Friday, December 29, 2006

AACS Cracked

From Reuters:

A hacker known as Muslix64 posted on the Internet details of how he unlocked the encryption, known as the Advanced Access Content System, which prevents high-definition discs from illegal copying by restricting which devices can play them.
The AACS system was developed by companies including Walt Disney Co., Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Sony Corp. to protect high-definition formats, including Toshiba's HD-DVD and Sony's Blu-ray.

Link to Technorati Search for AACS

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Stephen Beck has been building video synths and making multimedia art since the late 60's, and he's our latest video thing hero (I'm going to kill those ads and bring back the hero links this week, btw).
His work 'video weavings' actually got displayed on theDiamond Vision giant video screen at Shea Stadium during a Mets game in 1982.

It comes from the magic squares devised by Arabian thinkers of the sixth and seventh centuries, when they mastered algebra and applied algebra to their art. The religion of Islam forbids any representational image. It's a totally different concept of visual expression than what we have; you're just not permitted to portray an object of creation. It's largely based on portraying what we would call mathematical harmonies. Their wonderful arabesques and domes and patterns are all manifestations of mathematics, which in our day and age we would find in some equation in a book, which perhaps makes it less vivid, and less important to many people. People ask me sometimes, 'Is this mathematical? How does this relate to mathematics?' And I say, 'It is mathematics, just like music is mathematics.' You have implicit structures of harmonies and ratios. Instead of music, where there is vibration of air, here it's the vibration of light, with different colors and patterns. You don't have to relate to it as a drab mathematical theorem or equation. It takes on a much more vivid presence.

Found Via Cory Arcangel

Friday, December 15, 2006 Hannibal Deuce

The Hannibal Deuce Plus is Linux-based MythTV DVR box that does pretty much evertyhing you could want a settop box to do. It rips dvds, it'll Torrent videos off the net and store them, has wireless connectivity and can run multiple tuner-cards for DVRing mutliple simultaneous channels.
found via BoingBoing

Monday, December 11, 2006

Consumer Electronics Daily News: iProjector to Make its Debut at CES 07

The iProjector is a unique video projector that lets you view video and pictures from your iPod, DVD player or computer. It also features multiple video inputs so you can attach game consoles and play just about anywhere.

Other features include: Docking and charging station for iPod Video, iPod Photo or iPod nano, 800x600 native resolution, 24-bit color, 1000 ANSI lumens brightness and a projection size of 30 inches by 90 inches.

Nothing big here since you can already plug a 5th gen ipod into any projector with RCA inputs, but the addition of a dock is cute. If the price is right it could be a nice package though.

Friday, December 08, 2006 ...Carlitopolis

I don't know if you guys have checked out yet, but it's a really great flash viewer for online video that lets you view stuff in a channel based "TV" format.
Anyway, this is great video that floated up on my player that I can only hope was of a live performance. ...Carlitopolis

Friday, December 01, 2006

Circuit Bent Sega Megadrive

This guy circuit-bent a Sega Mega Drive and stuck it in a wooden enclosure. Colorful glitchy weirdness.


Found Via Paul Slocum

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New fangled 2K+ camcorder comparison

SI-2K vs Red One

For those who haven't been keeping up on new camera developments, Silicon Imaging will be releasing their SI-2K camera in the next few months, and Red Digital Cinema will be releasing their Red One probably in the second quarter next year. I (Mike Curtis, rare contributor here) wrote a ridiculously long article (about 12,000 words) going through how the specs between the two compare.

Both of these two cameras are doing some radical new stuff as compared to traditional camcorders:

-modular/configurable form factor, moreso than regular camcorders
-data centric, tapeless recording
-full raster, 10 (now Redcode is 10 or 12) bit wavelet based proprietary RAW codecs to 2.5" hard drives
-12 bit RAW uncompressed recording as well
-record to small form factor disks, then copy to a computer/other hard drive
-emphasis on the post solution with a desire for widespread native NLE support
-under $20,000
-variable frame rates
-720, 1080, & 2K resolutions all from same camera
-windowed/cropped sensor mode for lower resolution, smaller lens coverage, but higher frame rates
-higher than video frame rates
-progressive imaging
-multiple lens mounts available

Anyway, if you are trapped in a mine and have some time to read, and are interested in these kinds of next generation cameras, check it out.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shadowplay by Joy Division | C505

This video project was inspired by the famous album cover art of 1979 album, Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" designed by Peter Saville. Original video footage is from Joy Division's TV performance of "Shadowplay" on Granada Reports. The video footage was animated with the same topographic style of the album cover design.

Found via Rhizome

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sharp demos 4Kx2K 64" experimental LCD

Sharp's very, very sharp experimental screen | CNET

Somebody asked me how you would monitor a 4K signal - if not using the Viewsonic monitor (like Red had at the IBC booth) that is slightly sub 4K, or using the incredibly pricey, really for theatrical display Sony 4K projector, perhaps something like this would be used in the future - a 64" 4K LCD panel, DCI spec resolution - 4096x2160 (which is twice 2Kx1080 in each dimension). That
s about 9 megapixels. Another company was showing a similar resolution panel at IBC, I can't recall the name though.

This unit is experimental only, however, and not planned for resale at this time. They were also showing off a million to one contrast ratio screen.

