Category Archives: Angelic Visions: drones

A (VR/AR/Haptics+)-based book proposal for agents-like-Lauren-Appleton

Hello literary-agents-like-Lauren-Appleton!

I hope all is well on your side of the interwebtubes! My name is Stephen Black and I have a book proposal that I believe will be of interest to you, one of the publishing companies whom you represent and millions of people interested in visual art, gaming and film-making.

Cinema 8.0 will be a timeless bestselling classic like Towards an Architecture

Towards an Architecture was written during a transitional period in which concrete, preformed materials and Modernism were replacing past paradigms and materials. Cinema 8.0 is being written during a transitional period in which VR, AR, social media and haptics are exploding the concept of "motion pictures".

An artist/producer/writer, I believe my finished text will be factual, inspirational and light-hearted. Just as Corbusier's book is evergreen, so will be mine. (A valuable resource has been this post by Ryan Holiday about the making of Perennial Seller)

Beach Road 360VR film featured at festivals in Singapore, Brisbane and Las Vegas.

SPOKEN Unity-based virtual exhibition, curated by myself, co-produced with Eugene Soh.

Captioned virtual reality scene with two real men in it

Eugene Soh and Stephen Black

i ate tiong bahru A bestseller in Singapore. With. No. Marketing.

I've long lived in Asia, have worked for CNN, Cartoon Network, Fuji TV: writer, director, cameraman, producer. Collected as an artist, published as a photographer.

Here are blog posts that exemplify some of the research that I have done. The theoretical/inspirational components, as well as a chapter outline, can be viewed upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration literary-agents-like-Lauren-Appleton!


Stephen Black

public section of Engadget Experience 100K grant proposal

Bubiko Foodtour: the world's first AR superstar

I discovered information about Lauren Appleton, and her request for manuscripts, here. I wrote the above with a great deal of respect and, hopefully, in a way that prevents internet search complications or misrepresentations.

Oh yeah...a book cover about immersive environments A working title, now scrapped.

CINEMATOGRAPHY 8.0 light and motion in the age of VR, 360, 4K, 8K, AR, AI, CG and drones

In Praise of Shadowsby Junichiro Tanizaki. Written in 1933, when traditional Japan was contemplating a future full of Western modernism. (50 pages) Towards a New Architecture, by Le Corbusier. Published in 1923, when traditional Western architecture was contemplating a future in which mass production was revolutionizing architecture and society. (320 pages) Cinematography 8.0 by Stephen Black. Created in 2017, when lens-based cinematography was contemplating 360 VR , as well as AR, AI, 4K, 8K CG, lens/computer imaging systems and drones. (280 pages) Reviewers of C8.0 include professional cinematographers, editors and theoreticians/artists such as  Stelarc. ......................
So... Cinematography 8.0... most certainly will have a theoretical and poetic component;the first section of the book. But the tools of  contemporary cinematography change quickly and are  extremely dependent upon economics, unlike pen and paper or paint and canvas.  SO.. there is a second part of the Cinematography 8.0. This second half, a compendium, may eventually become a book project unto itself. The compendium will be something like a combination of  encyclopedia and product guide. The entries will be written because of  their relevance to the title of the book OR because they have been commissioned. That is to say, I am looking forward to working with  production teams, individuals, software makers, camera companies or anyone with a product, movie, concept or software connected to the theme of C8.0.  This section will be done on a first come, first served basis and the pricing will soon be determined. The rates will be displayed as part of the crowdfunding campaign for C.80. Another way of saying this is that I will write, for hire, about anything or anyone related to VR for the second part of the C 8.0 book, the compendium. The crowdfunding campaign is expected to start soon, mid-December 2016. If you would like to get a head start on having a description written about your C8.0-related topic, please get in touch with me through this blog.  Thanks. Note that the book cover used for the header of this post is not the final version.  

