Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nothing but data: from laser to pop video

This post is proud to have been syndicated to the Ponoko blog.

In the same way that the digital fabricator requires the designer to distill their creation down to nought but ones and noughts, so Radiohead's latest video bypassed the visual spectrum entirely in its making. Instead, director James Frost and technical director Aaron Koblin used Lidar (short for Light Detection and Ranging) to capture scenes in 3D, the resulting video becoming purely a post-production interpretation of the data.

The video is for the song House of Cards and can be viewed along with a neat 'making of' here. Here's a snapshot:

Thom Yorke Lidar scan from House of Cards video

In true web 2.0 tradition, the band have made the dataset available as 'point cloud data', that is, a bunch of numbers for every laser sample taken, and as source code for Processing, MIT's popular programming platform for digital artists. If neither of those is your bag, there's a nice wee toy for spinning Thom Yorke's pointillistic face around in you web browser here.

Sure as Radiohead fans are obsessive and brainy, there are already 'user-generated' responses up on Youtube within just 3 days.

One comment stood out to me from the 'making of' video, that was Frost saying of the video that;

"In a weird way it's a direct reflection of where we are in society: everything is data, everything around is data driven in some shape or form and we're so reliant on it now, it seems like our lives are digital..."

As long as one stays optimistic yet rational (as, in my opinion, do Radiohead), this can be an enormously liberating idea, as demonstrated through collaborative ventures such as Ponoko.

via too many blogs to mention.

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