Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moved My Blog to Tumblr

Hey Guys,

I've still been following your blogs using blogger, but now I moved mine to Tumblr. I just found it easier/cleaner to post things and track the content. Come visit my tumblr, yo!


Stay Bright.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

DSCN: Normal Life and the Design rule for Camera File System

Technology helps us explore truth. That’s a fact. It’s not always easy to discover this truth. That’s an opinion. Today I want to explain a piece of modern invention that has allowed me to find humanity in technology. This is going to start off boring, but it will help explain something beautiful.

In 2000, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association was formed from the previous Electronic Industries Association of Japan and the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association. This new group, shortened to just JEITA, dedicated themselves to defining and creating consistent specifications for technology and electronics. Their goal was to,

“…promote the healthy manufacturing, international trade and consumption of electronics products and components in order to contribute to the overall development of the electronics and information technology (IT) industries, and thereby further Japan's economic development and cultural prosperity.”

In practice, they are the ones who define specifications by which electronics companies adapt their products so that electronics can work happily together. Thus, when digital cameras became commonplace and Japan was producing tons of them, JEITA created specification CP-3461 otherwise known as “Design Rule for Camera File system” or DCF for short.

The DCF laid out guidelines that defined the directory structure, file naming method, character set, file format, and metadata format that digital cameras would use to record their images. You know when you try to grab your images off your camera and there are a bunch of bizarrely named folders and files? Yeah, that’s the DCF (CP-3461) in action.

So they create this specification for cameras and now every camera is using it. This means every related file sits in a folder called DCIM (short for Digital Camera Images). Inside this DCIM folder is a subdirectory with letters and numbers (usually having to do with the camera type) like “NIKOND40”. Contained within those subdirectories are the image files named DSC_XXXX where the Xs represent numbers based on the order in which the pictures were recorded and the DSC stands for “Digital Still Capture (or Camera)”. Over time cameras slightly altered this format to specify their brand. Thus, Nikon, for example uses DSCN where the “N” just stands for “Nikon”.

So this is a standard that is now relatively constant in all cameras and without much care the average user snaps hundreds and thousands of pictures that reference this system. That said when your mom sits down at her computer to pick her favorite photos from the day, the she has to sort through these robotically named files and pull her selects. Typically, when mom finds that perfect picture of Uncle Ted dancing at Jamie’s wedding she will move it into a new folder and change the file name to something like “unc_ted_fundance.jpg” so that when she uploads it to the family reunion website everyone will know what it is.
That said, a truly beautiful phenomenon has unfolded on the internet. Sometimes mom doesn’t move her favorite folders to a new folder and sometimes mom doesn’t just upload the best pictures to the family reunion website. Sometimes mom just uploads everything but then only posts links to the good ones.

What does this mean?

This means that the internet is populated with tons of photos and videos that aren’t necessarily meant to be seen by the public. In fact, many of the photos are probably wrongfully posted online by someone not quite internet saavy enough to know what’s going on. So the question is: how do we find these personal photos of normal people living normal lives? How to we tap into this resource of human truth?

Simple: we search for the default DCF naming conventions.

All throughout the internet, hidden in the nooks and cranies of personal webpages and uninteresting youtube profiles are the details of every day life. Photos and videos with this default naming convention most commonly provide windows into the extraordinarily banal but exceptionally private lives of the citizens of the internet.

For example, take my favorite of these photos: the photos named DSCN0001. These photos represent the first photo taken by a photographer often with a new camera. They are the test shots, the trial runs, and the in-store demonstrations of novice digital camera users. How did they get on the internet? Who knows.

Heres a few resevoirs of these great images:

But the interest doesn't end at just photos. Videos have acquired the same naming conventions.

So these have been a few examples of the wonderful truth that technology can uncover. Do yourselves a favor and take your own journey into normal life and spend some time trying to find your own favorite DSC videos and pictures. It's amazing how unamazing the world can be, and to me that's pretty awesome.

