While we were in San Diego recently, we visited our pal Nat’s mum for a BBQ. Nat’s mum has an awesome view of San Diego Airport’s runway from her balcony, so we strapped a few cameras up there and proceeded to enjoy the most intimidating pieces of meat we’ve ever had plonked down in front of us. A good time was had by all, even the jets.
Our pal Dom is an excellent cook and generally a passionate foodie. Also, a top bloke. So when he asked us to help him brand his new restaurant we were delighted to lend a hand. We came up with the name ‘Knife & Pork’ – witty and meaty. The ever talented Cookie came up with the amazing logo and we built a little shadow puppet show to sit in the restaurant to entertain the diners. Cookie illustrated the pigs, Dom got them laser cut for us whilst we built the turntable and shadow box. We turned up for the opening night, set the pigs dancing and sat down for a smashing evening of posh food and great company. Go book a table!
Over the new year we took a family break to the Yorkshire Moors near Whitby. By extreme good luck, we happen to be in the same village as Tony Swift and his marvellous Museum of Victorian Science! During our private 2 hour lecture, Tony took us through all the wonders of cathode ray tubes, radiation, x-rays and all sorts of things that create massive bolts of electricity. All the equipment was vintage and in perfect working order. A true master collector and knowledge fountain of all things SCIENCE!
Does what it says on the tin really. I’ve popped a mobile friendly version up on Vimeo, in case you need it.
UPDATE: I’ve been asked how I put this video together. Well, prepare to witness my geekness…
I love little photo projects people do. Martin Parr (a hero of mine) has many collections, including parking spaces, people on mobile phones, or even the simple self portrait. His sense of humour tickles me.
I’ve never found what I wanted to collect, at the end of each year I regret not having set myself a witty brief at the beginning of the year. So this year I thought what if I’ve sub-consciously collected everything? Which I have, on my phone. Just as a silly experiment, I wanted to see what would happen if I dumped all the photos I’ve taken in a year into an image sequence, no editing or cutting bits out. Would it be a mess? Would it be kinda OK, I think it’s… kinda OK. It helps that I tend to take many photos of the same thing, so the object is allowed to hang for a fraction of a second over a few frames. I was inspired by this excellent time-lapse of a road trip… I’ll be ripping this idea off soon.
To do this, first off, I have an app called DropSnap installed on my Android Phone. It automatically backs up every photo I take to Dropbox. You can do this using the official Dropbox app (on iPhone too) but DropSnap gives me some more filtering options, which means I can sync more than just the regular camera roll (Instagram, Snapseed, etc). So that’s been busy stuffing photos up into the clouds like a weird hoarder’s heaven. This made it easy to find every photo I took in 2012 and dump them in one big folder.
The tricky bit was preparing them for the video. All the landscape and portrait photos needed to sit central and have the extra black space on the top and bottom or the sides (depending on their orientation) to make up the space in the video. In steps the work horse that is Photoshop Image Processor! After a bit of head scratching and swearing I created a workflow that did the job. First, I made an action that puts any image into the middle of a black 1080p sized canvas. You can download mine here if you like. Then I ran the Image Processor to resize everything, combined with my action to centre them on the black background. The settings should look like this:
Then I opened my old friend After Effects. To create an image sequence you just drag the image folder directly into the project window. I dumped the sequence into a 1080p composition, added some Tom Waits and Bob’s your Mother’s brother! I hope that’s of some help if you want to try it out yourself. It’s a nice collecting project you can do without having to even think about it. Which is good for me as I’m very poor at thinking.
We tried a new approach to Hack Day at Poke this year. Rather than building something digital, we wanted something a little more hands on. So the brief was set to “build a board game”. Everyone was given a box, some dice, counters etc, and 24 hours to build a complete game. There would be no judges, and no opportunity to pitch your game. Instead every team plays every game and scores them on a how fun there are, how well the instructions are written and how good does it look.
My team created “Watch Out! Willy!”. All set in Will’s very opulent manor. You play the part of some thugs trying to rob the place, and at the same time, you control Will roaming the hall in his glowing hot pants trying to catch you all. If you’re caught in the beam of light, you’re in for a punishment.
Gav’s team made “The Hand Job”. I think he may win the ‘most double entendre in a game’ award. Players take on the guise of a bank robber trying to nick as much loot as they can, both from the bank and each other. The tricky bit is they all have to physically ‘walk’ around the board wearing their cardboard characters on their knuckles.
More photos here.
This Christmas, we built built an animating fireplace in Poke’s lobby. Using the excellent Pixel Fireplace software by Ted Martins, the fire is a living pixely thing, that needs feeding with logs, and can do many things like roast pixel marshmallows or pixel hot-dogs. The pleasant sound of a crackling pixel wood fire echoed around the lobby all of December.
A few more photos here.