Bringing History Back to Life with the Newseum’s Creating Camelot | PHOTOSHOP.COM BLOG

via Bringing History Back to Life with the Newseum’s Creating Camelot | PHOTOSHOP.COM BLOG

Photography is often an overlooked force in our understanding of history. Strong photography depicts how we feel about what is happening in the present and lasting images of historic events shape the way future generations experience the past. The photography of Jacques Lowe is at the intersection of two of the most important moments in United States history, separated by more than 40 years, and without Photoshop and a talented team of photo restorers at Washington D.C.’s Newseum, it might have been lost forever.

As a presidential photographer, Jacques Lowe covered John F. Kennedy and his family for three years, developing an intense relationship with the President and a first family that would capture the nation’s attention like no other. For three years, Lowe was given unparalleled access to the Kennedys at a time when they were taking over the American political scene. Lowe’s family members recount his meticulous dedication to preserving his images of the Kennedys for decades after his tenure as the presidential photographer. “There are no words to describe how attached my father was to his Kennedy negatives,” said his daughter Thomasina in 2003′s Remembering Jack.

Unfortunately for Lowe, his decision to store his prized collection of photo negatives in a vault in the World Trade Center (a decision he made in order to guarantee their security) would result in their destruction during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Around 40,000 of Lowe’s negatives were forever lost when the towers collapsed. All that remained of his legendary photography was a collection of around 1,500 faded, scratched and worn contact sheets, stored in another location.

Those contact sheets were never meant to be used as anything more than a reference for Lowe. The minuscule images were marked with wax, ink and paint to note which ones were valuable. More than 50 years after the original images were shot, a team of highly-skilled photo retouchers from the Newseum transformed those tiny contact sheet images into large, museum-quality prints to celebrate Lowe’s Kennedy photography in a display titled ”Creating Camelot: The Photography of Jacques Lowe.” More information on the display can be found in the video below:

I had the opportunity to discuss the historic photos and the retouching process with the Newseum’s team of Indira Williams Babic, Sarah Mercier, Neil Petti and Brendan O’Hara. Their work on this exhibit has been truly inspirational to me and I’m happy to share our conversation with you.

What does “Creating Camelot” add to our historical understanding of the Kennedy family?
Creating Camelot: The Photography of Jacques Lowe,” showcases intimate and iconic images of President John F. Kennedy and his family taken by Kennedy’s personal photographer. Jacques Lowe started photographing Kennedy when he was a Senator in DC and his coverage continued through his campaign for the Democratic nomination, his campaign for the Presidency, the historic and glamorous Inauguration and ended during the first months of Kennedy’s presidency in the White House. The role of “Personal Photographer” was new in the political world and, in that capacity, Lowe had unprecedented access to Kennedy and his family. This allowed him to produce intimate and compelling images; on many occasions, Lowe was the only photographer present to capture photographic history.

How long did the “Creating Camelot” photo restoration process last?
The Newseum started the editorial review of the contact sheets back in May 2012 and arranged for the loan of 1500 contact sheets and 100+ prints in August of 2012. A team of seven imaging specialists spent more than 600 hours to digitally capture and restore every single contact sheet and print. The contact sheets were scanned at 400 dpi 200%, producing 150MB TIFF files. The exhibition opened in April, 2013 and will close in January of 2014.

How many of the photographs were restored from the contact sheets? Are there more that will be available, or have you finished the restoration process?
Of the almost 200 photographs restored for the printed and digital exhibition, about 70% came from contact sheets. The digitization process by the Newseum is now completed and the contact sheets, prints and artifacts have been returned to the Estate of Jacques Lowe.

What was the strangest kind of visual obstruction? Yellow highlighter, ketchup etc.
The most prevalent visual obstructions were photographer’s editorial markings with red or blue color pencil. Those were done by Lowe to indicate images selected for publication or enlargement. Some of the prints also had patterned dirt, severe creases, stickers and staples. I’m not sure where color degradation would fit, but there was certainly a lot of that due to the age of the contact sheets and prints.

Jacqueline Kennedy paints with her daughter, Caroline. The blue marks made by the photographer were removed for the image at right, which appears in the Newseum’s “Creating Camelot” exhibit. Estate of Jacques Lowe

Jacqueline Kennedy paints with her daughter, Caroline. The blue marks made by the photographer were removed for the image at right, which appears in the Newseum’s “Creating Camelot” exhibit.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

Were there any photos that you wanted to restore that were not salvageable?
No, there were some extremely challenging ones but we stuck with it and we were able to make them work at the desired target size. It was close in some cases, but, curiously enough, the ones with the most difficult issues were those with editorial content so compelling we could not let them go. So we pressed on.

Which image took the longest to restore?
The image depicting journalists in London with Press Secretary Pierre Salinger was the absolute worst of the entire project. The contact sheet has some sort of white speckled film all over it and it took 40 hours of labor to make that go away using a combination of filters and cloning.

President John F. Kennedy’s press secretary Pierre Salinger, center, talks to United Press International’s White House correspondent Merriman Smith, left, and another reporter during a trip to London in June 1961. It took Newseum staff 40 hours to remove hundreds of small white marks visible on the image at left to produce the version at right, displayed in the “Creating Camelot” exhibit. Estate of Jacques Lowe

President John F. Kennedy’s press secretary Pierre Salinger, center, talks to United Press International’s White House correspondent Merriman Smith, left, and another reporter during a trip to London in June 1961. It took Newseum staff 40 hours to remove hundreds of small white marks visible on the image at left to produce the version at right, displayed in the “Creating Camelot” exhibit.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

What was the hardest part about this photo restoration? The most rewarding?
The hardest part of the process was, indubitably, reproducing the images in large enough format so they could be part of a traditional photographic exhibit, without negatives. Starting with small contact sheet frames, we used scanning and Photoshop technology to restore (but not change) the images back to their original content and appearance. Perhaps because they were once thought truly lost they are now getting this second look, but the most rewarding part has been sharing these photographs, in the best condition we could make them, with the public again. They are enduring photographs of the Kennedys during an important period of time and have much to offer about a president and a family people never tire of remembering.

