Archive for January, 2009


January 19, 2009

Since absorbing myself into the world of Maya I have increasingly felt the urge to return to video in the hope of incorporating live action and 3D. I had originally stated in my proposal that this would come at a later stage in the course but I’m feeling now that compositing will play a greater role in my work on simulation. The software I’m using to composite is Shake which is a node based 2D vfx program; Apple’s version of After Effects. However I came across a problem quite early on that put me back a couple of frustrating weeks.

I’ve been filming with a Canon HG10 CMOS video camera for a couple of months with the intention of importing the footage into a motion tracking program called PFtrack. However over the past couple of weeks it has been impossible for me to get a decent track out of this program. I tried alternative methods such as manually tracking in the Live section of Maya that has given similar results. The other day I came across a blog detailing certain problems that CMOS cameras have when matchmoving. It appears the senors on these cameras use a different form of image making to record through the use of a rolling shutter. Any handheld or panning movement of the camera creates a distortion that literally stretches, bends and wobbles the video footage. This is generally unnoticeable in playback but when tracking points in PFtrack, the software pinpoints individual pixels to calibrate the movement of the camera which if distorted cause huge problems when exported to Maya. Here is a useful website that explains the difference between CCD and CMOS cameras;

For now it seems I can only composite effectively if the camera is positioned on a tripod. This is not a problem for the time being however I would like to use handheld video in the future.



January 9, 2009

Feedback Exhibition / House Gallery / 4-18/12/08



January 8, 2009

The object, automated. I’ve noticed recently that mobile technology is taking on the shape of a fictional machine from one of Arthur C. Clarke’s novels. To me these objects increasingly resemble the monolith in 2001 : A Space Odyssey; an object so technologically advanced it merely appears to be a minimal black six sided block. These celestial ‘gadgets’ slip in the palms of our hands promising mobile communication, music, video, photography, internet and computational applications. What’s particularly interesting about these consumables is their allusion of style and collectability. Black, white, chrome, plastic, glossy….fetishism in its purest form. This appears rational to someone like Baudrillard who believes their desirability is largely due to a complex network of cultural and social forces that can render them obsolete or create huge cult followings around them.

I return to Baudrillard once again to discuss the term Automatism in his book The System of Objects. He talks in depth about the relationship between subject and object. How the object invites the subject into a new unconscious, withdrawing them from reality into the hyperreal. He believes this process is the result of a vast cultural network of semiotics controlled by the flow of global technologies and the mass media.

‘For the user, automatism means a wonderous absence of activity….The fact that every automated object may lead us into often unchangeable stereotypical behavior constitutes no real challenge to this intermediate demand of ours: the desire for automatism is there first – it takes priority over objective practice.’

p. 119 The System of Objects. Baudrillard. J. London 1996

What Baudrillard clearly argues here is why we approach these objects not out of a need for their primary functionality but because of the ‘desire’ for automatism. I saw a car advertisment recently whose main selling point was a built in Ipod. This seems ridiculous for a machine capable of far more than a music player but the market for an Ipod at the moment seems to parallel this demand of automatism. We look past the car and it’s mechanical workings and instead are drawn to the ‘intermediate demand’ of ours. Surely the functions of the mythical object found in Clarke’s books are an impossible paradigm to that of the technological artifact of today. What are these convoluted objects that are making our hands lethargic, in black and white.

‘Because the automated object ‘works by itself’, its resemblance to the autonomous human being is unmistakable…..We are in the presence of a new anthropomorphism.’

p. 120 The System of Objects. Baudrillard. J. London 1996