Category Archives: Recreation and Entertainment

Posts on recreation, photography, film, and TV.

First-person View Drone Racing

Arstechnica writes an article about first-person view (FPV) drone racing:

 

Ars_Technica_Dave_Stock_006-listing-image-crop-980x653The new, underground sport of first-person drone racing
Our intrepid photographer spent three months following the…
ARSTECHNICA.COM

Here is a video of some drone acrobatics:

The above video might have been sped up some, but the following video – the winning lap in a drone race – is probably run in real time.

Orphan Black, TV-tip

Orphan Black is a science fiction TV-show. It features Sarah Manning, a street-wise Orphan from England, who witnesses a woman looking exactly like her committing suicide by jumping in front of a train.

Being a survivor-type, and perhaps also driven by curiosity, Sarah picks up the dead woman’s bag, abandoned at the platform, and concoct a plan to take over her identity in order to steal money from her.

Sarah needs the money to get away with her daughter, Kira, whom she has not seen in almost a year, and her step-brother, Felix.

Taking over the dead woman’s life proves to present more problems than solutions and soon Sarah finds herself in the middle of a complex plot involving murderers, clones and dirty cops.

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah, and Allison, and Cosima and…

It soon turns out that the  woman Sarah witnessed committing suicide is far from the only one looking like her. In fact, the plot is full of Sarah-Manning-look-a-like clones, from the home making soccer mom Allison, to the smart scientist Cosima, to the outright crazy Helena.

Orphan Black - The Clones
“Punk Rock Hoe” Sarah, “Angry Angel” Helena, Soccer mom Allison, Science Geek Cosima and Sarah playing Beth, the Cop, all played by Tatiana Maslany!

All these characters are played by one actor, Tatiana Maslany. Since most every scene of the show features at least one clone, Maslany is pulling the show in the most literary sense!

From a technical point of view it gets extra interesting when there’s more than one clone in front of the camera, especially when they interact by touch.

If you check the above film you might pick up that there’s no green screen thing going on here. Instead the camera is programmed so that it will make the exact same moves repeatedly and Tatiana can play the scene as one clone, then the other, and finally the shots are merged digitally.

When clones are touching a recording of the scene with no actors is used to create a background that can be used to block out Tatianas double, Catherine. Then a scene where Tatiana plays the clone is superimposed on the blocked out area.

It’s pretty much subtraction and addition … but with moving pictures… 😀

When? Where? How?

Orphan Black has just finished season two and will, hopefully, be back for season three in 2015. So if you’re new to the show you have two nice seasons to catch up, and I really recommend you do!

Part from being a technical masterpiece and a proof that there are some really sharp actors out there, Orphan Black is also a mesmerizing story dipping into themes like identity and nature versus nurture.

If you haven’t seen it, I recommend that you check out Orphan Black!

Improvisation Freeze Stuns Grand Central Station

When working with theater there are a number of different improvisation or acting exercises you can perform. The freeze is especially useful in improvised drama exercises.

I was once part of an exercise where half the group was parents and the other half was children. The whole exercise went on for a while and there was once sequence where we got to see the kids’ teacher being a nazi. As a group we decided to storm the classroom and … well I guess we weren’t going to lynch the teacher but before that situation came to its edge the exercise leader yelled FREEZE!!!

And we did. Although, not for as long as these guys does it.

Watch as improvised drama stuns Grand Central Station!

 

The perfect melody

I can’t really put my finger on it, but I’ve noticed in the songs I like there is something in the melody that just has to be right. Some form of melodic conclusion that has to be reached or the music will likely leave me feeling like you feel when you’re about the sneeze and the it just never happens. I guess the word I’m looking for is “unfulfilled.”

Alihan Samedov’s Sen Gelmez Oldun is one such song. In fact the oboe like instrument does exactly the kind of melodic trip it has to do in order to become just perfect! I simply love that melody!

Enjoy!

Sherlock Holmes times two

The TV shows Elementary, and Sherlock are two TV shows depicting Sherlock Holmes.

Elementary

Elementary (2012), based USA and created by Robert Doherty premiered Sep 27, 2012. It takes place in New York, where Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is struggling with a heroin addiction with the assistance of Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), an ex surgeon and a sober companion, whose task, assigned by Holmes’ father, it is to live-in with Holmes in order to keep him sober.

Sherlock

Sherlock (2010), based in UK, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, premiered Aug 30, 2010. It takes place in New York, and portrays Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) relation to his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), as well as his friendship with Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), recovering from an injury he has sustained while in military service in Afghanistan (interesting how, more than a hundred years later, Great Britain is still messing around in Afghanistan…)

Continue reading Sherlock Holmes times two

ISO 8601, or not…

They always have great alt texts as well: ISO 8601 was published on 06/05/88 and most recently amended on 12/01/04.
XKCD – nerd humor at its best!

I think Sweden adopted ISO 8601 sometime around when it came. Before that we would write dates as day/month-year (that would be discouraged format number 11 on the image to  the right).

Then came along Internet Information Server (IIS) invented by an American firm you might now, called Microsoft. In the US where Microsoft lives, dates are written using discouraged format number 1, or perhaps 2, unless it’s 3 or 4, I never manage to keep track.

Most of the time it’s possible to just ignore the highly illogical way of mixing up days and months and years in the US way of writing things. ISO 8601 goes from larger to smaller, the old Swedish way went from smaller to larger, the US way goes from uh… large to smallest, to largest…

However, a project I was involved in a couple of months ago used some form of standard date widget in IIS (Internet Information Server, Microsoft’s Web Server) that used discouraged format number 1 above.

Now for the fun part. In my humble and naïve mind this should be a question of just setting a language setting somewhere in the web server to get it right. Apparently it wasn’t (!?) Instead everyone was running with the totally confusing US-dates. The budget did not have room for making the change, and it seemed everyone humbly adopted… after all, there was a “date browser” that could be opened pressing a button (first time it took a minute to open, but then it was business as usual). I’m guessing they used that function to get their dates, or perhaps I’m just an old fossil that doesn’t adopt well.

So the punchline (unless the previous sentence wasn’t punchline enough for you…): yeah standard until some guy comes along and wants it otherwise, and this guy has all the power… then it’s a (quote-unquote) “standard” and not a standard any more.