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Posts Tagged ‘Video’

This summer, Luke Geissbuhler, the cinematographer behind the mokumentary-style movie Bruno and the upcoming film The Virginity Hit, masterminded a very different kind of movie.  With nothing more than a weather balloon, an HD camera and a GPS device, Gessbuhler and his 9-year old son created a homemade spacecraft and set out to capture its journey on video. The duo encased the camera, GPS and a parachute in a foam container, tied it to the end of the balloon and released it near their home in Newburgh, New York. Hoping to view the video once the balloon fell back to earth, Geissbuhler tucked a note inside the foam container promising a reward to anyone who returned the spacecraft to its rightful creators.

Turns out, the spacecraft was found in a tree later that night, not far from where it was released. But when Geissbuhler and his son watched the video they were amazed to find out that their experiment was a tremendous success. Their makeshift spacecraft had spent the afternoon in space!

To me, the video is a testament to the adage that anything is possible. With a bit of tenacity, research, and a few “flight tests,”  the duo engineered a device that overcame huge odds. Their tiny balloon made it through 100mph winds, reached the upper stratosphere of Earth in only an hour, and managed to land only 30 miles from where it was released! Oh yeah and the resulting film is pretty fantastic too.  Geissbuhler managed to tailor the spacecraft to keep it from spinning and the result is a steady and watchable short film.  When the balloon first breaks past the white clouds and reaches the blackness of space, the view is truly breathtaking. For all of you who wondered as a kid what happened to those birthday balloons that got away, you now have your answer.

-Julia Botero

 


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In 1969, experimental composer Alvin Lucier designed a simple project with a not-so-simple intention.   He sat in a room and made a short recording of his voice, which he then played back into the same room and re-recorded.  Lucier then re-recorded the re-recording, and repeated this process over and over again, making copies of copies until his voice became completely unintelligible. However, he found that the shape and size of the physical space emphasized certain frequencies over the course of the process – so what you’re hearing by the end of the actual “piece” is the room’s natural harmonic tendencies.  In effect, Alvin Lucier turned his room into an instrument.

The work was appropriately titled, I Am Sitting in a Room.  Last year, YouTube user canzona took inspiration from Lucier to begin his own project, I Am Sitting in a Video Room, which came to conclusion just last month.  canzona did the same thing as Lucier, only with a YouTube clip; he uploaded a video of himself, ripped it from YouTube, re-uploaded it, and repeated the process 1,000 times.

It’s worth noting that in the updated version, the project shows how the internet and all digitized information produce unexpected phenomena the same way physical environments do.  At work in canzona’s project are the “artifacts inherent in the video codec of both YouTube and the mp4 format.” Just as Lucier “played” a room, canzona “played” YouTube.

Each iteration of canzona’s video is available on YouTube.  A redux version of I Am Sitting in a Video Room is forthcoming, which should allow users to experience the gradual disintegration continuously from start to finish.  The effect may not necessarily be pleasant – but it makes you wonder if doing the same thing to another, more sonically- or visually-rich clip could result in something more beautiful than the original.  With an estimated 120,000,000+ on YouTube, the possibilities for this kind of experimentation are endless.

– Stephen Reader

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Finally, a YouTube time-suck guaranteed to delight you with repeated viewings.  If, by the end, your jaw is not scraping the floor, you will be sporting an ear-to-ear smile of gee-whiz amazement.

The band OK Go made viral video history back in 2006 with their goofy treadmill choreography. For one of their new tunes, “This Too Shall Pass,” they hired pals, who by day work for  NASA and the Jet Propulsion laboratory,  to execute a mechanical feat of genius inspired by Rube Goldberg contraptions. The vid was posted Monday after the band’s brief battle with their label EMI, which originally wouldn’t allow the video to be embeddable.

It’s extraordinary geekery with one potential setback: the mesmerizing visuals may just eclipse the music. As one commenter on YouTube posted today: AMAZING! but did anyone actually pay attention to the song?

– Michele Siegel

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The sequel to Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street is set to be released this spring, and Michael Douglas is back as the deliciously unctuous Gordon Gekko.  [Update – 3/11: The film’s release date has been pushed back to September.]

My favorite part of the trailer (posted below) is when a prison guard, returning Gekko’s possessions after he’s served a 20-year sentence, slides his mobile phone back to him. The brick-sized hulk of plastic is as unrecognizable to us as 1987’s fat and flourishing economy. Gekko is about to re-enter a world where the iconic Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are no more.  Even Tavern on the Green, where the big climactic scene in the original movie takes place, shut its doors January 1 (with plans to reopen under new management next month).

A few months ago, Studio 360 talked to some of the screenwriters responsible for bringing Gekko into the 21st century:

[AUDIO=http://audio.wnyc.org/studio/studio060509d.mp3]

How close did they come to getting it right? I’m looking forward to seeing the film and finding out.

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV5hEBqYfTE]

– Cary Barbor

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Ladies and Gentlemen…

Greetings from Studio 360’s home base in New York City!

After weeks of listening to tape and mixing (and remixing) our stories, we’re proud to post the first sounds of our trip to Japan. On this past week’s show, we broadcast an interview with the writer Pico Iyer in Nara Park (remember Bad Bambi?), a lesson in Japanese tea ceremony, and Pejk’s trip to a mysterious forest at the base of Mt. Fuji.

Also, with the help of Matthew Cavnar, we present the first of three Studio 360 high-definition shorts. The first is from Kurt’s conversation with Pico in Nara Park:

We’ve got a full episode of material from Japan in this week’s (upcoming) episode. Hope you’ll tune in!

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More great design solutions that I wish we could bring back with us to the US:

dfrw-seat

ITEM 1:

Say you’re shopping in a department store with your toddler and you need to go to the bathroom… where do you stick the kid? TOTO, maker of the world’s most amazing (and complex) toilets offers another great product, attached to the corner of the stall.

ITEM 2:

The Japanese are known for being extremely considerate — but sometimes, even they need reminding. Or perhaps they’d like to politely remind their visitors? This public courtesy campaign is in train cars and stations. This is not your brain on drugs — rather, it’s a gentle, rational reminder not to be stupid:

dfrw-sign

"Texting while walking means putting a blind-spot in the center of your field of vision."

ITEM 3:

We’ve enjoyed staying 20 stories above Shibuya, one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Tokyo. So busy, in fact, that they’ve done away with crosswalks: at the signal, hundreds of people cross every which way, then clear out completely to make way for the cars. The wash of people — like four dark waves, crashing into each other and then receding back onto the sidewalk — takes my breath away every time. Especially since I know we’d never be capable of sharing the street so efficiently and gracefully in Times Square.

– Jenny Lawton

(Frustrated Writer/flickr)

(Frustrated Writer/flickr)

(Shibuya on a relatively light day)

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Meanwhile, back at Studio 360…

Kurt Andersen and most of the staff are in Japan. Who’s minding the shop?

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