Stay Bright.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Short Film - Icarus

I believe this may be the third or fourth time I have "released" this video on to the Internet. However, unlike the last three times I am finally happy with how it stands, how long it stands, and where it stands. It might be an interesting comparison to check out the three or four versions of this same short and see how my sensibilities have changed in regards to the exact same footage.

It's also weird to take another look at this film because aside from just my sensibilities, the contributing parties involved with this film are also artifacts of time. This film was made back when Tim, Nora, Alex, and I were conjoined at the hip (and when Nora made live action films). Back when James and I would actually hang out and tell stories about co-workers. Back when Evan was my roommate in NYU housing. Back when color film was a big deal. Back when a ten hour shoot was a huge accomplishment (though it would still be a big accomplishment now, just for completely opposite reasons).

I guess working on this film again made me realize that I'm glad I chose film and not dancing or stage performing because at the end of the day (all of them) I will always have (save for the disastrous thought of irreversible data loss) something to look at from my past.

Maybe this is why people have children.

Stay Bright.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

How I Know I've Probably Time Travelled

While standing in line at the grocery store I notice an older man paying for his food ahead of me. Instead of using produce bags, the man literally just sets down an army of vegetables on the conveyor belt and gets his cash ready for delivery. Suddenly this man catches sight of me and immediately stops counting his money. He freezes with terror and a look of caution suddenly overwhelms his vegetable purchasing face. He takes a step closer to me and then quietly asks, "Tom?"

I am extremely confused. A beat of time passes that indicates to me that this man truly believes what he is about to describe. The man carefully explains that I look exactly like his childhood friend from when he grew up. He stares at me.

It's very apparent when someone is staring at your person instead of connecting with you as a sentient being.

It was clear he was staring at my skin and not at whatever that human thing is behind your eyes. Slowly tears start to well up in his eyes and he mutters,

" a god damn time machine"

The young Spanish speaking woman behind the broken conveyor belt smiles in an unsure but joyful manner but is clearly uncomfortable at the situation (the look you wear when your close friend runs into a close friend you don't know on the street and they start fake fighting or something... that look). She relents to her desire to finish the transaction and puts out her hand heralding the exchange of cash for vegetables.

But he is transfixed. Tears literally fall from his eyes onto the floor. I just stare back at him and try to brainstorm every possible way that this set-up could result in physical harm or personal loss (or worse, how to deal with the situation if this man is crazy). Customers behind me change aisles because things have gotten weird.

As I round the bases in my mind trying to keep my self and my belongings preserved and un-tampered with, the man snaps out of it. He excuses himself and starts counting his money again. Every couple of numbers he glances back at me just to make sure whatever assumptions he has made are still correct. She changes his cash, bags his naked vegetables, and tells him to,

"Have good, thanks."

He starts heading for the door and then stops. He stands for a moment with his back turned towards me, then swivels around so that he is again facing my direction. He takes a small breathe and then simply says:

"Those were some good times, Tommy."

He wasn't kidding or being cute. He needed to say it. I put on the same tone of voice that I use when I talk to children or unfunny adults and replied "Have a Good Night!" with a light upward inflection. His eyes zeroed in on mine, now looking into my human thing behind my eyes and then just turned around and left the grocery store.

Immediately the manager of the grocery store started laughing and talking in Spanish to the woman behind the conveyor belt. I just shrugged and they chattered away gesturing towards the places where the bizarre encounter took place.

However, walking home some questions bounced around in my head. How can I be so sure that I'm not this guy's childhood friend? What makes my opinion on this matter more valid than his? I don't know how time works just yet and based on all of the sweet movies I've seen I have a vague idea that spontaneous amnesic time travel is entirely possible.

Now, I'm not saying that I can time travel. In fact, I highly doubt it. However, given the fake rules for time travel that I've made up entirely it seems like the only palpable evidence for spontaneous forgettable time travel comes packaged in other peoples' memories.