Was there one image in particular that had a special story?
There is a photograph of Kennedy in profile at a 1959 press conference in Omaha, Nebraska. He is in focus and a sea of journalists and cameras are slightly soft in the background. We love showing the working press and fell in love with this photograph immediately. It had been widely used, including on the cover of the book, “Remembering Jack.” As we continued researching, we found that Lowe made this photograph early in the campaign and it was chosen for use on all kinds of campaign materials from posters to buttons. His profile was silhouetted, so as soon as we knew what we were looking for we started noticing it everywhere. The posters with that photo started showing up at campaign events in the next set of contact sheets. We wanted to show that development in some way and found an unpublished shot of Kennedy signing the poster for a supporter later in the campaign. In the exhibit we also display a collection of buttons with the now iconic profile. We even chose it to represent the exhibit on the large marquee on the front of the Newseum, facing Pennsylvania Avenue.

Photographer Jacques Lowe captured the photo of John F. Kennedy at right during a 1959 press conference in Omaha, Neb. The image was featured on presidential campaign materials including buttons, center, and posters, which Kennedy is seen signing at left. Sarah Mercier/Newseum; buttons: Loan, Tony Lee; photos: Estate of Jacques Lowe

Photographer Jacques Lowe captured the photo of John F. Kennedy at right during a 1959 press conference in Omaha, Neb. The image was featured on presidential campaign materials including buttons, center, and posters, which Kennedy is seen signing at left.
Sarah Mercier/Newseum; buttons: Loan, Tony Lee; photos: Estate of Jacques Lowe

How do you think current technology changes our understanding of history?
Current technology, especially the combination of advances in digital imaging and the internet, has made such a dramatic increase in both access to information and images, and what can be done with them. More people going back and studying more and better quality images hopefully furthers and enriches our understanding of history.

Can you share any insights you learned along the way about the digital versus analog photography process?
At the Newseum we do such a variety of things with photographs and we are sometimes amazed and sometimes disappointed with all varieties of analog and born digital photography. For this exhibit the medium-format negatives Lowe made with a Hasselblad really stand out. Even the contact sheets are crisp and clear and had a beautiful range of tones to work with. It was really special to be able to look at every photo from a particular shoot. Many photographers are still reluctant about sharing a whole take with an audience—most of the time only a few editors or clients see it all. It’s interesting that sentiment has carried over into the digital age.

How many of the 40,000 negatives lost were represented in the recovered contact sheets?
Unfortunately, we can’t know exactly. We do know that 10 Kennedy-related negatives were out on loan when the materials in the JP Morgan vault were lost on 9/11/2001. We did not use any of those negatives for our exhibition reproductions.

How did you select the photos that you chose to restore from the 40,000 negatives lost?
The Newseum’s exhibits team of editors, curators, writers, and designers worked closely together from the beginning to determine the printed exhibition content. We reviewed each contact sheet and almost 1,000 individual frames. As the exhibit developed, three important categories emerged: iconic photographs, photographs that were published in the media, and rare photographs we felt were both important to the story of “Creating Camelot” and hadn’t been published. All of the photographs demonstrated Lowe’s unprecedented access at the dawn of what would come to be known as Camelot. Together they show the arc of Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and the parts of his family life he wanted to share with the country through the press, which he understood was very important.

A separate team of video producers developed a companion video piece that combines interviews with Jacques Lowe and a different assortment of photographs. The 100+ images give the exhibit an extra dimension and allow us to display more of the great content. The walls can only hold so much.

Finally, there is an interactive kiosk with 20+ entire contact sheets. The kiosk has “pinch and zoom” technology so visitors can explore the smallest details.

How were the images brought into Photoshop? Was there an asset management component to tracking so many files?
There was an asset management component, it directly corresponded to the shoot and sheet numbers Lowe used and the physical arrangement of the contact sheets when they arrived at the Newseum. A thorough inventory was completed immediately after the collection arrived in Washington. It was organized carefully in boxes and folders and the digital assets’ unique names were entered in a spreadsheet that tracked the original information on the sheet and the temporary location. All of that information was important for quickly locating the correct sheet when individual frames selected needed to be rescanned for the exhibit. We also used IPTC Core metadata to store known caption information and research.

The image circled in red in the upper left corner of this contact sheet was used by Newseum staff to restore the image of Robert and Edward Kennedy playing football for the “Creating Camelot” exhibit. Estate of Jacques Lowe

The image circled in red in the upper left corner of this contact sheet was used by Newseum staff to restore the image of Robert and Edward Kennedy playing football for the “Creating Camelot” exhibit.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

When the fireproof bank vault containing Lowe’s negatives was found in the post-911 rubble, the vault was intact and open (with a hole where the lock had once been), and it was empty. Have there been investigations or speculation about what happened to the negatives?
A factor of intrigue and mystery surrounds anything related to the Kennedys. Lowe’s family went through a lot to get to the point that they could see the vault and, eventually, they agreed to a settlement with the bank. The Newseum is not privy to the details. We were very fortunate to gain access to the contact sheets and prints Lowe chose to store elsewhere. Being able to scan the entirety of the collection at a time when technology offers us the possibility to produce results of such high quality is a best case scenario to faithfully restore visual history.

Did your team of digital retouchers have to create any custom processes in Photoshop to help with their work?
Yes. To help us keep organized for this project an Action Script was used to color balance and reduce noise grain in Lowe’s scanned photos. The steps to achieve these techniques were as follows: To color balance photo, using toolbar; image ==> adjust ==> desaturate and save. Next, to reduce noise the dialogue was; image ==> mode ==> Lab Color. Next we toggled to the lightness channel to edit. Next, select ==>filter on top tool bar, then, Blur ==> Surface Blur. We set radius to 10 pixels and threshold 10 pixels and saved. Last step using toolbar was, Image ==> Mode ==> RGB and saved with embedded Adobe 1998 color profile.

