Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Ebeling Group

Mo Mograph. Check out "lobo/diesel/dreams" in their recent work section. Great 'sketch' cell shader effect.

H.264 looks guuud.

H.264 (Otherwise known as AVC), the new video codec in QuickTime 7 looks... really... good. The file sizes are smaller than regular mpeg4 or sorenson, and the picture looks so much better that there's really no contest. If you've got QuickTime 7 installed and you have a reasonably stacked G5, take a look at some trailers for really bad movies in HD.
Try resizing them. Yesterday I saw one of these trailers stretched across two 30 inch displays in extended desktop mode, no slowdown, no visible pixelization or artifacts... do you hear me? NONE.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Doggicam make freaky steadycam mounts. This stuff is way beyond the general price-range of Video Thing, but I just can't get enough of this example picture of one of their rigs. Look at that guy... he's crazy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

ROB-1, bluetooth robot camera

Rob-1 is a bluetooth controlled robot camera for Sony Ericsson phones. This could only be used for evil.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Movie Mincer

Video Thing reader Fumes writes:
heres some attachment a guy made for his laptop. its like a meat mincer that he modded and now it controls video in real time.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Processing 1.0 (BETA)

Processing is a programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an open-source alternative to commercial software tools in the same domain.

Found Via Tween, a super cool site that Nick pointed out to me.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Near IR filters for video

These are infrared pass filters that can be used with some older DV cams with a nightshot feature- essentially they block out most visible light and only allow IR to come in. Sony eventually modified their cameras so that this wouldn't work as well, due to concern that people were using it to (ohmygod) sort of see people's underwear if they were wearing thin clothes in direct sunlight. Beyond this stupid trick though, near IR photography produces interesting effects. Foliage appears white, and things take on a kind of alien affect. I happen to have a camera that this will work with, so I'm considering picking up one of these lenses. You can test the sensitivity of your CCD camera to IR by operating your IR remote controller in front of it. If you see flashing on the remote controller where IR transmitters in it are, your camera is somewhat sensitive to IR light.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Atari Video Music

Chuck Clark sends us his great page of information about an ancient Atari-branded Music visualizer- Atari Video Music.
Additional Link

Monday, April 18, 2005

Setpixel // Ghostly Mirror

Untitled Mirror is a Processing based program that reads incoming video from a camera and triggers particles from points of the video frame that have changed by a certain level. The result is an image that is fairly representative, yet disappears within moments.


Digital Cinema Summit Day Two: New High End Digital Cameras


John Coghill - Dalsa
Franz Kraus - Arriflex
Jeff Kreines - Kinetta
Nolan Murdock, Panavision
David Stump, ASC, Moderator

David - film & digital are collaborating rather than fighting

3 chip prism based vs. 1 chip new camera

35mm lenses on HD cameras, depth of field & image quality

4:4:4 color space

film style accessories

talk about workflow, all the way to filmout- the WHOLE workflow

What makes these cameras so special?

John/Dalsa - 4K

workflow is the new mantra, a lot of intricacies to workflow, for cinematographers, they are worried that creative intent flows all the way through the process; Below The Line has an article on "DPs want pay for DI duty" - 2 things mentioned - Daviau said he couldn't have made Van Helsing w/out DI, Bob Richardson/Tarantino fight over control over Kill Bill.

how to will cameras ensure intent is carried through?
-SMPTE .dpx - 4K 16 bit"format for the exchange of digital moving pictures ona variety of media between comptuer based system"

-flexible res indie, attributes in file header
-individual 16 bit files DPX inside folders, script supervisor info builit into that, each scene/shot/take recorded as a folder
-onset CDL (color decision list), look manamgement system can be embedded in file header
-render a full res "wedge" that can be embedded inthe CDL to be included inthe file header to make some basic decisions on set to go with the data
-when agreement is reached on a format it will be a siimple matter to implement within the .dpx header

"committees make progress one funeral at a time"