That is to say, if this were a movie and I were a spontaneous time travel amnesiac I would only discover this fact because some strange man on the street would have a powerful emotional response to my existence in his time frame. This man, however, would not be from the past-- he would be from the future: a fellow time traveler. Thus, when he approaches me and it becomes clear that my memory has been erased, he will cover his tracks with anonymity or a false back story.

That said, in the movie I would brush it off momentarily, but then give in to my suspicion and chase him down the street and get swept up into Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey".

But I didn't. I brushed it off and then walked home. I guess I'm just writing this to admit that I missed my chance. I could have been a hero and maybe figured out a way to fix this whole time travel thing. Furthermore, I will likely spontaneously time travel again and it may be the case that I never talk to any of you ever again. So I just want to apologize for any wrongdoings I have done and in advance for anything I will do. The J.D. that you talk to tomorrow may not be the same one typing this and the one typing this will be in medieval England fighting a bartender and hiding out in a local girl's attic.

Anywho, I feel like I've spent my whole life trying to write movies but avoiding living them. I guess next time I'll chase down the guy with naked vegetables. Maybe you should too, unless you're in a horror movie. In which case get out quick and stay with the group and pray that it's just a scary moment in an action movie and not part of the new torture curiosity.

Also, in this scenario dreams would be like fan-fiction for the movie that you're living. But I don't know where that fits in to this whole thing so just take that as it is and let me know if you know where (or when) the guy from the grocery store lives because that seems like a pretty good flick.

Stay Bright.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pointless Pranks: Self Soundboard

Why do I do the things I do? It's been made abundantly clear over and over again in my life that I have poor taste in everything.

That said, one of my most egregious offenses in the realm of taste is my taste in pranks. Generally speaking the greatest and most clever pranks are the ones that require the least amount of work and have the greatest result. Unfortunately, if you are interested in pranks like those I suggest you leave this page immediately and head somewhere like here. I say that not out contempt for you, the reader, but out of shame for my brand of satisfaction.

You see, for some reason I am hard-wired to take utter joy in completing pointless extensive work to achieve goals that have little to no value. That said, I present to you my latest waste of time. Weeks in planning, months in execution, hours in coding and editing, and I give to you one of the most pointless works I have ever made:

Back in the early nineties soundboards were top-notch comedy. It was cutting edge technology meets the frontier of the classic prank. You could take on Schwarzenegger, Pesci, DeVito, Judge Judy... if they were famous and had at least a movie's worth of dialogue, you could take on their persona for your prank calls to the local McDonald's. Though hilariously fun, years went by and their novelty faded as the age of geocities crumbled beneath the meteor of modern technology. They have become as antiquated and banal as the excuse that your little brother or sister had hacked your AOL Instant Messanger and was actually the one who asked the most popular girl in the school out on a date. That is to say, they no longer work.

Keeping that in mind, four months ago I forced Zach Weintraub and Rob Malone to record audio for this project while on set during the illustrious but yet to be released film "Puppy Whistle". After months of waiting for the audio to surface in their jungle of hard-drives I received the audio, cut it up into bite sized pieces, and then spent tedious stupid hours coding my dumb soundboard (completely unaware that services existed that would have made this several month long process happen instantaneously). I then forced Nandan Rao to use his otherwise class-filled time to film me using this pointless piece of programming to call my relatively unamused friends (see video below).