The Cinematography Book/Notes and a Reviewer

The Cinematography Book is not going to have that for title. I am now working on a proposal for a book on how lenses and computers are now redefining cinematography. But the title? Well. My first title was Angelic Visions: VR, AR, Drones and Cinematography's Second Life. Here is one of a few related posts, this one about Matt Seigel's 4K video class. And yes, I had the following idea for a cover, but that guy in the photo, with the word "angelic" nearby, didn't seem right... a symbol for cinematography For a book like this, it is important to have reviewers. Reviewers are not proofreaders; they are most important in the initial stages. Once I have the chapter outlines and the structures for the chapters themselves, I'll run it past the reviewers. The reviewers I have in mind are not all cinematographers. For now I am pleased to announce that Stelarc has agreed to be a reviewer. With his extra-extraordinary background as a performance artist and his recent experiences with a RED 6K cameras, 2 GH4 bodies, a slider, a lighting set, a 4K drone and a motorized 3 axis gimbal, his  input is a unique honor to have and I am very grateful.
What kind of book am I thinking of? I have ideas for sure, but the most attractive part of writing for me is the evolution; the way that new routes and ideas appear unexpectedly. This will not be a technical manual, that is for sure.
Hopefully I do not sound pretentious, but I am inspired by two books: Towards A New Architecture and In Praise of Shadows.
Le Corbusier, the visionary architect, wrote Towards A New Architecture early in the last century, at a time when architecture suddenly was faced with the possibilities of concrete, steel,  and electricity. Now, cinematography is faced with the possibilities of extremely high resolution digital recording technology, motion sensors, GPS, drones, AR, VR and more....
The other book, In Praise of Shadows, was written by Junichiro Tanizaki in 1933. It is meditative collection of essays about how we perceive the world.
However, though I will aim for the classic feel of these two texts, I am sure to also throw in stylistic influences from cyberpunk, the Marx Brothers and I Ate Tiong Bahru!

Beach Road: on Google Play (1)

a man watching using a VR headset

A VR experience in a coffee shop

This is the first of a five part series about introducing Beach Road to the public. Well, Beach Road is  online! Unlike a video artwork or a movie, there was no public event. I actually did not know we went live until the day after it happened. Ender and I were both busy, but had agreed to meet to hear Lionel Chiok's talk about VR. Lionel is a Singaporean who has been studying and working with new technologies in England. He was back in town to share his thoughts and experiences. I prepared a press release and Ender had made preparations to show Beach Road on his phone with the Hiverlab headset. It was only when we met that Ender realized he hadn't told me about Beach Road being on  Google Play. So, the press release was lacking information on how to access the movie! The first person I saw wearing the headset and watching Beach Road was a young woman from India, a design student at LASALLE. I can only say she looked enthralled.(v.also enthral "to hold in mental or moral bondage,"1570s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + thrall1610s. !!!) Once she took off the headset, she just beamed for a while. And then she asked if she could work for me! I directed her to Ender. That was just over a week ago. Since then, I have seen that same expression  on the faces of the twenty or so people who have seen Beach Road. I do not delude myself; the technology is what is enthralling them. I think it will only be in about a year or so that I will get true reactions to the film itself, when the shockingly beautiful novelty of 360 VR has worn off. For now, I can only enjoy the ride and be thankful for the enthusiasm that is being shown, as exemplified by reviews like this one, on Ground Zero. 

Beach Road VR Singapore Tour 2015

Hello! Thank you for considering our offer to share the Beach Road VR movie in your space. What is this about? We would like to introduce you and your customers/visitors/friends to VR. We are not selling anything and no costs are involved. We would like to simply set up a small table, display a sign and talk to people about VR, Virtual Reality. Most important of all is that people can easily watch Beach Road, our VR movie, on the viewing gear that we will bring. A press release with more information is here.   What is Beach Road? Beach Road is a five minute movie about a parking lot attendant who wants to be a writer. It stars Alps Bethneck and features music by Bani Haykal and Chen YiQi. It was co-produced by Hiverlab. The script was written by Stephen Black.
Singapore hawker center in 360 VR

... writing in a notebook, surrounded by an empty hawker center...(still photo from Beach Road)

Stephen Black, Ender Jiang and Jeff Zhen

The team behind Beach Road, one of the first VR films made in Singapore.