Monday, October 02, 2006

EyeTV Hybrid

One of the guys here at work just got the Elgato Eye TV Hybrid and I'm really impressed with it. It's a usb dongle for the mac that gets HD tv off the air and lets you record it and automatically outputs to ipod, dvdstudio pro, idvd, transport stream, toast, and just about anything else you can think of. It uses the mac remote and has it's own layer in frontrow. It also provides you with analog hd inputs in case you feel like plugging in your game console and playing/recording it on your computer. I'm not a big TV watcher, but this is an unbelievably slick device/software package, and I totally want one now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Opinion: High-Definition Video--Bad For Consumers, Bad For Hollywood - News by InformationWeek

Cory Doctorow from BoingBoing on how consumer HD video products are being used as a carrot to con people into accepting a bevy of DRM that will severely cripple how they can use the content that they purchase.

Friday, September 15, 2006


LoVid create artwork using homemade video synthesizers that remind me a little of Peter Blassers audio synths. The use of patchwork fabric enclosures give the devices a weird kids-toy quality kind of like Chumby.
Lovid will be performing tomorrow (9/18) on south street seaport in the speigeltent, then will present at iEAR in Troy New York next week.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Apple to release iTV video streaming box in 2007 - Engadget

Codenamed iTV, Apple is releasing a Mac Mini-like settop box in the first quarter of 2007. The presentation listed "wireless component" as a video out option, as well as HDMI. We'll continue to watch this device as more information is released. Shipping price is listed at $299.

Apple to release iTV video streaming box in 2007 - Engadget

Images at iLounge

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

AppleInsider | Microsoft leaks Windows Vista pricing

AppleInsider | Microsoft leaks Windows Vista pricing

$199 for home basic, $239 for Home Premium, $299 business, $399 ultimate; Amazon taking preorders with Jan 30, 2007 preliminary ship date.

See article for more details.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Radical Software

Collected now online- all the issues of Radical Software, a great 70's MacLuhanite zine about early video art and media activism. This stuff is like porn for me, vintage video gear with a good dose of pre-internet media theory.

As problem solvers we are a nation of hardware freaks. Some are into seizing property or destroying it. Others believe in protecting property at any cost including life or at least guarding it against spontaneous use. Meanwhile, unseen systems shape our lives. Power is no longer measured in land, labor, or capital, but by access to information and the means to disseminate it. As long as the most powerful tools (not weapons) are in the hands of those who would hoard them, no alternative cultural vision can succeed. Unless we design and implement alternate information structures which transcend and reconfigure the existing ones, other alternate systems and life styles will be no more than products of the existing process.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Canon HDV cameras!

If you've been keeping up with the world of Canon cameras, they introduced the XL-H1; the HD inheritor to the XL-1 legacy. I've played with the XL-H1 - it's gorgeous, and of course it's expensive. The great news is that last week Canon introduced a couple lower priced models; the XH-G1 (pictured above) & the XH-A1.

The XH-G1 is built to offer the same image quality as the much larger XL-H1 without the removable lens. I think that the features are pretty much the same (I haven't read the specs in detail), so this might be a good way to get into professional HD without sinking $10,000 into the XL-H1. The XH-A1 is the least expensive entry into Canon's pro HDV line. It's the same as the G1, just without the profusion of specialty inputs and outputs.

Canon's XH-G1
The XH-A1

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Memory Mirror

More awesomeness from the Royal College of Art 2006 show.
Link Via Pixelsumo

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 Tiny radio chip stores video clips

A 'Memory Spot' no bigger than a grain of rice offers greater memory and faster transfer speeds than RFID tags - and could be read by a cellphone, reports New Scientist.

'The chip, called a Memory Spot, is small enough to be attached to a postcard or a photograph and could be used to append video, audio or hundreds of pages of text to all sorts of everyday objects. In hospitals, for example, the chips could allow doctors to add detailed medical records to a patient's plastic wristband.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Slashdot | Core 2 Reviews All Around the Web

Slashdot | Core 2 Reviews All Around the Web

....and why should you care? Because it is widely expected that Apple will use these chips in their G5 tower replacements, expected to be called Mac Pros. They be fast. Fast good.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sci Fi Tech Blog- Frisbee Camera

I can think of about a million awesome uses for this. Unfortunately it's still just an idea.

Drifting in from the "What the hell?" department comes the Frisbee camera. Yes, in case there aren't any pretty young things around to impress with your acrobatic Frisbee tossing, now you can record all your amazing jumps and throws for playback on your cell phone, which is way manlier. And if you're thinking the footage from a spinning Frisbee would most likely give you vertigo, designer Adam Sutcliffe is one step ahead of you: a fin on top of the disc attaches to a rod that pokes through the center axis, which in turn attaches to the camera.


Monday, July 10, 2006

More DIY 360° tests

Following up to my post a while back about my experiments with panoramic video, I've just got round to putting some more footage online. I shot these shortly after the original experiment, using a slightly more advanced setup (nice new glass bauble instead of old plastic one! ^_^) but it has, typically, taken me an age to get round to putting the results online.

I've experimented with shooting sideways, and also stuck cheesy video effects on a couple of shots for no good reason. Hope you enjoy.

New lasers from Ricoh read both HD DVD and Blu-ray - Engadget


Thursday, July 06, 2006

SCI FI Tech -Marantz bows first 1080p DLP front projector

From the Sci-Fi channel's Tech Blog
Marantz's VP-11S1 is the first projector to include Texas Instruments' 1080p DLP chip, and it has the processing chops to use it: a souped-up image processor from Gennum, which upconverts all lower-resolution video to 1080p. Although the projector uses only a single DLP chip instead of three, its color wheel spins faster than any previous DLP projector, said to reduce the potential for any color-smearing artifacts (sometimes noticeable as a "rainbow effect" on single-chip models). But the single-chip design at least keeps the cost down to a mere $20,000 — still worthy of a spit take, but not bad for such a first-ever, ultra-high-end item, considering.