-compatibility with existing accessories, 35mm lenses, backfocus range, single chip, large format sensor
-optical viewing system with rotating mirror, SOA (safe operating area)
-simple user menus, not too many menu layers deep
-record via fiber up to2 2Km (cranes, remote spots w/limited space)
-records to drives
-bidirectional communication to send images to set

Image Quality:
-optical input - lots of exposure lattitude, spatial res, and "fill factor" are key (a catchall for how much of the surface area of the chip is capable of converting image into picture - minimal gutters?)
-they make their own sensors, their own chipsets
-conversion from analog to digital can't compromise images, highest bandwidth pipeline possible maintained - no video formatting
-record "digital negative" - no pre-baked decisions, you record 16 bit linear raw files, maximum room to mess with it
-good source to archiving

Workflow compatibility:
-capture to drives with digital neg quality
"DALSA Certified Post House" - (scary!)
-data centric approach enables compatibility with multiple formats and tools
-they have a 4K pipeline on their site for stuff to play with
-full screening room w/2K projector
-plan is to work w/post facilities to test facilities and certify the process, continuity of metadata etc.
-metadata - ensures elements don't get "lost" between multiple sights
-enables easy editing, conforms, synch sound etc.
-single source master philosophy
-dpx already supports film & TV formats - (film mfg & type, shutter angle, frame rate, etc. etc. etc.

role of camera manufacturer changing:
-must take a system perspective
-must enable more than just great images
-must be compatible with familiar tools
-must integrate into the whole workflow


shots holds sky/clouds detail and mountain shadow detail

interiors seeing outside

seeing 12 stops of exposure lattitude, a couple more on the top end, 14 stops total

shot some night stuff, they couldn't get spot meter readings, saw detail on footage


-camera is designed for nonfiction and indie filmmakers, self contained recordeer

480 GB storage

records to "paranoid RAID", 12 drives, 10 drives primary, 1 RAID 3 parity, 1 hot spare

magazine in camera attach by bidirectional fiber link, can separate by a coupla kilometers, a single 6mm cable (3mm fiber optic inside)

-record 12 channels of 12 bit 96Khz audio, 4 analog, 8 digital

many different ways to go, store data in raw format, raw single sensor output like a digital still camera, get a 3:1 savings in storage space, don't do demosaic at time of capture
-data all stored raw w/metadata
-working w/Iridas speedgrade for Kinettta
USB cable into ccamera, load in up to 3D nondestructive LUTs, dual link HD-SDI, DVI LUTs for lots of stuff, looks recorded as metadata,
-don't ever mess w/your digital neg
-how do you store it inexpensively
-looked at HDCAM SR and nixed it, $100/hr, $100K deck
-two different options to store - using LTO3 tapes, uncompressed 400GB tapes, $100 each, 7 tape autoloader for $6 or %7K
-clones a mag to roughly realtime for almost 2 hours of stuff
-magazines are about 1 hour for 480 GB
-they also make a box that'll let you dump to a set of 6 drives
-one new exciting feature - new dynamic range expansion feature - camera is designed to be sensor agnostic, using Altasens at the moment, can run for hours on one battery (low power draw)
OLED viewfinder can be up to 10 feet away
-4 user definable buttons on the viewfinder
-camera designed to handle any sensor up to 16 megapixels, you'd need more than one magazine to record 4K
-concurrent photon amplification for dynamic range expansion - it takes 6 photons to make "real" data - if you add a little bit of light to that, or use more aggressively to reduce contrast
-have an integrating chamber, have RGB LEDs to boost around the sensor, all done optically around the sensor
-852x600 for viewfinder
-workflow: with Iridas, can make LUTs stored in camera, can plug laptop in via USB into a magazine, feed to monitor, can create new LUTs for every shot on the drive - can do a post shoot color grade onto the file header, can have multiple LUTs, do it into your hotel room
-workflow for smaller crews
-beauty of what they're doing serves different sets of users, not in competition

Q: memory requirements for 100 minute of footage:

Nolan, Panavision guy:

don't limit yourself during acquisition is a lesson learned - don't limit to TV color space