Where did you learn to do this kind of restoration? Are you a professional restoration specialist?
The restoration was done through the collaboration of a team of 6. The heavy Photoshop lifting was done by 4 digital technicians, while Indira Williams Babic and Sarah Mercier oversaw the process, managing/editing the changes to the final approval of the exhibition versions. Three of our technicians came from the “scanning world” working for leading graphics output and media organizations, and the fourth was a photographer with ample experience in Photoshop.

This image of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert at the White House in 1961 is featured in a film in the Newseum’s “Creating Camelot” exhibit. In the restored version, right, the marks on the photo and the hole in the contact sheet were digitally removed. Estate of Jacques Lowe

This image of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert at the White House in 1961 is featured in a film in the Newseum’s “Creating Camelot” exhibit. In the restored version, right, the marks on the photo and the hole in the contact sheet were digitally removed.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

Were you able to automate or carry-over any work from one image to dozens, hundreds, thousands of others?
We developed a very detailed recording system to keep track of the contact sheets as the 1,500 were moved through the process to automate the scanning workflow. The scanning department using a Color Management System performed calibration on three very different devices: The scanner, monitor and printer. After the calibration step an ICC profile was saved for each device. Capturing, editing and reproducing digital images with a color management system saved time. The decision was made to scan all contact sheets at 400 dpi, 200%. Smaller, 72 dpi, 100% temporary scans were made of the prints to allow for screen display during the editorial selection process.

The approach to scanning the individual frames selected for exhibition was much more specific. Because we were working with contacts sheets and prints of varying age, size and condition, every image required an individual analysis and slightly different approach. Still, some automation was used.

We created an action to smooth out flesh tones, reduce artifacts and add back some texture grain to the photo. However, when it comes to professionally retouching images the imaging technician has many tricks and techniques for improving things like scanner marks and speckles to reproduce as close to the original.

In some cases noise had to be added back into images where dust or serious scratches were cloned out. We created actions which added different levels of noise to match the grain or enlargement size of the image.

Can you share HOW the images were processed in Photoshop?
Yes. There are many reasons to adjust images in Photoshop, but we find the most common two are: matching the look of the original, and increasing the clarity of the photo. As expert scanner operators, we understand that scanning is imperfect, so you may have to adjust the image just to make it look like what you started with and, in our case, we took it beyond that, restoring the degraded materials to their original content. Also, the Newseum is a news museum where the accuracy of images is important. So, as imaging professionals we strive to keep our work ethical. Tonal and color adjustments are made with, Curves, Levels and Brightness and Hue/Saturation. Also, the size we wanted to exhibit the photos was a big factor. In some cases, the enlargement was up to 60” wide, which obviously increased the image resolution and the specs and scratches became very large. So, when removing dust that occurs during scanning or scratches on the contact sheet the healing or clone stamp brush is primarily the tool of choice. Content-aware and the patch tool were occasionally used on damaged edges of photographs. On fading color photographs selective color was used to more faithfully reproduce the known color palette.

Thanks again to the Newseum team for taking the time to discuss this exhibit with me. To learn more about the “Creating Camelot” exhibit, click here.

For more examples of the Newseum’s amazing retouching work, here are additional photos from “Creating Camelot”:

Robert and Edward Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s brothers, toss a football in Hyannis Port, Mass., the morning after the 1960 election. The Newseum restoration, right, removed the staple and red marks. Estate of Jacques Lowe

Robert and Edward Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s brothers, toss a football in Hyannis Port, Mass., the morning after the 1960 election. The Newseum restoration, right, removed the staple and red marks.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

Jacques Lowe captured this portrait of the Kennedys with their daughter, Caroline, during his first session with the family in the summer of 1958. For the exhibit version, at right, the photograph was cleaned and its color was restored.  Estate of Jacques Lowe

Jacques Lowe captured this portrait of the Kennedys with their daughter, Caroline, during his first session with the family in the summer of 1958. For the exhibit version, at right, the photograph was cleaned and its color was restored.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

Jacques Lowe captured this family portrait of the Kennedys in Hyannis Port shortly after John F. Kennedy’s election results were announced. The image at left was accidentally flipped on the contact sheet. The exhibit photo, right, shows the image with the correct orientation and its color restored. Estate of Jacques Lowe

Jacques Lowe captured this family portrait of the Kennedys in Hyannis Port shortly after John F. Kennedy’s election results were announced. The image at left was accidentally flipped on the contact sheet. The exhibit photo, right, shows the image with the correct orientation and its color restored.
Estate of Jacques Lowe

Camouflaging the Vietnam War: How Textbooks Continue to Keep the Pentagon Papers Secret

via GOOD

pentagon.papers
In the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, Daniel Ellsberg, who secretly copied and then released the Pentagon Papers, offers a catalog of presidential lying about the U.S. role in Vietnam. Truman lied. Eisenhower lied. Kennedy lied. Johnson “lied and lied and lied.” Nixon lied.

Ellsberg concludes: “The American public was lied to month by month by each of these five administrations. As I say, it’s a tribute to the American public that their leaders perceived that they had to be lied to; it’s no tribute to us that it was so easy to fool the public.”

The Pentagon Papers that Ellsberg exposed were not military secrets. They were historical secrets—a history of U.S. intervention in Vietnam and deceit that Ellsberg believed, if widely known, would undermine the U.S. pretexts in defense of the war’s prosecution. Like this one that President Kennedy offered in 1961: “For the last decade we have been helping the South Vietnamese to maintain their independence.” No. This was a lie. The U.S. government’s Pentagon Papers history of the war revealed how the United States had sided with the French in retaking its colony after World War II, ultimately paying for some 80 percent of the French reconquest. By the U.S. government’s own account, from Truman on, Vietnamese self-determination was never an aim of U.S. foreign policy.

Like today’s whistle-blowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg knew the consequences for his act of defiance. Ultimately, he was indicted on 11 counts of theft and violation of the Espionage Act. If convicted on all counts, the penalty added up to 130 years in prison. This story is chronicled dramatically in the film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, and in Ellsberg’s own gripping autobiography, SecretsA Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

In June of 1971, Ellsberg surrendered to federal authorities at Post Office Square in Boston. Forty-two years later, few of the historical secrets that Ellsberg revealed—especially those that focus on the immediate post-World War II origins of U.S. involvement in Vietnam—appear in the school curriculum.

