Category Archives: Internet

Girls With Swords

I’m really proud of this video. It’s the pilot for what could become a webseries being made by my friends and myself. Drawing on elements from 8-bit genres, anime, table-top RPGs, and video games, the show tells the story of three women with magical swords as they seek adventure and fight evil. I was there from pre-production to post-production and the entire thing was a battle against time in order to complete the video. The project was very effects-heavy and took a huge effort of compositors, music, art design and digital effects people to achieve the look and feel of the show. On the shooting day, we had a relatively small and tight crew, but the shoot was still hard because of the small room we were working in (which didn’t have AC installed yet!) To cool the room we brought milk jugs filled with frozen water and stacked them up in front of an electric fan that we turned on between set ups.

Kill The Noise Pt. I video

This is the official video for Kill The Noise by … Kill The Noise. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future savaged by man-eating ghouls ruled by a mechanical overlord. It’s got zombies, zombie killers, and d-d-d-dubstep – three things that go together pretty well.

I got to see some of the behind the scenes work that went into the video and boy did a lot of work go into those effects.

Heart String Marionette is totally available NOW!

I watch a lot of movies and a large majority of them are pretty forgettable, contrived, and lacking any sort of inspiration or fire. But every now and then something comes along and reminds me of why I like movies. Today it is Heart String Marionette. A movie that was five years in the making and represents a collaboration between uberector M Dot Strange (from what I understand an uberector is like a director but stronger and with more powers) and music composer Endika. M Dot Strange is a wildly imaginative filmmaker who has previously released a feature length film on youtube for FREE (TRAILER and FULL MOVIE). Also he made the feature length movie by himself, animating every scene on his own whenever he wasn’t working a day job. The music for HSM is a journey in and of itself and the soundtrack comes with the movie if you buy it online HERE FOR ONLY 5 DOLLARS – THAT’S LESS THAN HALF AS MUCH AS PEOPLE PAYED TO SEE MIB 3 (AKA Will Smith to the Future, AKA Will Smith Tigger). If you spent 6 bucks on shwarma after watching The Avengers, then you can afford to pay for this totally original movie. Shwarma’s delicious, but if you skip it, do some situps and pushups, and support the makers of HSM then you’ll be leading a fuller life. But if you really still don’t want to pay for it then you can watch it for free on youtube in a few days when it gets posted there for free by the film’s makers. But these guys deserve the money. They made something with heart and they made a film that had something to say. This wasn’t just another mindless and overproduced tent pole movie, this was a lone ape in a digital jungle screaming out because he had something worth screaming about. When the web 2.0 era began people had all kinds of dreams of a democratic media where people told their own stories and didn’t have to answer to the controlling structures that always bound the media. Largely that hasn’t happened yet and those dreams are unfulfilled for the most part. But here is the freak mutant that rises up out of the chaos with a totally original statement that answers to no one and stands up for its own image of the world. These guys deserve 5 bucks from a scattered handful or humans more than a colossal mega-studio needs 12 bucks from every single person plugged into the all-consuming dream machine. Anyways I thought HSM was a pretty sweet movie and it was refreshing to see something like it and unlike anything else.

http://www.youwilldieinside.com/

Youtube roundup: Tonight I’m Frakking You and Minecraft Girlfriend

I bring you Minecraft Girlfriend. This is the story of one man’s descent into madness through Minecraft penis sculptures. I actually wrote the script for this one and it was produced by my friends at Megasteakman. I was really amazed with the ability of the actors and director to take such weird and goofy material and then maintain a sense of drama. This video was in part a response to the new Minecraft 1.0 release, although overshadowed by Skyrim and Skyward Sword (mostly Skyrim since even the new and amazing Zelda game barely made tremors in the Skyrim-dominated gamersphere). But again I’m blown away with the cinematic treatment given to a video about making giant penises in Minecraft. It looks and feels like a short film that would screen at a festival, but it’s about penises. It drips a love for cinema that is evident in everything from acting, cinematography, and the platoon references as the lead character watches his creations’ ultimate fate.

Tonight I’m Frakking you! A nerd-culture dance music video featuring actual celebrity TV and youtube talent! I feel videos like this add credibility to the microbudget video movement. It’s really cool when a bunch of hungry slumdogs pick up the camera and make a video to share with the internet for lulz and profit, but it’s also cool to see established actors and professionals joining the ranks of the internet viral videographers. What I found really brilliant was that this is the first instance I’ve seen in any media of the elusive Jedi Vulcan. The battle between Star Wars and Star Trek has been waged for an eternity. It strikes me as odd that people haven’t taken into consideration the possibilities created by combining both franchises. Imagine a force nerve pinch. Or a phaser saber, like a light saber but with an infinitely long blade and the ability to destabilize anything it touches. A mind trick combined with a mind meld is no longer a mere trick but a whole mind theater. What would happen if the Borg assimilated Sith into the collective? Phaser immunity and force lighting? That moment in the video where the cloaked hero at the dance party removes his hood set my mind free from the rigid structure of Star Wars v. Star Trek

Lord of Recycling (LotR parody )

The latest Megasteakman video is out and turns the humble act of recycling into an epic battle for the fate of the world. It’s a Lord of the Ring’s parody that uses littering and environmentalism as metaphors for the forces trying to save and destroy the planet. It seems fitting in so far that movies like LotR and Avatar are almost like advertisements for the wonders of natural splendor, even if the nature is modified, or even entirely created, digitally. Whereas the heroics and the environmentalist parable that exists in these movies are out of reach of most people, simple acts like cleaning up your garbage and recycling are real gestures that serve to benefit the world. But yeah, it’s goofy parody video. Also bonus: I’m in it for a moment. I’m one of the extras playing garbage orcs. That made me really happy for two reasons.
1) I like making messes.
2) I’ve wanted to do garbage cosplay larping for years.

