Tuesday, June 28, 2005

DIY 35mm adapters for shooting DV with cinematic depth of field

I've been meaning to write something about this for a while, but fortunately just found a site with a better explanation than I could probably manage, and also instructions to build the thing: DOF Machine

Basically the principle is that you use a 35mm lens to project an image onto a ground glass, and then shoot that image on DV. This way you get the cinematic shallow depth of focus that DV cannot usually achieve due to the small size of the CCD.

There are many people online who've built devices to do this, varying from professional-looking machined boxes, to gaffer-taped Heath Robinson contraptions involving CD-R cakeboxes and spinning clear CDs, to amazing conglomerations of filter rings and adapters:

Here's a page with info on the above contraption and some stills of the impressive results: http://www.enormousapparatus.com/35adapter.htm

There are also commercially avaliable adapters such as the Micro35

The hub of discussion about such DIY adaptors is the dvinfo.net Alternative Imaging Methods forum (which also contains lots of other stuff possibly of interest to us video experimentalists such as home made HD cameras!)

There are various complications and drawbacks of course, but it seems pretty straightforward to build one of these adaptors. Definitely something I'll have to experiment with some time.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Video Keytar

This is so uber-dorky and utterly video thing I can't believe I missed it before:
Introducing the RGB guitar solo. Viditar is Livid's pioneering custom made video instrument for real-time video expression and performance. Viditar's integrated hardware and software takes video performance away from the computer and onto the stage. Generate high quality real-time video performances by combining video triggering, scratching, source mixing, and live camera manipulation, to give you total control over hundreds of effects and thousands of media files.

Evidently they custom build these things, so you probably have to pay big bucks for the privelage of getting made fun of for wearing one. Livid does make a tabletop video controller called the tactic that gets big points for being partially made of wood.

Thanks to Skye for initially sending me a link to the Tactic


Each face of this cubic movie player is a high-resolution and rimless display allowing you to watch digital movie contents in any place where there's Wi-Fi.

Found via We make money not art

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Full res, feature-length film playing off iPod Shuffle

I... I mean a friend of mine, ripped a feature length DVD to the H.264 format, and then transferred the resulting (800mb) file to an iPod shuffle. This is a picture of the movie playing, full speed, full resolution (and I mean full resolution. It looks good) off the iPod Shuffle. This movie is playing over USB.

I did the encoding using Hand Brake for OS X. The only kink in the whole thing is that a good 2-pass encoding from DVD to H.264 took almost 9 hours on a G5. But this really reminds me of the first time I made mp3's out of one of my audio CD's (back in the dark ages) so I could listen to it on my computer without the disc... It's the beginning of something big.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

paul_slocum's Atari 2600 color sequencer

Paul Slocum has posted some info on his blog about his recent art installation- Televisions hooked up to Atari 2600's running custom carts, reflecting color combinations off a gallery wall:
The setup is 3 TVs facing the wall attached to 3 Atari 2600 consoles, and the Ataris are programmed to play a repeating sequence of color that lasts about 4 minutes.

Each color is actually made up of two colors that are mixed by displaying one color at the top half of the screen and the other one at the bottom, and the two are swapped at 30Hz. It gives the sense that the colors are flowing. And the refresh frequency for each TV is gently modulated out of sync with the others, which gives the light even more motion.

This piece will be installed at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas, June 25th - July 30th.

Photron - 3000fps @ 1024x1024 -yeehaw!

Photron - High-Speed Cameras and Primatte shoots 3000fps at 1024x1024, or 10,000fps at 512x512 pixels. Or check out the gallery of super high speed footage.

High-Speed video cameras

Sam writes:
somewhat related to your recent foray into slow mo stuff - engadget had an
interesting article today:
on this high speed video camera:
Thought you might be interested if you hadn't seen it already.
Really slow site right now though...

Photron - High-Speed Cameras and Primatte

Digital Media Thoughts - Digital Media News & Views

How to get PVR content onto your Sony PSP - it's specific to the Beyond TV PVR software, but interesting nonetheless. Step by step instructions. PSP's are quickly becoming the portable media player of choice.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Volumetric Video, Averaged Video

Two Video Things previously linked from my other blog:

[Volumetric Video] The basic idea is simple: Video is composed of a large number of individual frames, each with X and Y dimensions. Just stack each frame on top of the next and you've got a Z dimension to place into a volume renderer.

