Monthly Archives: July 2017

A claustrophobic journey, achieved entirely in-camera

Inventive, detailed work from Oscar Hudson & team:

In the video, a single tracking shot moves through what appears to be the same room, over and over, as it becomes smaller and increasingly claustrophobic. According to Hudson, the video illustrates the Japanese concept of Hikikomori, an agoraphobic phenomenon in which young people who are overwhelmed with the outside world lock themselves in their apartments.

Come on in:

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[Vimeo] [YouTube] [Via Simon Brown]

Google & Major League Baseball team up on VR

When Periscope debuted two years ago, I thought it would quickly usher in an era of live multi-camera feeds of clubhouse champagne parties, dugout conversations, and more. Maybe it still will, but for most uses, it became clear (as maybe it should have been at the start) that very little content demands or rewards live viewing. The Snapchat-pioneered stories format, by contrast, feels live but offers just enough curation & control for both creators & viewers that it’s dramatically more compelling for most occasions.

Anyway, the jury remains out on VR, but I’m glad to see more experiments getting underway. Now Google is using the compact Jump camera rig to partner with MLB in telling young players’ stories. Engadget writes,

[T]he NFL partnered with Google Daydream to produce an exclusive series called All or Nothing last year. Major League Baseball has also collaborated with Google Daydream on a video game and the MLB.com At Bat app. Now, they’ve announced their latest partnership: “On the Verge,” which is a VR series that profiles up-and-coming baseball stars.

The first episodes are available now. They’ll also be available on MLB’s official YouTube account soon.

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Google Trusted Contacts now available on iOS, Android

Seems smart; installing now for me & Margot:

Loved ones can request your location––even if your phone is offline or you can’t get to it. You can also proactively share your location in everyday or emergency situations.

In preparation for a situation where you might need help but can’t answer your phone—imagine you get lost while hiking and lose service—you can choose how long to wait before your location is automatically shared with a trusted contact who asks for your location.

Available now on iOS & Android alike. [Via]

Tour the International Space Station via Google Street View

European astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned to Earth last month after spending six months aboard the International Space Station, capturing the first Street View imagery captured beyond our planet:

[T]he Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS. Then I collected still photos in space, that were then sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS.

You can read about the mission on the Google Blog & check out the behind-the-scenes process here:

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[YouTube]

AI can remap speakers’ faces to put words in their mouths

There’s just no way this ends badly. No possible way.

Given audio of President Barack Obama, we synthesize a high quality video of him speaking with accurate lip sync, composited into a target video clip. Trained on many hours of his weekly address footage, a recurrent neural network learns the mapping from raw audio features to mouth shapes. Given the mouth shape at each time instant, we synthesize high quality mouth texture, and composite it with proper 3D pose matching to change what he appears to be saying in a target video to match the input audio track.

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[YouTube]

Amazing slow-mo footage of hummingbirds

Check out some wonderful work from National Geographic photographer Anand Varma. Interesting details:

A 2013 University of Toronto study concluded that if hummingbirds were the size of an average human, they’d need to drink more than one 12-ounce can of soda for every minute they’re hovering, because they burn sugar so fast.

Kottke adds,

some hummingbirds can beat their wings 100 times in a second and can sip nectar 15 times per second. I also like the locals’ name for the Cuban bee hummingbird, the world’s smallest bird: zunzuncito (little buzz buzz).

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