Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Magic of High Speed Photography: An Egg-Themed Tribute, an Affordable Camera for the Masses

The Magic of High Speed Photography: An Egg-Themed Tribute, an Affordable Camera for the Masses:re-blog from Create Digital Motion

Technologist magician Marco Tempest is back with another effort fusing traditional techniques and new gizmos. And I like how Marco celebrates Easter: not by painting eggs, but by filming them in motion on high-speed cameras.

This time, he calls our attention to George Karger, a pioneer in high-speed photography and amateur magic – a pre-digital forerunner to Mr. Tempest’s own practice.

A tribute to George Karger, a professional photographer (regularly contributed to Life magazine) he was the photographic illustrator for many magic books including the Stars of Magic series. But more importantly, he was the first magician ever to experiment with high-speed photography. Here’s to you, Mr. Karger, and to exploring the fourth dimension. (George Karger Died September 27, 1973)

This is the 1940 original:​image/​50336838

Music: Aleksi Virta “cosmos bossa” (

Toys: AOS high speed camera @ 710fps, Nikon 50mm f/1.4, SIGMA 20mm f/1.8

copy me – remix me, music rights reserved. © 2011 newmagic communications, inc.

The clip itself is Creative Commons-licensed, so if you want to work this into your next VJ set, you can.

But here’s where things get exciting: Marco is working with Swiss maker AOS Technologies to develop a low-cost high-speed camera that could spread the use of this kind of photography. Marco has already been doing some beautiful work with the prototype model, seen below; we also have a gallery of the camera itself. Rest assured, we’ll be following development here.

two seconds - cardistry from Marco Tempest on Vimeo.

two seconds - pressure from Marco Tempest on Vimeo.

More video:

Vimeo Album

The AOS prototype camera with magician Marco Tempest. Courtesy Marco; used by permission.

Gallery: High-speed shooting

Next step: thinking of more things to shoot, which could in turn be offered up as more CC clips. Open to suggestions, let us know ideas in comments — and stay tuned for more on working with this camera.

LEGS – Evian ‘Babies Inside’

LEGS – Evian ‘Babies Inside’:

LEGS – Evian ‘Babies Inside‘ Thanks Kris

Water Changes Everything

Water Changes Everything:

Inspiring animation for Charity Water. Donate!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eurostar's sculptural new identity

Eurostar's sculptural new identity:re-blog from CR BLog

Eurostar is to unveil a new adaptive identity system created by SomeOne which has a 200kg sculpture at its heart

SomeOne's Simon Manchipp caused a stir in our sister publication Design Week last April when he explained his belief in 'brand worlds' as opposed to logos on their own. 'Logos are a hangover from another time,' he claimed. The logo, he argued, now needs to be seen in the context of a wider 'brand world'. '[With a] brand like O2, its success lies in the richness and depth of its 'brand world', which features bubbles, colour, photography and could remove the logo and still know the brand,' he argued.

Manchipp is putting these ideas into practice with the Eurostar project. Its starting point is a sculptural form initially created in Maya but then built for real in fibreglass and steel (see above). The form creates an 'e' for Eurostar which doubles as a cross-section of a tunnel through which another element suggests the movement of a train.

This form will then be applied to print materials, the trains themselves and all the other media you might expect. It is wrapped in different materials according to usage – gold for Business Premier class, a duck egg pattern for Eurostar's friends and family scheme, marble for its loyalty scheme etc.

Eurostar has recently re-organised from three companies into one, London-based entity. A £700 million investment will see new trains in preparation for competition from other train companies such as Deutsche Bahn. This has given SomeOne the opportunity to incorporate its new 'brand world' into the train interiors (which will be designed by Pininfarina).

Signage will feature pictograms derived from the sculpture (is it just us or does the lady in the toilet pictogram above look like she needs to get inside that loo pretty damn quickly?) as well as a bespoke typeface with snap-on swashes created by OurType.

The approach is somewhat reminiscent of Miles Newlyn's work for 3. Like that work, the form is perhaps inevitably more impressive in 3D than when applied in two dimensions. A giant sculpture, perhaps wrapped by some famous artist, would no doubt look spectacular at the entrance to Gare-du-Nord or St Pancras, SomeOne's task, and that of the ad agencies it works with, will be to mirror that impact in all the other regions of its 'brand world'.

