Things 58: Video Special

(Originally sent September 2009)

I’ve built up a backlog of interesting videos I think are worth sharing, so it’s time for a Video Special. Whenever someone links me to a video I always have two questions I want to know before committing to a click – how long is it, and do I need sound – so I include this information after each link. [In the blog version videos are embedded so you can see the run time; I’ll just note if you need sound – T.M. 7th August 2011]

Everything is amazing, nobody is happy
Standup Louis C. K. gets some great mileage out of how the incredible speed of technological change is still exceeded by the human capacity to adapt to and take for granted new concepts (sound is all you need):

Mad Skills
“A man who taught himself rock climbing and acrobatics to escape poverty in India” – most amazing climbing move features at 30s (no sound needed):


The idea mill
Assuming I saw the same trigger video, this is the fastest turnaround from an individual’s creative work going viral to the same idea being used in an ad I’ve ever seen (sound optional for all of these):

9th April 2009: “Wolf vs Pig”, using a kind of meta-Stop Motion:

2nd July 2009, 84 days later: same concept used in an ad for the Olympus PEN:

A bit later (as it doesn’t seem to have been officially uploaded), the same thing again, this time for Land Rover:


I find this kind of video reassuring – a simple concept and attention to detail in the execution, rather than incredible extravagance, can still produce a really nice result (sound essential):

Teaser trailer
Christopher Nolan (Memento, Dark Knight) has a new film coming out next year. I think this is my favourite teaser trailer ever, for conveying just an atmosphere and a single fun idea (sound not essential but awesome):


Things 97: Vertical Ship, Climbing Game, State of 3D

A brilliant solution to the problem of stability at sea:

GIRP, a really nice little climbing game (probably easier to get to grips with if you know from the start that feet are not involved).

Chris Lake, in his self-referential post 10 Reasons Why List Based Posts Work Well Online, makes the key point:

We are all cognitive misers

What is the oldest evidence of your own activity on the internet you can still provide a live link to now?

Last Week’s Puzzle
Last week I asked if it was true what they say, that 3D can never work. I think there are two compelling clues towards an answer here.

First, Box Office Quant takes a good solid look at what the money in 3D cinema is looking like. The conclusion is that after two years of 3D cinema being a serious consideration, it’s looking pretty solid. There’s lot of great data and visualisation of it over on the original post, but I’ll just reproduce the weekly revenues by dimension here:

It’s clear that something is working, anyway.

On the other hand, there was this development with Nintendo’s autostereoscopic 3DS by its producer Hideki Konno:

“We want to get software out to as many people as possible, and there are some people who just can’t see 3D […] We’re moving away from any stance that says if you don’t use the 3-D functionality you can’t play this game.”

While I’m yet to see some solid data, the picture that seems to be emerging is that a significant minority (10%?) really do have an issue with the convergence/focus conflict that Walter Merch identified (and which is, incidentally, the underlying science behind the apparent paradox highlighted in this XKCD), to the point that watching a full-length 3D movie or spending a significant time playing a 3D game is an uncomfortable experience for them. Naturally there’s also a small proportion of people that for various reasons do not perceive 3D in real life, for whom a 3D film/game has nothing to offer above a 2D one (and I suspect they are being used as a kind of smoke-screen to hide the bigger concerns about the former group in Hideki Konno’s quote above).

It seems that minority is small enough that 3D cinema revenue remains robust, but large enough that Nintendo don’t want to undermine their universal appeal by allowing 3D to be a barrier to participation.

Incidentally, I find it an incredible sign of the times that we now have three dimensional full-colour moving image experiences at a fully commercial scale, which is really quite an amazingly neat trick, and yet so many people I’ve spoken to seem to feel it’s not particularly worth having. Or in Louis CK’s words, “Everything is amazing right now, and nobody’s happy”: