The new pad…

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So here I am, in my new position at UEA – Media Learning Technologist – and I’m in charge of the new media provision over in the Music Building, currently only partially finished, but with a lot of changes happening over the summer.

This is what the spaces are now and I’ve got a lot of cataloguing and recycling to get on with before it’s completely remodelled, but it’s a hacker heaven with the older tech that we have accumulated…

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The Strode room, which will not be changing but the Balcony will be filled in.PANO_20160408_110329

Current Radio/Recording roomPANO_20160420_161415

So this is the TV studioTV Studio

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The ZigguratsUEA_ext1

The CETL front office, check out the gorgeous meeting table!26296973856_a89585ac92_k

Embedding Video into WordPress or Blogger #embedvideo #screencast #vimeo #youtube

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On the course I have been teaching at CCN we are looking at using blogs to curate all of the digital artefacts and research that the students do, but due to many technical errors of pc to mac, Internet Explorer and Blogger not playing nicely and Chrome and WordPress complaining about http errors, we’ve had a lot of problems getting content into their respective blogs.

At last though we have found combinations that work, but I needed to make a few screen casts about embedding videos into their blogs, and they’re quite useful, so thought I would share.

Embedding Youtube into WordPress

Embedding a Vimeo video in WordPress

Embedding Video from Vimeo in Blogger

Embedding a Youtube video into Blogger

The future of drawing

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this is amazing, watch this fantastic Disney animator take his traditional lines into a VR 3D space and draw like he’s dancing… prepare to be blown away…

Creative Coding Week 1 & 2 #creativecoding

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Future eLearn have some fantastic free online courses, MOOC’s and I have been immersing myself in their creative coding one at every opportunity. Although I’m a couple of weeks behind the latest modules, because I can take it and learn at any time, I’ll catch up, or just finish at my own pace, therein lies the beauty and flexibility of the concept!

Use computer programming as a creative discipline to generate sounds, images, animations and more, with this free online course.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/creative-coding

Coding

In the first two weeks I have made my name in a lovely little interactive drawing canvas, see above, and we have been introduced to great interactive and digital artists using processing and creative code within their art.

I am hoping that I can spot a link between these kind of basic interactions and my own interactive sculpture, or artworks, as I still want people to interact and not be passive within galleries or museums.

Daniel Rozin, particularly interests me and one of his latest works is fascinating to watch…

List from the course of artists and designers and researchers in interaction design.

Photography Comparison D90 D7000 X30 Part 1 – ISO

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For a long while I have wanted to compare my D7000 with a D90, and as I am in the process of producing a simple photography elearning package to explain Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to compare them side by side for quality and noise handling at extreme iso.

The D90, a classic and fantastic camera since 2008. Used with my 17-55mm f2.8 portrait lens.

The D90, a classic and fantastic DSLR camera since 2008. Used with my 17-55mm f2.8 portrait lens.

D7000

D7000 (2010) using a 50mm prime lens

The Fujifilm X30

The Fujifilm X30 (2014) a capable and portable camera which you can take full manual control of.

Recently I have brought an Fuji X30 to be my always carry camera, so thought I’d add that in too…

I could list all of the stats and specs, but if you want that in-depth number crunching check out the great reviews on dpreview..

D90 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond90

D7000 http://www.dpreview.com/products/nikon/slrs/nikon_d7000

X30 http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/compacts/fujifilm_x30

Starting with ISO the photos I have taken are really quite revealing…

D90 ISO comparison

Comparing the ISO handling of the D90, a lot of digital grain comes in at 3200 (top left) compare to ISO 400 (bottom right)

The D90 really takes an excellent picture, but it’s ISO quality when you ramp it up to the top of it’s numbered range is pretty bad, the digital grain is very present and I would find this unacceptable, even at 1600 the grain is too obvious.

D7000 ISO comparison, using both the 50mm and 17-55mm lens

D7000 ISO comparison, using both the 50mm and 17-55mm lens

The D7000 has fantastic control of grain, even at 3200 the resulting image is acceptable to use, the only problem with this image is I have got the focus slightly wrong, but there’s not a dot of grain to bother the image… very impressive. I used both lenses just in case it made any difference as I used the 50mm on the D90.

The Fuji X30 ISO comparison

The Fuji X30 ISO comparison

The X30 did surprisingly well too (even with it’s smaller sensor), although it has handled the grain in a different way, it seems somehow smoother, perhaps more blurry at the 3200 end, which isn’t too bad a thing.

On this occasion the D7000 has it on ISO and this from a camera that’s 5 years old, I remember when I bought it I tested it’s ISO against my other work camera, the Canon 5D and it excelled at low light performance in those tests too…

I would be very interested to check out the new D7200 alongside these cameras, but my budget only goes so far!

All of these images are straight jpegs from the camera with no alteration, and no in camera enhancement, put into photoshop so I can compare them directly side by side.

