01 January 2009

The Explosion of Cinematic Time

This coy video from Dan Goldman of Adobe Systems alludes to some pretty fundamental concepts of what an object-oriented cinema might entail;
  • Drawing on Objects
    (making graphic changes to objects which stay with the object in time, as opposed to simulating object-oriented change by altering every frame)

  • Delineating Paths of Objects
    (tracking and displaying an objects path through space)

  • Attaching Visual Metadata to Objects
    (text annotations in the form of cartoon speech bubbles)

  • Object Timeline Scrubbing
    (using a "click and drag"approach to scrub the timeline)

  • "Throwing" Objects
    (giving objects the ability to be manipulated using analog velocity controls)

  • Segmentation of Objects
    (enabling puppet-like effects)

  • Hypercubist Time
    ("drag and drop" manipulation of individual objects through their own timelines to create composite hypercubist time)
Dan explains that his software system analyzes the movement of points and allows the system to recognize moving objects. The video also demonstrates how algorithmic analysis will be able to accurately calculate hypercubist compositing to eliminate visual artifacts.

The curious and persistent question in my mind is: when will this hypercubist vision for moving images be embraced by the video camera manufacturers? Why not displace some of the processing power needed to identify the objects into the camera system itself? There are certainly high-end special effects tracking systems for the commercial industry to do all kinds of compositing and layering of 3D and real images, but I think lower price point systems have a genuine appeal for numerous less glossy applications. It seems like Dan is already on this tip in his experiments with puppets.

The Dynamic Graphics Project at the University of Toronto has also been contributing to this field with its Dimp video player prototype which allows to browse video clips by directly dragging their content.

These interface prototypes are a great step forward in establishing hypercubist video aesthetics. I think 2009 looks auspicious for these projects. With YouTube's recent launch of annotations even with a silly example like this its not hard to imagine more and more regular consumers demanding sophisticated object-oriented video tools.

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