There is one project that I was working on, but never found the time to tell you about: beyond vision. It is the largest project that I have done so far and it required so much time that I didn’t have any time left to write about it. :) But in December it was finally completed, so now there is time to tell:
18 musicians, 7 huge screens. beyond vision is the fusion of music and film – not just music with visual support and not just film with film music. Together both media tell an abstract story like it would not be possible for each medium alone.
I already set up a small page full with information about this project, so I will not copy it here. If you are interested, just take a look at the following link:
I am sorry that I did not have the time to mention this project earlier. I guessed that most of you are probably not from Germany so the tour dates would probably not have been very interesting for you. :) And now, at least I have some more material to show you (don’t miss the photos).
I hope I will be able to show you some more background information soon. A documentary is already in the making, so hopefully I can show you some video footage from the performances somewhen…
A matte painting commonly refers to a painted or drawn piece of scenery used in movies or animations. They belong more or less to the standard repertoire of special effects.
James McWilliams created an interesting short video which shows the progress of such a painting. In several steps he first paints the scenery of an “ancient bathhouse” (read: mysterious ruins including a water fall). Then the painting is projected onto simple 3d geometries and a short tracking shot through the scenery is animated.
The video is a nice insight into how such effects are created. The download size is kinda hefty, though: 65MB.
Most of you probably already heard of this, but for those who didn’t: Southpark is now available as fully legal streaming videos.
The archive on the Southpark website contains all existing episodes, except the most recently broadcasted. Each episode is interrupted by three short commercials.
The commercials aren’t that annoying and not comparable in length to commercial blocks used on TV. (Although I can’t see the ad for the Imagination Land DVD anymore, having seen it in most episodes of the 11 seasons that I have seen so far *g*)
According to the press release, Southpark’s creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were sick of having to download their own show illegally all the time, so they built a legal alternative.
Even brand new episodes can be seen online. When it is broadcasted, it can be watched online for seven days. Then it disappears for 30 days and then returns for good.
The streaming videos are available to users from almost the whole world (unlike similar projects which are often only available in the USA). Only Great Britain, Australia and "some foreign territories" are excluded due to licensing issues.
A new camera is causing quite a stir in the market for digital cinema cameras. The Red One is a digital video camera with a 4k resolution (~12 megapixels) and a 35mm sensor. These specs are good enough for use in cinematography. It gets much attention because it is impudently cheap for a movie camera. You can get a Red One for about 20’000 Euros – a fraction of the cost of other cameras in this class.
The Red One is quite new, so it is yet hard to say how well it’ll work in practice. The creators of the indie movie 3 Days Gone wrote an interesting report of first experiences with the camera and it’s digital workflow:
Director, DOP and cutter report some trouble, but are overall enthralled by the Red One. Supposedly, many problems which they faced have now been solved through updated revisions of the Red One and its software.
Well, for now I can only dream of using such a camera on my video projects, but it is still interesting to read about it. :)
Rain in movies is always a tricky thing. Natural rain is so subtle that it is hardly noticable in the picture. It is also usually not available on command and one has to worry about drowning the expensive equipment. Therefore, natural rain is usually substituted by large raining devices which create especially large streams of rain. Another alternative is computer generated rain.
The article “Making a CG Rainstorm with After Effects Plug-ins and Automated Rotoscoping” discusses the latter option. Based on a commercial for BMW, it shows how a scene shot in sunlight is transformed into a fierce rainstorm.
Several techniques are employed. Rain and falling stones are generated by the plugin Particular. One can use it to render 3D particle simulations directly in After Effects. To postprocess the filmed BMW the team used a rotoscoping software called Motor. Seemingly, it can automate the rotoscoping process quite a lot.
For illustration the article includes two videos comparing original shot and postprocessed result. Have fun. :)
In times of global terrorism you can easily overlook the real danger in the world which threatens us all: Zombies.
The urgently needed information to this topic can be supplied by the important propaganda documentary “What To Do In A Zombie Attack (2006)”. It gives important instructions how a responsible citizen should behave in case of a zombie attack (and also makes an effort to demonstrate why it’s all the fault of the communists).
The movie is published under a Creative Commons licence. It is available in several download and streaming formats and can also be embedded (as above).
Less multimedial, but at least equally informative is the article „How to Survive a Zombie Attack“. It suggests simple precautionary measures, shows which potential hideouts offer are strategically best, what you should do first and how you can manage survival in the long term.
There once was a time when I would stay up deep into the night just to watch “Space Night”, a show featuring endless video footage of the earth recorded by astronauts during their flights.
While this alone – despite being interesting – wouldn’t be enough to keep me up for so long regularly, there was something else which did the trick. Sometimes – I didn’t know exactly when – there were short documentarys in the program. The topics differed. Once, it was about the russian cosmonaut training center, another time about the “tunnel effect”. Each and every episode was very interesting.
Later, when I wasn’t watching regularly anymore, they added a new show, called “Alpha Centauri“. Basically, it was just a professor holding a lecture for the camera. These lectures were great though. He managed to explain the most complex astrophysical topics so easily that everybody could follow him.
Now, years later, I discovered the Alpha Centauri web-archive of all episodes. It just made *swoosh* and I became addicted again. So for everyone who understand German (sorry, no translation available), take a look at it. You won’t regret it.
Last semester, Erik and myself created an interactive music video installation called “Dave“. It was the – so far – most intense project I have done. Well, it was worth it. :) We created the first installation of this kind that I know of.
The recipient, surrounded by displays, can alter the course of the video by interacting with three pillars. Interaction does not only change the video, but also the music. Nonetheless, the music preserves its character, because all possible variations are preproduced.
We created a little webpage with details about dave. There are pictures and videos which hopefully give an impression about the installation:
Stuttgart in Ton is an audiovisual portrait of Stuttgart’s acoustics. Following the course of a day, the documentary shows the four themes traffic, work, recreation and night. Visual and auditive impressions get interwoven to become the rhythm of the city.
It does not contain any text, just sound. In contrast to most of my other productions, there is no language barrier and you can enjoy it without knowing German. :)