Microsoft’s new technology transforms your room into a video game

In an unprecedented and long-awaited move, Microsoft has patented a new gaming console that blends projector and Xbox/Kinect technology to take the video game environment literally outside the box and into your home.  The patent should serve to keep Google’s competing Interactive Spaces project at bay, a project that also uses projection and cameras to map locations and movement using blob-tracking.  The console, being touted as Xbox 720/Kinect V2, projects the 360 degree video game display onto all four of your walls, encompassing you in the game and making your room into the game environment.  It tracks furniture positions and adjusts the projection to visually eliminate them from the environment.

Thanks to science, we are one step closer to creating the Holodeck.   I’m so excited that this is happening in my lifetime.  I think it’s something that every gamer has dreamed of at least once in his or her childhood.  The project is estimated to be under construction for another few years.  In the meantime, you can start working on your startle response so you don’t wet yourself when Left 4 Dead’s Hunter pops out from behind your bed.

Here’s some more technical context for the ‘Immersive Display Experience”  (Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.)

A data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by a logic subsystem is provided. The instructions are configured to output a primary image to a primary display for display by the primary display, and output a peripheral image to an environmental display for projection by the environmental display on an environmental surface of a display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image.

An interactive computing system configured to provide an immersive display experience within a display environment, the system comprising: a peripheral input configured to receive depth input from a depth camera; a primary display output configured to output a primary image to a primary display device; an environmental display output configured to output a peripheral image to an environmental display; a logic subsystem operatively connectable to the depth camera via the peripheral input, to the primary display via the primary display output, and to the environmental display via the environmental display output; and a data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by the logic subsystem to: within the display environment, track a user position using the depth input received from the depth camera, and output a peripheral image to the environmental display for projection onto an environmental surface of the display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image and shields a portion of the user position from light projected from the environmental display.

[0002] An immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user. The peripheral images serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display.

[0003] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.

 

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Willow’s “Sweater” makes a beautiful music video on one stage with Projection Mapping

Everything shot in studio with 3 beamers projecting on a floor and two walls.

Directed by: Filip Sterckx
DOP: Pierre Schreuder
3D animation / Editing: Filip Sterckx
Production: Pierre Schreuder, Filip Sterckx
Technical support: Aitor Biedma
Production assistant: Nils Goddeeris
Thanks to: Het Depot, Stake5, Cools multimedia, Tom Brewaeys, Birgit Sterckx, Antoon Verbeeck, Pieter-Jan Boghe

If Lars Von Trier Directed a Donald Duck Movie, This Would Happen:

If the name Lars Von Trier sounds even vaguely familiar to you, you probably know that he’s notorious for his ever-serious, dark, and disturbing directorial style.  I still remember the first Trier film I saw back in Prague where they have gigantic screens in the movie theatres, and no part of Antichrist escaped me—especially the extreme-close-up shot of Charlotte Gainsbourg taking a pair of scissors to her ladyparts.  I am still scarred from this, and so is my friend who cried after we got home from the film because she was so (understandably) disturbed.

Alas, it seems my pain and suffering from sitting through an hour and 38 minutes of violently disturbing porn and horror — or as young Alex and his droogs would say, “a bit of the ultraviolent” — has paid off, because without it I would have no context to find the humor in the above video.  So, my fellow Von Trier film PTSD sufferers, watch and enjoy.  Just don’t let it mess with your love of the Donald & Daisy Duck family!!

More Beautiful 2D Animation to Come in “Longway North”

Not only is the trailer for Tout en Haut du Monde (aka Longway North) awesome, but the film is written by two women: Patricia Valeix and Claire Paoletti.  Also working with them is a principal artist from Secret of Kells, which is just fantastic.

Synopsis from IMDb:

“Sasha, a young Russian aristocratic girl at the end of the 19th century, dreams of the Great North and languishes over Oloukine, her grandfather. He is a renowned scientist and Arctic explorer, who has not returned from his last expedition to conquer the North Pole. Oloukine has passed down his passion to Sasha, which is far from satisfying to her parents as they have already arranged for their daughter to marry. She revolts against this destiny, flees and is resolved to rejoin Oloukine a Longway North.”

Oh So Glorious: “Snail Art” by Snails (and Gioacchino Rossini)

I guess this is also an ad for BPAY, an Australian company that has nothing to do with art but sure does appreciate the time it must have taken to create this super cool idea.  I would have enjoyed it with or without the snail end tag, it’s a little cliché but makes sense considering it’s a commercial spot!

NEW Tim Burton Film About a Boy and his Dead Dog: Frankenweenie

I would say it’s not as creepy as it sounds, but we’re dealing with Tim Burton and claymation here.  Fortunately full-on-disturbedness is prevented by its theme of the endearing and tragic relationship between a child and his/her first pet.  You grow up with them, they are a part of your lives, and when they are taken away from you (inevitably the one phone call every college student dreads), you’re left with this sick feeling that you just can’t kick.  Would I have Franken-weener’d my own dog? In a heartbeat.  But that’s life for you–and I can’t wait to see how the story of Frankenweenie plays out. Premieres October 5, 2012.

Source: Disney’s Frankenweenie

Why we Need More Female Directors in TV and Film: Advertising and the Imbalance of Male Fantasy Potrayals

Whose fantasy is this?