"do no harm" during original acquisition

-they do ship more diffusion filters than lenses

-"the film camera that shoots tape" it was dubbed for the Genesis

Genesis uses all their standard cinema accessories
Millenium XL is about same size as their smallest/lightest camera, same weight about too
-super 35mm sized sensor
12 megapixel true RGB, no Bayer
1 to 50 fps
nominal exposure 400
dual link HD-SDI out
14 bit A/D
dockable VTR (no cables)
-10 bit log color
-custom gamma curve for extending overexposure lattitude
-wide color gamut for film intercut applications
-can load LUTs into the viewfinder to see what it would look like
-lens lateral color compensation
-can correct that lens on the fly and record an image without lateral chroma for pulling better mattes on green/bluescreen
-uses spherical lenses, will have anamorphic at CineGear
-they use a macrocell - a 6 pixel thing - RGB over RGB, 3x2 grid to make colors, these add up to make a pixel, like a Trinitron

-dual link HD-SDI 10 bit log, custom gamma curve
-raw image is flat and low contrast
-custom display boxes allow, can load LUTs made in PShop (nice!)
-can record all kinds of metadata
-provide to post facilities appropriate gray box and color cube for calibration
-load a LUT into a "preview box" to preview that way, without touching the raw source
Editorial opportunties:
on set downconvert to NTSC or PAL
-networked device with removable drive packs
-synced oaudio and time code
-listens for Genesis to go into record, it goe sinto record
-writes native Avid files
-collects scene and take info from other networked device, adds metadata
-remove disk packs, mount as Avid drives, cutting in minutes

Off speed tests done, showing in booth, check it out in Sony booth


D-20 workflow technology
showed footage - looks like video, candle flames a bit sharp - the color is rich, and has very good color detail - come see their booth for more footage

goals of test:

-test in realworld environment, got some good screening material, proof of operational practice & workflow, got good feedback

D-20 modular design:
PL mount, optical viewfinder, mirror shutter,
-silent mirrored shutter
-camera control electronics down where they are expected
-wanted look & feel of operating traditional film camera
-CMOS image sensor, custom developed
-35mm format CMOS, ARRI custom development
-sensor can do 150fps, NOT accomodated in camera
bayer mask
400 ISO equivalent
at least 10 f stops
on lattitude - most folks don't use film as rated, they are curious to see real world usage
-has three output boards - (they use metadata for digital and film related), so much intent gets lost with distributed production, wanted to fit into existing workflows. Have 3 different cards and electronic processes for different lookup tables, camera runs up to 60 fps, need dual link for that, log data stream for post, separate HD-SDI for monitoring, and an SD output for

HD and raw modes

alias free 1920-0x1080 @ 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 HD
LUT options including log/lin
variable speed - 1 to 60 fps (how to record/flag/extract?)
by using 3Kx2K that allows for an alias free HD

shoot, conform/grading feeds all others
if film out, need a color management system to filmout

DI log workflow, need LUTs for video and projector outputs

4K digital cinema - they can't do it yet on their current imager (implies others can't as well)

If you pull a 2K out of the 4K

shows some image extraction if you pull subsections - zooming in

film offers res>2K, exposure lattitude>12 stops, archival advantages, high frame rates w/resolution, high quality, efficient film/DI stuff, worldwide workflow known

D-20: immediacy, no grain, no scratches/dirt/dust, no weave, cost of high shooting ratio

digital will complement, not replace film
DI provides a common platfor for material acquired on film & digitally


cost of media to store 100 minutes of footage:

400GB for 100 minutes for Kreines
TB/HR for Dalsa
D-20 size - HD as done now, so run the math there...
Nolan - same for his as well

Kreines said - Digital Cinema is a long way off for now...filmouts are going to be relevant for quite some time, against using dupe stocks for digitally originated stuff, use 5205 for affordable film stocks, make multiple original negatives rather than dupes, can take raw files, got into Iridas, work on timeline, go to film recorder

D-20 panel ready to run again:

AHH! some nice depth of field digital wouldn't do, good shadow detail video would never get, closeups of candles - OK, couldn't do vidoe for that well, outdoor stuff - Hmm...hI'm not loving it for some reason - maybe projection issues?