It's too early to tell whether they will be able to pull that off or whether Eurostar will be remembered as just another shiny 3D symbol, the like of which we have seen many times over the past few years. SomeOne has the next year working with Eurostar to deliver on the idea's considerable potential.

Canal+ shows how to get ahead in the movies

Canal+ shows how to get ahead in the movies:re-blog from CR Blog

French TV channel Canal+ has a released a witty series of ads, devised by BETC Euro RSCG in Paris, that emphasise its commitment to helping filmmakers...

The ads use beautifully designed flowcharts (inspired by New York magazine, perhaps?) to highlight the many twists and turns that can occur when making a movie, and some of the solutions. Each one tackles a different genre, including action, horror and porn, and feature many amusing outcomes. Shown below are three of the full ads, alongside details of each.

Update: We've had to remove the porn film chart as apparently Canal+ aren't happy with that one being released to the wider world. I've replaced it with one for making an animated film, which I'm sure you'll all find equally amusing.

Agency: BETC Euro RSCG
Global creative director: Stéphane Xiberras
Creative director: Olivier Apers
Creatives: Gregory Ferembach, David Troquier
Illustrator: Les Graphiquants

Friday, April 15, 2011

Joy of destruction

Joy of destruction:

Audio-Reactive Music Video, Plus Free Quartz Composer Patch and iTunes Visualizer

Audio-Reactive Music Video, Plus Free Quartz Composer Patch and iTunes Visualizer:re-blog from CreateDigitalMotion

LARS MOSTON & BEN MONO - CAN'T STOP from Top Billin on Vimeo.

Lit entirely by projector, a new music video by Finland-based artist Aku Meriläinen translates pulses of sound into pools of colored light. I love the personal, handcrafted feel of the result — pretty, but not too slick — and for Mac users, there are freely-licensed goodies you can use to either bliss out to music and visuals or try hacking your own reactive audio. Aku writes:

We made a music video for Berlin based DJ/producers Moston & Mono. The song “Can’t Stop” nods partially to 90′s house music, so we tried

to get the feeling of how things were done in the 90′s to this piece. The trick is that only light we used in the video came from a video

projector. And it wasn’t just any light, but real time audio reactive visuals. We have published the code under Creative Commons license and

we even made an iTunes Visualizer from the elements used in the video.

Video, code, iTunes Visualizer and more info can be found from:

In turn, Quartz Composer is augmented with Kineme´s Gl Tools and Structure Tools, more free and delicious stuff for QC.

Let us know how you do with those tools, or if you have audio-reactive creations of your own you’d like to share.

From Your Voice to Sculpture, Handheld Augmented Visuals

From Your Voice to Sculpture, Handheld Augmented Visuals:re-blog from CreateDigitalMotion

Konstruct from James Alliban on Vimeo.

Artist James Alliban sends his mobile app Konstruct, which translates speaking, singing, whistling, and blowing into generative three-dimensional forms, then maps them to an augmented reality marker. It’s vocal improvisatory art. A version is planned for iPad 2, which seems appropriate – the tablet form factor becomes a canvas.

It looks like great fun to play with, and promises options for visual settings as well as the ability to save. My only question is whether the AR tag is really essential, or if the app could simply use location and orientation sensors on the mobile device. I imagine it depends on how it’s used – AR tags could make the “art” item (one work) associated with a specific location in space.

This work reminds me at least in part of another voice-to-visual piece, the landmark Messa di Voce by Golan Levin, Jaap Blonk, Joan La Barbara, Zach Lieberman. (Video below) But that’s not to say that somehow that team, talented as they were, exhausted the possibilities of vocal input. (That’s it. The voice is totally over. I’m taking a vow of silence and off to find something new.)

No, in fact, I’d love to see more pieces make use of the microphone as input. (Ironically, one of the few players who did that have been Nintendo, but they’ve hardly drained the medium dry, either.)

So, hook up that microphone and try it as an input – and let us know how it goes.