I will be using these sets of images to explain ISO in an elearning package I’m putting together for my students currently, it takes a bit of time to setup, but will be well worth it..

Next comes the Aperture control… but that’s for another post!

Adventures in Zoetrope Animation

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First things first, remember when you got your mathematics tin set at school and you played with it all and thought I’ll never need this…’ well, if you want to have a go at making a zoetrope you’re going to need to fire up your math student brain, find a compass and remember what pi is!

you will need a compass

you will need a compass…

I am putting together a set of resources for an introduction to animation I will shortly be presenting, in line with the teaching course that I am currently studying for, and I wanted to get the students to create an animation and understand  keyframes, movement and persistence of vision (which means our brains see still images as moving).

Now in the short time I have, they won’t be able to create a full blown animation, so I’ll be guiding them through how to make a real basic staple of animation, a walkcycle, consisting of just 12 frames, running cyclically.

I don’t have a fancy animation rostrum hooked up to a massive projector or anything but need to be able to show the class the results, almost instantly, and I hit on the idea of putting those frames into a zoetrope viewing device, so that they can all have a go and see what happens with the movement they create.

Cutting the base

Cutting the base circle

I’m pretty handy with a scalpel so dug out some foamboard to make the basic structure of the zoetrope itself.

I started with the size of frame I wanted them to draw on becuase I didn’t want it to be too small an area, and then worked backwards, calculating a regular space in between and ended up with a strip 670mm long and 70mm tall.

This is where you need your pi and compass, take the 670 and divide it by pi to get the circumference of the circle you need for the base, divide this in half and set your pair of compasses up to draw your circle and cut!

Admittedly it didn’t quite fit on the first cut, I put this down to the very worn compasses that I managed to eventually find in my daughters room, under some books, but it was larger than needs be so I re-trimmed a slither and it fit!

Zoetrope and base now fitted after a little re-trim

Zoetrope and base now fitted after a little re-trim

Using a thin ribbon of double sided sticky tape around the bottom provided a good snug fit

Using a thin ribbon of double sided sticky tape around the bottom provided a good snug fit

The outside wall I add is 670mm x 140mm, laminated and cut, with the frames and slit marks printed on one side and all black on the outside so I have a register for my animation and a template to cut for the thin viewing holes.

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You can see the slit holes have been cut out in this shot

I also needed to work out how to get it to spin, this was something I mulled over and looked at other ways to do it, but I didn’t have any ‘lazy susan’ bearings as one suggested and didn’t like the twizzle it in your hand method often used in other ‘how to’s’ .

Searching for another method I looked around my desk for inspiration and found a DVD case, one of those ones for a 100 discs, with a long spindle, playing with it I discovered that the discs, when spun, quite happily turned and kept moving fairly easily – aha! I had found a really cheap easy option to making my zoetrope spin.

CD stuck to the bottom of the base

CD stuck to the bottom of the base

I stuck one disk to the bottom of the base and added a few padding layers of foam board to bring the height of the zoetrope up…

cutting extra padding discs of foamboard

cutting extra padding discs of foamboard

The extra layers added to the spindle and free turning CD on the top which would spin against the one of the base

The extra layers added to the spindle and free turning CD on the top which would spin against the one of the base

I experimented with having 1 or 2 extra cds underneath, and found that 2 worked best to give a smoother turn.

Finished and in testing with my walkcycle animation

Finished and in testing with my walkcycle animation

All was working, it spun fairly well – I would like to improve this, but cost and time are against me – but the last obstacle was that my line drawn animation just didn’t show up when spun, another 12 frame cycle I had which was solid black shapes worked really well, so out with the felt tips to colour mine in and hey presto… zoetrope resource… done!

Below you’ll find a link to my pdf templates so you can have a go too!

zoetrope template copy

Inital GoPano 360 video tests #360 #gopanomicro

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So, I’ve bought my GoPano micro adaptor (not many left!), conned my husband into ‘needing’ an iphone 5 (just happens to fit the GoPano Micro :)) and shot two pieces of 360 footage, not exciting pieces obviously, just me wandering round my house and outside, but I just needed some test footage to move forward with…

This is a screengrab from the inside shot.

Screengrab from test go pano 360 video shot

Screengrab from test go pano 360 video test shoot

I love that when you’re viewing it online you can turn around and zoom with keyboard controls.

  1. So problems that are easy to spot before I can develop it further are, I’m quite prominent in the frame, and staring at myself is not what I want to do – solution, test different ways of holding the camera and GoPano setup.
  2. Light needs to be good as the phone auto corrects as we move through and it doesn’t cope well with internal lighting.
  3. Finally – quality, is it up to scratch, this can only be really tested when I go a step further and see if I can view this video in my google cardboard VR glasses..

Lastly can I take it into a programme and add interactivity?

