July in Melbourne. Some days where the wind seems to be from Antarctica with sleezy mizzle. Others where it is all gloriously crispy blue. And days with both. Together.
This morning I shared a panel with several of my colleagues describing our Post Industrial Media project. The slides are in the pim wiki, and it didn’t go too badly, though in retrospect we should have shown the bloody wiki as that is the major outcome of the project to date. Next week semester kicks back in again, so it has been the time for conferences – feels like I’ve had something on each week which has required something to be done. In between most of that there’s been school holidays, my youngest has hit the big two (“how old are you Cleo?” “two!), and I finally sent off a six thousand word essay on teaching hypertext to Mark for possible publication.
Someone has been in touch asking about the rhizome movies which has encouraged me to return to them and start making some new ones. Coming real soon now will be triptychs, and then I’m hoping to make a randomising one (I think). Which leads to the other surprising news, LiveStage Pro. Even though I’ve moved to a new laptop my copy of Livestage continues to run. Last time I tried this it wouldn’t, I thought because the server that it has to authenticate against has gone, but I was able to update it and I’ve definitely been running it more than a month and I seem to be able to export, save, and so on. This is seriously good news. Am getting inspired to make some more video material.
Finally, while I didn’t attend the ASPERA conference I did get to hear Chris Caine’s presentation on locative media. He discussed some of his (extensive) projects and how there appear to be two major forms at the moment. One is where fictional stories or fragments are overlayed on place, and the other is where it is used for game play in that augmented world sort of model – the sort of work that Christy Dena theorises well. I think I’ll have to try to get Chris back to Melbourne to contribute to the Affective Atlas project.
This is another rhizome movie that is partly to illustrate the use of the templates, but also to just play a bit with some material. This is the same footage as the other recent rhizome movies have used, but I have compressed the crap out of it. Took the original, exported it to half its resolution and double its frame rate and a fraction of its data rate. Set forced keyframes to some really big number (so that there won’t be any). This is just impossible for the codec to do, so it will actually use more data than I requested since it more or less assumes I’m a dill for trying to do all that. But it helps really dirty up the video. Why? Because as the video becomes more compressed, as more artefacts appear, it shifts away from being indexical, representational video (video thought of as showing the world) towards pattern, pixels, movement, and colour. Ambient video. Ambient video is important. It is what video and the moving image becomes when it is ubiquitous, on screens, in the home, our phones. Walk past an ATM and watch the screen move, scrolling ads in bus and tram stops, pixellated signage, the list is enormous. In this world moving images move increasingly away from being of something else and become something for themselves. This is why we have VJing, for instance. So in a world where video online (just think YouTube as the banally obvious exemplar) is the norm, video can begin to free itself from being the hand maid to just mirroring (and all those efforts at narrative that seem to fall in lock step behind) and do other things. Be abstract. Make patterns. Other fragments that will only ever aspire to be fragments. Of the world. Of shape. Fragments of fragments.
This is another lumiere rhizome. One was shot while travelling from Paris to Brussels on the TGV while the other is the return journey a few days later. I really like travelling on trains. Much more room than on planes (well, I guess I might not think that if I travelled first class, but like that’s ever going to happen), and you get to see sky and land and sometimes places too.
On the weekend there was a trip to Phillip Island and on Saturday evening we headed to the beach at Cowes. Beautiful weather, the bay was calm (this is the north of the island which faces a large bay) and I sat on the sand watching.
This uses the first rhizome template, with a text track stuck on top. It is silent. Each clip is more or less a minute long and is part of Andreas and Brittany’slumiere project.
A second rhizome movie, using a second template. This uses the same footage from the recent Trains and Shadows vog just reversed. This template provides a controller for each video window, mainly because people get frustrated when they can’t stop and pause video. The template is available if you’d like to use it.
Shadows and movement. Home and abroad. Almost grey and the colour of Belgium in October. Patterns and views.
A few years ago I made some rhizome templates. I’ve now written an academic essay (coming out in a journal soon) about them, and I’ve also decided to rebuild the templates. The original ones had some bugs, and were also designed for 160 x 120 videos. I’ve now made them bigger – what with increases in bandwidth, video on the web, and so on I figured 320 x 240 would probably be OK. So, this is made with the first of the new release of the rhizome templates. The content consists of a project we did in Integrated Media One this year, “things that quicken the heart”, and then a sequence of shadows that I filmed. They were not originally compressed to use in a rhizome template, I think each is a bit too high in their datarates, but it seems to play OK here at home on my broadband…
btw, the video that loads when you click the poster image is actually a poster movie which when clicked on will load the movie in QuickTime player, not the browser.
Well, if you click the poster movie below you’ll pretty quickly see that this is demo mode only. This rhizome movie plays one movie continuously (looping) in the left pane, and if you click on this video then it loads another video into the right video pane. The right video pane can support five videos. If you click more than 5, it just rotates around through them all again.
To make it work you edit an XML file. The first field is for the left video (remember there is only one that plays in the left pane), then you can enter five urls which are the five that get loaded into the right video pane. These videos are loaded dynamically, so that video two will only be downloaded to the client if a click event is received in the video pane on the right. This is important to understand – the five child movies are not downloaded to the client in the background while the movie plays, each is only downloaded if and when it is requested. This means each of the videos need to be network friendly, which doesn’t mean short but it does mean fast start and off a bit rate that is going to load reasonably quickly.
Below is a link to download the rhizome template (the mov file and its corresponding XML file) and to the LiveStage Project file.