When all was said and done I followed through with this dumb process for one reason and one reason only: the prank was pointless. I was personally calling friends and then personally operating a soundboard of my own voice. The joy of traditional celebrity soundboards is that either the victim believes they are talking to a celebrity or that the pranker now has an otherwise un-achievable cast of characters at their disposal. For my prank, the victim had literally no reason to assume that anything was suspicious and using the soundboard only served to hinder my ability to communicate. Furthermore, there was no discernible advantage or conceit attached to the soundboard other than that it was slightly more difficult, boring, and obnoxious to talk to me. Quite simply, my intentions were stupid and I set out without even the slightest inkling that I would discover anything from the project. However, this was wrong:

1) I learned that for the most part people want to be friendly and engage in social interactions. I will never forget the moment that I convinced Blake using a repeating soundboard to come hang out. I don't think I've ever convinced anyone to come hang out after they first said "no". Furthermore, I don't actually call Oviatt that often and his absolute willingness to hold a conversation with me was incredibly nice. That said, in both instances when it became painfully clear that I was using a soundboard I got a definite sinking feeling in my stomach when the tone in both of their voices turned from jovial friendliness to saddeened disappointment. In both cases this was the sound of them realizing that I was not trying to be friendly and instead just using them for some dumb project. It was like I had just uncovered a tiny bit of friendliness and then thrown it too the wolves for a cheap laugh.

2) In retrospect I tried to figure out what I thought was funny about this project or why it was so enjoyable to use the soundboard and make the calls (or even why people seemed so upset when they realized what was going on). Then it became clear. The only sense of "deceit" that came from the project was the very basic premise of "we know something you don't know". More specifically, the only twist to these phone conversations is that one side of the conversation had a secret. The joy we experienced while making the calls was not the joy of comedy or the delight of creativity, it was the self indulgent joy of having a secret.

I'm not proud of this project, I don't even know why I went through so much effort to follow it through to the end. I watered down a clever prank to the point that it was more water than prank. The only thing I gained from this experience was a useless soundboard, a relatively mean video, and a lot of wasted hours. That said I apologize to the parties involved and promise not to use the soundboard ever again.

However, when asking myself if I regret doing this, the answer seems to be a conscious heavy "Hell no". And what's weird is when a paragraph ago I said that I wasn't proud...well...that's sort of a lie. I am proud, but I don't know why. Maybe it's because I have horrible taste?

Yeah, that's probably it.

Stay Bright.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Ice Queen" Music Video on Pitchfork

Today the music video "Ice Queen" that I directed for Hot Sugar got posted on Pitchfork! I'm excited that more people are going to see it so major thanks to Pitchfork! I also like that they refer to it on their home page as a "freak-for-all".

Although the compression looks not good (despite it being the exact same file that was uploaded to Vimeo--- stupid difference in compression) so if you want to see the original on Vimeo which looks pretty sharp, check it out here:

Stay Bright.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How Bad Drawings Inform My Life

During the height of the previous moon cycle (unconfirmed) I made a pact of blood with myself (also unconfirmed) that were I to even slightly begin a drawing I would have to fully complete it despite any shortcomings I might observe while drafting said doodle (confirmed). I have followed this rule closely, not wanting to disobey blood pacts or upset moon cycles, and it has proven to be a relatively helpful exercise. So, having learned a couple of things over the past few months from this process, I will now mercilessly bestow my findings unto you:

First, a lot of the drawings that I would have otherwise have thrown out en route to completion actually didn't always turn out that bad. In fact, generally, if they were bad it had nothing to do with what I thought was wrong with them and whatever I thought was wrong actually worked out.

Second, this applies to more than just dumb drawings. A lot of times I find myself getting stressed when the perceived success of a process over time doesn't play out in a linear fashion and often times this means changing plan mid-process or becoming skeptical about my own success-- break for brief (read: less pretentiously opaque [sic]) anecdote to demonstrate this:

