26. May 2008

Legal and Free Southpark Videos for Streaming

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.

» South Park Studios

Cool thing. I hope others will follow. :)

(via Cornelius und Golem.de)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: freeSouthparkstreamingvideo

24. May 2008

Experiences Shooting with a "Red One"

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:

» Red Digital Workflow in Progress on Indie Films

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. :)

(via Extreeeme.Org)


Another report, a little older as it seems:

» First Look: Red One

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: camerafilmRedvideo

Rain Effects with Plugins for After Effects and Automated Rotoscoping

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. :)

» Making a CG Rainstorm with After Effects Plug-ins and Automated Rotoscoping

(via EXTReeeMe.Org)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: effectspluginspostprocessingrainrotoscopingvideo

22. May 2008

Boxhead: Zombie Flash Game

Screenshot des Zombie-Spiels Boxhead

An now for something completely pointless: The zombie flash game Boxhead. :)

The basic principle is simple: You move a little avatar through various levels and slaughter everything. In the beginning, you only have a pistol to undo the undead. During the course of the game you gather more nifty zombie wasters. Shotgun, Uzi, grenade, gasoline barrels – everything you can use to make the zombie’s afterlife more troublesome.

The graphics are kept simple. You see the happenings in a 2d-style from above. The playing field is beautifully colored more and more read with the continuing demise of the zombies. After some time, several layers of blood and explosion craters overlay each other. :)

» Boxhead

To repeat myself: Completely pointless, but fun. ^_^

More fun with zombies

Zombie Simulator
Your Chances of Survival in a Zombie Attack
Movie Review: Fido (Zombie Comedy)
Elementary Zombie Survival Strategies

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: flashgamezombies

The Checkers Illusion

Optische Täuschung: Die Schachbrett-Illusion

Most of you probably already know the optical illusion pictured above. The fields marked A and B look different, but in reality the two colors are identical. At the end of the article is an proving picture for the unbelievers. :) Knowing this illusion, do you also know how it works?

» read on!

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: illusionperception

4. May 2008

Winning Photography Contests


For aspiring photographers, photography contests are an interesting way to get some exposure. Though winning them is „slightly” tricky. Usually it is not quite clear by which standards the images will be judged.

Haje, member of a photo contest jury, took some time to explain in a lengthy articles which factors guide him during the judgement. He structures his advice for winning photography contests into seven points. These points are no revolutionary news, but they are useful thoughts which can’t be wrong to be recalled:

  1. Stick to the topic
  2. Know the rules – then break them
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Tell a powerful story
  5. Technical perfection in pair with strong vision
  6. The X factor
  7. Develop your own style

» How to win photography competitions

By the Way

You should always take a good look at the contests in that you want to participate. Quite a lot contests have conditions of participation which are nothing more than pure exploitation.

For instance, never submit photos when the contest seizes all rights to them no matter whether you win or not.

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: competitionsphotographyphotos

1. May 2008

Waterboarding – A Self-Experiment in Torture

Waterboarding is a torture technique which the USA have repeatedly been accused of using. It is widely accepted as being real torture, though some people still seem to doubt that. One forum poster called Scylla decided to debate this a bit more thoroughly and tested waterboarding on himself.

The resulting report is both exciting and creepy.

» I waterboard!

Scyllas conclusion:

It’s torture. No question. Terrible terrible torture. To experience it and understand it and then do it to another human being is to leave the realm of sanity and humanity forever. No question in my mind.

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: torturewaterboarding

27. April 2008

Papercuts by Peter Callesen – Between 2D, 3D, Magic and Tragedy

“Paper Cuts” von Peter Callesen

Peter Callesen, an artist from Denmark, works preferredly with paper. Some of his artworks are silhouette-like forms in whole paper sheets, others are three-dimensional paper sculptures.

» read on!

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: artpaper

26. April 2008

Eccentric Aquarium “Silverfish” by Octopuss Studios

Silverfish Aquarium

Aquaria are usually known in the form of big cuboids. The Silverfish Aquarium belongs to the more exotic specimen.

» The Silverfish Aquarium

The large connected bowls look beautifully strange and futuristic. Commenters over at Boing Boing are worried, though, whether this aquarium could be a royal pain to clean. :) The manufacturer, Octopuss Studios, claims that it is no more difficult to clean than other aquaria.

A definite downside with the Silverfish Aquarium ist he price: 2300 Euro. :)

By the way, does anyone know why this aquarium is named like a rather unloved insectoid species?

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: aquariumfishwater

25. April 2008

Crayon and Nail Sculptures by Jennifer Maestre

“Imp” von Jennifer Maestre

Jennifer Maestre creates small sculptures with crayons, nails and other materials. According to her the spiky sculptures are inspired by sea urchins.

The spines of the urchin, so dangerous yet beautiful, serve as an explicit warning against contact. The alluring texture of the spines draws the touch in spite of the possible consequences.

I like how she transforms such ordinary things into artworks. Crayons or nails are probably not going to impress many people in everyday life. This seems to be one of their central approaches.

Quantities of industrially manufactured objects are used to create flexible forms reminiscent of the organic shapes of animals and nature.

“Persephone” von Jennifer Maestre

» Jennifer Maestre
» » Crayon sculptures
» » nail sculpture
» Interview with Jennifer Maestre

(via Wooster Collective
via electro^plankton
via Neatorama)

(This article is also available in German)

Keywords: artcrayonsnailssculptures

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