What I really want is one where the viewer can drive the movement, similar to Fibrums Rollercoaster where you start the ride by focusing your gaze on the ‘go’ lever within the environment.

A new addition to the recently updated Google Cardboard compatible apps is ‘Titans of Space’

Titans of Space® is a short guided tour of a few planets and stars, the point of which is to give the player a sense of scale of just how big these planets and stars are compared to each other.

In game visual from Titans of Space

In game visual from Titans of Space

Again this uses the mechanic that you have a virtual crosshair and focussing where you are looking, at a trigger will reward you with a reaction in game, very clever stuff..

I would ideally be able to wander around the created environment just by turning my head and opening doors or entering corridors with this virtual crosshair as my controller.

So I need to trial different capture methods to minimise my presence in the resulting video and test the video from gopano site with google Cardboard to see if it’s compatible… will report back soon!

Running Tech Review – Tom Tom GPS Watch #tomtom #running

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Running was something I didn’t think I would be able to start doing again after an operation on my foot a few years back, but, encouraged by a friend I have been able to get back into it, with help from a great little piece of tech…

The TomTom Multi Sports (and Runner) GPS Watch seemed – from the reviews – to be the ideal choice for me, I did look at the newer heart rate one, but for an extra £100 it was too much of a price hike to warrant me not being able to feel when my heart was working harder!

TomTom GPS Watch

TomTom GPS Watch, Multi-Sport or Runner

The watch itself is fairly bulky on my small wrist, but it still has two notches to go so definitely able to cater for women, or young adults.

The graphics are big, big enough to clearly see when running, and the handy little light can be on permanently if out at night.

You can see your pace, time, or distance (in Miles or Km) as the larger of the three areas on the face, so you can choose what you want to concentrate on, I find I mostly use the pace, but have recently taken to longer runs and just need the distance, this view is frustrating though as this is the only layout where all three main items aren’t displayed, you get the distance in two of the sections, an unnecessary duplication and loss of information.

The GPS always hooks up quickly, although if I’m walking up to my starting point it can need me to be stationary before it locks my position in, a little annoying, but the good points outweigh this niggle.

I liked it so much I bought one for my husband and his favourite feature is the Race This option, where you can set one of your last recorded races as a guide to race yourself, it shows you how far ahead – or behind – you are from the last race and even if you go back to the pace screen to see how you’re doing, you’ll get a buzz on your wrist when you go in front, or fall behind, and if you win you get a celebratory trophy on completing the previous distance.

One of the best things about this watch is the visual representation and immediate feedback you get as soon as you plug your watch back into the computer after you get back in from the run. Your breathing might not have slowed down, but the Tom Tom’s data will upload in a  flash and you’ll get something like this…

TomTom Visual Data

TomTom Visual Data from a 10k Race For Life run I did over the weekend

You can see your split times, elevation and I love the visual tracker showing where you went, it’s so accurate and thoroughly fascinating to analyse after a run, and then you can compare this to others in your dashboard.

A Screenshot from a Tom Tom Dashboard, where you can compare your pace week to week and run to run

A Screenshot from a Tom Tom Dashboard, where you can compare your pace week to week, and run to run, you can also record treadmill runs, but I’ve found it to be totally inaccurate, so don’t bother anymore…

Really great to see how you are doing – I seem to be quite consistent – compared to other runs and courses and slowly see improvements.

The visual online area is a stand out feature for me and one of the things I really rave about to others if they ask me about my TomTom watch.

The Watch is great and I would recommend it to others, it probably has so many more things you can do with it, but for me it does the basics really well and shows me in a clear and visually interesting way.

I hate it when bloggers say sorry I’ve been away for a while I’ve been busy at the beginning of a post, but here’s my apology at the end, I’ve been running!

Beautiful processing #processing

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At last a free online course I’ve really wanted to take has become open https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/creative-coding .

You will need to download the processing environment to take part, which I have already started to look at myself (processing.org) alongside a couple of great books – Processing, a handbook for designers and Getting started with processing –  I have taken myself through a first few stages but going through the processing showcase pages they have a whole vimeo group devoted to it and I just had to share this beautiful example of what I want to do with processing.

It uses a kinect camera and depthkit to record data that processing then interprets… great stuff…

processing_buildcities

https://vimeo.com/groups/processing/videos/121096680

please use the link to see it, as wordpress can strip out the embed code…

https://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=121096680&force_embed=vimeo.com&fullscreen=1

Build the Cities from Raven Kwok on Vimeo.

Creating 360 Video – on a budget? #360video

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Since making my own Google Cardboard I have been looking at how I can put my own content into it.

My DIY google cardboard

My DIY google cardboard

The easiest and quickest way is to take a full 360 panorama photo (known as a photosphere) using the Google Camera app, which appears automatically if you have a google device, or can now be downloaded from the app store onto any android device.