Pixel Maelstrom

"Pixel Maelstrom" is a nice circuit bent audio-responsive video generator made from a TI-99 4A.
From the looks of it, the creator Philip Stearns was very methodical in his modifications, and is getting some cool effects here, blocky text and colors similar to what you get with a NES and a dirty cartridge, but the reactivity to sound is really what sells it. This is one of the first video glitch projects in a while that hasn't had me yawning and grumbling about how I had done the same stuff back in '94. Check out the videos.
Found via Data is Nature

Sunday, July 02, 2006

RED update from Jim Jannard

Mysterium sensor... - -- The online community for filmmaking

Jim Jannard posted over on the dvxuser forums:

We stated before that we had images from a 'test slice' that proved the design of our sensor. Now we have images from a full size sensor.

Definitely an important step along the way. Also announced that they'll be putting the breadbox prototypes in the hands of professionals to let them shoot some test footage to show, presumably at IBC if all goes well.


Create Digital Motion

Create Digital Motion has officially launched- Live visuals, motion graphics, equipment and software... all the stuff we like.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Glitchism - circuit bent video effects

Karl Klomp's site has images, video and info on his circuit-bent modified video mixers and effects, which he's selling on ebay as part of his "Glitchism" project.

As well as his devices, he's got a useful gallery of obsolete video hardware so you know what to look out for if you wanna try your hand at some DIY video mangling yourself.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Build a Backyard Theater - Popular Science

Popular Science has an article about Lumenlab DIY video projectors, with rough plans for a fresnel-lensed, wooden-cased wheeled thing that I am in love with.

Found Via Make

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - Forum - Terminator by QuickTime Player

Some enterprising German Mac site caught a QuickTime Player reference in the point of view footage from Terminator III. Funny, I also see a "PPC" reference on that still.. does that mean that Apple drops Intel and goes back to IBM processors before they end up building a bunch of OS X running humanoid death machines that wipe out the human race?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The DVD War Against Consumers (BusinessWeek) |

The excellent anti-DRM site points to an article in Businessweek that actually criticises the excessive use of DRM in next generation DVD players. A pleasantly surprising consumerist sentiment for the magazine.
Makers of new DVD players are going too far in copyright protection efforts, but buyers needn't take it lying down [...]
there's an ominous feature buried in this so-called protection mechanism: If a particular brand of player is cryptographically 'compromised,' the studio can remotely disable all of the affected players. In other words, if some hacker halfway across the globe cracks Sony's software, Sony can shut down my DVD player across the Net.

Found Via Eyebeam Reblog

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

CinemaTech: Coming from Texas Instruments: Handheld 3-D Projectors for Consumers?

CinemaTech tracks a BusinessWeek Europe article that alludes to consumer-end portable DLP's that could project in 3D.. just vapor and rumors right now of course, but.. *slobber*... *hlompth*.. *drool*...

Choose Your Own Adventure DVD's

The classic "Choose Your Own Adventure" kids books are being adapted into animated DVD's. Not the first time that a choose your own adventure-style disc has been made, but it's notable that they are adapting the actual books for this.

With a distribution deal set to become final today with a distributor of family DVDs, Norton, 31, and Crames, 30, are hoping to persuade a new generation to test the adventuresome waters, using a remote control in place of a bookmark. First up is "The Abominable Snowman," a film aimed at children ages 6 to 11 that allows users to guide what happens by registering their choices on their DVD player.

'Adventure' DVD Idea Leaps From Books - Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wired News: The Dead Formats Society

Momus muses about dead formats and the transient nature of media (a subject near and dear to my laserdisc-lovin' heart) over on the Wired site.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Welcome Editors Keys

Video Thing would like to welcome this week's sponsor, Editors Keys. The company makes key cap shortcut labels for all the major audio and video applications- an easy, affordable alternative to pricey editor's keyboards and full key cap replacements (which require you to yank out all your keys and only fit in certain keyboards). The pre-cleaning cloth and applicator they include make sure that the labels don't peel or collect gunk like a lot of key labels do.
Editors Keys have launched a new website which carries all new Video and Audio editing keyboard sets for the following programs:

-Adobe Premiere
-Final Cut
-Sony Vegas
-After Effects
-Pro Tools
-Cubase and many more...!

Each key contains your programs shortcut function and tool on it for faster access, whilst keeping the keys 'Letter' in the corner for standard typing.

HDMI DRM dormant until 2010 -Boing Boing

From Anti-DRM advocate Cory Doctorow over on BoingBoing:
Hollywood studios and some CE manufacturers have reportedly entered into an informal agreement to hold off on using the 'image constraint token' in HDMI DRM until 2010 or 2012. The image constraint token is a flag in a video signal that instructs receivers, DVD players and other high-definition sources to 'down-rez' their output to a low-definition signal when connecting to an 'untrusted' screen or other sink.

The effect is that if your screen or recorder isn't blessed by Hollywood, they can limit the video they send to it to a low-resolution image. Manufacturers who want the full signal have to enter into the HDMI license agreement and agree to cripple their hardware in lots of ways -- and have to promise not to make their equipment compatible with anyone else's, unless they, too, agree to cripple their hardware.


Videos from NAB 2006

Related to the camera link I just posted, here are some videos from NAB 2006. Of interest are demonstrations of the Automatic Revolution self levelling Steadicam rig (costs $80K!), a long demo of the Silicon Imaging camera, and a quick demo of the Varizoom DV Rig Pro camera support system for those long shooting days.