I think one of the biggest reasons many women and parents are displeased with the media today is that there is a harsh imbalance of male-female fantasies portrayed in the media.  In this essay I will discuss the reasons this imbalance prevents gender equality and creates a malevolent, one-dimensional view of young women in America.

Introduction

First and foremost, it is important to recognize that all visual media has been edited.  It is the art of editing–of selecting specific close-up, medium, and long shots in a particular order–that tells a story.  Each shot is chosen specifically and delicately in this order, as to perfectly illustrate the story being told.  Each cut simulates a blink of the eye, and with each blink we are concentrating on a new facet of the portrayed experience.

Editing rolls of film to tell your story is a tedious task

In real life, this is not so.  When we blink, our eyes show us the same scene, the same environment.  We cannot skip over the boring, monotonous, or irrelevant moments like in film.  Life is one long, uncut scene. By editing these moments together with a specific intent (the intent to create a story), we are creating pure fantasy.  Every piece of edited media you see is fantasy.  Commercials, tv, film, video games, and the horribly misnamed “reality” tv.

Problem

The problem is, if you look at the people directing and editing these commercials, they are almost all male.  The director of photography (person behind the camera), the director itself, and the editors tend to be male.  When you get a combination like this, even if the script’s writer is female, the story being told is influenced by the desires of these men in the same way that any film or piece of media is influenced by each hand that touches it.  I want to reiterate that there is nothing wrong with male fantasies, something that vocal people posing as feminists will contest.  The problem occurs when our society is dominated only by these fantasies, and there is a lack of female representation.

All male crew.
Even on shows such as Alias and Buffy, we see that makeup comes before ass-kicking.  Somehow on Dark Angel, Jessica Alba’s character has time to perfect her hair and put on mascara before going to fight the bad guys…In real life, makeup and hair to that effect can take an hour or more to achieve.  It enslaves you, in a real way. Women who see “looking good” as a necessity are prevented from acting on spontaneous decisions and their freedoms are limited because they need to spend an hour doing hair and makeup before they can go to lunch, or the beach, or to work.  Men don’t need to worry about these things because they are told through advertisements and tv that they don’t need to.
Evidence
Here is an example of a GoDaddy.com Superbowl 2012 commercial that objectifies women. This will be shown to families with young girls watching all over America for this year’s Superbowl XLVI.  WHY do you need sex to sell domain names? What on earth does sex have to do with domain names? Simple…sex sells.

And here is another one, also by GoDaddy (are you noticing a trend here?):

By the way: every single crew member, ad executive, and pre-production member for the GoDaddy commercial above is male.  The only exceptions? The actresses.

Now that you’re hopefully starting to feel enlightened, let’s move on to the next part of this essay.  The “equality part.”

To illustrate my point, I would like to use the Old Spice campaign as an example.  Note that this campaign differs only from the Axe campaign in that it switches the stereotyped gender roles.

Well what do we have here? From the advertising agency we have a female Executive Creative Director, a female Producer, a female Producer Interactive, and another female Producer Interactive.  And in the crew, there is a a female Executive Producer, and a female Line Producer.

Hm. Interesting.

Solving the Problem

I love Old Spice commercials.  First and foremost, they are hilarious.  You have a good-looking guy fulfilling every female fantasy in one long take.  One reason this works so well is because of the editing reasons I mentioned before–there is no cut.  It is one long take, and this lack of editing simulates real life.  However, its motion graphics and special effects make it very clear that it is still only a fantasy.

However, if you are to look at this commercial in the manner that sexualized female characters are looked at by other women, you will see that not everything is so fine and dandy after all.  The Old Spice guy is being objectified and sexualized. His character’s only mission is to satisfy women.

Is that sort of male objectification ethical? No. Objectification of either gender causes people’s personalities and souls to be disregarded as we cast them off as objects for looking at, or, as we commonly call it, “pieces of meat.” So how do we combat this? There is clearly objectification coming from both sides of the gender pool, with one side greatly outweighing the other…

The answer: balance it out!  There is no way you can ask a male artist not to paint his fantasy, whether on a canvas or on camera.  That’s not fair nor ethical, as we should all have the freedoms to write, film, or paint our fantasies.  But what you can do is balance out those male fantasies with female fantasies.  And this is important for empowering young women and helping them understand they do not need to be sexual or beautiful to be successful people.

Conclusion

A lot of things have changed for women’s status since our parents time, our grandparents time, and the generation before them, but that doesn’t mean the struggle is over yet.  More women than ever are attending college (and out-attending men even), working, and running for office.  Men don’t offer women seats on the train anymore, and they won’t pay for your dinner every time you go on a date.  We are living under the pretense that both genders are equal, and yet we are lacking a HUGE female influence in the media and political arenas.  This is not right, it has to change.  Too many women and men live in ignorance of our world’s domination by male fantasies and the insecurities it creates for both men and women (but especially women).

Not all women want to be viewed sexually, but thanks to the push to widely distribute photos like this, they are.

Equality can only be achieved by equal representation.  Ever heard the saying, “99% of life is just showing up?”  Well women, you (we) need to start showing up and getting out there.  In film, in tv, in advertising, and in politics.  Don’t be intimidated by male dominance in the industry.  What’s the worst that can happen by trying? In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, a champion of equality, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”