Jason Salavon has made a number of art pieces with averaged images, kind of in the spirit of Brian Whitman's computer-averaged holiday record A Singular Christmas. In The Late Night Triad, 64 nights worth of late night talk shows were aligned and averaged until they revealed 'ghosts of repititious structure'.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

MacWorld (finally) reviews Final Cut Express HD

Macworld: Review: Final Cut Express HD

Final Cut Express HD is a solid entrant into the world of semi-professional editing at a reasonable price. If you’re not rushing out to buy an HDV camcorder, the most compelling new features are the Digital Cinema Desktop and the additions of LiveType 1.2.1 and Soundtrack 1.2.1 (which, admittedly, are pretty cool). But given Apple’s emphasis on HD, and the fact that each version of Final Cut Express is basically a stripped down version of the previous year’s Final Cut Pro, this party is definitely going to be hopping in the future.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DIY Optics projects

Yair writes:

nice selection of diy optics from a surplus optics store-
found via http://www.htservices.com/Tools/MachineVision/index.htm

Monday, June 13, 2005

When too many geek threads cross - Star Wars Lego Video Game - 3D rendered Legos

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game - this one is just getting too weird - It's Star Wars. Portrayed in Legos. In 3D. On Mac OS X. Altogether now: Star Wars/Lego/Mac geeks, unite!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Slit Scan

Michelle from Chaise Magazine writes:

...you might be interested in Golan Levin's slitscan video project repository. some very very cool experiments with "video cubism'" type work - http://www.flong.com/writings/lists/list_slit_scan.html (he also has lists of eyetracking and image averaging artwork at http://www.flong.com/writings/lists/)

"Slit-Scan imaging techniques are used to create static images of time-based phenomena. In traditional film photograhy, slit-scan images are created by exposing film as it slides past a slit-shaped aperture. In the digital realm, thin slices are extracted from a sequence of video frames, and concatenated into a new image."

New Scientist - Card trick holds promise for movie effects

A bunch of people sent in links to the Dual Photography site, but it seemed a little too tech-y to post yet. Today NewScientist has a shorter summary of what it is and what it means for the effects industry. The basic idea is that they hit an object with light from a projector and take a digital photo from a different angle, and then are able to extrapolate an image of the view from the projector just from the reflected light. It's a neat trick, but the New Scientist article adds,
Eventually, dual photography could be used to alter lighting after a movie scene has been filmed or to add photorealistic virtual objects and characters that cast realistic shadows in post-production.

Video Editing Suite at NYC Hotel

New York's Tribeca Grand hotel offers the Director's Cut package, a room that comes equipped with a suite (heh.) of video production tools, including use of a 20-inch iMac G5, SONY HandyCam, iSight, and VIP access to the Apple Store in Soho.
I doubt the hotel will be going to the trouble of wiping the drive after each guest. So, whoever rents the room six months from now will undoubtedly find some interesting videos left in iMovie's cache folder.
Also, does anybody have a clue what VIP access to the Apple Store is? [via Gizmodo]

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

USATODAY.com - $29.95 disposable video cameras

The first one-time-use video camera goes on sale this week at CVS drugstores in the Northeast. The $30 camera saves images to internal memory, and is returned to a CVS chain for processing and DVD burning at an extra cost.

Found Via PSFK

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Bohus Blahut (BOH-hoosh BLAH-hoot), the director of one of Tree Wave's videos, writes:
I've tried posting on the blog under the name "Gulag Picture Radio" BTW, and while I'm all registered and everything I don't see any of my posts anywhere. Just thought I'd mention that.

Anybody else having trouble posting comments? I'll check on it... -W

A few items that I've used in front of the camera are as follows:

Anamorphic lens taken from a WWII gun camera (?). It weighs around 20 pounds and has a mount unlike anything I've ever seen - it's about 6-8" across. Needless to say I never actually mounted it to the camera, instead holding it. I also seem to remember devising some sort of mount on a mic stand. I've used it with several video cameras (Canon L-1 and XL-1 come to mind) and with a Bolex 16mm camera.

