rebecca's WIP

Archive
fall 2015

Last Friday January 29th was the big day: the final presentation of our interactive billboard in Times Square. Below is our documentation video of the event, as well as a longer screen capture of some of our results.

 

We also gave a presentation about our project and our process at Viacom’s Whitebox Theater on Friday February 5. A video of our slides is below.

More documentation photos coming soon!

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Fort Tilden is a former military base hidden in plain sight, just miles outside of New York City. Located on 347 acres of land in the Rockaways, it was built post-WWI as a coastal gun defense. During the Cold War, it became a nike missile site, the frontier of protection against nuclear attack.

Missile Sunrise is a short 360 historical experience focusing on Fort Tilden, the Rockaways, Queens, New York. Created by Rebecca Lieberman and Nick Hubbard. Shot with a GoPro Freedom360 mount; stitched in AutoPano Pro; edited in Adobe Premiere; shown on a Samsung Gear VR.

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Voiceover Text:
From the history of Fort Tilden
“Memories of 69th AAA Gun Batallion (1950)”
“Battery 220 16-inch Gun Technical Data”

Audio sources (from YouTube):
Nike Hercules & Nike X Missiles in Action – Defense Testing NORAD – 1970s
Surface to Air Missiles: The Nike Hercules Story 1960 US Army

 

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On an eerily warm Saturday in the beginning of December, smack in the middle of the most stressful time of year (the tidal wave of finals, choosing spring classes, general sleeplessness), the ITP second years participated in Thesis Saturday, informally known as the “gong show.” During that afternoon, we got together as a class, read 1-minute “pitches” of our thesis questions and conceptual areas of exploration, huddled up for group brainstorms and workshopping sessions, and ended it with cake and wine. I wrote something terribly abstract, and maybe a bit poetic.

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Today, on my first day “back” from winter break — out of the house, no longer in loungewear — I’m embarking on the earliest stages of research and development for what will be my thesis. This is the fun part of the process — the part where I get to steep myself in ideas, read a ton, write things in my notebook that make no sense, come up with crazy ideas that I could not possibly make in three months.

And so, as I begin that process, I thought it’d be fun to post what I read at the gong show, the notes I scribbled quickly during my brainstorm session, so that as it all develops, I have something to look back on; to see where I started, and how far I came.

The dictionary defines a trace as: a mark, sign or evidence left by something that has passed. My thesis will employ computational imaging techniques and virtual reality to explore the following question: how can we reconstruct something from the digital traces it leaves behind? 

Building on two projects from this past semester, Periscope Portraits and Monuments to Hart Island, I want to create an interactive documentary storytelling project that gives us access to things that are otherwise inaccessible, invisible or outside the limits of our human vision. I will explore the ways that emerging technologies change the power dynamics of seeing, and allow for new forms of understanding and knowledge. I hope to combine a research based practice with an investigation of reconstructive technologies such as 3D scanning, photogrammetry and virtual reality.

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The great thing about working with new and emerging technologies is that you get to try things that are not available to most people. The bad part about being a guinea pig is that because these things are new, documentation is often spare to say the least.

I decided to type up instructions on how to load 360 Video into the Milk VR Player for Gear VR after I spent an afternoon haplessly trying to get this to work. I found bits and pieces, but no step by step instruction. So, here it is.

To play 360 Video on the Gear VR, you can use either Milk VR or the Oculus 360 Video player. If you want to play something with 5.1  surround sound, you need to use Milk VR.

Export Instructions from Premiere

  • Codec set to H.264 (video must have with of 4096 px)
  • Make sure 5.1 is in your audio settings if you’re using 5.1 sound
  • Give the name a file extension _5.1.mp4 (MilkVR is looking for an underscore 5.1)

File transfer to Android Phone

  • Once you’ve exported and named your file, it’s time to load the video into the the phone. To play a video on the Gear VR, you need to put your video on the file directory of the Samsung phone itself***
  • There are two methods for doing this, one is to use Android File Transfer app and the other is AirDroid (which you need to have as an app on the phone, as well as a website on your computer)
  • AirDroid is easy to use. To do so, open the app on the Samsung and go to web.aidroid.com
  • Scan the QR code
  • The file system of the Samsung phone should show up in the browser
  • Put your video into the MilkVR folder; if there’s not already a folder, create one called MilkVR in the main directory of the phone (make sure there are no spaces in MilkVR)
  • When you hook your phone into the gear, MilkVR will launch. Your video should appear in the “Downloads” section of the Milk VRplayer.

***You only need a milk vr acount and to use the web interface if you want to put your content online and have it approved; to just test on the gear, use the instructions above

Alternative to MilkVR — Oculus 360 Video Player
http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/360-video-gear-vr/

 

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Earlier today, we presented updated project concepts to the MTV News Team at Viacom. Our project has evolved even since the November meeting, and it was great to get additional feedback. The presentation we gave is below.

We also put up a demo to user test on the Waverley Screens of the SMS Your Outrage Concept. It looked great on the screens and I’ll be doing some documentation of people interacting with it in the next few days. In the meantime, here are some screenshots below.

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One concern we had (and still are working through) about our voting on two sides of an outrage idea is that people won’t have enough context to know what is actually up on the screen. Certain things that take over Twitter, like the Starbucks Red Cup, for example, aren’t necessarily known to everyone and we want our piece to be inclusive and active.

So, we decided to make a quick paper prototype at ITP to see if this is even work exploring further before we build out this or another idea. The results were interesting as you can see below; a fair amount of people voted throughout the day (after these pics were taken) but a lot didn’t understand the hashtags and what perspective of side of the story they represented. It seems like some of those issues would be remedied with great copy and choice of images, but we’ll still need to do a ton of user testing if we go this route.

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In addition to our paper test, we also sent out a survey to the ITP student list to ask people what they are outraged about. This test informed our project and might develop into an entirely different concept for Times Square, in which users can text in their outrage. In any event, here are some of the interesting responses we got from that survey —

People suggesting we bar Syrian refugees from this country and the general racist fear-mongering that dominates the news.

Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to his daughter

Police brutality.

guns. civilians, police, anyone using a gun.

environmental disaster in brazil that was neglected by the media

The expectations that get passed through society about what women’s’ bodies are supposed to look like and thus valued. WTF what a waste of energy

stereotypical assumptions of some countries

Cecil the Lion did! & that stupid article from the nytimes about how detroit is the last station on the L train

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This morning at the crack of dawn, Nick and I drove to Fort Tilden to explore the abandoned spaces there — missile silos, other fortification structures, abandoned buildings — for our 360 documentary. The idea was to explore similar themes to our project Monuments to Hart Island; we wanted to look more closely at places hidden in plain sight, to give a viewer access to a “blank spot on the map”, except this time using a different form. Our final piece will be finished Wednesday, but in the meantime here are some images from our shoot.

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Today I met with Julia to go over advice for re-texturing some of my Hart Island models in preparation for building our Unity world. I’ve been getting great geometries in Photoscan, but when I view the models in Unity the textures look pixelated and fuzzy which is not what we want. I’m going to need to do some serious Photoshopping to get the level of detail I want in the coming days. One of Julia’s suggestions was to export the texture maps as PNG files rather than JPGs (since JPGs interpolate the spaces between textures and can make re-texturing more difficult). This afternoon I tried doing this for some of my models and got the following texture maps. This doesn’t have much to do with my project, but I think they’re really beautiful images that capture the unfolding of a space.

13_ferry_dock abandoned_bldg

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