable industrial facilities – if you had a half-mile or more between jobs/meetings you took a single-speed bike and got a little exercise along the way. Or you walked. Both better for your health than arabesques with Japanese schoolgirls.

Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t freaking get up!

Help, I've fallen...
Click to activate loop

This is an animation test. Yes, none of these people exist in real life (not even Waldo), so no one was harmed in the test.

Creator Dave Fothergill vfx says, Crowd dynamics test using Miarmy for Maya, shows the new servo force feature which allows struggling animation once the agent has become dynamic.

Which means nothing to me, but digital animators will recognize the terms. If you are interested in the technical aspects, there’s more in the comments at vimeo. To most of us, it’s just a hilariously goofy sequence that you shouldn’t feel bad about laughing at.

MAYA is the one piece of software that could ever tempt me into trying animation.

Thanks, Ursarodinia