This is a very creepy effect called ” Flashed Face Distortion”. It makes an optical illusion. simply, when you put a cross between two faces they will appear grotesque. This discovery won the best illusion of the year contest of 2012 in the Vision Science Society.
According to cognitive scientist Matthew B. Thompson this discovery is “Like many interesting scientific discoveries, this one was an accident. Sean Murphy, an undergraduate student, was working alone in the lab on a set of faces for one of his experiments. He aligned a set of faces at the eyes and started to skim through them. After a few seconds, he noticed that some of the faces began to appear highly deformed and grotesque. He looked at the especially ugly faces individually, but each of them appeared normal or even attractive. We called it the “Flashed Face Distortion Effect” and wanted to share it with the world, so we put it on YouTube.The effect seems to depend on processing each face in light of the others. By aligning the faces at the eyes and presenting them quickly, it becomes much easier to compare them, so the differences between the faces are more extreme. If someone has a large jaw, it looks almost ogre-like. If they have an especially large forehead, then it looks particularly bulbous.”
So, watch the video below while focusing on the cross in the middle. Enjoy!
This is a longer video than usual, but I think sampling even just the first five minutes is well worth our time. Something I find noteworthy is that Wonder pulled compelling footage (not to mention great audio) from extreme conditions where he needed to be able to both run with and hide his equipment. He used one of those camera mounts that you press into your shoulder, which he claims “was really great at being there when I needed it but also staying out of the way.” I’d agree: he manages to jog and scramble over obstacles with his camera running, and then transitions seamlessly to steady shots when he stops. Something to think about when we’re considering gear?
I also appreciated the interview style of the film, in that Wonder is clearly present as a subject, yet leaves his own voice out. The choice puts Duncan in the position of tour guide, which helps lead the audience through the narrative while also ensuring that our focus stays with Duncan’s experience rather than that of the filmmaker.
As a final note, I think the interview at 19:28 is composed beautifully, and is a good example of when the details of a setting are important enough to outweigh the benefits of a clean background.
Since we didn’t have a feature documentary to watch this week, and because I finally watched this film today, I thought I would share The Black Power Mixtape (1967-1975). It is actually a nice film to add to the mix of the documentaries we have already seen because it has a bit of a new angle that we haven’t quite seen yet. While fitting in somewhere with the Fog of War and When We Were Kings because it relies on current day interviews and archival footage, this film brings a new dimension in the way that it employs those assets. It takes a film or a series of TV news segments and repurposes them. This might always be the case with archival footage, but in the Black Power Mixtape it feels like something new. Maybe it is due to the perspective of the film.
The interesting part about the movie is that the original perspective of the footage that is used is from the Swedish TV reporters, but in it’s current form it feels that the perspective is given back to those who were either filmed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, or were directly affected by the movements that were happening throughout those decades. Viewers are given the original intent by the Swedish TV reporters with the added layer of the interviews with the participants and current black leaders who give their perspective about what was going on, and how they felt about the interview and the movements that were happening. The original film was from an outsider, both racially and nationally. In the new version, the insiders get to see this outsider perspective and make comments about it. These new interviews speak directly to the footage and not just in general which gives the film a certain intimacy rather than leaving it in some broad realm of History. It is possible that this intimacy was achieved in the original film segments though, and that the interviews aren’t what create this. I am still trying to figure out exactly how the interviews and the archival footage work together. I thought of it one way, but then read a review that made me question it. In the review A.O. Scott said, “Their words sometimes deepen the viewer’s appreciation of what is on screen, though at other times the nuances and contradictions of the past outstrip the didacticism of the commentary. But the fact that the speakers’ faces are never seen produces a feeling of estrangement that is crucial to the film’s effectiveness. You become acutely aware of gaps and discontinuities: between slogans and realities, between political ideals and stubborn social problems, between then and now.” I guess I felt like the estrangement that he mentioned was accurate, and yet I still felt a closeness.
This video has a lot of really beautiful shots, and I particularly like the overhead shots and the shots were the filmmaker used a boat as a dolly to follow the action. It has some great close-ups as well, and really chooses some good detail that tells us a bit about the characters. This video does not have a narrative arc and doesn’t seek to tell a story, but it still tells us a great deal about the culture of Myanmar. It feels like I am flipping through an album, but with videos instead of photos. The pacing of the video, with each shot being shown for about the same amount of time, makes it feel even more like an album. One thing I am curious about is that it seems like a lot of the shots are really well lit, and I wonder how the filmmakers achieved that as they were moving about so much.
So unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an embed code associated with this piece, presumably since it’s using some different technology then just straight video streaming. Thus, check out the brand new video for “Like A Rolling Stone” here and get prepared to lose more than a few minutes of your day. This is not only a collection of wonderfully staged and set pieces, it’s also an amazing example of the use of both interactive media and multimedia. With 16 different channels or “angles” to choose from, there’s essentially an unlimited amount of possible ways to watch this piece. There’s plenty of different things to marvel at with this work, but my first stage of wonder comes with the perfect synchronization of the sound. The seamless interconnections of each channel create a surreal experience that gives off a real Truman Show type of sensation to the viewer.
The use of familiar visuals like The Price is Right, Pawn Stars, Mark Maron and so on creates a degree of familiarity with the audience that initially draws them into the piece. I find this very inspiring in the way that it emphasizes the idea of doing something unexpected with something that is familiar to the viewer – just because something has been seen before doesn’t mean that you can’t show it in a whole new way. Obviously though, the real power of this video lies in granting the power of control to the audience. I think it’s not only brilliant and beautiful, but also a potential glimpse into the future of how entertainment will be presented. The Red Hot Chili Peppers made a similar video in 2012 that you can check out here.
This week for my inspiration I chose Caine’s Arcade which is about a boy who built his own arcade out of cardboard in his father’s auto shop. I love this video for many reasons, first off it shows the power of the internet and how it can be used to raise the attention of something no matter how small it may be and raise its level to something even great.
It also helps that Caine’s story is heartwarming as well, he wanted to do something, like build his own arcade, so he went and did it. He showed awesome levels of creativity and drive, something that I think a lot of us, I know I have moments like that, could be inspired from. Sure he only had one customer but that never deterred Caine from continuing on.
But I really do love this film for its technical aspects as well. It uses several different methods that we have discussed in class. Like at the beginning of the film with the focus in and out and some of the games with the army men, or the basketball hoop. At 1:17 there is an awesome pan shot around the tree that Caine is swinging on. With the sit down interviews I like how when it was a subject that they were looking off to the side at the filmmaker, but when the filmmaker himself comes on screen he is looking directly at the camera, an interesting style choice that helps show that the subjects are dofferent from him. Finally I have to say the decision to cut the music at 7:50 when Caine is coming up to the arcade so that we can hear the crowd was a great decision and added just that much more emotion to the whole scene.
This video is almost two different videos in one. On the one hand, we have the minimally lit band set up that is mainly comprised of medium and close-up shots of individual instruments or band members. Then we have the story, where we are constantly transported back to following our subjects in a more colorful set of scenes where it seems as though the cinematographer is possibly using a filter. The story scenes also feature jump cuts in a way that really works well with the pace of the music, and a few POV shots that are awesome, including one where the camera is covered by dirt and we transition back to the dimly lit band set. The band shots feature a much smoother pace allowing us to see the instruments clearly while masking many of the band members faces mostly in shadow, setting a tone for the darker story at hand.
The casting choices are particularly great, considering the cast features hot up and coming Portland indie actress Summer Hatfield! There are some interesting theories as to what kind of message the band is portraying with the story, so if you’re planning to comment, I’d be interested to hear what you think.