All about cameras at NAB 2006

NAB is the biggest tradeshow of the year for video professionals. Mike Curtis over at HD For Indies has posted a huge long article about cameras and shooting gear from NAB 2006 on his site here. All the new interesting cameras, including Sony's 3x slomo HD camera, Red Digital's amazing new camera, Silicon Imaging's new camera that records 10 bit wavelet based codec stuff to USB 2.0 disc in a portable computer, Grass Valley and Ikegami's new HD camcorders that record to hard drives, Arri's D-20, new HDV camcorders from JVC, the crazy Automatic Revolution self levelling Steadicam rig, and tons more.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Way back at the dawn of Video Thing, I posted about Quartz Composer, an OS X developer's tool that gives you easy and direct access to all the graphical tricks built into the operating system. People have done some amazing stuff with it, including some pretty impressive VJ apps. (I was able to make a couple of screensavers with it.) My complaint at the time was that there was no way to make an iTunes visualizer plug in with it. I wanted someone to make an oldschool analog-looking visualizer like the Atari Video Music to replace the cheesy ravey 90's looking visualizer built in to iTunes.
Today I saw this:
With Mac OS X Tiger Apple introduced a convenient way to create your own graphical effects: The Quartz Composer. Sadly by default these could only be used as screen saver or run in Quicktime.
With iVisualize it is finally possible to run these in iTunes, have them react to your music, and display a lot of song information.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pioneer BDR-101A Blu-ray burner now available, for just $999 - Engadget

Pioneer has released a $1k internal IDE Blu-Ray burner. Discs come from Sony, 25 bucks a pop. I think I'll wait a little while on this one.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Timeline of CGI in film and television - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia has an interesting and comprehensive history of CGI use in films, with stills. Did you know that Westworld was the first film to use 2d computer-digitized images? It probably cost half the budget for a few seconds too, I'd expect.

Adult Film Studio Offers Downloads to DVDs - Yahoo! News

Starting Monday, Vivid Entertainment says it will sell its adult films through the online movie service CinemaNow, allowing buyers to burn DVDs that will play on any screen, not just a computer.
It's another first for adult film companies that pioneered the home video market and rushed to the Internet when Hollywood studios still saw it as a threat.

Found Via HD for Indies

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Light Organ

Phillip Sanderson writes:
Hi Video Thing
.you might enjoy this? An updated "light organ" image to accompaniment synthesizer.

At last a use for all those unwanted adult movies now using the wonders of max/msp/jitter you can turn them into pixelated lyrical piano music. At least that is what psouper has done with an updated "light organ" image to accompaniment synthesizer.

See more at :

Read more below:
The concept of a correlation between sound and vision goes back to antiquity. One starry night on the island of Samos Pythagoras stood contemplating the skies, to him he very rhythm and motion of heavenly bodies in their orbits appeared to him as if governed by a cosmic harmony, a carefully choreographed sequence, the music of the spheres.

Renaissance artists such as Leonardo da Vinci produced sophisticated spectacles for court festivals that fused music and colour. In 1760 Father Castel constructed an Ocular Harpsichord or as he described it a " harpsichord for the eyes". Castel's machine was a normal harpsichord above which were 60 small windows, each with different coloured-glass and a small curtain. Each time the player depressed a particular key, the relevant curtain would rise to show a burst of colour.

In the next two hundred years many new instruments for combining light and sound were built. The British painter A. Wallace Rimington developed a Colour Organ which provided a moving light accompaniment to the 1916 New York premiere of Scriabin's symphony Prometheus: A Poem of Fire. Scriabin had scored not only the music but also the precise colours he wanted to accompany particular passages.

Such colour music forms the conceptual starting point for Fleshtones, a piece for extreme pixelated porn and auto generated accompaniment. Footage from webcams and other online sites is broken down into a simple tableau of colour bands, at times rather like the paint charts one might find in a DIY store. Given the subject matter this palette is either predominately pink or coffee coloured thus producing a sequence of flickering fleshtones. Using the wonders of max/msp/jitter these Fleshtones are turned into lyrical piano music that rises in falls in response and exact correspondence to the onscreen movement. The motion of earthly bodies thus is transformed into something of beauty, harmony and contemplation.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

AVCHD format will enable 8cm DVD-equipped HD camcorders - Engadget

Sony and Panasonic are working on an H.264 variant that that would record directly from cameras, sort of like HDV. Engadget seems down on the endeavor, but personally if I am going to shoot something in a compressed "HD Jr." format, I'll take H.264 over Mpeg2.

What I really want is a cellphone that shoots iPod-sized H.264 and blogs it Lifeblog-style. If I'm going to shoot HD footage, I'll stick with DVCPRO HD.

Sony and Panasonic-parent Matsushita have teamed up to develop an encoding format based on MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 that will enable future camcorders to capture HD footage directly to standard 8-centimeter DVDs. Called 'AVCHD,' the new format is able to handle numerous resolution/frame-rate combinations, including 480i at 60fps, 720p at 24, 50, or 60fps, and 1080p at 24fps (or 1080i for 50fps and 60fps configurations), and can encode audio in either 5.1 channel AC-3 or up to 7.1 channel Linear PCM.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006



Create Digital Motion

The VJ content of Create Digital Music has spun off into it's own site: Create Digital Motion, with their VJ Roundup as the first article.

Modern Mechanix - Flat Screen TV in 1958

This is crazy- Modern Mechanix posts about a flat screen crt technology developed in 1958 that got abandoned over licensing issues.

