Hello everyone and welcome back to the blog! Some of you might have noticed I have skipped a week this time. It was all quite hectic, but we got a lot done, so let’s proceed in order!

360 Videos

We have tried the Samsung Gear 360 camera and the Nokia OZO last week to start experimenting with 360 videos.

As a journalist, I was aware that 360 videos represented a completely different way of filming. In traditional video-making, you direct the viewer’s attention by showing them what you deem relevant. You might position your subject of interest in a not-particularly eye-grabbing section of the screen, but then adjust the movement around it, and so on.

In 360 filming, you have to be aware of the fact that the viewer will be free to look around the scene. Is it better to make the whole scene interesting to let the viewer choose what to focus on, or make the rest of the scene boring except for a specific point where your viewer should focus to follow the action? This article provides some interesting views about that.

Because most 360 cameras have multiple lenses, they will stitch together multiple videos.  Even when your camera may include automatic stitching software, some programs will render the lines a bit differently.

To prevent unwanted results, we realised, it is good practice to walk around your camera at different distances as it films. This way you’ll get a good understanding of how your camera stitches lines and consequently avoid placing moving objects near a stitch line.

Might sound obvious, but as I mentioned in my blog entry about VR, sound is fundamental for 360 filming as well. Most 360 cameras have decent built-in directional microphones, but working with an external one can sometimes make a difference.

Last but not least of my reflections around 360 filming, where does the crew go? You only have two options. They will either be completely offset, or they’ll have to blend in as part of the scene.

For more about 360 filming, stay tuned for our Horror project coming up near Christmas time!

The Thrill Engineer 

We had the pleasure of having Brendan Walker teaching us about creativity a couple of weeks ago.

Brendan has worked on creative projects with the BBC and Nissan and has designed numerous rides for some of the biggest amusement parks in the UK. Hearing him talking was absolutely inspiring!

As part of his lecture, we had to think about how to communicate ideas to clients and technical teams. We had a 1-hour presentation when he showed us some examples of sketching he did for some of his projects, then we went on designing rides for an imaginary ‘RS Components Theme Park’.

Our sketch for the ride

We had 90 minutes to develop ideas for the rides using whatever techniques we wanted. As a further condition, we could only produce 20% of your work using a computer, while the rest had to be manually drawn, cut out, or handmade. 

Brendan was quite clear about this. He said: “if you can’t manage to do this in 90 minutes, then you will never be able to convey an idea to your clients or teams.”

It was an adrenaline-fuelled process, and more than once I thought “we will never make it”, but we actually did.

I am aware it was an extremely rudimentary idea and was lacking substance in many ways, but I felt like at the end, me and Ola managed to sketch down how our ride should work.

We had rough information about the functioning of the ride and even managed to get down a fairly ugly photoshopped version of the cart for it.

I also think Brendan liked the idea we had about merchandising specifically tailored to go with the ride, and his feedback was precious in many ways.

He stretched the importance of sketching with any material available, and to focus on the creative aspects of the process as much as on the practical functioning of how something would work.

All in all, it was an absolutely inspiring session, which gave me great insight into many of the practical aspects of working in the working industry.

Silicon Milkround

Justinas and I went to the Silicon Milkround tech job fair last week. The event is mainly aimed at developers, data scientists and designers, so going with my journalistic background was more of an experiment.

It was interesting to see how some professions are at the intersection of tech and design, tech and marketing and so on. Some companies were actually looking for creative technologists, which I had never relly noticed before!

Arduino Projects are Taking Shape

Short update on this! We have figured out the functioning of the technology for all of our Arduino projects. I know, the Meow mask is amazing, it’s part of the Project ‘animate.illuminate’ and is the result of the work by our amazing designers  Kannika and Mo. We will be programming animations, based on sensor inputs, to illuminate EL wires on this mask.

Arduino powered EL wire test

The other two Arduino-powered projects we’re working on are a bottle to deploy in lakes that can measure the pH of water and a mini fountain which flow of water is regulated by levels of concentration and meditation measured by a Bluetooth headset.

More on this next week!

And the the workshop

Last but not least, we have been in the workshop this Friday, to work on the Small Object of Delight (SOD)

It’s always interesting to handle materials and tools, and the more I build stuff the more I realise how important precision is. Sometimes things can look easy to make, but a badly made one-inch cut can ruin not only your design but your project’s functionalities as well.

We have all the components now to build our SOD, so we’ll be having a working prototype by next week.

Thanks for reading!

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