Corporate textbook writers seem to work from the same list of must-include events and individuals. Thus, all the new U.S. history textbooks on my shelf mention the Pentagon Papers. But none grapples with the actual import of the Pentagon Papers. None quotes Ellsberg or the historical documents themselves, and none captures Ellsberg’s central conclusion about the United States in Vietnam: “It wasn’t that we were on the wrong side; we were the wrong side.”

Textbooks resist telling students that the U.S. government consistently lied about the war, preferring more genteel language. Prentice Hall’s America: History of Our Nation includes only one line describing the content of the Pentagon Papers: “They traced the steps by which the United States had committed itself to the Vietnam War and showed that government officials had concealed actions and often misled Americans about their motives.” The textbook offers no examples.

Teaching students a deeper, more complete history of the American War—as it is known in Vietnam—is not just a matter of accuracy, it’s about life and death. On the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, spoke bluntly about what it means when we fail to confront the facts of our past wars: “If we don’t know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the carving knives.”

The “we” in Zinn’s quote refers especially to the young people who will be convinced or tricked or manipulated—or lied—into fighting those wars, even if it is only “fighting” by guiding remote assassination drones from bases in a Nevada desert.

For almost 30 years, I taught high school U.S. history. I began my Vietnam unit with a little-remembered event that happened on Sept. 2, 1945. I showed students a video clip from the first episode of PBS’s Vietnam: A Television History, in which Dr. Tran Duy Hung, a medical doctor and a leader of the resistance to French colonialism, recounts the massive end-of-World War II celebration with more than 400,000 people jammed into Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square. Japan had surrendered. The seemingly endless foreign occupation of Vietnam—Chinese, then French, then Japanese—was over.

Dr. Hung remembers: “I can say that the most moving moment was when President Ho Chi Minh climbed the steps, and the national anthem was sung. It was the first time that the national anthem of Vietnam was sung in an official ceremony. Uncle Ho then read the Declaration of Independence, which was a short document. As he was reading, Uncle Ho stopped and asked, ‘Compatriots, can you hear me?’ This simple question went into the hearts of everyone there. After a moment of silence, they all shouted, ‘Yes, we hear you!’ And I can say that we did not just shout with our mouths, but with all our hearts.” Dr. Hung recalls that, moments later, a small plane began circling and then swooped down over the crowd. When people recognized the U.S. stars and stripes on the plane, they cheered, imagining that its presence signaled an endorsement for Vietnamese independence. “It added to the atmosphere of jubilation at the meeting,” said Dr. Hung.

I want my students to recognize the hugeness of this historical could-have-been. One of the “secrets” Ellsberg risked his freedom to expose was that the United States had a stark choice in the fall of 1945: support the independence of a unified Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh, which had spearheaded the anti-fascist resistance during World War II; or support the French as they sought to reimpose colonial rule.

Think about all the suffering that might have been avoided had the U.S. government taken advantage of this opportunity. Howard Zinn quotes from the Pentagon Papers in A People’s History of the United States:

Ho [Chi Minh] had built the Viet Minh into the only Vietnam-wide political organization capable of effective resistance to either the Japanese or the French. He was the only Vietnamese wartime leader with a national following, and he assured himself wider fealty among the Vietnamese people when in August-September 1945, he overthrew the Japanese… established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and staged receptions for incoming allied occupation forces… . For a few weeks in September 1945, Vietnam was—for the first and only time in its modern history—free of foreign domination, and united from north to south under Ho Chi Minh… .

In class, I brought this historical choice point to life with my students through a role play, in which some students portrayed members of the Viet Minh and others represented French business/government leaders arguing before “President Truman” about the future of Vietnam. (A fuller description and materials for the activity can be found at the Zinn Education Project website.) The role play depicted a make-believe gathering, of course, because the United States never included any Vietnamese in its deliberations on the future of Vietnam. Nonetheless, the lesson offers students a vivid picture of what was at stake at this key juncture.

In this and other activities, I want my students to see that history is not just a jumble of dead facts lying on a page. History is the product of human choice—albeit in conditions that we may not choose. Tragically, the United States consistently chose to side with elites in Vietnam, first French, then Vietnamese, as our government sought to suppress self-determination—perhaps most egregiously in 1954, when the United States conspired to stonewall promised elections and to prop up the dictator Ngo Dinh Diem.

Forty-two years ago this month, Daniel Ellsberg allowed himself to be taken into custody, with no clear outcome in sight. A reporter asked Ellsberg whether he was concerned about the possibility of going to prison. Ellsberg replied: “Wouldn’t you go to prison to help end this war?”

No one expects that kind of integrity from textbook corporations. But educators needn’t confine ourselves to the version of history peddled by giant outfits like Pearson and Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt. Right now, every high school student is learning either to accept or to question the premises that lead our country to wage war around the world. As Howard Zinn suggested, if students don’t know their history, then they are “ready meat” for those who will supply the carving knives of war. Fortunately, more and more teachers around the country recognize the importance of teaching outside the textbook, of joining heroes like Dan Ellsberg to ask questions, to challenge official stories.

Click here to add demanding Congress end unconstitutional snooping by the NSA to your GOOD “to-do” list.

Bill Bigelow taught high school social studies in Portland, Ore. for almost 30 years. He is the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools and the co-director of the Zinn Education Project. This project offers free materials to teach people’s history and an “If We Knew Our History” article series. Bigelow is author or co-editor of numerous books, including A People’s History for the Classroom and The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border and Mexican Immigration, and a contributor to Teaching About the Wars.



iOS 7 will hop from one Wi-Fi hotspot to another, no password needed

via Ars Technica » Infinite Loop

We haven’t quite hit the stage where phones and tablets can roam from any public Wi-Fi network to another as easily as they hop from one cell tower to another. But an attempt to create a network of hotspots supporting seamless handoffs got some more support yesterday with Apple’s announcement of iOS 7.

The new version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads will support the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Hotspot 2.0 specification. Apple didn’t talk about this during its Worldwide Developer Conference presentation, but the support for Hotspot 2.0 was confirmed on one of the slides shown during the presentation.

Hotspot 2.0 is the technology specification behind the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint certification program. As we wrote last year, the goal of Passpoint is to create a Wi-Fi extension of cellular networks, making it easier for service providers to offload traffic and give users faster Internet connections. Instead of typing in a password, a user could authenticate to the network automatically by virtue of owning a device with a SIM card. Passpoint-enabled devices within range of a Passpoint-supporting hotspot would automatically join it and get the benefit of WPA2 security.

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On the Fringe of Genre – A Film Review of ‘Upstream Color’

via The Fox Is Black

Upstream Color_poster

Thoughtful filmmakers intent on making engaging experimental films in today’s cinematic climate are fearless. Only a handful of filmmakers, able to uncover the balance between formal abstraction and narrative fluff, succeed in making films that are a cut above the rest. Harmony Korine of course rules this utopia, as does David Lynch, Michel Gondry and to a certain extent Terrance Malick, with his rapturous depiction of regeneration. Hopefully, Shane Carruth, the writer, director and star, of his second film Upstream Color, will become the newest, most promising member of this crew.

Upstream Color_Still

Upstream Color_Still

In Upstream Color, Kris (Amy Seimetz) is the victim of a terrifying attack by an inconsequential assailant named “The Thief” who forces her to ingest a parasitic worm that keeps her under hypnosis. While he empties her banks accounts and drains her equity, Kris learns how to master the simple act of repetition, which becomes so engrained in her psyche, it sends her into a complex mental disorder post trauma. It is when she meets Jeff (Shane Carruth), that overall aura of the unknown in Upstream Color truly begins. And I haven’t even mentioned the cosmic bond with pigs or the reciting of Thoreau’s Walden while diving for mineral rocks.

Upstream Color _ Still

Upstream Color_Still

The initial pull of the film plays with fear of disease and parasitic invasion, yet it’s softly lit scenes and contemporary art direction keep the thriller convention at bay. Navigating the rough terrain of experimentation, the raison d’etre of Upstream Color is to explore aspects of memory, reincarnation, and perceived reality.

It gets weird, but it’s beautiful. As much as it disturbs, it is equally packed with the lush of that which exists in life – love, sound, trust, nature and the beauty that wades in mortality.

Secure Your Mac’s Most Important Files with Espionage

via Mac.AppStorm

Mobile Computing is becoming more and more common these days, with Apple leading from the forefront. With the MacBook Air and Retina Display MacBook Pros being the headline Macs these days, it’s extremely comfortable to own a portable computing device rather than a desktop. Security becomes a paramount concern with such devices as they are prone to loss or theft when carrying around.

Even when using an iMac, data security is vital to keep sensitive information private. Using Filevault for encryption is one way to go, but it encrypts the entire drive. If you plan to secure only certain folders, you’ll have to look at third party alternatives. And there are quite a few free and premium apps that help solve this problem.

I’m a vocal advocate of TrueCrypt, yet, I found Espionage’s offering very interesting. Is it as good at securing my Mac and simple to use as they promise? Time to check it out!

Why Espionage?

Since our last review in 2009, Espionage has gone through many changes including a complete rewrite. I started using TrueCrypt to secure my portable drives and I’m a big fan of the app. It’s open source and is cross platform. I juggle between a Mac and PC, so a cross platform encryption app made a lot of sense.

There are a few downsides to using an app like TrueCrypt though. It’s definitely not the prettiest app around and the workflow can be a bit cumbersome. Beginners and casual users might find the steps involved to be confusing at times. That’s when apps like Espionage comes in to make our lives easy.

Espionage combines the ease of use and elegance Mac apps are known for. If a Mac is your primary computer and if you are looking for an app to simplify the process of securing files and folders, Espionage is what you need. It hardly needs any ground work or heavy lifting from your end. A quick drag and drop is all that you need to do to secure your content.

The Process

As you might know, the journey to encryption universe begins with the creation of a master password. Make sure it’s strong with a combination alphanumerics and special characters for obvious reasons. If you are in doubt, the app has a password strength indicator and warns you when the password you have chosen isn’t secure enough.

Getting Started

Getting Started

Not having to deal with the creation of secure containers and stuff is a big relief for me. Nothing beats a simple drag and drop. The app sits on the menu bar and the encryption process starts as soon as you drop a folder. As you might be aware, the duration of an encryption depends on the volume of data and the processing power of the system. During my trials, I found it to be pretty decent.

Announcing the various stages of the encryption process as and when they happen is a nice touch. At the end of the encryption, the folder and the files located in the drive are moved to the trash. You’re alerted to this fact with a detailed growl style notification.

Accessing Files

An Encrypted Folder with the Toggle Button

An Encrypted Folder with the Toggle Button

Predictably, the files and folders secured by Espionage won’t be visible in the finder. You can quickly access encrypted files by way of a quick toggle action. To manage the settings of individual files and folders, click on the info icon right next to them. Again, a fabulous GUI works wonders when it comes to tackling otherwise complex actions.

In a single click, spotlight accessibility to files and folders can be managed. Enabling spotlight access will result in secured files showing up in search results. So, you might want to think twice before opting for it.

Actions Menu

Actions Menu

Are you a forgetful person? Then use the timer feature to auto lock folders after a preset duration. The fine grained nature of the auto lock settings is an example of the extent to which Espionage has simplified securing data.

For the paranoid amongst us, the ability to set and use multiple master passwords should help rest easy if and when the unlikely event of forced disclosure at gunpoint occurs!

Final Thoughts

I simply love Espionage. It’s simple, affordable and does a fabulous job of taking the pain out of securing private data. The elegantly designed user interface plays a great deal in making Espionage such a pleasure to use.

The use of the fairly standard info icon for accessing the advanced features section is an interesting design decision though. For me atleast, it appeared to be another useless shortcut for help section or a tip. Replacing it with a new icon that actually evokes curiosity would be great.