Konstruct app site:

Blog post:

Meet the People Who Invented the Digital Camera

Meet the People Who Invented the Digital Camera:re-blog from CreatDigitalMotion

The transformation of expression in digital form is not the magical outgrowth of some unseen force, nor the studied assemblage of minds to tackle a high-priority, high-profile problem (as was nuclear fission). It is the result of a handful of tinkerers, working on “what-if” research scenarios with little money or priority from their employers. They had no clear commercial application, indeed with no view of the radical transformation of culture they were about to unleash. The revolution, in other words, was a clever, challenging hack pulled off by people who were tenacious and smart about making stuff. And because so few did so much, you can actually learn their names and meet the people who made your tools possible.

Photographer David Friedman – a veteran photog from NYC who has a stunning series of portraits of inventors on his portfolio site – here visits Steven Sasson, the man who gave us the digital photo camera.

Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson (Via Daring Fireball)

For yet more insights (if less artfully shot), see a 2010 interview by Kodak. Video:

Sasson, a Brooklyn-born electrical engineer, was given a simple challenge at Kodak. Could you make a camera out of solid state components and a CCD? We know the answer to that question in hindsight, of course. But at the time, it was no minor challenge. As Sasson told the Kodak company’s Plugged In blog in 2008:

It was a very small effort that started out as a general investigation of the imaging properties of CCD imagers that were just becoming available for experimentation. I thought it would be very interesting if I could build a still imaging camera around this new imager. From there I went to an all-digital implementation idea with the dream of demonstrating a camera that had no moving mechanical parts. I had no idea in the beginning how difficult it was to make this work, and if I knew, I might not have attempted it! It was a very small project with almost no budget and very few people knew we were working on it. We even had to clean out an unused back laboratory for some space. The situation was just about perfect to try something crazy.


A Kodak Moment with Steve Sasson [Kodak Plugged In]

Steve Sasson & the World’s First Digital Camera at Chautauqua [Kodak A Thousand Words]

The result was a clunky but surprisingly functional camera. Yes, it recorded images to tape. And yes, Sasson even considered the quantity of exposures on a roll of film in limiting its storage capacity. But all the fundamentals of the modern camera were there, and the picture even looked decent.

It’s hard to fathom both the challenge of the task – or the momentous moment that would come, and just how far it would eventually lead. From the same interview:

I remember questioning my sanity for even thinking that I could ever get this to work. The CCD device was extremely temperamental, the timing of all the digital circuits had to be worked out by hand-drawn timing diagrams and the microprocessor used in the playback unit had to be programmed in assembler language. There were many days I wished I had taken a much smaller bite at this apple and perhaps just done a bench experiment measuring the parameters of a CCD in a test fixture. However, I had the support of two enormously talented technicians, Bob Deyager and Jim Schueckler. This project would not have been a success without them. I remember working day after day in the lab with Jim as we battled the demons in the prototype camera. I think we kept each other going. With a lot of luck and a great deal of help from many members of the laboratory we finally reached our goal of taking and displaying our first picture in December 1975. I remember being very happy and breathing a big sigh of relief that all of it worked.

And here’s what the first image looked like:

The first solid-state CCD photo. Photo courtesy Kodak.

It’s also a sobering lesson in the power of disruptive technology. Kodak, in a tiny project with nearly no budget and no real strategic intention, unwittingly sowed the seeds of the end of their own company’s dominance in imaging. Disruptions don’t always come from without, in other words – sometimes they come from within. (Hmmm… actually, that’s a terrible argument for supporting research, so think of it another way: imagine where Kodak would have wound up had someone else developed digital photography first.) This, in turn, could explain why Kodak was painfully slow to develop the technology. (Whether that would have made their place in the digital world to come better or worse, I’ll leave you to decide.)

The story of Sasson is perhaps as revealing as the story of his camera. Here is a man who first-hand created one of the most significant inventions in modern technology – easily an Edison or Tesla of the 1970s. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs are far better known, even though Woz didn’t invent the personal computer and Jobs wasn’t an engineer. Yet Sasson is relatively obscure. In fact, it wasn’t until Kodak themselves and a local newspaper picked up the story in 2001 that even most technologists knew that Sasson was the inventor of digital imaging as we now know it.

Of course, to really appreciate the motion aspect of this – and the origins of the CCD itself – you have to go back a little further.

The Birth of Digital Imaging: the CCD at Bell

These two gentlemen are pleased with themselves for a good reason: they’ve just invented the digital video camera. Photo courtesy Alcatel-Lucent (formerly Bell Labs).