Fresnel magnifying sheet originally manufactured as a cheap magnifying glass for older folks. Because it is thin plastic and flexible, you can get a lot of cool distortions that way. I've also seen similar flexi sheets with a bunch of little miniature fresnel patterns on them. They are sometimes used as privacy screens that you paste to your bathroom windows to let light in, but not let anyone see in.

Thin (but stiff) mylar squares - often used as mirrors in kids toys or books. Mount this in front of your camera at a 45 degree angle, then shoot your subject with the camera pointed sideways in relation to them. Flex the mirror for weird effects, remembering to flip the picture orientation in your editing software. The BBC used to use this effect for Doctor Who for when the Ice Warriors shot anyone. They used something called "Mirrorlon" which I would expect to be much thinner than the mirror I'm talking about which would give you some nice ripply distortion.

I've also used a lot of still photography filters with video cameras. Here in Chicago there are massive photography swap meets where you can get tons of special effects filters for next to nothing. Many of them can be useful for video. I've used a star filter, fly's eye filter (image in middle surrounded by 5 identical images, and filter can rotate - great for 60's pop singer look), polarizing filter (great for cutting glare when shooting through a window, or for making a car look less scratched up), center focus, some gradiated filters for dramatic skies...

The problem is that with my current video cam (the Canon XL-1) the lens is so massive, it's so hard to find filters to fit it at these swap meets. Common filters for still photography are 45-55mm (probably other sizes too), and the XL-1 clocks in at a massive 72mm. You can get adapter step-down rings to compensate, then zoom in a little to avoid vignetting.

There are also some great gadgets that I've used with old film cameras in front of the lens that aren't filters. My Bolex has had an iris attachment (for transition effects), a clock work device for a variety of animated wipes, titling rigs, and my personal favorite... a 3D lens set for shooting 3D films. Before you ask, yes I've shot some 3D footage, but I'm missing one important part of the projector arrangement to see if my experiment worked. :)

Saturday, June 04, 2005


A while back I wrote about infrared filter lenses for DV cameras. I'm interested in what other weird lenses are out there- maybe impractical for regular, professional use - but perfect for video projects that are... ahem.. *crunked up*. And don't just say "fish-eye!"

Post in the comments or send us a tip.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


VT reader Yair Reshef writes:
been watching your blog and i feel this can be of interest to you. [...]
I shot this footage using a 25 dollar wireless cam i order of eBay. hooked it to a kite and it gave nice results.

i also tried to make low cost diy video/music scratching platform, like this stuff using a broken turntable with a reflective sticker on it, a small securtiy camera and eyesweb for tracking and was able to get some nice results. its still ver. 0.1 but its a proof-of-concept i guess. very responsive. and with several records with different diameters can be used to scratch several different sources! [ link]

Kurt Ralske

VT reader Kurt Ralske sent us some kind words and a link to his portfolio of excellent video art. Pieces include a permanent display at the MOMA that's tied-in with the Museum's visual branding, a collaborative video improv piece made by three different artists, and a visualization generated from live video feeds of zebra fish.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Call for links

Do you have a garage video project you're dying to tell someone about? Has the Asperger's syndrome sufferer next door hacked a Commodore 64 to do 3D? Got the scoop on some new HD video microscope? Got a motion graphics project to show off, or saw a great reel we missed?

Send in your video thing tips!

In the meantime, here's a piece from Tom's Hardware Guide on How to build your own XGA video projector for 300 dollars.

Rtv Visual Entertainment Generator

80 bucks seems a little steep for this, but I can see how it could be handy- the RTV lets you use VGA computer monitors as NTSC monitors, without a computer.
Now you can put an old VGA monitor to good use, or simply get more out of the one that's connected to your PC. The Visual Entertainment Generator, or 'VEG', is a compact external unit that easily turns a VGA monitor into a multimedia center for watching TV or for use as a display for your favorite gaming console.[...]The VEG uses 3:2 pull down correction that eliminates jitter from DVD movies that occurs during the transfer from film. With motion and adaptive de-interlacing, the VEG improves the clarity and sharpness of the picture.


Psyop- Bubbles

Nice new piece of work by PsyOp. Justin at Tween (who is mirroring the clip) says each particle is hand placed, which would certainly make for a lot of painstaking work.