I am in the process of moving data from a couple of my computers around and as soon as that’s done, I’m gonna entrust the task of protecting my files to Espionage!

    


Alternative Finance and Distribution for Documentaries

via Hope For Film » Truly Free Film

by Andrew Einspruch

Filmmaker Andrew Einspruch recently attended the Australian International Documentary Conference and wrote a series of articles for the event, which he’s graciously allowed us to reprint here. These articles originally appeared in Screen Hub, the daily online newspaper for Australian film and television professionals.

Cathy Henkel is a producer, director, academic and researcher. She brings all of those skills to bear on her documentary projects, and recently has been looking into what it takes to navigate an independent path as a filmmaker. In a session called Riding the Freedom Streams at this year`s Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), she invited documentary makers to brave the waters of a freer path.

Starting off with her nautical theme, Henkel said that you have to decide what kind of vessel you want your business to be.

One option is to wade into the main stream, the province of vessels she called the Good Ship Enterprise. The AIDC is primarily devoted to established and wannabe Enterprise ships. These businesses get their money from three main sources: broadcast pre-sales and distribution advances, government (grants or investments), and the Producer Offset. They are larger businesses with larger staff and larger overheads, and they have worked out how to get deals with the broadcasters and distributors, whose pre-sales and advances are needed to trigger government money.

How does one grow into an Enterprise ship? By persisting with mainstream activities. You get to know the broadcasters and distributors, and learn how to pitch to them effectively. You do what it takes to establish a track record, or you do what the agencies tell you to do if you don’t have one – team up with someone who does. You go to conferences. You pitch at pitch forums (which requires bullet-proof, well-developed concepts). And you tantalise them with your compelling documentary, where you have unique access to a particular world, out of which you can harvest a unique story.

But Enterprise ships become “servants to their funding masters,” as Henkel put it. They may get the business, but they get locked into the rigidity of timeslots, the need to keep their output up, and a loss of freedom in terms of style and format. The distributors they partner with want all rights deals, which means those Enterprise ships can’t plan their own release strategies, and have little hope for additional returns. The government funds they depend on come with strings attached, and it is easy for a project to bog down in contracting and administration. The result can be cash-flow problems, or projects that simply die because they are time critical, and the wheels of progress turn too slowly.

Still want to go that route? Yes? Then go for it. Just know that the river can only accommodate a handful of Enterprise ships. The competition is fierce, and you are likely to smack into what Henkel called a log jam. The simple fact is it is harder and harder for newcomers to crack into the mainstream business. The gatekeepers are harder to get to, and the money they pass out is shrinking. And it’s not like the established Enterprise ships are likely to toss you a rope and help tow you into safe, profitable water.

Then again, you might want to find a path that avoids the log jam. That is what Henkel has been doing for her own projects, and is the opportunity open to the many, more nimble players. She represented those smaller businesses as kayaks, and said they had four “freedom streams” that could provide finance.
Those freedom streams include:

    • Private investment. This source of funds expects their money back, with interest. You have to pitch your project in terms of return on investment. But if they come on board, then the agreements can be done much faster, and the money can flow in quickly. They tend to leave you alone to make the project you want to make. Plus, the investors become your allies, and can open doors to audiences you would not otherwise reach.
    • Grants and philanthropy. Henkel called this “the sweetest finance of all”. Unlike private investors, there is no expectation that you will return their money in any form. It is a grant, which means the producers part of the project equity is higher. You can route the money through the Documentary Australia Foundation, which can benefit the giver with a tax deduction. Charitable givers are looking for returns in the form of social capital and social good. Like investors, they tend not to exert creative influence. You do, however, need to tend the relationship, so they know their money is spent well and they are getting a favourable result. They, too, can be advocates andhelp you reach a broader audience.
    • Corporate sponsorship/investment. Companies can come on board as an investor, providing cash or in-kind services. In that case, they expect their money back down the track. Alternatively, they can sponsor your film with cash or in-kind, which means they don’t expect a direct financial return. The third option is where a service provider agrees to re-invest part of their fee in the project. Facilities deals often take this form. In all cases, though, they want some kind of product recognition or acknowledgement. Plus, you have to make sure you don’t have so much of this that it jeopardises your producer offset.
    • Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is people making glorified gifts, which means they do not expect a financial return. Like charitable grants, the money becomes part of the producer’s equity, and it is not encumbered with creative strings. It flows in at a predictable time. Just know that crowdfunding is hard work to do well, and you have to make sure that the goodies you offer don’t make the exercise unprofitable.

Being a freedom stream rider is very hands-on for the producer. You have to be temperamentally suited to sticking with your project for years, and doing all the things that otherwise a distributor or sales agent might do. Henkel, for example, has a documentary coming out in in the second half of 2013 called Rise of the Eco-Warriors . She expects that project to significantly occupy her for the bulk of 2014 as well.

That’s because distribution is a big deal, and getting your doco out into the world is what it is all about.

Henkel cited the spiritual godfather of SPAA Fringe, Peter Broderick, who has been preaching a gospel of alternative distribution for years. As a producer, you can access audiences anywhere in the world, using online platforms. You can gather a personal audience who you can take with you from project to project. If you distribute yourself, then the money comes to you, and you can implement a distribution strategy that suits you and your project. Plus, no one will care about your documentary more than you. You can translate that passion into a greater chance of success.

The term Henkel and Broderick use is “hybrid distribution”, which she said involves “Self-management of distribution and direct sales to audiences, combined with selective release of rights to third party distributors such as DVD distributors, TV channels, VOD companies, educational distributors, and online outlets.” She emphasised that it was not about doing it all yourself. Rather, you carefully choose partners who help you – but the producer keeps control. This contrasts directly with a traditional arrangement with distributors, where the producer hands over the product, and more or less waves goodbye.

Just know that doling out small bundles of rights to a variety of partners means the producer has to do more deal-making, sign more contracts, and put up with the additional hassles involved.

