Jul 092011

Like making stuff? Like filming movies? This film festival is looking for you.

Power of Making On Screen

Call for Submissions:

You are invited to create a short film that celebrates making – Each film can be between 10 and 120 seconds in length and will celebrate the power of making – it may explain, illustrate and/ or observe ‘making’ skills, techniques and process.

The films will be creative, inspiring, exciting and perhaps unexpected, and will explore a diverse range of skills and look at how materials can be expressed in imaginative and spectacular ways.

Around 40 of the submitted short ‘making’ films will be selected for inclusion in the forthcoming V&A/Crafts Council exhibition Power of Making (6th September – 2nd January 2012) and screened throughout the duration in a dedicated area of the exhibition known as the ‘Tinker Space’.

We are looking for short films that depict and/or creatively respond to the making process of an object, including; crafting, experiments, demonstrations of making skills, use of tools, equipment /machinery, hacking objects etc.,

Films do not need to be highly polished and edited and we welcome material from hi and lo-fi sources such as digital camera or mobile phone.

Keywords that describe the ways in which skills and craftsmanship should be demonstrated in the type of film we are looking to select, are;

• Innovative

• Engaging

• Skilful

• Improvised

• Witty

• Meticulous

• Dexterous

• Experimental

Submission requirements and guidelines:

• You can submit as many films as you wish – they can be old work or new work, however we cannot accept nudity, sexually explicit scenes, swearing and violence.

• Your film must be non-commercial; all your own work, and you should have obtained copyright or relevant permissions for all images and films used in your piece.

• Acceptable film lengths range from a minimum of 10 seconds to a maximum of 120 seconds of content.

• Each submitted film must include a black front screen with text credits WHITE ON BLACK –to include your name and title of the film/work, your geographical location (town & country) and the date the film was made. This front end section should be no longer than 5 seconds in total.

• Each film may have acknowledgements at the end which should not exceed 5 second on screen. Each film must end with a 1 second FULLY BLACK screen.

How to enter:

• Go to craftscouncil.org.uk/powerofmakingfor full instructions on submitting your film(s) to the dedicated Vimeo site, and if your work fits the brief we will publish it. If selected by our Panel of Experts, your film will feature in the Power of Making exhibition.

• Should be no longer at 136 seconds long (max 10secs Title credit / max 120secs film content/ 6secs end-screen).

Closing date for submissions is Sunday 31st July 2011 For more information see craftscouncil [DOT] org [DOT] uk/powerofmakingor contact exhibitions [AT] craftscouncil [DOT] org [DOT] uk

Jun 242011

Camera Article LargeWith the Lytro camera, it’s shoot first, focus later, thanks to a special sensor and software that lets users change the focus on the file itself. These interactive demos suggests how this can add a new dimension of interactivity to otherwise ordinary photographs.

Meanwhile, for moving image mavens, Apple’s Final Cut is reborn at a third the price. Not everyone is pleased with its reincarnation, but most are sure to like the biggest difference: no more waiting for rendering. Yes, you heard that right.

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Jan 092011

You’ve spent your winter break tricking out your Arduino board and now you’re planning to bring it back to school on the plane. Whoops! You forgot that your custom art installation looks just like a homemade bomb to the airport scanner.

Here’s a handy guide to getting your gizmos through security without ending up on the terror suspect watch list.

(via Bruce Sterling)


Dec 012010

Move over, silicon—E. coli’s gunning for your job. Researchers prove that bacteria can store data and solve sodoku. Oh, it can repair highways too.

That’s all well and good, but what if you catch a cold, er, an app, from your PC? “Sorry I couldn’t come earlier, but my gut was up all night rendering a big animated movie…”


“A research team out of the Chinese University of Hong Kong has found a way to do data encryption and storage with bacteria. The project is called ‘Bioencryption,’ and their presentation (as a PDF file) is here.”

“Problem Solving Bacteria Crack Sudoku”


“A strain of Escherichia coli bacteria can now solve the logic puzzles – with some help from a group of students at the University of Tokyo, Japan, reports New Scientist. The team begin with 16 types of E. coli, each colony assigned a distinct genetic identity depending on which square it occupied within a four-by-four sudoku grid.The bacteria can also express one of four colours to represent the numerical value of their square. As with any sudoku puzzle, a small number of the grid squares are given a value from the beginning by encouraging the bacteria in these squares to differentiate and take on one of the four colours.The Tokyo team’s sudoku-solving bacteria competed in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week.”