The other day I was asked to help a friend move into his Brooklyn apartment. I don't spend much time in Brooklyn and as a result I don't know my way around. That said, I prepared directions to his apartment beforehand (foolishly based on blocks traveled/turn-direction instead of street names) and then took the subway over to brooklyn. When I got off the subway I began following my directions and quickly became skeptical of my whereabouts. The street I was on didn't look like the street I thought I was supposed to be on, even though I was following my block by block directions. One part of me said I should cut my losses since things didn't look right and head back to the subway station where I could check my directions against the wall map. However another part of me (the "Must Finish" part) said I should just trust my original logic and continue following through with the plan despite perceived discrepancies. Unless you are really not on board with this story I imagine you know where this is going: I got to his apartment correctly and my instinct (supported by previous logic) was correct.
Obviously my point is that my instinct always works quicker than my logic and what I think might be logic is sometimes more flawed than instinct. That said, a lot more things in my life seem to work this way but describing them would make me sound moronic and I figure you can intuit the cliches and flowery sounding quick fixes that I could easily partner with these ramblings. Thus, I'll skip those [sic] and bring you to my final point.

Sometimes the things that make me want to abandon ship and then set the ship on fire and then personally drown everyone who saw the ship are actually the DNA of good old fashioned individuality. Don't get me wrong, if you have no discernible skill at a task or have applied no meaningful thought to an achievement you should by no means cutely smile and pronounce that your flaws are what make you distinct (I have an image in my head of a little girl with pigtails and a giant lolly-pop saying this). I guess what I'm saying is that perhaps the peaks and valleys on the road to completion don't necessarily foretell where the road ends up and sometimes those squiggles on the graph of achievement over time might make a nice little picture themselves.

Alright, I'm getting the wrap it up sign and I'm feel myself becoming whimsically grandiloquent [sic]... so I'll wrap it up:

Basically, just finish all of your drawings.

Stay Bright.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

This Decade in Novelty Glasses

This is either the end of a fruitful decade for these products, or the beginning of new age of glasses-based new years technology.

Stay Bright.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hot Sugar | "Ice Queen" Music Video

Hey Everyone-- here is the new music video that I directed/animated. It was a pretty crazy process and involved a lot of crazy fun people. Hopefully you get something really meaningful out of it. Check below the video for an explanation of the backwards process we used to make it.
Instead of making a video based on an existing song, the Ice Queen video project challenged Hot Sugar to produce an original song based on the final version of a music video after it had been made. To create the video an open call was put out to New York City actors and dancers encouraging them to come perform completely original dance moves in front of a green screen. After weeks of editing and animation the video was handed to Hot Sugar who was charged with the task of creating a song based on the compilation of dance moves and performances.

Featuring the amazing talents of: Joe Berardi, Andrew Bui, Alex Hopson, Peter Iasillo, Nolan James, Jessica Komitor, Pedro Lee, Janice LeFlam, Cooper Morton, Tym Moss, Dianna Smith, Richard Torres

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Christmas Symphonies

The true spirit of Christmas comes early bird gets the worm!

The user that posted this video is bigscreamtv and every other of their videos is halloween based. Will a user with the name bigscreamtv be able to branch out or will their username forever limit their content possibilities? You decide.
Can someone explain to me the deeper significance of this video. This is clearly a metaphor (or videophor), but what is it REALLY saying?

Stay Bright.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Must Finish Rule

I often neglect the title of this blog and refuse to post drawings. However, recently as a way to relax and enjoy the process of drawing I instated a new rule into my doodle-process. That is, if I begin even a small doodle, I need to finish it, color it, and ink it. I have found that a lot of times the things that would frustrate me and cause me to quit on a drawing actually don't matter when I bring it to completion (sort of). I guess sometimes it's alright to trust your first instinct-- well maybe not trust... perhaps...tolerate?

Ah, the fruits of toleration.

Stay Bright.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Forty Five Seconds of Time Travel

My latest cellphone video project was about collecting moments in time that were noteworthy as experiences (as opposed to just aesthetics) and using my video of those moments as a way to time travel back and re-experience those situations and beats that made up my recent life. Below you will find the video of all of these moments in a little number I like to call Forty Five Seconds of Time Travel. Below the video is a list of each moment as I can remember it.