TAKEAWAY - image quality is pretty good, but film continues to sound better and better...costs of overall stuff! Kreines made no comment on image quality or cost or availability (later said looks like fall or 6 months from now). Somebody who's worked extensively with the Viper said that they were very underwhelmed with the Genesis after all the hype about it.


Walter Murch on Soundtrack Pro

Walter Murch on the new version of Soundtrack.

More Automated Analysis

My last post has me thinking about more upcoming or perhaps already released automated processes.

For example, automated z-depth analysis (the computer analyses motion parallax and so forth to ascertain which objects are in front of each other (and how far away they are) and then gives each object a greyscale color relative to that depth. For example if I am waving my hand in front of the camera, my hand would be white (close) and the house behind me would be grey (farther) and the verdant hills in the background would be black (farther still). These guys claim they will do something called automated z-depth exraction with their PFTrack 3 detailed in this press release, but don't really say what automated means.

Which brings me to my main question - we have some software that can perform pretty fancy edge detection analysis (Twixtor is pretty good at this, for example), but how come programs can't indentify basic moving shapes as basic moving shapes and perform a sort of foreground/background analysis? It seems like it would be so easy - let's isolate the moving orange thing from the grey drab things, but (with the possible exception of some of the techniques from my last post) I can't think of anybody who's doing this.

So, everybody, have any of you seen research on this kind of stuff? Even ANY kind of automated motion or subject analysis? There are lots of specialized medical research gizmos that isolate and track eye movement and I recall a government program designed to analyse people's gait (and until you have to walk in front of a greenscreen to get on a plane, I assume they are able to ascertain foreground/background), but I would love to see a sifter that could analyse a media library and, say, pull up all instances of a white Buick.

This is vaguely project related, so any help/thought is appreciated.

No More MoCo. Yay, yay, yay.

Here's a peek into the future that's particularly exciting:

Video Matching

This reminds me a little of the product 2D3's purportedly been working on for a while (these demo movs have been on their site for at least two years but if they can get around to delivering any kind of automated functionality similar to what is suggested by these demos then they can take their time). The bus demo is my favorite - if you keep your eyes peeled you'll notice the blobby figures on the far right who in their way really verify to me that the software is doing exactly what it claims to be doing.

Pixel Dust

The prospect of combining camera matching and the kind of analysis behind Pixel Dust means that motion control style shots can finally move away from two ton noisy slow moving thousands of dollars in cash and prizes to rent for eight hourslandia which has huge implications for the way fx shots are used and created for the rest of us. Or so sez I.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

More mograph telent- Panoptic


Live Apple Show coverage: From macosXrumors

Live Apple Show coverage: From macosXrumors

FCP5: realtime and on the fly HD editing, support for HD & IMX 50 formats, Dynamimc RT Extreme (need to know more!), P2 support, 24 channel audio, multi-cam support

Panasonic's AF-HVX200 I've been writing about - later this year, $6K (whoo hoo!)

Soundtrack Pro announced, DVD Studio Pro 4 - can make HD-DVDs, grid computing style support for compression tasks (distributed encoding across network - NICE!)

Shake 4 mentioned

Final Cut Studio $1299, $699 upgrade (order now...)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Censtron Wave Vessel

Sabastian from the circuit bending group Censtron writes:
Hey i just wanted to say i like your new blog a lot! totally excited about it....I know this has already been on music thing and stuff but i figured i'd link you to our wave vessel in case you need some content :) heres the "how to" article on turning a tv into an oscilloscope.

Amazing collection of Pre-VHS video hardware

LabGuy's World: The History of Video Tape Recorders before Betamax and VHS

Lots of pictures of and info on a huge collection of extinct video hardware! Reel to reel VTRs, tube cameras, obscure formats such as "Cartrivision" and more. Includes video clips from some of the devices, plus lots of scans of manuals and other documentation, links and historical info. Terrifyingly in depth site!

Panoramic Video Field Test

Taking bizzare motion affect (or is it effect?) to the streets, as it were.