Hiverlab viewing glasses

VR viewing goggles created by Hiverlab...

What do I need to prepare? I do not have staff to help with this! We will take care of everything. We do not need electricity and do not need your staff's help in anyway. Just show us the table and we will take it from there. We are not selling anything. If people later want to download Beach Road, it is available for free on Google Play. If you can promote this event on Facebook or by emailing, that would be helpful. We will promote you as much as we can, on twitter, LinkedIn, by emails and Facebook. If you know of any press people, bloggers, reporters or news people, do let us know. Beach Road has appeal for those interested in movies and visual arts as well as those interested in technology and communication. I don't understand VR at all. Can't I just use my laptop to watch Beach Road on Youtube? Virtual Reality is new. It is also simple and fun to use. Until you try it, is difficult to understand. Simply to say; you need a device to see a VR movie. That device can be made of cardboard or it can be an expensive, stylish hi-tech piece of equipment. We are prepared to bring 50 devices which were created by Hiverlab. Beach Road is five minutes long, so we hope that no one has to wait a long time to see it.   When? At the moment, our schedule looks like this: August 21 Instinc Art Space 8/22 Tiong Bahru private screening 23 The Projector 8/24 secret party with guitars and everything 8/25/ 8/26  8/27 8/28 +39 Gelato Bar 8/29  Saturday 9AM-1 PM Tiong Bahru  2:30-4:30 Singapore Science Center 8/30 Sunday 9AM-3 PM Tiong Bahru 8/31 September 1 9/2 9/3 Mettle Work 9/4 MAAD at The Red Dot Museum We are open to showcasing Beach Road after this time as well. Any questions? Please contact Ender: ender AT hiverlab dot com or Stephen Black via this blog. Thanks!

Towards a New Cinematography (notes)

blue fish in tank with Wall Clouding written aboveit

image created as part of the preparation for the Wall Clouding 360 video by Stephen Black/hiverlab

Towards a New Cinematography is the latest title for the book that I committed myself to with this post. Singapore has recently been very helpful to me. For example, because of an amazing series of talks organized by SCAPE, I was able to get up to speed on 4K, thanks to three great presentations by Matt Seigel. Twice I was able to hear Karl Soule go over some of the numerous delights in the Adobe Creative Cloud. I heard Kazz Sato speak about sound! I was in the same room as Royston Tan!Nicholas Chee! These talks really brought me up to speed, helping me get a sense of the current state of indie film production. Very important, especially after my years away from video, when I was in "exile" in Bali. And more: last week I attended a three-in-one Meetup: Singapore Creative Coding Meetup Singapore StoryCode Meetup Singapore-Virtual-Reality-Augmented-Reality-Meetup The presenters were: Himanshu Shah, speaking about a Virtual Roller Coaster. Himanshu Shah has been in the production industry for the last 15 years and is involved in a number of companies. Amongst the companies he is currently involved in is one that does stereoscopic 3D video production. His latest company is involved in the creation of VR Rides. Hrishi Olickel, speaking about a low-cost alternative to the Oculus Drift Went to ACS(Independent), graduated in 2012 for IB in the top 1% Currently majoring in Computer Science at Yale-NUS College focusing on Machine Learning and Big Data Founder of the Yale-NUS Hackerspace, hackathon enthusiast AND...Eugene Soh!Eugene spoke about unconventional uses of VR, including a very special project... Eugene Soh is a Singaporean fine artist who happens to be a programming genius. When he isn't travelling the world, he is at home making apps or creating epic photographic renditions of famous renaissance paintings. Eugene has recently taken a strong interest in harvesting energy from the sun (solar power, because he hates paying bills) and may be moving in that direction. All of these experiences really increased my knowledge about all of the changes taking place in cinematography. However, having information is not the same as having experience... which is why I am very excited to be involved with a couple of projects with hiverlab... but I will elaborate on these developments in another post...