A key benefit of this hybrid approach is your direct connection to the audience. In the old model, the producer had no idea who was watching the doco, because that information stayed with the distributor or exhibitor. But direct distribution lets you know who bought your film. As Broderick says, you convert your fans from customers to patrons. They can become active advocates for your work. Many filmmakers, Henkel included, say that one of the best aspects of crowdfunding is that it lets you raise the profile of the project, test whether an audience is going to respond to it, and helps you tap a pool of people who want you and your film to succeed.

In the end, Henkel said the choice is yours. One choice is, “Partnering with the big companies, going the Enterprise way, increasing overheads and trading off freedom for the existing TV pre-sales, old world distribution offers and government funding,” she said. “Or you can combine the four freedom streams with the three traditional stream and experimenting with Hybrid distribution. And have fun along the way.

“The freedom streams are not an easy option. But they offer more control over your own destiny, better returns if you succeed, and more creative freedom.”
Henkel was clear which direction she prefers. She said she did not yet know if this path was sustainable. But even if it wasn`t, she knew that what she learned would help her do it differently in the future.

Andrew Einspruch is a producer with Wild Pure Heart Productions . His current project is the low budget feature film The Farmer.Tweet

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Gorgeous Black-and-White Photos of Vintage NASA Facilities

via Brain Pickings

From the wind tunnels the made commercial aviation possible to the analog machines that preceded the computer, a visual history of the spirit of innovation presently unworthy of the government’s dollar.

Among the great joys of spending countless hours rummaging through archives is the occasional serendipitous discovery of something absolutely wonderful: Case in point, these gorgeous black-and-white photographs of vintage NASA (and NASA predecessor NACA) facilities, which I found semi-accidentally in NASA’s public domain image archive. Taken between the 1920s and 1950s, when the golden age of space travel was still a beautiful dream, decades before the peak of the Space Race, and more than half a century before the future of space exploration had sunk to the bottom of the governmental priorities barrel, these images exude the stark poeticism of Berenice Abbott’s science photographs and remind us, as Isaac Asimov did, of NASA’s enormous value right here on Earth.

NACA’s first wind tunnel, located at Langley Field in Hampton, VA, was an open-circuit wind tunnel completed in 1920. Essentially a replica of the ten-year-old tunnel at the British National Physical Laboratory, it was a low-speed facility which involved the one-twentieth-scale models. Because tests showed that the models compared poorly with the actual aircraft by a factor of 20, a suggestion was made to construct a sealed airtight chamber in which air could be compressed to the same extent as the model being tested. The new tunnel, the Variable Density Tunnel was the first of its kind and has become a National Historic Landmark. (April 1, 1921)

Pressure tank of the Variable Density Tunnel at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Hampton, VA. Photograph courtesy Northrop-Grumman Shipbuilding-Newport News (February 3, 1922). The tank was shipped by barge to NACA, now NASA Langley Research Center, in June 1922.

Workmen in the patternmakers’ shop manufacture a wing skeleton for a Thomas-Morse MB-3 airplane for pressure distribution studies in flight. (June 1, 1922)

A Langley researcher ponders the future, in mid-1927, of the Sperry M-1 Messenger, the first full-scale airplane tested in the Propeller Research Tunnel. Standing in the exit cone is Elton W. Miller, Max M. Munk’s successor as chief of aerodynamics. (1927)

16-foot-high speed wind tunnel downstream view through cooling tower section. (February 8, 1942)

Free-flight investigation of 1/4-scale dynamic model of XFV-1 in NACA Ames 40x80ft wind tunnel. (August 18, 1942)

Engine on Torque Stand at the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio, now known as the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. Torque is the twisting motion produced by a spinning object. (April 15, 1944)

Detail view of Schlieren setup in the 1 x 3 Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel. (October 26, 1945)

Boeing B-29 long range bomber model was tested for ditching characteristics in the Langley Tank No. 2 (Early 1946)

Looking down the throat of the world’s largest tunnel, 40 by 80 feet, located at Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Moffett Field, California. The camera is stationed in the tunnel’s largest section, 173 feet wide by 132 feet high. Here at top speed the air, driven by six 40-foot fans, is moving about 35 to 40 miles per hour. The rapid contraction of the throat (or nozzle) speeds up this air flow to more than 250 miles per hour in the oval test section, which is 80 feet wide and 40 feet high. The tunnel encloses 900 tons of air, 40 tons of which rush through the throat per second at maximum speed. (1947)

Analog Computing Machine in the Fuel Systems Building. This is an early version of the modern computer. The device is located in the Engine Research Building at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, now John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland Ohio. (September 28, 1949)

Guide vanes in the 19-foot Pressure Wind Tunnel at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, form an ellipse 33 feet high and 47 feet wide. The 23 vanes force the air to turn corners smoothly as it rushes through the giant passages. If vanes were omitted, the air would pile up in dense masses along the outside curves, like water rounding a bend in a fast brook. Turbulent eddies would interfere with the wind tunnel tests, which require a steady flow of fast, smooth air. (March 15, 1950

24-foot-diameter swinging valve at various stages of opening and closing in the 10ft x 10ft Supersonic Wind Tunnel. (May 17, 1956)

A television camera is focused by NACA technician on a ramjet engine model through the schlieren optical windows of the 10 x 10 Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel’s test section. Closed-circuit television enables aeronautical research scientists to view the ramjet, used for propelling missiles, while the wind tunnel is operating at speeds from 1500 to 2500 mph. (8.570) The tests were performed at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, now John H. Glenn Research Center. (April 21, 1957)

8ft x 6ft Supersonic Wind Tunnel Test-Section showing changes made in Stainless Steel walls with 17 inch inlet model installation. The model is the ACN Nozzle model used for aircraft engines. The Supersonic Wind Tunnel is located in the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, now John H. Glenn Research Center. (August 31, 1957)

The Gimbal Rig, formally known as the MASTIF of Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility, was engineered to simulate the tumbling and rolling motions of a space capsule and train the Mercury astronauts to control roll, pitch and yaw by activating nitrogen jets, used as brakes and bring the vehicle back into control. This facility was built at the Lewis Research Center, now John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. (October 29, 1957)