BECAUSE OF NEW TECHNIQUES in the field of electronics, airplane instrument panels and home television sets may soon have something in common—a rectangular picture tube less than three inches thick. The thin cathode-ray tube was invented by William Ross Aiken and developed in the Kaiser Aircraft and Electronics Corporation laboratories. Military uses for the new TV tube were developed for the Douglas Aircraft Company. For the aircraft pilot, the thin TV tube will serve as an electronic windshield, showing an artificial picture of the terrain and sky conditions about him. For the TV viewer at home, the new picture tube may result in new designs for sets, with screens mounted in any wall or hung like picture frames.

Link Video Glasses Meet Mobile TV Video Glasses Meet Mobile TV
Kowon Technology, a South Korean venture start-up, has announced an eye-glass type display - dubbed MSP-209 - a mobile broadcastings screen incorporated into eyeglasses.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Well, the Red One HD camera's specs, format options, and pricing have been released and I can already hear Mike Curtis furiously typing and hyperventilating. I have to say, this thing is pretty damn impressive.
2540p (!) resolution, variable frame rate (60fps max), shooting RAW. $17,500 (sans lens). The price is what kind of kicks the wind out of me.. for those of you not used to pro HD pricing, that is absurdly cheap. Like consumer-end cheap. Like, we are going to have to watch a bunch of bad star-wars fan films in astoundingly crisp 35mm-like HD pretty soon cheap.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

CDMotion Preview: Midi control for VJs

Create Digital Music reviews midi controllers for VJ's. I was surprised not to see any of the Livid controllers on here, but maybe they are too specialized or pricey for this list.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

HD DVD Decks available in the states

The first HD DVD Decks hit US stores to little fanfare. Only a handful of mostly lame discs are available and the verdict so far is that the devices are fairly clunky.

Here's Mikes notes on a Toshiba deck passed on from an early reviewer:

-it's slow - 35 seconds to boot until logo, over a minute until a disk in it at power up shows the first menu
-nearly 40 secs from disk insert to start playing - a lot of consumers might think it's broken
-you can bring up a navigation menu (such as for chapters) WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF PLAYING and it is a graphic overlay - that is, in the vernacular, "totally schweet."
-It'll be about $800 in the US
-reviewer was dissapointed

OOoohh boy, Phantom of the Opera in HD.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Freedom to Tinker HDMI and Output Control

Ed Felten of the Freedom to Tinker blog has begun a series of posts about HDMI, starting with output control, the first big thorn in the twinkie. I'm one of the unlucky ones with an HDTV without an HDMI input, and since I don't watch television, just movies, I may never get to actually see any high def on my set (unless I build my own media center computer with component outputs and a bunch of media that I'll have to "steal" instead of buy).
Found Via BoingBoing

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Modern Mechanix - Augmented Reality

Modern Mechanix is a great source for ancient, heavy, probably lukemia-causing video things, like the Electrocular!

YOU can look two ways at once with this 30-oz. electro-optical viewing device. The Electrocular uses a miniature cathode ray tube 7 in. long, a deflecting mirror, a focusing lens, and a dichroic filter viewing eyepiece to present a TV-type image without distracting from the work in front of you.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

CinemaTech: Days look numbered for Sony's UMD

We at Video Thing love obsolete video formats. Betamax, LaserDisc, Ced discs, you name it. Now it looks like Sony's cute lil' UMD's are going the way of the dodo due to Licensing fees:
The latest proprietary media format to fizzle? Sony's Universal Media Disc format, developed for its PlayStation Portable. Anyone who wanted to produce movies on UMD had to pay Sony a license fee, and the movies only played in that one Sony device.Now two studios, Universal (coincidentally) and Paramount seem to have stopped supporting the format, according to this piece from The Hollywood Reporter.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A filmmaking robot

Not sure what exactly makes this guy's remote cameras "robots", but the idea is compelling... sort of like automatically-generated, artsy, surveillance-films.
This robot makes short films based on its visual experience. Its eyes travel about the city on buses while the body sits in a gallery. The eyes collect snippets of video, and transmit them to the body when their buses come within range of a Cafenet wireless internet node. The robot body splits the video into individual frames and analyses each one, obtaining twenty numbers reflecting the arrangement of colour, shape and detail within the frame. These numbers are treated as coordinates in a twenty dimensional space, in which distance is somewhat related to visual difference. For twelve hours a day the robot traces a zigzagging path through this space. This path passes through a series of images, which become a video sequence. Visitors to the gallery can see this video, called variously the robot's 'dream' or 'stream of consciousness'. At the end of the day the robot looks over its days work and joins the best parts together as a finished film. The robot uses neural networks and heuristic rules to choose waypoints for its daily dream, but the finished film is mainly selected for the smoothness of its movement through the space. The robot will remember everything it sees until it has five million images in its mind, after which it will replace its least favourite images with new ones. In addition to getting images from the eyes, the robot creates false memories by combining and manipulating well-liked and overused images.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Winter Forest

A truly amazing piece of motion graphics by jake Portman and Bill Sneed.
Thanks Nick! Found Via

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MythTV on Mac x86

Via Make: The MythTV 'homebrew' PVR project has a promising Intel Mac OS X build coming along. More info and background on the project here. Could be very promising on an intel Mac Mini.

