land-of-kain

(umi'n no kuni)

The Blackest Black

Peta Pixel reports on the blackest black: Surrey Nanosystems have invented a material named VantaBlack consisting of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that bounce photons inside them until they turn into thermal energy. The reflectance percentage is lower than 1e-3, e.g. the dot of a standard red laser pointer just vanishes.

Cinematic Lighting Examples

On Peta Pixel, Doug Jackson recounts examples of him getting still frames from cinematic movies, and analyzing them in terms of how the lighting was produced and which effect was intended. The primary tools are stage lighting equipment and various types of reflectors.

Cat S60: Infrared Camera Smartphone

In case a YotaPhone 2 with E-ink back side is not novel enough: Peta Pixel reports on the Cat S60 phone with a built-in FLIR thermal imaging camera, to see heat losses or people/animals in full darkness.

Photography: Focal Length for Portraits

Anton Orlov explains why a lens with long focal length is better for portrait photography: If the camera is far from the subject, all facial features have nearly the same distance to the sensor. If the camera is very close, e.g. the nose is a lot nearer to the sensor than the rest of the face, taking proportionally more pixels and enlarging the nose artifically.

Time of Flight Doppler Imaging

Researchers from USA/Germany have combined Time-of-Flight cameras and the Doppler effect (video). In ToF, photons with a specific wave length (phase) are emitted and the phase shift is measured. When an object is moving towards or away from the camera, the Doppler effect changes the wave length itself (not just shifting it). The prototype separates the two effects, and provides depth and z-motion as output.

Structure from Motion: Theia SFM

For one or multiple (possibly moving) cameras, structure from motion (SfM) estimates the camera position and direction. Alongside VisualSFM and Bundler (two applications), Theia is an open-source C++ library devoted to the same goal.

Language Engineering: Producing Ambiguity

Nerdcore points to a Timothy McSweeney article on language engineering to create ambiguity in sentences, moving from the classic "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" to the final result "Speed was involved in a jumping-related incident while a fox was brown" in 10 or so easy steps.

Infrared and Ultraviolet Photography

Color photography captures light wave lengths in the red, green and blue bands. But what happens when you choose ultra-violet or infrared as filter in front of your camera sensor? As Tom Leveritt and Peta Pixel report, the shorter-wave UV recording shows freckles and sunburn much earlier than RGB photography, while the longer-wave infrared recordings (Peta Pixel) smoothe the skin.

Photography Lighting: The Sun

Petapixel links to a RocketJump video on how to use the Sun for photography lighting: Backlighting on sunrise/sunset, using a bounce ("reflector") to accentuate, and using a bedsheet ("softbox") to remove harsh shadows particularly for the Sun at noon. Also usable: Ikea articles, and posing tips by Lexia Frank.

Modulo Camera

Petapixel reports on the MIT Modulo Camera concept: Each pixel records photons as usual, but when saturation is reached, the pixel is reset to zero. The number of overruns is stored per pixel. In the end, an HDR image can be built, and tone mapping can be applied.

Lowlight Photography: Sony a7S and Canon ME20F

Normal cameras shoot well around ISO 10.000. Peta Pixel reports on the Sony a7S working well around 400.000 ISO and on the experimental Canon ME20F reaching 4.000.000 ISO, beating even EM CCDs (EM = electron multiplier). This means practically shooting in moonlight or less is possible.

Iaido: Human vs. Robot

A Iaido (japanese sword) master competes in a 1000 cuts (of inanimate objects) challenge against a computer-controlled industrial robotic arm. Nicely made video with a lot of slow-mo. Related: Making a Katana, the old-fashioned way.

VFX: Mad Max - Fury Road

Mad Max - Fury Road has the minimal VFX needed, as evidenced by a VFX/noVFX and before/after comparisons. It is center-framed, has awesome cars, hired Iloura as one of the VFX studios, and has a nice B-roll in lieu of a making-of.

Camera Sensors: CMOS vs. CCD

Petapixel point to a Image Sensors World article with visalization videos on how CMOS and CCD sensors differ: CMOS sensors use a rolling shutter and thus read pixel rows, while CCD sensors use a global shutter and read the entire image at once.

How to do Visual Comedy

The Every Frame a Painting blog details how to do visual comedy in movie-making, by which they mean using visuals as primary means of conveying humor (the most extreme example being silent film slapstick). They highlight Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) as positive example of using humorous visuals.

How to Construct Clouds

Io9 points to a nice MinuteEarth animation video on cloud formation. While we are at learning, Dorfuchs raps about partial integration [de] and JDD ("die Jungen Dichter und Denker") rap Theodor Fontane's ballad of John Maynard [de].