Category Archives: video

Hear No Evil

"Hear No Evil" storyboard, p. 1

I’m working with Dimitri(o)s, Diego, and Jason on the video project du jour, and this week we had to draw storyboards for our piece. The guys wrote a script on Thursday, while I had a prior engagement. Today we split the script up into four chunks, and each of us drew the panels for one section. My first four panels are above. The whole storyboard is in this PDF that Diego made. As a bonus, doing this assignment also got me off the hook for missing a few days of DrawMo!

The gist of the story is that this guy (ML, aka Male Lead) discovers that his headphones allow him to hear other people’s thoughts—but only negative ones.

Next week, we’re somehow going to try to shoot this thing, in the subway. Fortunately, it looks like videotaping in the subway, even with a tripod, is not illegal, as long as you don’t block access or passage. Basically, as long as we don’t act like those film crew assholes who’re always redirecting me around my own fucking office building, we should be fine. Cops often have interesting misconceptions about the laws they’re supposedly enforcing, though, so I’ll try to remember to print out a copy of the rules before we go.

P.S. We used a cleaner version of the storyboard form, which I made because the one Spencer supplied filled me with sorrow.

MC Squared

MC Squared documentation thumbnails

Get it now! Detailed, full-color documentation of the famed MC Squared midterm project!

MC_Squared(fin).pdf (14.68 MB; sorry, it contains a couple of embedded videos)

We gave our presentation today, the thing mostly worked, and it wasn’t too embarrassing. And, unlike some people in the class, my group actually got two or three hours of precious, golden sleep the night—well, morning—before. (We closed down the floor at about 3:30 a.m., but a few of our classmates relocated to the library or some such place to keep working. Everybody seemed pretty crispy by 9:30 this morning.)

Rice Dance

So, . . .

I didn’t have a partner because apparently everybody else was already working with someone. This meant I could work on the video at home. BUT I don’t have a tripod or copy stand at home, I couldn’t find the data cable for either of my cameras, and I didn’t feel like blowing $50 on an iStopMotion license. So I shot each frame by hand, aligned them in Photoshop, tweened more frames in between some of them, and strung them together in both the demo of iStopMotion (which leaves a watermark—hence the slight letterboxing) and iMovie HD. The last chunk of frames are not aligned—it’s amazingly laborious to do so—which is why they wobble all over the place.

In a word, it sucks.

But, hey! I learned so much.

Midterm project, week 1: Observation

First, Diego, Filippo, and I met to talk about what we thought our project was going to be, how we would actually implement the idea, and what materials and research we’d need to do to get there.

Diego checking out the vintage iPod box I brought in as a visual aid for the shape of our thing:

I’m not sure what else we might have observed that would be truly relevant in the development of a gadget that doesn’t serve any real purpose, but we observed whatever we could think of.

What I think is significant about the cat thing is that it’s proof that, really, anyone can play a theremin. You don’t have to be human, you don’t need opposable thumbs, you don’t have to know anything about electricity or traditional musical instrument interfaces (though there is evidence that animals know more about electromagnetic fields that humans do, in some ways).

Filippo showing the Jon Spencer video:

The Jon Spencer video shows us a similar thing, but also introduces theatricality to the mix. Anyone, even a nonhuman, can play a theremin or thereminic instrument, but if you are a human and you have a sense of whimsy, you can play that instrument in a much greater variety of ways. Spencer shows that you can play a theremin with any part of your body. Probably the only other instrument that can boast such versatility is the drum, but even that is mostly theoretical. Yes, sure, you can strike a drum with your nose, but it’s going to hurt, so most people probably don’t do it. Playing a theremin with your nose is harmless, however. There is no penalty for eccentricity, except that if you flail around too much, you might stray out of the sensors’ range.

The loopqoob is also versatile—you don’t have to have fingers, necessarily, but they certainly help. Ditto for eyes—the markings on the loopqoob help you tell the sides apart, but do they really hint at what revealing each side does? No. Those patterns on the side probably respresent something, but the metaphors are not obvious.

And then, we observed actual, live humans using the IR-sensing thingummy on Diego’s Groovebox. Here’s Diego setting it up:

and here are various people trying to make sense of it.

Mostly, we learned that people like playing with IR sensors. But I think it’d be more interesting to be able to play one of these things with someone else—to introduce some more variety to the mix.


Two birds, one stone:

Sorry about the wobbles.

This is my video journal of the Servo lab for PhysComp, filmed for CommLab on a Sanyo Xacti 6MP digital movie camera.

I tried to edit this within the Xacti, but I ended up joining the clips together in the wrong order. It was way too much work to separate them again—it’s just a lousy way to edit—so then I dumped the mess into iMovie HD (an older version, recommended by Bre Pettis in his very fine Getting Started in Video series), recut and rearranged it, and added title frames from Photoshop (too bad they look like crap after compression) and CC-licensed music by the excellent Kristin Hersh. This was my first time using iMovie; I found it reasonably intuitive.

So, basically, it’s just the worst video for a Kristin Hersh song ever. Rock on.