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Flim, an Intelligent Movie Screenshot Search Engine

23 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Flim is a movie search engine currently in beta that returns screenshots from movies based on keywords like “clock” or “tree”. Like so:

film screenshot search results

You can filter results by things like genre, year, and film ratio. You can search by color and within movies, e.g. “tuxedo” in Titanic:

film screenshot search results

I would love for the screenshot detail pages to include timecodes — it would make this an amazing tool for creating supercuts, film analysis videos, and other sorts of media. Imagine how much easier Christian Marclay’s job would have been with “clock” and “watch” searches on Flim. (via waxy)

Tags: movies   search

Radiohead. Ballet. Together at Last.

23 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

A pair of dancers from the Polish National Ballet perform a dance to Reckoner by Radiohead, choreographed by Robert Bondara. This is from a longer performance featuring a number of Radiohead songs. The whole performance briefly popped up online over the weekend but is gone now. The video above is the only clip I could find on YouTube — hopefully the whole thing will be available again at some point.

Tags: dance   music   Radiohead   remix   Robert Bondara   video

Self-Medicating Media: Relax in Online Ambiance Rooms

23 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

From the NY Times on The Soothing, Digital Rooms of YouTube, a genre of video that pairs animated scenery with ambient soundscapes:

The genre is a close cousin of A.S.M.R. (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos, which are meant to evoke the pleasant brain-tingling sensation that some people experience when they hear sounds like hair brushing, nail tapping and soft whispers.

But ambience videos are differentiated, their creators say, by their purpose — not necessarily to give the tingles, but to relax and soothe a viewer by means of an immersive experience.

These videos all have names like Underwater Study Room, Cozy Cabin in the mountains, Jazz Bar in Paris, and Forest Sounds. They’re related to slow TV and other meditative videos I’ve posted over the years (e.g. the idling Arctic icebreaker & Tibetan singing bowl music. In the article, Helle Breth Klausen calls this genre “self-medicating media”.

Tags: Helle Breth Klausen   meditative   video

Onboard Camera Views from Perseverance Rover’s Descent & Touchdown on Mars

23 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Just a few days after the Perseverance rover successfully touched down on Mars, NASA has released onboard video from the descent and landing from multiple perspectives. I watched this with my kids last night and all three of us had our mouths hanging open.

The real footage in this video was captured by several cameras that are part of the rover’s entry, descent, and landing suite. The views include a camera looking down from the spacecraft’s descent stage (a kind of rocket-powered jet pack that helps fly the rover to its landing site), a camera on the rover looking up at the descent stage, a camera on the top of the aeroshell (a capsule protecting the rover) looking up at that parachute, and a camera on the bottom of the rover looking down at the Martian surface.

After watching it again just now, I am struck by two things:

  1. Sometime in my lifetime, live broadcasts from Mars will likely become commonplace. There will be dozens or hundreds of Mars webcams you can pull up on whatever the 2052 internet equivalent is. It will be amazing how boring it all is. (Or perhaps it’ll be boring how amazing it all is.)
  2. That humans landed on the Moon in 1969 was an incredible feat, but a close second is that the first steps were broadcast live from the Moon’s surface to everywhere on the Earth. Unbelievable.

Can’t wait to see more from Perseverance once the science program gets cranking.

Tags: astronomy   Mars   NASA   Perseverance   science   space   video

Draw an Iceberg and See How It Will Float

22 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Glaciologist Megan Thompson-Munson recently posted an “unofficial but passionate petition” for scientists and science publications to start drawing icebergs correctly.

While it’s true that only ~10% floats above the surface of the water, the “classic” orientation is unstable and would actually not be found in nature. An elongated iceberg would not float on its head, but instead on its side.

Inspired by her plea, Joshua Tauberer made a cool little iceberg simulator called Iceberger — you can quickly draw an iceberg and see how it will float. Here are a couple of weird ones I drew:

drawing of an iceberg

drawing of an iceberg

I would love to see a gently gamified version of this where you compete to draw the slowest-orienting icebergs or icebergs closest to their stable orientation. Would be similar to some of the puzzles in Brain It On!

