Jul 272017

Eighties kids will no doubt remember A-Ha’s mid 80’s song “Take On Me” and the video that went with it. The video was pretty remarkable for the time, visually interesting through animation rotoscoped over live action footage, made to look like black and white “comic book” art. And even though it was only a few minutes worth of music video, it took something like four months to animate.

And now it can be done essentially instantly with an augmented reality app.  The results are a little off, not *quite* the same… but people would have lost their minds in 1985 if the video had been made using something like this. I’m not sure that in 1985 we would have understood just what you were going on about if you said you shot this on your *phone.*

 Posted by at 2:13 pm
  • CaptainNed

    Yeah, I remember this from senior year in college. It was obvious then that it had taken a “metric buttload” of work and it really did portend a whole lot of MTV vids that really spent time on the visuals. After all, “Sledgehammer” is only one year after this. Most of us in the fraternity who pretended at being musicians were equally astounded by the soprano-range falsetto notes achieved by the lead singer, for which we envisioned Spanish Inquisition devices applied to certain nether regions while in the studio.

    • xvdougl

      Yes, it was nearly perfect at showing you the high octave limitation of your own voice in that all but that one measure of the chorus was easy to follow.

  • Adam

    Are you finding yourself struggling to adapt to latest advancements in technology? My Dad is 56 years old and he’s hopelessly ignorant of all of the nuances of modern technology. I once got into an argument with him about the death of newspapers as a news medium and he refuses to believe that they’ll be supplanted. He also doesn’t like smartphones and considers them superfluous.

    He also lacks the capacity to comprehend the amount of software and computerized control systems that govern the operation of the latest cars and airplanes.

    • Scottlowther

      > Are you finding yourself struggling to adapt to latest advancements in technology?

      Technology, not so much. Bring on the new devices, the genetic manipulation, the artificial limbs. What I’m old man crotchety about is how some of the tech is used. Smart phone tech should be used to make starships and killbots, not to find out the latest thing the Kardashians are doing.

      • Adam

        Ah, so you and I are in the same boat then. I want space-based weapons, aerospace planes and interstellar ships. I also want terawatts of installed nuclear power in this country.

        • Scottlowther

          Advanced technology is great, but using it for objectively frivolous garbage gives me a sad. imagine if someone invented a practical high-thrust (T/W=100), high Isp (50,000 sec) fusion rocket and it was used solely as a hair dryer. That’s what I see when I see Facebook and instagram.

          • Adam

            It may be a lot easier to develop websites and apps than to develop what you personally want. To develop what you describe would require people to make investments that they fear they may not get a good return from. Websites and apps are a low-hanging fruit for investors.

          • Scottlowther

            Yes, undoubtedly “CandyCrush” and “Angry Birds” and even Facebook were easier to develop than a cure for cancer. But just because they were easy doens’t mean they were, from the standpoint of advancing or even sustaining the species, better.

          • Adam

            I’m not trying to argue that Angry Birds and Facebook are better than next-gen rocketry. I’m just rationalizing the current state of affairs. As it stands Aerospace is mainly at the mercy of government funding and R&D in order to advance thanks to the high-risk/low ROI affiliated with such technologies.

            Yes, you say that there are ways to make spaceflight profitable, but the only issue is that not enough people think like you do. Instant gratification is all that matters to most people.

          • Herp McDerp

            Back in the 1980s, Jerry Pournelle said (approximately, from memory): “We’ll have a vigorous civilian space program when somebody figures out how to get filthy rich by going into space.”

      • Herp McDerp

        Genetic manipulation? CRISPR scares the shit out of me.

        We need off-world colonies just to ensure that someone survives when a moody high school kid — or a moody jihadi — engineers the next virulent plague.

    • CaptainNed

      Um, I’m 53 and fully conversant in same, as is my Dad, who’s 76, so it ain’t just age.

    • Bob

      One good EMP and we’ll find out how right your father is (or was).

  • Paul451

    I’m not sure that in 1985 we would have understood just what you were going on about if you said you shot this on your *phone.*

    “WOW, you have a wireless communication device as thin as a pane of glass that shows full colour video, has a camera, a satellite navigation system, can store half the library of Congress and access the rest! What else does your future world have? Flying cars? Colonies on Mars? Undersea cities?”

    “Uhh… no… just… the phone thing. That’s pretty much it.”

    • Scottlowther

      > “That’s pretty much it.”

      Oh, that’s not true. We have race riots. We have people building giant taxpayer funded monuments to religious fables. We have Homeopathy. We have the rejection of vaccines and the return of once nearly extinct diseases. We have people trying to install religious legal systems from backwards foreign cultures. And we have speech codes! Lots and lots of speech codes.


      • publiusr

        Smart phones are PADDs if not tricorders now–and what do kids use them for? Junk.

        At least this has some artistic merit.

        Hey kids! Get back to me when you animate Gustave Doré ‘s Inferno with the same look..

      • Paul451

        We have race riots.

        Oh please. They had race riots. Whole cities shut down for weeks, national guardsmen firing on protesters, etc. You have a few overwrought suburbanites breaking windows.

      • se jones

        we have:
        After contentious hearings, stalled Hawaiian telescope might have new life
        The 26 July recommendation, from judge Riki May Amano:

        …Amano recommended that any permit carry numerous conditions. They include requiring TMT employees to attend cultural and natural resources training, implementing an invasive species control program on the telescope site, and providing $1 million a year for a “community benefits package,” including local science education

        Betya that local science education will be a hoot

    • se jones

      BTW, you’ve been making some quite prescient comments about SLS & DIV-H over at that other leading web site.

  • Michel Lamontagne


    This has nothing to do with the conversation but since it is based on your work I thought you might enjoy it.
    Best Regards