Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Color Selection

Time flies and I can hardly keep up. In the last couple of months I wrote on how before laptop computers demos were made through video tapes. I posted Mik Lamming's Digital Darkroom, The Appearance of a Flamingo, and Meta-Palette.

The reception of the last two videos gave me the confidence to progress from the underground video scene to the professional world of first tier publications. I decided to shoot a video on my research and submit it to the ACM SIGCHI conference, which had a joint video program with ACM SIGGRAPH.

The hardest part was the constraint that each video had to fit into 10 minutes. I wrote a very tight script and practiced it until I could read it in 10 minutes, then I taped a number of sequences illustrating the script. Since videotaping from a CRT computer display monitor is a major challenge (the lens has a curved image plane or field curvature that has the opposite bending of a CRT; the blanking must be carefully matched between CRT and camera), I wrote a small program to capture the screen and FTP it over to an Abecas DDR (digital disk recorder). Mark Chow then masterfully assembled the images to fit my voice.

Alas, my inability to enunciate clearly, combined with my Babylon of accents, made the video very hard to understand. Fortunately Maureen was so kind to practice the script for a couple of days and then record it. With Mark Chow I then created a new edit list matching Maureen's perfect tempo, yielding the Second Edition of Color Selection you can view at the top of this post.

The video scored a very close second place on the SIGCHI video track, which was quite a success.

Description: Giordano Bruno Beretta and Maureen C. Stone, Color Selection, second edition. Presented at: ACM SIGGRAPH Video Review, Itasca,1 April 1990. Produced 5 January 1990. Accession Number: P90-00001. Credits: Rick Beach, Mark Chow, Ed Foley, Giuliana Lavendel, Yoko Nonaka, Theron Thompson, Rob Tow.

The fuzziness of the patches for certain colors is due to the very limited bandwidth of NTSC and VHS. Unfortunately, the U-matic master tape was lost.