Google Camera App Screenshot

Google Camera App Screenshot

This is a really quick and interesting image to view in the Google Cardboard viewer, you select it from the list when you turn the google cardboard app on, it then takes you straight through to your last photosphere image.

It’s very eerie viewing a fully immersive scene – and it really works well – when not in that particular place. The first shot I took was of my office and when I viewed it back on different occasions found it quite disorientating as the day I shot it, it was sunny, so to put myself into that moment on a cloudy day, and it to be so lifelike, when you ‘came out’ of it, it was quite impressive.

360 panosphere in my office

360 photosphere in my office

It’s not perfect, I actually have two computers and screens on my desk, but because of the limitations of the camera/app/360 capability, it appears I only have one as a portion has been overlapped so much, but, on the whole, it really puts you there, in the other space. The google cardboard photo viewer automatically works out the side by side bi-ocular view and the refresh rate when turning round is practically real time, I didn’t notice any lag whatsoever.

When I showed this to my children (my testers for anything), they thought it was great and wanted to take photospheres in every room, so that they could sit in a different room and view the other room… I 360’d our kitchen and they then wanted to show all their friends that they could be ‘in the kitchen’ whilst anywhere else in the house. Great fun.

It’s very effective, but, I want to do 360 video.

S0, investigating this and I come across a wonderful app (to be used with google cardboard) made by a very clever company called Jaunt, featuring a song with Paul McCartney where not only have they produced 360 video which you can look all around, but the sound is also 360… Put on a good pair of headphones, download this app and see the future of music videos!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jauntvr.preview.mccartney&hl=en_GB

But how would I replicate this, on a budget and without access to the latest gizmos…?

Go Pano produce a large and expensive option of a lens add on to a pro camera, costing $500, but, I have found they also do a micro version for just $29, which a uk company sell for £24 (http://www.red-door.co.uk/pages/productpages/gopano-micro-iphone.html) which is a great price and will help me experiment, but it will only fit onto an iPhone 4, 4s and 5, which I don’t have and seems to be no update for, so leads me to believe it’s not very good or not very popular, so I’d need to get my hands on a phone pretty soon to trial it.

Fortunately from their purchase page they have a link to users own uploaded 360 videos, this one was my favourite http://www.gopano.com/video/MTM2NzI these guys have so much energy and are really having fun with the 360 video and because it’s in a fixed position it works well, this video of a walkaround behind the scenes of a red bull bike day, shows the problem with holding the device, http://www.gopano.com/video/MjE1MDk, look behind you and there’s a giant arm! One more video which shows a shortcoming of this lovely little device, which has big ideas, but I’m not sure the output is up to high quality standard, is an acoustic music piece, and if you look around you can very clearly see dirty marks, or dinks in the reflective surface, which greatly affects the quality of the video, which also seems a little soft and I’m not sure if that is because the versions of iphone that it works with don’t have great video quality anyway… http://www.gopano.com/video/MjIzNTE

So I could for about £100 get some 360 video, but I would love to make it slightly interactive, such as in the FiBrum VR Rollercoaster, where to make the experience start you have to concentrate your view on a red lever which starts the ride.

Fibrum Rollercoaster App Screenshot

Fibrum Rollercoaster App Screenshot

I also don’t know if you can view this type of 360 video in Google Cardboard, this article has some good references

Taken from http://www.chioka.in/tag/google-cardboard/

Devices that can capture (360) degrees panorama:

  • GoPano – A special lens attachable to iPhone that allows you to take panoramas and panoramic videos. It works by having a 360 degree lens and bend the light into the iPhone camera. Works for iPhone only. 360 degrees horizontally only.

  • Kageto – A company manufacturing the Dot, Lucy, and Jo. They are successive versions of a special lens attachable to iPhone or Android to take panoramas and panoramic videos. Similar to GoPano, 360 degrees horizontally only.

  • BubbleScope – Another attachable lens to iPhone for capturing panoramas and panoramic videos. Similar to GoPano, 360 degrees horizontally only.

I need to follow through a few leads from these links, then I need to look at software that can take in 360 degree video and make it interactive and output it in a form that Google Cardboard can use, but it looks like it is possible, this firm make a SDK which, currently, is free to play with, again more reading required in the depths of the small type to see what file types they are compatible with…  http://www.panframe.com/

So yes you can take 360 video – with a small budget – with a few limitations, but good enough to test my proof of concept for interactive live 360 video, when my Go Pano Micro turns up, I’ll report back.

I decided to go for the Go Pano as the video from the Bubblescope looks particularly poor on first glance and the Kogeto seems to be very proprietary and I haven’t been able to find any video to view – as yet. But as an aside, both of these 360 add ons have the attachment flat to the phone, so you cannot get rid of the black box of the phone in the resulting video, see bubblescope still below.

Bubblescope still

Bubblescope still

 

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