Amazing slow-motion HD video

April 20, 2009

I recently came across a piece of iMovix SprintCam v3 HD footage in slow-motion. It is truly amazing. The HD video is shot between 500 and 1,000 frames per second, giving a razor sharp photographic quality to the slow-motion video. Below are some screenshots of the showreel made during a rugby match in Stade de France:

Watch the showreel here

I think it is a stunning piece of video and brings new aesthetic qualities to video that were previously impossible,  it makes the ordinary extraordinary:  the perfect capture of the movement of the jelly is almost mesmorising, you can see every muscle working in the leg of the rugby player, every facial expression of the cheerleaders is captured completely. Not a single detail or movement goes unnoticed. I think that iMovix have created art from the otherwise everyday footage and I look forward to seeing more video like this in the future. It has the potential to be the new trend in video industries such as TV advertisements and music videos. It has already been used by drinks company Schweppes in their “Schweppervescence” TV advertisement which was shot at an incredible 10,000 FPS. Watch it below

Braille e-reader

April 20, 2009

Seon-Keun Park, Byung-Min Woo, Sun-Hye Woo and Jin-Sun Park are four designers who have collaborated on the concept design of a Braille e-reader for those with poor or no vision.

The e-reader would use electroactive polymers in order to change the surface’s shape. Technology for electronically creating Braille characters has already been developed by researchers in Finland. Using a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet they created a method that

“uses a single pulse of intense vibration to convey a raised dot, and a longer vibration made up of several weaker pulses to represent a missing dot — spelling out letters that can be easily read by touch”

 

 

How it works
How it works

The volunteer testers found that it took a little while to get used to this method of reading braille but once they did they could read the characters quite easily. The hope for the future is to develop text-to-braille software.

I think that this is an amazing advancement in digital media. I would never have considered digital device screens as a suitable platform for Braille text. There is the possibility of opening up a whole new digital world to Braille readers.

Car controlled by iPod Touch

April 11, 2009

Jon Oxer from GeekMyRide.org has developed a custom web application which allows him to control some elements of his Mazda RX-8 from his iPod Touch. Using this app he can lock and unlock the car, start and stop the engine and pop the boot. He can also view his car’s current status and see its location on Google Maps. The car has a 3G connection to the internet and the iPod Touch is connected via wifi. As this application is web-based, the location of the iPod Touch and the car doesn’t matter, Oxer can essentially control these functions of his car from anywhere in the world. In the video below he demonstrates the application and shows the technical additions he has made to the car in order for it to work. 

This is a potentially very useful app in the prevention of vehicle theft. An owner could be notified on their iPod Touch if someone has unlocked or started their vehicle, regardless of location. Something like this may provide car owners with some peace of mind when leaving their vehicles in areas notorious for theft, in long-term airport carparks when on holiday or even when parking it in an unfamiliar area.

The Egg Republic

April 11, 2009

The Egg Republic is a 3D, web, brand and print design agency based in New York. It is vital for companies in this industry to showcase their work and creative ability via their web presence. The Egg Republic does not disappoint. The company website has a very “edgy” feel and look and this is mostly down to the site’s navigation. There is a brief flash intro to the site and the homepage is very “now” with the heavy use of black contrasting with the only other colours, red and various shades of white. It could look like a hundred other modern websites but upon moving the cursor you will see that the page is not fixed rigidly i.e. it tilts left, right, up and down

homepage

This feature becomes more apparent in the “Our Work” section of the site. “Our Work” is divided into three sections: Interactive, 3D Animation and Branding. The first example is shown in the main window and when you tilt the window to one side you can see the others “stacked” behind it. Clicking on any of these will bring it to the front and some information regarding the work is displayed. Work can also be flicked through using the “prev”/”next” buttons above the window.

"Our Work" page

"Our Work" page

If this method of navigation is not to you taste there is an option to switch to thumbnail-based viewing. Also, regarding navigation options, there is a “quick nav” menu available to the right of the screen which is based on the main site navigation in the rotatable window.

Thumbnail browsing and "quick nav" options

Thumbnail browsing and "quick nav" options

To add to the free-moving feel of the site, each time you click to navigate to a different section of the site you are “transported” up or down, left or right (depending on section) as though all the windows are floating in a large black space larger than your screen.

Navigating from one section to another through the "black space"

Navigating from one section to another through the "black space"

I think that this unusual style of navigation works for the site, particularly because of the nature of the company – digital design companies must be seen to be “cutting edge” in order to stay on top. Also I think the inclusion of simpler, more conventional navigation options, such as the ability to switch to thumbnail viewing in the “Our Work” section makes the site more accessible to those who prefer a more traditional website experience. I really like the design of this site and enjoyed exploring it. It is a very good advertisement for The Egg Republic agency and their creative and technical ability.