Friday, April 15, 2005


More mograph goodness:

Obsolete video formats

This post is just an excuse to post a picture of a Burt Reynolds' SelectaVision CED Video disc. These sad, hulking, extinct things were like titanium-coated phonograph records, but for video. And the best part is that they look like enormous (bigger than laserdiscs enormous) floppy discs.
There's a couple of incomplete lists of dead video formats here and here.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Um, nothing technical here...just an admiration of these guys' work:


I've amazed at how many of these companies thrive in advertising these days.

Drachenfeder - Drake digital HD film camera

Drachenfeder - Drake digital HD film camera

Somebody sent in a link to this...a $20K 720p camera that captures 10 bit log if I'm reading this correctly.

I think cameras of this nature will be relevant to indie filmmakers...whether this one in particular is or not, I don't know, need to learn more. All the samples look dim.


Free AE plugz page of the day

Pete Warden's Free Video Effects.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I envision a day where you can have a keychain fob that will project "Real Genius" in HD across the side of a building whenever you point and squeeze it.
The basic idea of TinyProjector is to create the smallest possible character projector that can be either integrated into mobile device, or linked dynamically with wireless RF connections like serial low range transceivers.


hideous 50 dollar children's video camera

When video stuff gets this cheap, even if it's horrible VHS stuff, that's when it gets bendable.
Real-working video camera has a microphone and cassette player, so kids can sing along with their favorite tunes while the video camera rolls! Plus, the camera connects right to your VCR, so you can record and play back every performance! 10 1/2'; with headphones. 8 AA batteries not included. (4-13 years)


1 Beyond introduces PRO HD flex

1 Beyond introduces PRO HD flex

OK, this is really interesting, and similar to what RaveHD is up to.

These are why I've pretty much abandoned my own direct to disk uncompressed product - stuff like this seems to be pretty well filling the market needs.

configurable solutions for HD stuff. Full uncompressed RT SD/HD system w/1TB of removable disks fro $15K.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Software SDK for Canon XL2: This could be fun...

Macworld: News: SDK for Canon XL2 camcorder coming in July

This could be interesting geeky fun - a Mac SDK (software developer kit) to let you control the XL2's functions from a Mac app. Should be some interesting capabilities to be extracted from this - timelapse, funky exposure settings, multi-frame blending, etc.

Sinedots: free, fun, useless AE plugin

Sinedots is an interesting looking sine visualizer plugin for After effects.
Here's a clip of it undulating.

Circuit Bent PXL-2000

I've seen lots of circuit bent musical instruments, but this is the first piece of video gear I've seen get bent. Waterhed modifies old Fisher Price PXL-2000 cameras in order to give them RCA outputs and some built in "effects".
With this modified camera you have your choice of recording onto the onboard cassette as normal or sending the signal into an external recording source for pro playback via the rca output jacks ive added. Also, inludes a signal amp that will allow you to shoot to any DIGITAL CAMCORDER OR VHS DECK without the frustrating blue screen or very dark image that that usually accompany todays modern camcorders. You simply connect this box between your PXL2000 and DV cam, it runs on a 9v battery and comes with on/off switch and LED indicator... In case you aren't hip to the whole PXL2000 trip, it is a "KIDS TOY CAMERA" made in the 80's that shoots a pixelated black and white image to a audio cassette or to external vhs decks. WATERHED tweaks, restores, and improves them to BEYOND their STOCK BEST.... but if you get the CIRCUIT BENT VERSION it opens up even more realms of morphing fun.


Welcome to Video Thing

Yes, it's a direct ripoff of the wonderful Music Thing Blog, but about video. So if you read Music Thing, you already know sort of what we're looking for. Software, plugins, weird or interesting hardware, techniques, and we're going to go one further to include especially impressive motion graphics work-in-progress and reels.

I'll start off with a link I already posted on my other blog and then get back to work before someone catches me blogging.

Vintage analog video generators:
Video Synthesizers usually refer to analog devices from the early '70s driven by oscillators, similar to analog audio synthesizers. They create and modify video in realtime.