Without the Charged Coupled Device (CCD), neither digital photos nor video would be possible. And, bizarrely, video actually preceded the still image. Bell Labs, now Alcatel-Lucent, notes that their engineers, George Smith and Willard Boyle, deserve credit for creating the first digital video camera and the first working CCD. It was this invention that truly marks the move from film, from the chemical capture of photography, to a format that would work with digital.

In the fall of 1969 – the same season in which humanity first landed on the moon – they sketched out the ideas. By 1970, they had the first CCD video camera. By 1975, it was broadcast quality.

The technology arguably went on to do something that even overshadows the moon landing in achievement: with the images from space telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope, photography not only changed perception, but changed our fundamental view of the universe in which we live.

Here’s a thought: between Max Mathews – creator of the first digital synthesizer – and Sasson and the Bell Labs CCD team, you have most of the content of these two sites. Add in Bernard Gordon, creator of the UNIVAC and the modern (high-speed) digital-to-analog converter, and Ivan Sutherland’s real-time vector graphics on Sketchpad, and you’ve got pretty much the whole deal. Sadly, a lot of the research environments that created such work – like Bell Labs – no longer exist, in favor of bringing products to market.

No disrespect to the Jobs and Gates of the world, but I hope in the long run the history of some of these original pioneers becomes better known. If we don’t begin to chronicle that history now, in this generation, it could be lost forever.

If such things interest you, amateur photo historian Rodger L. Carter’s site has a great look at the gradual evolution of all of the components on modern digital cameras. Surprisingly, a lot of it happened in the 1970s, if in piecemeal fashion:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Damn Damn Damn "Pioneer DJM-T1: Brand New Traktor Mixer"

re-blog from DJTechtools

We have the scoop on the new DJM-T1 mixer from Pioneer fresh off the floor at Musik Messe. This appears to be Pioneer’s equivalent to the popular Rane TTM-57SL, a 2 channel mixer with integrated support for Traktor Scratch and controls over loops, effects and cue points. Pioneer has listed the price at close to $2,000, which even though it includes scratch vinyl and Traktor scratch duo license seems very high. Along with a built in sound card, the DJM-T1 supports mixing of analogue and digital sources.
  • Pioneer DJM-T1
  • Available: July 2011
  • Price: RRP £1,279 ($1900)
  • Ships With: Traktor Scratch Duo
  • Weight – 6.1 KG
  • Dimensions – 265 mm (W) x 403 mm (D) x 108 mm (H)
  • Key Feature: Integrated Sound Card and Support for Traktor Scratch Duo
The following text is taken from Pioneer’s promotional material

Layout mirrors TRAKTOR SCRATCH DUO 2

The DJM-T1 is not “just” a mixer; it boasts controller functions designed specifically for the included TRAKTOR SCRATCH DUO 2 software, so there is no need for an external controller. DJs get instant access to the 2 new Sample Decks, to create their own loops from live tracks, or remix and edit on the fly. Each Sample Deck gives the option of four loops or samples, for endless possibility.
Software functions such as browse, fast forward, play and rewind are also operated straight from the mixer. FX, loops, hot cues and sampling controls on the unit mirror the TRAKTOR 2 interface for intuitive operability.

Scratch control using DJ player turntables

Fully TRAKTOR SCRATCH certified and equipped with a powerful USB soundcard, so DJs just need to use the included CONTROL CD or vinyl to start operating the software’s scratch functions through their CDJs or turntables. Professional performance is further enhanced by the built in booth monitor feature.


6 of TRAKTOR’s most popular and impressive tempo-synched DJ effects (Reverb, Delay, Flanger, Filter, Beatmasher, Gater) and 1 filter per deck complete the sonic weaponry, giving DJs all the tools they need to stand out from the crowd. Plus the LFO CONTROL signal output changes at beat-by-beat intervals for precision control.

Internal USB soundcard let DJs easily record sets

The onboard USB soundcard eliminates the need for an external soundcard, so DJs can connect the mixer straight to a computer with a single USB cable. That means recording live or practice sets is a breeze, as the included audio interface enables output signal switching to suit the activity, whether that is DJing, recording or producing music.

