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!

Wall Clouding preproduction notes

Note: Wall Clouding was a working title; BEACH ROAD is the name of the finished project. Info about Beach Road is here. What: Wall Clouding is a spontaneous act of filmmaking using the Aliwal Street area as inspiration. The Wall Clouding activities take place as part of Unlocking With Ears, Stephen Black's exhibit at the Museum of Independent Music Singapore. Wall Clouding aims to be noteworthy on several levels, one being technical. Thanks to the support of Hiverlab, one video will be shot in 360 video. At the moment, drones are being researched, as well as 4K cameras. Through careful preproduction, it is possible to create with all of these formats. Also, thanks to the support of the Museum of Independent Music, Wall Clouding will have access to professional recording facilities for musicians and voice talents. The final film will likely be a short film of approximately 10 minutes long. However, there are exciting and unpredictable possibilities that will be explored. The goal is, however, to have finished work in hand at the close of Unlocking With Ears. Who: Wall Clouding is being produced by artist/writer Stephen Black. He has documented the dance performances of Kazuo Ono, produced stories for Fuji TV, France 2, CNN, Cartoon Network and Fox and has collaborated with Kumiko Akiyoshi. Orchid Orchitect was a text collaboration with Michael Lee for the 2011 Singapore Biennale and 3how: the Riverwalk Session was a musical co-production with Amith Narayan featuring a variety of noteworthy musicians. Black is the author of several books, including the bestselling I Ate Tiong Bahru. When: June 23- July 5, 2015 At the time of this writing , the exact days of shooting are not yet fixed. For the most up to date information, please check elsewhere on this blog or on the Wall Clouding Facebook page. Support: Hiverlab, Museum of Independent Music and others soon to be confirmed. If you are an actor, performance artist, musician, vocalist, designer or just interested in this project, please get in touch as soon as possible. A full pre-production schedule will soon appear in a separate blog post.  

360 Videography: What would Matisse do?


360 on canvas...

360 Dance test

360 as a digital still...

Matisse wasn't known as an artist who embraced new technologies. His works, however, can act as  reference points or starting points. The Dance, painted in 1910, could be re-invented as a 360 video. Though the technical challenges are large, the sensitivity and aesthetic sense required to successfully interpret the painting for 360 video are much larger concern.

Music? I would start by researching the music from the late 1800s to 1910.European music, most likely, though Matisse later, in 1947, created his Jazz series of paper cutouts. Once the music was found a choice would need to be made: use the original (or a version of it) or find someone to compose something new. The key point would be the rhythm, man, de rhythm....

The photo is courtesy of Lionel Chok, from a project called Curiosity 360.

“CURIOUSITY” 360 Dance

Possibly the first of its kind to be produced at Middlesex University, “CURIOUSITY” 360 Dance is a fully immersive video and live dance experience combined.

Performed by 2 dancers to just 1 audience member for the duration of the show, this 3-and a-half-minute experiential work-in-progress will be curated to a selected group of audience by invite only from 2 to 4pm on Friday 29 May 2015. Be enthralled by this brand new show, where both the 360 video and its corresponding live dance will literally put you – in the centre of it all!

“CURIOUSITY” 360 Dance by Dominique Rivoal, Lionel Chok, Christina Binney and Ashleigh S. with special thanks to: Anna Barsukova, Dr Magnus Moar and Dr Peter Passmore, Middlesex University


Angelic Visions Notes

-just finished attended the first part of a workshop by award-winning director of photography Matt Seigel. Fantastic. It seems Mr. Seigel will soon have a book out as well. Tomorrow I  shoot my first 4K scenes! -two weeks ago I attended the launch of the Interplay exhibition. Great opening, especially the wedding ceremony of Art and Science. Was very fortunate to spend time with many of the artists , including those from Ars Electronica. I will devote another post to the unplanned-but-perfect discussions we had the following night at the Blu Jaz Cafe. -as for the title of the book, for now I am going with Angelic Visions: drones, VR, environments and cinematography's second life. The "Angelic" part refers not so much to a spiritual aspect, but to the idea that angels can fly, see, hover and communicate-just like drones. But, just like angels, not all flying cameras communicate with the mindset of a heavenly choir. Some angels/drones sound like this. Some links that I need to think about: Michael Naimarks, paper: Field Cinematography for Virtual Reality Applications A post on the Cinematography Database website: DEFINING 360 VR CINEMATOGRAPHY WITH RYAN WHITEHEAD Road to VR : Condition One Blows the Door Open for Virtual Reality Cinematography With Zero Point  This link isn't working, so I need to retrieve  and post the reportage I did about  the Tsui Hark film, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, starring Jet Li.