Seeing what the brain sees.

Recently Berkley scientists used fMRI data to reconstruct images processed by the brain by using YouTube videos to build a computer vision model. Linked above are some of the reconstructions they’ve made using this process.

In 2008, the lab published that they’ve learned how to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect images being processed by the brain (2008 paper here)
But how do you turn raw neuronal activity signals into an actual image? In the case of Jack Gallant’s neuroscience lab they contructed a vision model on a computer using a library of YouTube videos. A subject would watch a video, their brain activity would be measured, and that data would be used as part of a dataset for correlating a certain type of brain activity to a certain type of video. Then when the subject watched a novel video that the computer hasn’t seen before, the computer would read the brain activity and superimpose the population of videos that correlate to the neuronal signals.

It’s quite striking how well their model works. With unlimited computing power and an even bigger video library such reconstruced visions could become incredibly detailed.

This isn’t the first time scientists have been able to metaphorically see through someone else’s eyes. Ten years ago experiements, also performed at Berkley, were done with cats (link 1, link 2) in which electrode arrays were placed in the thalamus of a live cat and the measured neuronal activity was processed into an image.
Below is a video showing some of the moving recontructed images obtained from a cat’s brain. Note that it may be grotesque so some people – it contains invasive electrophysiology in a live animal. It’s also creepy in how the cat’s thalamic visual processing interprets human faces at catman faces.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO and Dubstep Guns

So my buddies down at Megasteakman have uncovered some deleted scenes from George Lucus’ endless reimaginings of the Star Wars Franchise. Yes, it’s all about the No’s. The guys at Megasteakman are longtime friends of mine, and they’re committing to a fairly rigorous schedule of releasing videos, so I’ll be reposting them here as they come. Be sure to check out their old videos for fun like laser tits and even more boobs.

On the topic of youtube vids I’d also like to talk about:

DUBSTEP GUNS – GUNS THAT SHOOT DUBSTEP

Featuring Mike Diva and his brand of high octane dubstep special effects malestrom. I’m really amazed at his ability to include dubstep in every video he makes with the exception of the (non-dubstep) music videos he does. That being said the Dubstep Guns video is really a marvel. I had to watch it with a stuttering connection and even the freeze frames of the dubrays were fairly glorious.

Journal of Visualized Experiments

http://www.jove.com/

This is a handy online science journal that I’ve been visiting quite a bit recently. I may have mentioned this site on a previous episode of the show when I was giving examples of how I use streaming media for scientific research. This website has a huge searchable catalog of experiments performed on camera to illustrate proper laboratory technique and to provide a visual example for how to do a certain experiment.

Not all of the videos are freely accessible, but a number of them are. But unlike other scholarly science publications *cough-cough-Nature-cough* JoVE isn’t currently triple dipping – it doesn’t simultaneously charge fees for contributors, user access, and advertising all at the same time – either you get an ad with your download or you get it through a subscription, but not both.

Google says its cars grabbed emails, passwords

(Reuters) – Google Inc admitted for the first time its “Street View” cars around the world accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed — including complete emails and passwords — potentially breathing new life into probes in various countries.

The disclosure comes just days after Canada’s privacy watchdog said Google had collected complete emails and accused Google of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.

Google says its cars grabbed emails, passwords @ Reuters

FCC’s Authority Over Internet Rejected By US Court: What Does This Mean?

by Irma Arkus

Announced yesterday was a disturbing court finding: the US D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier FCC ruling against Comcast for interfering with the BitTorrent traffic, better known as bandwith throttling. Essentially, the court’s ruling dismisses FCC’s power to regulate the Internet outright, similarly to how US Environmental Protection Agency was hampered from enacting any regulations against corporate polluters in California.

But better question yet is what this means for Internet users, particularly in terms of the ongoing battle for established Net Neutrality?

While EFF wisely points out that Comcast has already succumbed to pressure of its user base, who demanded that Net Neutrality principles be adopted and enacted by the ISP, the remainder of providers may take advantage of this ruling in order to continue with expansion of deep packet inspection and bandwidth throttling.

But as Fred von Lohmann points out, FCC is currently not the regulatory body and it should not necessarily be one either, when considering its history of easily succumbing to public pressure and conservative hysteria. Nipplegate scandal for one, caused the FCC to demand millions of dollars in punitive damage for the Superbowl scandal, and television content has undergone changes in “decency” standards.

Should we expect FCC to also demand the impossible moral clauses for Internet content then?

The ruling is the one hand worrisome, as it allows Canadian authorities and regulatory commission, the CRTC, as well as our federal conservative politicians to suggest that across the border, net neutrality principles have not been adopted, opening Canadian consumers to yet another barrage of potential legalities and regulations that would make Internet content less accessible, and more expensive.

On the other hand, the gatekeepers, electronic rights lawyers, activists and networking specialists all agree that it is time for US to gain a foothold in the Web 2.0 world by having a more politically neutral body to regulate Internet traffic. Unfortunately for us, that usually means that it will also be invaded by corporate instead of civil interests. [EFF]