Enhanced channel fader operability and durability

The new channel faders are smoother and more durable than ever before, thanks to 2 metal shafts supporting the fader knobs. The fader is positioned to the side, minimizing damage from liquid or dust that can get inside. The DJM-T1 crossfader has an exclusive Pioneer magnetic construction that provides extreme durability, and can be used more than 10 million times, while Pioneer P-LOCK Fader Caps are impossible to pull off in the heat of a mix. The operational load, fader curve1 and cut lag2 can also be adjusted to your preference.

Other features

  • Input terminals CD x2 (RCA), PHONO x2 (RCA), AUX x1 (RCA)
  • MIC x1 (XLR & 1/4 inch PHONE x1)
  • Output terminals MASTER OUT x2 (RCA x1, XLR x1)
  • BOOTH OUT x1 (1/4 inch PHONE)
  • HEADPHONE MONITOR OUT x1 (Top 1/4 inch PHONE x1)
  • Other terminals USB B Port x1
  • Sampling rate 48 kHz
  • D/A converter 24-bit
  • A/D converter 24-bit
  • Frequency characteristics 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Total harmonic distortion Less than 0.004%
  • S/N ratio More than 106 dB
  • Headroom 19 dB
  • Power consumption 23 W
  • Maximum dimensions 265 mm (W) x 403 mm (D) x 108 mm (H)
  • Unit weight 6.1 kg

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cut Copy debut new stage prop: a door [via the Home Depot]. What does it mean???

Cut Copy debut new stage prop: a door [via the Home Depot]. What does it mean???: re-blog from HipsterRunoff
Photos via

photos by Diana Wong

Cut Copy recently played some show... but more importantly, it seems like they are 'debuting' a new on-stage gimmick. They brought some random door on stage, which I think is supposed to be a metaphor. Maybe this proves that 'at the end of the day', most diy projects start at the Home Depot, whether you are mainstream or alt.

Many alts all over the world are wondering, "How did they use the door? How did it integrate into their live sound and really improve their live presence?"

They walked out of it and said hello.

I think they also 'projected some crap on it', or maybe they built a custom TV on the door.

Do u think this is a better gimmick than the 'huge plywood X' that The xx constructed?

Maybe even better than the Daft Punk pyramid?

AnCo's generic 'trippy' visuals?

The taxidermy that Grizzly Bear has on stage?

The cadaver that Salem has on stage?

The exiled 'Trail of Tears' wave that Neon Indian has on stage?

It seems s0 difficult 2 be a buzzband, and have to come up with a compelling stage show. Obama really needs to give some tax breaks for buzzbands so they can really optimize their stage setups...

Dan Whitford looks totally hot... Sorta have a fantasy where we get married and do home improvement projects every weekend. Tiling. Installing new light fixtures. Gardening. Installing a pond in our backyard. Sponge painting. Taking our 4 walls and adobe slabs 2 the next level....

Which buzzband has the #1 on-stage setup?

Is this a 'good gimmick' by Cut Copy?

Is Cut Copy now a 'Home Improvement-wave' band?

Novation Twitch: Brand New Controller with a Twist

re-blog from DJTechtools

Novation announced their new “Twitch” controller today. It’s a jog wheel free controller with controllerism focused performance zones that adopts a lot of elements from my personal designs. Along with 8 cue pads which can be used to slice, trigger and roll tracks it also has a dedicated fader FX feature on each deck. Continue reading for more photos and a video demo!


  • Novation “Twitch”
  • Available: July 2011
  • Price: $599.99 MSRP / $499.99 street
  • Ships With: Serato Itch
  • Weight – 4 Pounds
  • Dimensions – 350mm W x 275mm D x 65mm height (13.8? x 10.8? x 2.6?)


- Ultra-reliable 2 in 4 out USB-audio interface: plug straight into monitors, mixer or amp.
- Professional, high level outputs which eliminate hum and noise.
- Microphone input: with independent analogue gain control for vocalists/MCs.
- Second stereo input: TWITCH has an aux input with its own analogue gain for iPods or other sound sources.
- Custom audio/MIDI drivers: ultra-low latency audio/MIDI drivers by Novation.
- Outputs 24bit at sample rates of 44.1/48KHz.


Along with the fader FX concept pulled from our VCI-100 SE, there is a really interesting story about where many of the elements in this design came from. Once the madness of Musik Messe has calmed down a bit (look for our full report shortly), I will write a full article on the topic which promises to be juicy, titillating and full of international intrigue!