“Bacteria Used To Fix Cracked Concrete”

http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/11/17/182244/Bacteria-Used-To-Fix-Cracked-Concrete “Researchers at the U.K’s University of Newcastle have created a new type of bacteria that generates glue to hold together cracks in concrete structures – that means everything from concrete sidewalks to buildings that have been damaged by earthquakes. When the cells have been germinated, they burrow deep into the concrete until they reach the bottom. At this point, the concrete repair process is activated, and the cells split into three types that produce calcium carbonate crystals, act as reinforcing fibers, and produce glue which acts as a binding agent to fill concrete gaps.”

Nov 182010

UMaine New Media graduate Chris Bagley stepped outside of the box in 2009 when he switched from a Web-based capstone to start a local business premised on building environmentally responsible skis. The do-it-yourselfer built his own ski press in his garage and began turning out prototypes–and turning heads on the slopes. As the Bangor Daily News reports, this will be the first season his skis will be available to the general public, custom-built for both East Coast skiing conditions and to customer specifications.

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Nov 142010

ElevatorTurns out the placebo effect isn’t just for drugs. It apparently works for elevators, thermostats, and walk buttons at intersections–most of which don’t work and aren’t even intended to! Oh, and turns out in addition to his other firsts, John Cage may have created the first placebo music.

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Oct 232010

And it’ll blow your wallet too, to judge from the pricetag. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want one of these crazy electronic saxiPhones that look like something out of the cantina scene from Star Wars.


It’s nerdier than a theramin and even harder to play. Meet the Eigenharp Pico….

A plastic breath pipe with a reed curves from the top of the Pico. Two columns of nine keys each run parallel down its body, flanked by a touch-sensitive “ribbon” controller used primarily for pitch-bending and for bowing a software-modeled cello.

Each LED-decked, pressure-sensitive key of the Eigenharp is actually three keys in one: The concave center triggers a standard note, while the upper edge triggers a sharp and the lower edge a flat. Octaves can be raised or lowered by tapping on two smaller, circular buttons below the keyboard.

Two identical buttons above the keyboard serve different purposes. One turns the drum loop on and off, and the other — when held down — turns the keyboard into “main mode”: cycle through instruments, change scales, record and edit loops, add or subtract to the percussive beat, and manipulate a slew of other parameters.

Sep 072010

The Apertus is an open-source high-definition movie camera. New media programs (not to mention governments like Brazil and the state of California) have been looking to save cash by using open-source software like Open Office or Ubuntu. So why aren’t schools buying up open-source hardware as well?

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/10/08/30/1639248/Apertus-the-Open-Source-HD-Movie-Camera?from=rss via Byline osliving writes “This article takes a tour of the hardware and software behind the innovative Apertus, a real world open source project. Led by Oscar Spierenburg and a team of international developers, the project aims to produce ‘an affordable community driven free software and open hardware cinematic HD camera for a professional production environment’.”

While the Apertus may not have the most professional-quality lenses and sensor yet, its users may benefit from the lack of an implicit video format license, namely the h.264 codec. From a Slashdot commenter:

MPEG-LA [the organization that controls h.264] basically claims certain financial rights over your project in exchange for the right to use the h.264 codec. This means that if you shoot a scene in h.264, but switch to something else to release on the web, they still have rights over you. If a contractor shoots in h.264 but sends you the video in a different format, they still claim rights over you. As far as I know, pretty much all HD cameras shoot in h.264.

Some of this is definitely winnable in court, some isn’t. But if you’re an independent filmmaker, you don’t have the money to go against one of the biggest legal groups in filmmaking.

So yes, this particular situation is a bit Orwellian.

Aug 012010

Have you ever wished you could use Jedi mind powers to speed up your boring professor’s PowerPoint presentation? Or force the words “Happy Birthday Jennifer!” suddenly to appear on his screen? Now you can, thanks to Dutch researcher Niels Teusink, who combined an Arduino board and Metasploit software to demonstrate how to hack a presenter’s computer by hijacking his remote.

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Aug 012010

Looking for ideas to inspire a new media capstone? How about turning a problem into a solution? The software keyboard has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks to using mobile devices such as the iPad for real work rather than just media consumption. But that may soon change. Thanks to soft keyboards like BlindType, the words smart and keyboard may start to be used in the same sentence.

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Jul 262010

Several NMD courses at U-Me this fall will be using iPads–though I don’t believe it’s so much to read textbooks as reinvent them.


The iPad is about to have its academic chops put to the test this fall in a number of programs around the country. Colleges and universities are looking to adopt the iPad as a collaborative tool, a standardized mobile device to integrate into curriculums, and, in some cases, even a cost-saving device.

Jul 262010

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Several NMD courses at U-Me this fall will be using iPads–though I don’t believe it’s so much to read textbooks as reinvent them.


The iPad is about to have its academic chops put to the test this fall in a number of programs around the country. Colleges and universities are looking to adopt the iPad as a collaborative tool, a standardized mobile device to integrate into curriculums, and, in some cases, even a cost-saving device.