My good friend Alek Fin introduced me not too long ago to the Nervous Structure installations, while he was conducting some research on alternative ways of doing projections for his live show, and I’ve been hooked ever since (I one day plan on having one of these set up perminantly on one of the walls of my workspace or house).
Nervous Structure is a series of site-specific, interactive installations consisting of string and fabric structures illuminated with interactive computer graphics that react to the presence and motion of viewers and was developed by Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza:
Annica Cuppetelli (USA) and Cristobal Mendoza (Venezuela) are artists and collaborators focusing on the creation of site-specific, multimedia installations that address issues of space, interaction, and materiality. Their installations combine traditional craft and common materials with interactive video projections and computational design processes, and they address the formal qualities of a given site while creating an immersive and participatory environment. Cuppetelli obtained her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2008, and Mendoza at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2007. They are based in Detroit, MI.
I’ve seen some of this footage before but never heard the commentary. The narrators go into some really interesting detail on the tech involved in capturing the film footage of Shuttle launches. Most of the footage is for review purposes but some is purely documentary. All of the footage is beautiful though. It amazed me that they still used film all the way up until the end of the Shuttle program. They’re also shooting at higher frame rates so you get some great slow motion in there.
The lenses used range all the way up to a 4000mm, 250lb., catadioptric for the medium range tracking system. The Shuttle program was undoubtedly one of the greatest technical achievements humankind will ever produce (and I’m guessing the last of it’s scale), so I suppose it’s fitting that it was documented with a 100+ camera array of some of the most sophisticated optics available.
This was part of a DVD put together detailing some of the best footage from the later Shuttle launches.
Andrew Huang’s full length version of Solipsist is now available to watch above. I posted a few weeks ago on the trailer, which I was astonished by alone, but now the full version is up. This piece is nothing short of astonishing from photography and post to sound design. I won’t say too much more, but I will say that you might want to close out of Photoshop for about 10 minutes and fullscreen this.
Also, for those that are interested, here’s the making of that’s equally as interesting.
Might be a little late to the internets on this one but I just ran across “Light” from David Parker at Sunday / Paper tonight. Such great imagery and haunting tone in this piece it feels like it’s pulled from a dream. I’ve always been drawn to subtle surreal 3D work, I really love how this is put together. The scenes and sound design work great for a late Sunday evening watch. You’ve got to check out the framing detail here, so watch it full screen and turn the scaling off. Check out more of the work and collaborative efforts of David Parker and Cole Schreiber over at Sunday / Paper.
Edit : I just watched it for the 5th time, it get’s better and better.
Edit Edit : If you like Zombies and amazing photography, watch their most recent film “Rest“.
“… the film is a non-narrative purely visual/audio experience designed to transport viewers through a hypnotic, dream-like experience.” – Anonymous on IMDB
This film looks like a playground for vision. The short excerpt description from IMDB sums up exactly what I love about the moving visual medium. Non-Narrative films, though rare, have some of the most amazing visual concepts and I think this film, Solipsist by Andrew Huang, will be nothing short of great and stir up a lot for us visual artists and designers.
Have a look at the rest of Andrew Huang‘s work at his site, he’s got some pretty incredible and imaginative moving visual work.
I’ve tried to stop thinking about this video for months but I can’t, its got to be the most epic thing on the internet arguably speaking, I mean orange sharks, hockey goalie masks, and Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese…. < sigh > tooo much!
Visuals are a big part of the Tycho live show and I’m often asked how they were created and presented in a live setting. The answer is VDMX, a modular video performance platform. For those of you familiar with video editing / effecting, you could think of it as a stripped down, real-time version of After Effects where every parameter is controllable via various protocols (MIDI, OSC) and even by other parameters. It can mix multiple sources using blending modes like multiply and color burn all while utilizing Quartz Composer effects.
I’ve been using VDMX for a few years now and it’s become one of those tools that I can’t live without. Because it’s modular, VDMX’s interface can be arranged in any way you prefer. I personally use three video decks with and effects bin on each and then a master effects bin. I trigger clips and modulate parameter via MIDI over IP from Reaper running on a Macbook Pro w/ a Vertex 3 MAX IOPS drive (VDMX eats data bandwidth alive!).
VDMX is an incredibly deep and flexible application which I have yet to see any real limitation to. The workflow and functionality is so abstract that there are myriad ways to accomplish pretty much anything you can think of. And therein lies the only real problem I can find with VDMX; the flexibility and modularity afforded by the abstract way in which the application functions comes at the expense of usability. The learning curve is very steep and many of the initial concepts are a little tough to wrap your head around. Vidvox (the developers of VDMX) have put together some great tutorial videos which can help move the learning process along.
Thankfully a new version is out, and with it come some very helpful additions and changes. VDMX 5 is an entirely new program, written from the ground up. For those coming from older versions a lot of the way VDMX works will feel familiar. But you’ll quickly notice that some subtle changes in workflow make a big difference. I just started learning the new version during this current tour and it was pretty straight forward.
VDMX, while certainly not geared toward the casual user, is one of those apps that will allow you to grow into it. The relatively steep learning curve will pay off pretty quickly when you realize just what it’s capable of.
Shooting at 2000fps never gets old. A few months ago I had the opportunity to work with the Olympus iSpeed 3 from Jordy Klein. The iSpeed 3 is a high speed camera that can shoot up to 2000fps at 1280 x 720. It will actually shoot 1280 x 1024 if you want it to but most of us are looking for 16:9, 2:1 or 2:35:1 ratios. I won’t go into too much technical detail, but I’ll respond to any questions about the camera in the comments. It has an on-board CDU (Controller Display Unit) which acts as a monitor and control. Phantom cameras have been using something similar as well, but it’s great to see the progress. This feature is big for high-speed cameras because it means you can be more mobile. It used to be, and still is, that you control these types of cameras via a laptop or desktop computer, the CDU changes that. One other feature of the iSpeed 3 is that it saves to compact flash cards, which we all have. It’ll save uncompressed and a fairly compressed AVI file, as options. The uncompressed file is really high quality for use in post, but takes about 30 minutes to save to the CF, not good for swift production. It was fun to have a camera like this to use on my own for a bit rather than a quick production. However, it was a little overwhelming with the time constraint I had it in to think of stuff to shoot. The most interesting thing, and I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets here was driving around downtown and shooting out the window. Since it’s such a high frame rate you get dolly type shot with people almost frozen in time. I’d like to try that down the road more. Mostly, the things that look the best are the most ridiculous things like breaking something or water.
Shoot anything with water and it’s instantly magical.
Big thanks to Jordy Klein Film and Video, if you need rental equipment definitely check out his site or give him a call. Also thanks to all my friends that subjected themselves to all the random stuff I was egging them on to do.
I’ve posted the few pieces I’ve shot with the camera. The first one up top is a reel of everything I shot in the short time. There’s a bunch more footage, but it’d be dreadfully long if I edited it all together. Hopefully next year I’ll get to test another one.
Be sure to check out Tycho’s tour in 2012, there will be a bunch of footage that I shot with this camera used in the visuals.