The following are the moments in the order they appear and their meaning as best I can remember:

1.---last view I ever took from the window of my old apartment
2.---a pigeon was watching me from inside my building as I left my apartment for the last time
3.---a brief ride on the garbage train with garbage men: a crossing of dissimilar paths
4.---police officer browsing interior design books in the middle of the night
5.---waiting for haircut at place where I have a "usual" and my barber always asks my advice on computers
6.---friend marty selling self-made portraits of sock puppets to people in union square
7.---an elderly volunteer at a tiny church tells me about heaven
9.---man from azerbaijan convinces me and stephen to dance with strangers for him
10.---waiting to cue footsteps on blake's color sync set (they forgot I was outside waiting)
11.---waiting for cory arcangel to arrive for interview
12.---crowd waiting for nick to screen strawberry banana at national arts club
13.---kindergarten classroom for ky's narrative while q plays piano
14.---kid tries to unstuck candy he paid for from a candy machine while I edit at tisch
15.---anton practices break dancing on the floor of the animation department
16.---background music's only audience is a mural in tim, alex, and mike's lobby
17.---apartment hunting in the apartment that would eventually be mine
18.---max discusses the essence of life and death with me and peter in micaela's room at a party
19.---the pilot for the flight from georgia to new york checks his controls
20.---driving past a group of sight and sound students as we return the battered and beaten equipment from georgia
21.---watching as the last employee at the virgin megastore cleans up the empty floor
22.---fourth of july fireworks from a fenced in area with jared, peter, and their friends
23.---marie sits on a book of felini's dreams so she can reach her food
24.---rick litvin tosses me a pack of gum in the middle of the night
25.---hologram of michael jordan spins slowly in an empty and confused four room museum of holograms

Film is the closest facsimile we have to literal time travel and still an incredible amount is lost in translation.

Stay Bright.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cellular Welkin

This is a piece I put together for abecedarium:nyc per Lynne Sachs' organization in NYUs Media Mavericks. We all had to select one of the words in the project and then create a short web-based video that connects that word to New York.

The word I selected was "Welkin".

In trying to understand the sky and heavens above New York, I decided to take the most simple approach I could muster: observation. Everyday for two weeks I took reference footage of the sky above New York with my cellphone in the off chance that I would capture something that I haven't noticed during my day to day operations.

At the end of those two weeks of observation (after taking nearly my last video of the sky) I met a man Jonathon (with his kids) on the sidewalk outside of a small East Village congregation. After explaining to him what I was doing he proceeded to welcome me inside to the tiny house of god and talk with me about his perception of heaven. I recorded our conversation on my cellphone.

I figure, what better way to record the heavens that a device that constantly send signals back and forth beyond the overhead welkin?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Face of Youtube

Youtube has a lot of faces, here is one of them:

The Face of Youtube

stay bright.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Blades Are in a Line

"...but I'm having fun and my boss likes it"

Stay Bright.

Grandfathers on Trampolines

So if you couldn't tell, I have recently felt the need to aggregate videos I once used in blog posts and play them in unison for sake of achieving the full and intended experience for which they were original uncovered. That being said, I bring to you:

Grandfathers on Trampolines

These videos really make me happy.

Stay Bright.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Pee Wee Herman Dance

A new webstallation of mine based on an old blog post you may remember. An ode to modern cultural self-replication. Another webstallation taking up tube.


Stay Bright.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Web Thing: Rhythm Cycle

This is my new web work. It originally started as an Earth spinning in a star field. Eventually the Earth had buildings. Then the buildings started growing. Then the buildings became beams and the Earth disappeared. So did the stars. Then it became interactive. I had to call upon my Math major friend, Dale, to do some simple geometry stuff for me. Below is our back and forth.


Math is great. So are friends that are willing to donate Math to you.

Stay Bright.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Warriors Recut

So I decided to recut the climax of the warriors.

It just seemed more natural.

Stay Bright.