Motion Picture Universe right here on Earth

Alvernia Studios  in Poland looks like it belongs on the moon.  I mean that as a compliment.  As you can see in the banner below, there are a number of domes connected by tubes.  Each of the domes offers a different function, all related to motion picture and sound design.

The studio website is funky.  If you didn’t know what this place was, the website does not make it obvious.  Check out some of the photos of the scoring studio.  Unbelievably cool … not to mention BIG.  The virtual tour is also worth the small bit of effort.  Who’d-a thunk such a facility was available for mere mortals and earthlings.

Just Dropped in …

… to see what condition my condition was in.  When Kenny Rogers was cool.  I had a flash-back when I was working through lyrics for a new song.  This song popped into my head.  I looked it up on YouTube and — Poof!! — there it was.

What a song.  According to Wikipedia, it was first recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1967, who rejected it.  It was a hit for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in 1968, at the apex of psychedelia in pop culture.  Some of the lyrics are worth repeating here:

I woke up this mornin’ with the sundown shinin’ in
I found my mind in a brown paper bag, but then…
I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high
I tore my mind on a jagged sky
I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in

I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in
I watched myself crawlin’ out as I was a-crawlin’ in
I got up so tight I couldn’t unwind
I saw so much I broke my mind
I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in

The video is simple but clever.  Check it out.

[youtube K-GbcVW8DFY 640 390]

The video is on YouTube Channel WABCRADIO77, whose mission is to present classic “oldies” music the way it was meant to be – in it’s original form exactly as it sounded when the song was a hit on the radio.  All the songs are played from original vinyl 45 RPM records.  Very cool.

The most complicated steering wheel on earth

Here is a photo of the steering wheel of the McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 formula 1 race car. The steering wheel alone costs $50k.

You can read more about what the steering wheel is attached to here.  Drivers complain that these steering wheels force them to “play piano” while racing.  I wonder if texting and driving is ok during the race?

Digital Media Primer for Geeks describes itself as “a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the foundations of Internet multimedia from control by private interests.  (Its) purpose is to support and develop free, open protocols and software to serve the public, developer and business markets.”

With that auspicious introduction, I would like to bring attention to an excellent video presentation by Christopher “Monty” Montgomery, the mastermind behind the Ogg Theora open source video format.  This first in a series video bills itself as “a digital media primer for geeks.”

And that is exactly what it is.  If you want to get a good understanding of the technical underpinnings of audio and video, in the analog and digital realms, this is the place to start.  The associated Wiki is well worth visiting and bookmarking as well.

In keeping with Xiph’s mission of bringing open source ideas to the multimedia world, the video is available for free download.  It is encoded in WebM and Ogg Theora, and streamed using HTML5.

My congratulations to Monty, the team at Xiph.Org and Red Hat for undertaking this project and doing such an excellent job.

The Shroud of Turin

I am just finishing up a new photography project.  A couple of years ago, a replica of the Shroud of Turin was making the rounds.  In case you don’t know about the shroud, it is reputed to be the burial cloth draped over Christ.  The link above is to the Wikipedia article, which is as good a place as any to get some background, if you are so inclined.

The background I will share here is that, in 1898, the shroud was photographed for the first time by an amateur photographer named Secondo Pia.  To his astonishment, the photographic plate revealed the face of a man, in positive, which implies that the image on the shroud is a negative.

The shroud was photographed for the second time by Giuseppe Enrie, in 1931.  Those images were shot using high contrast film and are quite stunning.

A great mystery of the shroud is how the image was imprinted on the linen.  Again, you can read about this elsewhere, as the discussion is very well documented.

So, I’d like to share my photograph of the face in the shroud as it appears naturally, along with a couple of images that were inverted and filtered in Photoshop.

I am certainly not here to argue for or against the authenticity of the shroud.   But you can clearly see the face.

As I said, this was a project which I mounted and framed.  Here is the completed project, with a frame made of flamed birch.