Archive for

September, 2012

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September 17, 2012 10:11 pm

bacon number

six degress of Kevin BaconWhen I was taking  A-levels, my  media studies teacher introduced us to a game called the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The basic principal (based on the six degrees of separation concept) was to pick any actor, and to try to get back to Kevin Bacon within 6 moves

For example: Steve Buschemi

Steve Buschemi was in Reservoir Dogs with Chris Penn, who was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon — 2 moves.

Why Kevin Bacon? Well, the game was created by Craig Fass, Brian Turtle and Mike Ginelli (who also wrote the book, pictured), who wrote in to The Jon Stewart Show, explaining that they had realized “that Kevin Bacon was the centre of the entertainment universe.” Whether or not that is the case, Bacon has certainly been in a lot of films with a lot of different actors, and so is well placed to be the centre of such a game.

I was introduced to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game at the height of my movie-watching youth. It was in the days when I had an encyclopaedic knowledge of contemporary Hollywood films, their actors and directors. Consequently, I ruled at this game. I could find a connection for almost anyone.

Today, my knowledge of actors has waned, and I am no longer the  Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon titan that I once was. But fortunately, Google has come to my rescue. They have added the ‘bacon number’ feature to their search engine. Just type the name of an actor, followed by ‘bacon number’, and Google will tell you how many degrees of separation they are from Kevin Bacon. Genius.

Some people might suggest that this has taken the fun out of the game. It’s probably a fair point, but it has unwittingly created a new game – what’s the highest bacon number you can find? The search engine is so good, I am yet to see an actor with a Bacon number higher than 3. Even Edward G. Robinson and Marlene Dietrich only have a bacon number of 2, as does Barak Obama, suprisingly.

So, as with pretty much everything in this world, the internet has changed a simple, if somewhat nerdy, game from my youth. But a game, of sorts, it remains. I wonder today’s movie-obsessed teenagers will play it with the tenacity that I used to.

9:25 pm

hula cam

I got started in video and film by making juggling videos, many years ago now, and I was always interested in having a camera attached to a juggling prop to give the prop’s perspective on the action. In those days, little cameras like that were way out of my price range, and so I was never able to realize it. But today, we have the GoPro, the affordable crash-cam, and Rob Volkel has had the inspired idea to strap one to a hula hoop.

This is, without doubt, the best juggling prop to attach a camera to, because of the nature of the hoops motion you get a disorienting, but not motion-sickness-inducing, view of the action. Its very cool, a really interesting perspective on hula hooping … and all the pretty girls don’t hurt.

September 8, 2012 1:03 pm

old school stereo

In honour of nothing in particular, imgur user thealetent has found a collection of classic Cavenders cigarette card stereoscopic images taken between 1927 and 1931 by  J. Dearden Holmes, and has compiled them in such as way as to make the viewing easy an possible without the need for glasses.

Personally, as someone who is generally enthusiastic about the possibilities of stereoscopic 3D (although often disappointed with its implementation), I find these early examples to be fascinating. Not only do they show how old the technique is, but also demonstrates some of the problems and pitfalls (misalignment, scratches and exposure shifts) which have dogged stereoscopic images in their early days, and which only digital image processing has been able to solve.

The whole collection can be viewed here.