RES Magazine: 3d video from a couple of iSights

The January/February issue of RES Magazine has an interesting article on how to make 3D videos with a pair of Apple iSights. We'll post a link when the article gets archived, otherwise, grab yourself a copy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Video Thing eBay of the day: Anti-Lust Machine ( circuit bent video synth )

Well, I can't really check out the web site this guy refers to since I'm at work, but the description alone won the "Anti Lust Machine" a VT eBay of the day post:
Up for sale is a circuit bent video synth created by Corneilius Brown in 1999. It was originally designed to control the sexual stimulation of large crowds or individuals. It accepts customized slides and projects them onto any video screen. (TVs, video projectors, etc). It also displays colorful geometric shapes that change with the control unit. The two video sources combine to create a very strange phenomenon. [...] I made a website dedicated to Corneilius (no not 'Cornelius') Brown. I put most of the pictures on there because I'm not sure if ebay would accept them or not due to their sexual nature.
PLEASE visit the website as it has more pictures and info...

eBay: Anti-Lust Machine ( circuit bent video synth ) (item 7399443155 end time Mar-26-06 09:23:02 PST)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Video Sampling Paintbrush & Canvas

Easier to see than explain- Painting from video sampling. Imagine the coolness of Painter (the paint program) hooked up to a digital camera.

Watch this MIT demo to see one possible future of "live" art.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sony decides against downsampling on analog HDTV

This is the first good thing I've heard about any of the competing HD media formats: Sony decides against downsampling on analog HDTV.
Initially, both the HD DVD and Blu Ray specs included DRM that required an HDMI connection in order to play HD out to a TV. So if you were one of the many people who purchased an HDTV before the industry had picked its poison and started sticking HDMI jacks on the sets, you were screwed. The players were going to downconvert your HD signal to standard def if you used the (then standard) component connectors. Looks like maybe Sony is coming around after all their horrible DRM "rootkit" debacles (at least on this issue) and to be honest, as a non HDMI set owner, it was the biggest issue to me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Movie Cards

We-make-money-not-art has a post about another tangible movie editing interface for kids, this one is based on cards that are arranged in a sort of storyboard style.
we make money not art: Tangible movie editing for kids

Monday, March 06, 2006 New study questions mobile TV and music hype

For some reason I keep getting pegged as a mobile media guy, and people are often surprised when I say that I'm not too interested in cellphones as content delivery devices. I think that treating networked handheld devices as little televisions is a mistake. It might be ok for ipods (which can output to televisions, etc and hold tons of music, movies, and pictures), but it's really ignoring the strengths of a cellphone. A cellphone's weakness is it's tiny screen and speaker. Its strengths are the camera, your address book of contacts, its network connection. As devices they beg for something more complicated than one-way traditional media. I think they are awesome as content aquisition and blogging devices, and I think there's a huge opportunity for some new, crazy networked games on them.

According to a survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets, about 75 percent of roughly 1,000 people polled said they had no interest in watching TV on their cell phones. And about 70 percent said they didn't see themselves using their cell phones for musical entertainment.

Image found via: notes from somewhere bizarre

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Karl Klomp

In the pomp tradition of Reed Ghazala, Karl Klomp calls his video glitch art "hyperkinetic audio visuals". They are pretty cool though, and moreso is his list of circuit bent video devices.

Found Via Data is Nature

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - Early American Computer Animation

The National Film Theatre 2 in London will be presenting the program "Early American Computer Animation" starting this Thursday, March 2nd.
The development of the computer as an animation tool inspired a period of radical innovation in techniques and visual form. By the late 60s, there were a number of film-makers using the new ‘dream machines’ as their medium, often exploring new aesthetics that had no precursor in the history of cinema. This programme (curated by Gregory Kurcewicz) features work by film-makers including Lillian Schwartz, John Stehura and John Whitney, who overcame the constraints of low memory and primitive interfaces to create works of lasting beauty.

A Curates Egg

A Curates Egg

Site updated, check "longform" to find film clips. But everything else there is equally brilliant!)

Lifelong Friendship Society is cooking something up. Looks to be a feature film, but who knows. It defies all explanation. Three trailers are linked on the site, each equally baffling and hilarious.

No other info than that. I emailed them, but assume a response may never come. I venture a guess that this is going to be feature film. Who knows.

I wonder who else in design/animation collectives is taking on feature films. MK12 is making History of America. Now these guys. I'm pretty excited by the bent, but brilliant minds going into this.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Fresh HDV is a good page of links to HDV production info, with tips on combatting artifacting and other HDV pitfalls.
FresHDV | Fresh news & views for videographers, editors, filmmakers, directors & producers.
Found Via Mike Maker Faire Movies

Make is hosting a mini film festival of DIY video's that celebrate the Make aesthetic:
The first film festival that celebrates makers and the DIY mindset.
Grab those hacked CVS video cameras and $14 steadycams. It's time for MAKE: Movies! MAKE: is hosting the first festival for makers to show off their DIY short video clips. Don't think of it as a contest, because there isn't much to win if you make the cut... other than the admiration of your peers, a bag of MAKE: goodies, and the chance to see your work on the big (well, medium) screen at the upcoming Maker Faire in April. Our favorite footage will premiere at a special MAKE: Movies! party at the Maker Faire and shown throughout the event. Of course, you're invited to walk down the asphalt carpet and say a few words about your work. After the Faire, the selections will be available for free download on So charge those batteries, fire up Final Cut, and... Action!

Important: Submit your movie by March 24, 2006!

Found Via BoingBoing

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Democracy - Internet TV Platform - Free and Open Source

Brian writes:

Democracy Player is a video content aggregator, and it also includes a component named the Broadcast Machine that allows users (budding filmmakers?) to easily set up a distribution channel for their work. It's very intriguing... I could potentially see filmmakers setting up channels to post short films, sample clips, teasers, or production
videos... who knows! Whatever the case, this is a great way to increase exposure.