Visit the site

MouthOff

April 10, 2009

MouthOff is an iPhone App which turns your speech into an animated mouth. There are several different mouths to choose from and you hold your iPhone up to your mouth and speak to give the impression that you have an animated mouth. Visually it is very humorous and that coupled with the novelty factor of most iPhone Apps has made it quite popular. There is a site, ShowUsYourMouthOff, dedicated to YouTube videos of people using the MouthOff application. Users simply upload their video to YouTube with the tag “showusyourmouthoff” and the video is then featured on the site. See MouthOff in action below:

MouthOff is available from the iTunes store for 79c(€)

Generation Movie Project

April 10, 2009

The Belgian mobile telecommunication operator, Proximus, has taken a very creative approach to its latest advertising campaign. Proximus launched a website where visitors can interact with a piece of video by replacing individual frames with uploaded photographs. An instructional video on the site explains the concept: you are first shown a piece of rotoscoped stop-motion video which is very plain in appearance with only simple black outlines on a white background.

The idea is that you choose a frame, re-create that frame as accurately as possible in real-life, photograph it and then upload the photograph to replace the frame. Once the period of time to do this is up (currently 3 days remaining), the new video of replaced photographic frames will be broadcast on TV.

 

You can scroll through the video, frame by frame, to select where you want to replace a frame with a photograph

You can scroll through the video, frame by frame, to select where you want to replace a frame with a photograph

 

Frames replaced with uploaded photographs

Frames replaced with uploaded photographs

It is a great advertising strategy as the unusual idea of replacing current frames with your own captures user interest and also there is the attraction of the possibility of seeing your frame broadcast on TV. I initially came across this site while researching rotoscoping but as it turned out that is just a very small element of the site’s appeal. I think it is a fresh new application of old-school techniques i.e rotoscoping, stop-motion and photography. There is nothing complicated about the concept and I think this definately works in its favour. The Generation Movie is due to air in a few weeks time.

Visit the Generation Movie Project

Gaming Timer

April 8, 2009

A timer to limit your gaming time is nothing new but this Health Control Game Timer has been create for use with the Nintendo DS.

Not only will it shut off your hand-held console once your time is up but it also has an in-built proximity sensor that will trigger an alarm if you are holding the DS too close to your face. I think that the sensor is a good idea and would be effective in curbing habits where gamers hold the consoles right up to their nose. As for the timer function, I think that in the heat of a game it would just be pulled out and ignored by kids or hard-core gamers but perhaps it would work for people making an honest effort to cut down on gaming time.

Self conscious at the bus-stop

April 1, 2009

A Dutch fitness agency, Fitness First, have created a bus shelter advertisement that will make you look twice. At first glance it looks like any regular bus shelter poster, there is nothing particularly interesting or eye-catching about it

But once someone sits on the bench at the shelter, the poster displays their weight in Kgs. Suddenly it becomes a lot more interesting!

Chances are that most people would stand up immediately once they realised what was happening, what with weight being such a sensitive issue. It takes a confident person to remain seated. While some people may oppose the poster, there is no denying that it is an effective form of advertising. It would leave an impression on the more weight conscious bus traveller and also no doubt be a conversation topic.

Internet usage

March 29, 2009

As part of this class I was asked to monitor my internet usage for one whole day. This was a simple task for me to do as I use a mobile broadband USB modem and it counts the data transferred from the moment it is activated each day. Sometimes however it disconnects unexpectedly and the counter returns to zero immediately so it was several days before I had uninterrupted connection to read the total data downloaded. 

 

My Broadband USB modem

My Broadband USB modem

 

 

The day I used was a typical day of my time online. Throughout the course of the day I checked my emails, logged onto social network sites such as FaceBook and MySpace, read all the items in my Google Reader account (many of which include video) and from time to time used chat tools such as Gmail Chat, MSN and Skype. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos in my research for a project and this pushed the counter way up.

This particular day I was online for 5.5 hours, some of which I was inactive for, I just stayed connected. The total download was 287mb. This is an average figure for me, although some days it can be up to 600mb if I download a lot of music or stream long video files. My monthly limit is 10GB and after 5 months of having this modem I have never exceeded that limit.

Kyle Lambert, Digital Artist

March 22, 2009

Kyle Lambert is an animation and illustration student from the UK. On his website he lists his specialist areas as “photorealistic illustration, digital painting, 3D modeling/animation, motion graphics and website design”.  But one look at his portfolio and it is clear that digital painting is his forte. He paints digitally in both highly detailed and accurate photo realism and rough oil painting styles. 

His work was recently mentioned on the Photoshop User TV podcast and he was a tester for the latest version of Pixelmator (an image editor for Mac) and had his test piece featured on Pixelmator’s official blog

Photorealistic digital paintings are quite common today and a quick search on YouTube for “speed painting” will give almost 40,000 results but Lambert’s work is on another level to any digital painting I have seen before. Also a keen watercolour and oil painter, Lambert has an amazing talent. It is worth mentioning that it doesn’t take him hours upon hours to complete these works. On his portfolio website he indicates the time it took him to complete some of the paintings, one is as short as 2 hours. 

Lambert states that it took him just 6 hours to complete this painting of Jessica Alba

Lambert took just 6 hours to complete this painting of Jessica Alba

Stages in his digital painting of Rhianna

Finished painting of Rhianna

Finished painting of Rhianna

I particularly like this painting as it looks like a crossover between tradition oil painting and digital styles

Lambert completed this painting in just 2 hours. It was created for a tutorial he made for abduzeedo.com

Lambert completed this painting in just 2 hours. It was created for a tutorial he made for abduzeedo.com

See the speeded-up video below of Lambert creating the Barack Obama portrait:

Visit Kyle Lambert’s blog and portfolio website