Green Screen in Movies

We know that ‘green screens’ (or more accurately, “Chroma Key“) are commonly used in filming, be it weather or action movies so that the actor/presenter need not be physically within the context of a scene, whether for safety, costs or technical reasons. The reel from green screen specialist studio Stargate would show just how much it is used in movies and dramas:

Actors probably have gotten better over the years, as they adapt to this technique during acting to respond to non-existent cues within the movie frame. For instance, the instinctive slight shivering while walking through a particularly cold street in Russia – without the immersive visual and visceral setting, one has to imagine the hundreds of minor environmental cues that may affect a character within the environment’s context. Tough!

Wedding Magic

Recently there’s been a flurry of weddings and invitations – something along the combination of friends around my age getting hitched, and auspicious dates/months/years. For those who are thinking of getting married, here’s a video to either stress you (if you’re a guy), or to lift  you to dreamy romantic imagination (if you’re a girl):

I thought it was a relatively simple proposal, but apparently he has more magic up his sleeves than Mickey.

The Immense Redwoods

redwood

Since young I’ve known from statistics in encyclopedias that redwoods are the planet’s tallest trees – the tallest of which grows in excess of 100 meters. While my mind could probably read the numerical figure, it probably doesn’t comprehend the actual immensity and awe of it. And that’s where the following video from the National Geographic help to give some perspective:

Such amazing mother nature, and what dedication and tenacity on the parts of the photographers to capture that magnificent image!

Sand Animation


Sand animation is often mesmerizing as you look at how graceful and smooth the narrator can craft out illustrations out of (essentially) a pile of dirt on an overhead projector surface.

Watch artist Kseniya Simonova’s mesmerizing fingers twist and turn as she unfolds a story about Germany’s invasion into Ukraine in the WWII, as her act brings her to win “Ukraine’s Got Talent”.

Microsoft Courier Tablet


It was making the rounds around the net  – Microsoft’s (concept?) tablet titled Courier with some interesting UI features. The video shows pretty much a scrap/sketch-booking concept so there’s bit of quirky messy-ness within the UI (as how sketchbooks usually are); given the education-leaning demonstration I’d also wonder about the ‘Kindle-killerness’ – could Microsoft muscle their way into schools and convince boards of education that this is indeed going to be a real effective teaching aid (like how many iPod touches ended up as educational aid – IMHO probably more gadget-lust than actually effective tools for learning).

To bad Microsoft gave up on this.

Fight for Kisses


I think… with the developments of Youtube, viral marketing and such, marketers have upped their antes in an attempt to out-weird one another – the ad above for a shaver is probably just yet another example of the absurdity (and yet hilarity and memorability) in the years to come.

How a Tower Crane Grows


We probably all have a vague idea (and have probably seen many) towering cranes in construction sites – those flamingo-legs scratching the clouds, almost unlimited in height, while hauling concretes and what-not around the site. Above is a video that shows exactly how it is assembled and grown as required, in tandem with the building construction.

Sony PS3 “The Play Face”

sony-playface

When we’re immersed in an intense activity – gaming and watching a sports match perhaps – our mind enters z certain ‘zone’. Being fully concentrated on the game, we lose our self-awareness and personal restraint, unleashing the truest facial expressions.

That is exactly what PS3 wants to capture in their campaign “Play Face“:

It’s that face you make when you are playing video games and concentrating so much that you don’t even realize the kind of expressions you are making. And everyone has a different one.

Here’s a video:

There are also (very) similar prior projects though – such as “Immersion” by Robbie Cooper and “Video Gamers” by Philip Toledano. Concept originality aside, I thought highlighting the ‘play face’ was an engaging move by PS3 – we all know it, we are instinctively and visually connected with that ‘face moments’ if we’ve ever played any games ourselves, and it communicates the riveting nature of videogames perfectly.

The Sound of Clap-raining


Here’s a really interesting ‘choir’ – gather up a bunch of people in front of microphones, clapping, slapping and twiddling thumbs to end up with a rather realistic simulation sound of the rain – I particularly liked the thunder effect right around the minute mark.