Tags: Joshua Tauberer   Megan Thompson-Munson   science

Finding All the Source Images for the Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover

22 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

The iconic album cover for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a collage of images of dozens of people — mostly famous, mostly men — arranged as though they’re standing in a group behind the band. A list of the people depicted on the cover (including Marilyn Monroe, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Shirley Temple, and Fred Astaire) can be found on Wikipedia but Chris Shaw went a step further and tracked down the exact source images for each one of people & objects shown.

The collage was designed by Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, and the cut-outs were assembled in Michael Cooper’s London photographic studio. Michael and his team toiled hard to construct the ‘cast of extras’, using a mix of photos sourced from the BBC Hulton Picture Library, images from private collections, waxworks and personal artifacts, including a gnome owned by Ringo Starr.

detail of Sgt. Pepper's album cover

detail of Sgt. Pepper's album cover

detail of Sgt. Pepper's album cover

You so rarely get to see the raw materials used for design objects, so this is a real treat. (via waxy)

Tags: Chris Shaw   design   music   remix   The Beatles

Daft Punk Have Broken Up

22 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Musical duo Daft Punk have called it quits after 28 years. They said goodbye with the video embedded above. This is so far from the worst thing that has happened in the past year but I am unexpectedly emotional about this. I still remember quite vividly hearing their music for the first time and I was hoping for more to come. So much of what they’ve created continues to resonate with me and, gosh, I can’t believe it’s over. Thank you, gentlemen.

Tags: Daft Punk   music   video

The Otherworldly Sounds of the Long String Instrument

22 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Here are a pair of videos of Ellen Fullman playing the Long String Instrument, an musical instrument with up to 100-foot-long strings that Fullman has developed over the past 35+ years.

These ghostly, ethereal sounds are made by Fullman rubbing the strings with rosin-coated fingers; you can read more about her process in The Guardian:

Its sound recalls Indian raga, with harmonies sliding over one another. Fullman says playing it “can be an ecstatic feeling, a floating sensation. Music is bigger than me: there are pitch relationships, shapes of notes beautiful beyond the level of human expression. I like that feeling of being a conduit. I don’t like egotistical thrashing. I like trying to give a gift.”

The strings are connected to wooden resonators that act like the body of a guitar to amplify the sound. To bring it out further, Fullman rubs her fingers with rosin, the same substance used on bows. In effect, she turns herself into a human bow. The strings are 2cm apart and she can have up to 28 on each of the two sides of the instrument: “The number is only limited by the length of my arms: 60cm.”

Best little detail about Fullman from that piece: she was “born in Memphis and kissed by Elvis as a baby”.

Aside from the videos, you can find music she’s created with the Long String Instrument on Spotify and other streaming services. I would love to see her perform in person sometime, when such things are permitted again. (via @tedgioia)

Tags: Ellen Fullman   music   video

Ian McKellan Recites the “Duck Tales” Theme Song

19 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Hunter Davis does an amazing impression of Ian McKellen and used it to recite the lyrics to the Duck Tales theme song as if he were Gandalf.

Somehow I have never seen this video before (it’s from 2009!) and it made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt. I watched it three times in the row but had to stop to post this. See also If Ian McKellen performed “Baby Got Back”, which is really good as well but doesn’t contain the phrase “it’s a duck blur” so 2nd place. (via laura olin)

Tags: Duck Tales   Hunter Davis   Ian McKellen   remix   video

String Quartet Performs Billie Eilish’s bad guy

19 February, by Jason Kottke[ —]

Over the past two decades, musical group Vitamin String Quartet has covered the songs of dozens of musical artists and groups, from Jimi Hendrix to PJ Harvey to Eminem. In the video embedded above, they cover bad guy by Billie Eilish, apparently one of several covers that appears in Bridgerton (haven’t seen it). The group’s music has also appeared in Westworld, most notably Radiohead’s Motion Picture Soundtrack. And, I just this second made this connection: VSQ also did the Strung Out on OK Computer album, a longtime staple of my music for working.

Tags: Billie Eilish   music   Radiohead   remix   Vitamin String Quartet

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