Democracy Player:
Broadcast Machine:

Here is a sameple BM page (complete with RSS feed for Democracy) I set

Democracy - Internet TV Platform - Free and Open Source

Friday, February 17, 2006

Uncompressed 4:4:4 Stereoscopic Camera System - 3DVX3

This looks like a pretty impressive piece of kit. Stereoscopic 1280x720 HD camera, with the video recorded to two Mac CPU's mounted in the case!

No doubt costs a fortune but maybe could inspire DIY solutions. Gives me notions of using a Mac Mini in some kind of DIY HD camera. I'd be more likely to just duct-tape two hi-8 camcorders together or something though. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Adobe Report

Yesterday I attended the Chicago leg of the Adobe "Production Studio" tour. Since moving over to the PC, I've been editing on an old version of Premiere and I've been pretty happy with it. I figured that this tour would show off some more whiz-bang special effects or eye candy that doesn't really interest me, but I was wrong. From the demos, it seems that Adobe has put in a lot of productivity shortcuts (back in the Amiga days, I did everything from keyboard shortcuts), creature comforts to soften the blow of the task at hand, and tons of other stuff that seems like it will make a big difference in the editing experience, instead of more crazy transitions wihch really don't help anybody. ;-)

"Production Studio" is the bundling together of Premiere, After Effects, Audition, and various other configurations of Adobe products. More than just throwing them in the same box, these apps integrate into one another in an "unprecedented" way (that's not actually true - I had Amiga video apps that shared buffers and communicated through a timeline the _exact_ same way in the late 90's. See my Amiga rant below.) With this move, they are clearly going after Apple's much vaunted systemwide integration. I was very impressed with a lot of what I saw, and while I usually decry a lot of special effects, I can see actually using a lot of what they showcased in Premiere Pro2 and the latest After Effects:

Much improved chromakey facilites
Vastly improved primary and secondary color correction
Color correction and other effects operate in 32 bit colorspace for much more granular control
Algorythmically calculated slow motion instead of simplistic (and strobe prone) frame blending
Feature rich motion tracking

There was also a really nice method of generating a low res version of your project to email clients. It (somehow) plays from within a PDF. The client is able to make notes while watching the video, and each note has the corresponding timecode referenced to it. When you get back these notes and open them up in Premiere, the timecode in his notes puts markers on your timeline so you can go in and quickly make changes. Wow.

They were alos pushing very hard on delivering online video via Flash. 96.3% (apparently) of computers have Flash 6 or later installed on them (more penetration than Internet Explorer), and of course it runs under Linux and on some phones, etc. The Flash player is also much more customizable as far as customizing it to look good on your webpage (QT and WMP sure don't allow for that). Heck - the screen doesn't even have to be rectangular! They made a compelling case for Flash, but that's really only for playing videos at your site. It's not set up for downloading to a portable playback device. Still - food for thought.

There was tons more things I saw of course, but these are the facilities that spring to mind that I could make immediate use of. Of course there were lots of special effects shown, but the one that has the potential to become as cliche as morphing was in the early 90's is what they call "Live Trace". This is in After Effects and chages live video into vector art, much like the film "Waking Life" (ta-da). It was realyl easy to get good results, but I coudln't tell if there was an interframe relationship between these vector layouts just so each frame transitions smoothly from one to the next.

Actually, one of the biggest shocks to me was how many features Adobe was showcasing that Amiga apps were already doing more than ten years ago. In addition to simple keyframe editing, After Effects has graphs - guess what? So did ImageMaster on the Amiga in 1991. Encore DVD can load a directory of stills, automatically arrange them into a slideshow, add transitions between them, anda make them fit to a certain length of music. The Video Toaster could do this circa 1995.

Yeah, Adobe's stuff is better - but not TEN YEARS better!

Oh, and if you're wondering about the picture above, I was lucky enough to be the first name drawn in the raffle. The other prize was the entire premium Adobe Production Suite. I, of course, won the Tumbuk bag. Darn.

Macsimum News - Pixar looking to build more Mac OS X apps

Pixar Animation Studios, which is being bought by Disney, is is apparently building more native Mac OS X applications and is seeking programmers with advanced skills in Object-C and Cocoa, according to a post on Highend3D online


Monday, February 13, 2006

Laser Projectors Coming to Cell Phones and PDAs

Light Blue Optics Ltd (LBO) has developed a revolutionary technology for miniature laser projectors dubbed PVPro(tm). Today they announced their latest demonstrator unit, which is only 3.78 cubic inches in volume, and is similar in size and shape to a typical matchbox. Projectors based on PVPro technology can be used to display images from a range of mobile devices, including laptop computers, personal media players like the video iPod, digital cameras and even mobile phones.

Found Via Engadget

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Japanese Warhol TDK ad

Found Via

MyVu Personal Media Player: LCD goggles - Engadget

Cute video goggles/earphones being marketed for the ipod, but probably usable with just about anything. These things tend to give me headaches personally, but I haven't totally discounted them as being something potentially useful for some sort of multimedia art project.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Air freshener timelapse

This is film rather than video, but such sheer genius I had to share. A member of the small-gauge film forum has hacked an electronic air freshener, which originally sprayed a whiff of scent at timed intervals, into a timelapse cable release for super-8 cameras, complete with the option of automatic day or night-time operation!

Pictures and details on the forum thread:

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Nam June Paik

Toshi Hoo writes:
Nam June Paik has died at the age of 74:
If you are video artist and don't know Paik's work, you should. He introduced the world to video art in the 1960's and collaborated with the Fluxus art movement with folks like John Cage and Charlotte Moorman.

From the Mercury News:
MIAMI - Nam June Paik, the avant-garde artist credited with inventing video art in the 1960s by combining multiple TV screens with sculpture, music and live performers, has died. He was 74.
The Korean-born Mr. Paik, who also coined the term ``Electronic Super Highway'' years before the information superhighway was invented, died Sunday night of natural causes at his Miami apartment, according to his Web site. | 01/31/2006 | Nam June Paik, electronic artist

Monday, January 30, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Scanner Photography Project

Mike Golembewski creates a strange and beautiful hybrid using flatbed scanners and large format cameras. He rigs old cameras to low-end scanners, the lens functions as it normally would, and the scanner slowly pulls the image in line by line.

It's kinda like when you put your face in the copy machine, and move it slowly left to right, and the scan bar does its thing. Imagine images of the outside world taken this way.

The Scanner Photography Project
Links appear to be dead now 3/07

Thanks, dylan!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

HandBrake on Macintels

This is insane: Handbrake is doing H.264 full size encodes in REAL TIME on the new intel iMac. If this is true, I am going to have to buy one of those machines. (I really needed to buy a new refrigerator too. Oh well, I needed to lose a couple pounds from the holidays anyway) I get a lot a emails asking if HandBrake will support the new Intel Macs. The answer is yes, a x86 build is already available from the download page. Not everything is optimized for Intel yet, but H.264 is and a 2.0 Ghz Core Duo iMac reportedly encodes about real-time to H.264 at full size (screenshot). The next release should be available as a Universal Binary and full optimized for both platforms.

HandBrake homepage

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

After Effects 7.0


Wahoo! Adobe announced and shipped After Effects 7.0. Check out the new feature overview (SWF: 23.1MB / 8:53 min).

  • Redesigned, unified user interface

  • Graph Editor Create precise animations with the new Graph Editor, which offers complete visual control over keyframe editing and easy synchronization of animated properties across layers.

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) color support 32-bit-per-channel floating-point color. (Professional edition only.

  • Animation and Behavior Presets plus project templates

  • Faster mask rendering

  • 32-bit audio support

  • OpenGL rendering Use OpenGL for final rendering at high speed: OpenGL 2.0 capabilities include common blending modes, motion blur on 2D layers, anti-aliasing and track mattes, better shadows and transparencies, and more.

  • Expanded file format supportnew support for HDV, Macromedia Flash Video (FLV), Camera Raw, OpenEXR, AAF (Professional edition only), 10-bit YUV (v210), and 32-bit TIFF and PSD formats.

  • Timewarp Slow down and speed up footage with smooth, crisp results and minimal artifacts. Timewarp analyzes pixel motion to create more accurate in-between frames. (Professional edition only.)

I'm looking forward to using the graph editor. Selecting keyframes vs. motion keyframes vs. selected properties, etc. is a nice touch. And the color coding looks handy, especially if you're trying to adjust the X/Y/Z ease a 3D object... If only they'd implement labeling individual points on a mask...but at least now there's an auto-save feature!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

HDTV Axi-Vision Camera


The HDTV Axi-vision camera can simultaneously acquire both an HDTV color image and a high-resolution depth image of a scene. What? Essentially, the Axi-vision records infrared information about the distance between the camera and what's in front of the camera at the same time as the usual broadcast info. The resulting grayscale image can be used to key footage in real-time without using a green/blue sceen, or painful frame-by-frame rotoscoping.

Full details here. Make sure to watch the videos for true delight (1, 2, 3).

"Video Voyeur"

I'm probably going to lose a couple of readers from this link, but it was way too crazy to pass up, the 'video voyeur' is a fearsome looking vibrator/video camera for.. uh... well, as puts it:
thread it through your drainage gutters and see what's clogging them. Or... um.... use it as a microphone and secretly look up people's noses.

Link, sort of NSFW

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Video feature: Viewsonic's mini projector - Engadget

This thing with the battery pack and an ipod with video.
Video feature: Viewsonic's mini projector - Engadget

Garage 3D question..

Andrew writes:

...I know it's not ask dr. wiley, but i was wondering-
my friend and i both have canon zr series dvs,
theyd be pretty easy to rig stereoscopically,
does anyone have the software to generate 3D?
with or without glasses?
canons XL1 had a stereo lens, but i think that
just utilized the interlace.
do you know anything about this?
or where i could try looking?

My guess is that this is one for Dr. Bohus...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Microtel - the teletext station for the voluptuous blinking eye

Teletext is a system which encodes extra information in analogue TV signals, where televisions with the right chip can decode and display special text and graphic pages. Teletext originated in the UK in the 1970's. Today teletext services still offer a range of text-based information, usually including national, international and sporting news, weather and TV schedules. There is an excellent Wikipedia page describing teletext and itshistory here.
This new channel is called Microtel. The station managers are artists Emma Davidson [Lektrogirl] and Paul B. Davis from Lektrolab. Microtel teletext programs will be broadcast by NOS, Netherlands public television.

Microtel is one of the projects curated by as part of VBI [voluptuous blinking eye] - a submission for the exhibition "Satellite of Love" . This exhibition is presented by the 35th International Film Festival Rotterdam in association with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and the TENT Centre for Visual Arts. The exhibition runs from 26 January to 05 February 2006.

Up until 04 February 2006, you will be able to create teletext and email it to Microtel for inclusion on this website, a DVD to be distributed by SCEEN magazine andmost importantly broadcast on Netherlands TV station NOS. Check technical information for software downloads and FAQ's to contribute today!

Looks like there are only windows teletext editors available, so make one for me while you're at it, this sounds awesome.