Friday, October 5, 2007

Proving That Seeing Shouldn’t Always Be Believing

Published: October 2, 2007, New York Times
Photo Credit: Caleb Kenna for The New York Times

Caleb Kenna for The New York Times

HANOVER, N.H. — As Hany Farid sat in his office here at Dartmouth College on a recent morning, he fiddled with his laptop and cracked disconcerting little jokes.

‘I Think Like a Forger’ Using computer and mathematical techniques, Hany Farid can tell if the lighting is wrong, the fish isn’t that big or the celebrities weren’t really together.

“Don’t ever send me a photograph of yourself,” said Dr. Farid, head of the Image Science Laboratory at Dartmouth. “I’ll do the most terrible things to it.”

Dr. Farid, a 41-year-old engineer, is a founder of a subdiscipline within computer science: digital forensics. Most days, he spends his time transforming ordinary images into ones with drastic new meanings. Click, goes his mouse. Courtney Love has joined Grandpa at the family barbecue. Click. Click. Elvis Presley is on Dartmouth’s board of trustees.

The purpose of all this manipulation is to discover how computerized forgeries are made. Intelligence agencies, news organizations and scientific journals employ Dr. Farid’s consulting services when they need to authenticate the validity of images. Dr. Farid sells a software package, “Q,” to clients so they, too, can become digital detectives.

An edited version of two hours’ worth of conversation follows.

Click here to read the rest of the article (requires you to sign in for free).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Everything You See Is Fake VIdeo

This clip demonstrates the power of video editing. It's very startling to see how well videos can be doctored. There is no way to really know if you're looking at the real thing.

Click here to view the video.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Time's Person of the Year: You

The answer is, you... And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.

But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Moving.Subject Video Gallery

"Bragging Rights" by Joel Cocks and Cole Lanski

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Film editing articles

New Media Technology is an introduction to the discipline and applications that comprise it. As with all disciplines, there is a strong theoretical component. Here are some articles on film editing, approached from an academic perspective.

Download a PDF of “Maximizing the Moment – Theories for the Practice of Editing.” It is based on the conference of the same name, held at the media Centre Lume, Helsinki, in May 2004.

A few memorable quotes from the essays:

“Fundamentally, what happens with the activity of the brain is that we are hard-wired to find meaning – from one image to the other we try and make meaning, we try and make a story. Why does one image follow another?”

“The human mind craves story. Many students don’t believe this until we do an exercise in which I give them a certain amount of insert material of a medical operation. I assign half the class to first construct a story for the material and then edit the footage with that story in mind. The other half of the class is given the task of deliberately avoiding a story but to find some other way of arranging the footage. Some choose color, other choose sizes of shots, and some seem to randomly choose the material. The next time the class meets we screen each cut. Amazingly, every year the exact same thing happens – it’s impossible to tell which edits were story based and which were not. Every single version of the scene tells a story, whether it was intentional or not.

Humans crave order and, as a result, they crave story. It is a powerful lesson.”

Norman Hollyn, “Direct Guidance, Remote Guidance and Misguidance: Teaching Editing in a Portable Non-Linear World”


“First, from Metz, is that Cinema is structured ‘like a language.’ It isn’t. Second, from Lacan, the idea that the unconscious is structured ‘like a language.’ It isn’t. Language has this imperialistic approach to everything. It’s very successful. It has been the Microsoft of the brain.”

“…we apprehend, we understand the world – through our eyes and through the connection between the eyes and the brain.

Now it’s important to understand that the eye is part of the brain, it selects, it does not pass all the information it receives back along the chain. It edits the information. A fruitful way of thinking about the brain as a system is as a network of non-linear editing machines. The question then is what is being edited and why?”

“The first is that what we follow on the screen is movement, physical movement. And if we are watching, or even if we are dozing off, a movement on the screen will catch our attention even in the periphery of vision.

The eye developed in order to capture movement – as the most effective way for the organism to defend itself against a predator.

Secondly, the brain developed in order to register emotional movement.”

Peter Wyeth, “Looking at Kuleshov: The Matter of Vision and Visual Articulacy”


Click here to download a PDF "On the Importance of Relations between Film Cues and Spectators Perception, and the Possibilities of Selective Compression in New Multimedia Technologies," by Arne Lie
NTNU Department of Telematics N-7491 Trondheim Norway


Click here to download a PDF of Alternative Realities / The Multiverse: A Metaphysical Conundrum, by Fred A. Wynn

"Just as the acceleration of technology has escalated, there has been an increasing plethora of films in the last decade that depict characters in alternative realties. These realities are ones in which not only the characters, but the audience may be initially unaware that these realities are unreal. The realities range from virtual to games to media conceived to fantasy to science and science fiction. Yet they are all bound by the objective of breaking through a barrier that separates them from authentic reality. This loss of discernable reality is more than just a narrative theme, but also a theme of current and emergent philosophies as well the theorical concept on which this study is based; that the inability to discern reality is a deep seated collective fear of society in the 21st Century. We have truly reached the age of technology and our culture reflects this paradigm in time. Thus we find that in these films the fourth phrase of image that is characteristic of the era of simulation is reached. The films and philosophies mirror one another."

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

How to download files from YouTube and convert them

Warning: You have to do this at home, on your own computer. You can't download programs and install them on the university computers.

Click here for information on the VideoDownloader.

Download videos from Youtube, Google, Metacafe, iFilm, Dailymotion... and other 60+ video sites ! And all embedded objects on a webpage (movies, mp3s, flash, quicktime, etc)! Directly!

VideoDownloader adds a small icon on the status bar at the bottom of your Firefox window, and a toolbar button. Just click that and download the video you are watching !

Once the file is downloaded (as an "flv" file - otherwise known as "flash video" file) you must rename the file to "nameofvideo.flv. Then you must convert it to an "mpg" in order to use it in Premiere. To do this, you have to download another program called...

Free Riva FLV Encoder 2.0
Transcode your existing Flash Video (FLV) format files with Riva FLV Encoder. Click here to visit the web site where you can download it.

Once you've selected your INPUT Video, you simply change the name of the the OUTPUT Destination Video File extension to "mpg." Then click the Encode button. It'll take a few minutes, but the mpg video will appear (wherever you saved it).

If you're using an Apple/Mac, try this link: for a conversion program.