Lockheed C-141 model in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel (TDT). By the late 1940s, with the advent of relatively thin, flexible aircraft wings, the need was recognized for testing dynamically and elastically scaled models of aircraft. In 1954, NASA’s predecessor agency, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), began converting the Langley 19-foot Pressure Tunnel for dynamic testing of aircraft structures. The old circular test section was reduced to 16 x 16 feet, and slotted walls were added for transonic operation. The TDT was provided with special oscillator vanes upstream of the test section to create controlled gusty air to simulate aircraft response to gusts. A model support system was devised that freed the model to pitch and plunge as the wings started oscillating in response to the fluctuating airstream. The TDT was completed in 1959. It was the world’s first aeroelastic testing tunnel. (November 16, 1962)

Alas, the names of the photographers — as is often the case with creators working on the government dollar — were not preserved. If you recognize any, get in touch and help credit them.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Brain Pickings takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit across the different platforms, and remains banner-free. If it brings you any joy and inspiration, please consider a modest donation – it lets me know I’m doing something right. Holstee

‘The Pirate Cinema’ reveals hidden activity of Peer-to-Peer file sharing

via CreativeApplications.Net

'The Pirate Cinema' reveals hidden activity of Peer-to-Peer file sharing

Projects attempts to reveal the hidden activity and geography of Peer-to-Peer file sharing by presenting it as a monitoring room, which shows transfers happening in real time on networks using the BitTorrent protocol.

Advice for Travel and Life: Founding Father Benjamin Rush’s 14 Rules for His Young Son, 1796

via Brain Pickings

“Remember at all times that while you are seeing the world, the world will see you.”

Founding father and American Enlightenment leader Benjamin Rush (1745 — 1813) is among the most diversely influential figures in modern history — he signed the Declaration of Independence and championed many reforms; he opposed slavery and capital punishment at a time when it was fashionable to favor them; he pioneered the free American public school and helped found five institutions of higher learning; he proposed a new model of education for women that included sciences, history, and moral philosophy; he worked for the humane treatment of the mentally ill; he was the first American to hold the title of professor of chemistry (at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania) and published the first American chemistry textbook; and he served as the treasurer of the United States Mint for sixteen years.

Dr. Benjamin Rush, painted by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1818

From Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (public library) — the same wonderful anthology that gave us some of history’s greatest motherly advice and Sherwood Anderson’s counsel on the creative life — comes this letter Rush and his wife Julia sent to their twenty-one-year-old son John, the eldest of their thirteen children, after he finished a medical apprenticeship with his father and headed to India to practice his newly acquired skills. Despite the overwhelming religiosity of the letter — a reflection above all of the era’s monoculture — Rush’s advice on the four pillars of the good life includes timeless wisdom on the art of acquiring knowledge and reading books well, the benefits of keeping of diary, the importance of studying geography, and even primitive inklings of Michael Pollan’s modern food rules.

Directions and advice to Jno. Rush from his father and mother composed the evening before he sailed for Calcutta, May 18th, 1796

We shall divide these directions into four heads, as they relate to morals, knowledge, health, and business.

I. MORALS

1. Be punctual in committing your soul and body to the protection of your Creator every morning and evening. Implore at the same time his mercy in the name of his Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

2. Read in your Bible frequently, more especially on Sundays.

3. Avoid swearing and even an irreverent use of your Creator’s name. Flee youthful lusts.

4. Be courteous and gentle in your behavior to your fellow passengers, and respectful and obedient to the captain of the vessel.

5. Attend public worship regularly every Sunday when you arrive at Calcutta.

II. KNOWLEDGE

1. Begin by studying Guthrie’s Geography.

2. Read your other books through carefully, and converse daily upon the subjects of your reading.

3. Keep a diary of every day’s studies, conversations, and transactions at sea and on shore. Let it be composed in a fair, legible hand. Insert in it an account of the population, manners, climate, diseases, &c., of the places you visit.

4. Preserve an account of every person’s name and disease whom you attend.

III. HEALTH

1. Be temperate* in eating, more especially of animal food. Never taste distilled spirits of any kind, and drink fermented liquors very sparingly.

2. Avoid the night air in sickly situations. Let your dress be rather warmer than the weather would seem to require. Carefully avoid fatigue from all causes both of body and mind.

IV. BUSINESS

1. Take no step in laying out your money without the advice and consent of the captain or supercargo. Let no solicitations prevail with you to leave the captain and supercargo during your residence in Calcutta.

2. Keep an exact account of all your expenditures. Preserve as vouchers of them all your bills.

3. Take care of all your instruments, books, clothes, &c.

Be sober and vigilant. Remember at all times that while you are seeing the world, the world will see you. Recollect further that you are always under the eye of the Supreme Being. One more consideration shall close this parting testimony of our affection. Whenever you are tempted to do an improper thing, fancy that you see your father and mother kneeling before you and imploring you with tears in their eyes to refrain from yielding to the temptation, and assuring you at the same time that your yielding to it will be the means of hurrying them to a premature grave.

Benjn Rush
Julia Rush

* Rush was in fact a vehement proponent of temperance and designed “A Moral and Physical Thermometer” six years prior to penning the letter to his son:

Sadly, John was either ill-equipped to or chose not to follow his parents’ advice. John’s adult life was plagued by mental instability and, though he became a surgeon, his medical career was mediocre at most. Three years before his father’s death, John killed a friend in a duel and went insane. He was institutionalized at the Pennsylvania Hospital, his father’s place of work, where he remained for twenty-seven years until his last breath in 1837.

Posterity, however, is full of timeless epistolary wisdom from and to historical characters of decidedly more hopeful fates than John’s.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Brain Pickings takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit across the different platforms, and remains banner-free. If it brings you any joy and inspiration, please consider a modest donation – it lets me know I’m doing something right. Holstee

‘Murmur’ bridges physical and virtual using sound

via CreativeApplications.Net

'Murmur' bridges physical and virtual using sound

Murmur enables communication between public and the projection by simulating the movement of sound waves, building a luminous bridge between the physical and the virtual.

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