Category Archives: Video Art

Preliminary metacarpal results

Hi! Stephen Black here!

Following are works in progress for a project for a health provider. This is a very basic TEST for a short film and far from complete. Bubiko's mouth for example, does not properly move yet.

Simply, please do not share with anyone unless they are a professional.

Our partner, the 3D model making company, NOVABY, is doing a superb job, but the newer versions of these scenes are confidential.

Drop me a line if you would like to know how Bubiko could help your business in terms of video, animation, AR and VR...

Also, I would like to thank Vik at Evoaura Records for the music and Alexis Smith for her vocal performance. Hats off to Six Cats Studio as well, for technical guidance.

LOTUS MOUNTAIN, a VR movie

This proposal was posted on Kaleidoscope on February 25, 2019.

Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, on the night of Chinese Valentine's Day. Joyh, a cyborg, is finally taken out into the world by Dave, her creator.

Five years later, the two are reunited, with very different memories of that night.

 Lotus Mountain: 12 minutes 360 VR film 

Directed and produced by Stephen Black

Cinematography: Leo Wei  

Starring Alps Bethneck, Joyh and the Shenzhen 40th anniversary urban light show, with the city decorated for Chinese Valentine’s Day.  

Original soundtrack: Japanese composer Rei Shimizu, and ​Since You Were Gone​, from The Riverwalk Session album by 3how (High on Chai Productions).  

Featuring an original VR artwork by Scobot, award winning VR artist.  Sound mix by ambisonic pioneer Giovanni Lion

 Editor: Zephyr  

Status: Completely shot, soundtrack and voice acting completed.  

Needed: budget for graphics, final edit, audio mixing and promotion.  

This video was meant to be an inhouse experiment, but due to time restrictions, is being used as an introduction to​ Lotus Mountain​. A proper 4K rough cut will be ready by SXSW, as well as a detailed booklet for press and distributors.  

The assistance and support of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Kandao were invaluable in the production of Lotus Mountain.

Stephen Black is an independent artist/producer/writer committed to finishing ​Lotus Mountain.

ARphabet Tour

Stephen Black

the ARphabet tour

Indiegogo Prelaunch  page.

With the three topics of AR, Books and Mango Sticky Rice, The ARphabet tour starts at ARIA at MIT, January 14 and 15, 2019.  AR-themed presentations are one part of the tour, the second involves readings and writing workshops.There is also a component called The Mango Sticky Rice Experience.http://www.blacksteps.tv/the-mango-sticky-rice-experience-part-of-the-arphabet-tour/

The ARphabet Tour is fun, serious and now taking bookings for the United States and Canada. After stops at SXSW in Austin, Texas and the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco, The ARphabet Tour will wind down around the first of April.


Newest version of the flyer.

Although I am planning an AR startup, the talk is about AR trends and developments. I am not using this tour as a way to directly seek investors or partners. I am interested in promoting AR as a whole.

Here is an example, from my workshops last summer, at HK  PolyU.

AR: 2018 State of the Art Workshop @ Hong Kong PolyU

AR Presentations

Presentation will be focused  to provide maximum relevant information to any of the following groups. No AR knowledge or experience necessary. Consultations should be scheduled separately.

  • General
  • Children
  • Grade School Students
  • High School Students
  • University Students
  • Advertising/Media
  • Food Industry
  • Medical
  • Artists, including Dancers and Sculptors
  • Filmmakers
  • Writers and Poets 
  • Investors

Unless requested otherwise, the presentations are not overly technical and consist of personal experiences and observations about the past, present and future of AR.

Introducing  Bubiko Foodtour, an AR character

Readings and Workshops

Son of a book salesman, author of fiction and non fiction, writer for TV, websites and magazines, Stephen is well experienced with the art of writing. One of his books, I  Ate Tiong Bahru, is a national bestseller in Singapore. The readings provide a behind-the scenes look at Stephen's writing techniques, inspirations ad challenges. Stephen's books and related videos and reviews can be found here.

Workshops, as much as possible, focus on ideas and text provided by students. After explaining his own writing process, write and share their own texts and ideas, which are evaluated individually and with the class as a whole. Workshops can be modified for any age group or level of writing experience. I have taught English in Japan,as well as creative writing/poetry performance  in Singapore. I also studied in an invite-only class with Robert McKee, the legendary teacher and author of Story, the definitive guide to screenwriting.

Publishing Magnates
Stephen Black , Book Merah CEO/author , with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.
360 films
Stephen Black in Beach Road, the 360VR film he co-produced with Hiverlab. The film has been featured in festivals in Las Vegas, Brisbane and Singapore.

Mango Sticky Rice. Yes, we will also be doing presentations and workshops on mango sticky rice. Why? Because mango sticky rice is Bubiko Foodtour's favorite food. We researched it extensively during our tour of Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand.

About Stephen Black

After graduating with a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Stephen Black experienced the growth of digital media from these viewpoints: as a photographer, as a video artist in New York's  Lower East Side and Japan; as a producer/writer/director for Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies in Hong Kong, and as a self-publisher of ebooks, books and photography books.

He was first drawn to the possibilities of spatial computing/AR/VR as the creative director for a $3.2 million game-making startup in Singapore. In 2007 he committed himself to writing books, while anticipating the arrival of AR and VR. And here we are...

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black
A Chinese newspaper review of i ate tiong bahru. iatb is available as an audio book and a softcover, on Amazon. The first edition of the printed version is sold out.

Photo Documentation by Stephen Black of FAI Drone Racing Championships, Shenzhen 2018 (part 5)

Hey Birdwatchers!

Thank you to all of the athletes and attendees! The time flew by; every day the sense of community grew stronger. Thank you for making  a couple of newbs feel very welcome. On Thursday morning Lunchbox gave me an hour of his time, and what I learned from him greatly increased my enjoyment of the competition.Thanks Lunchbox-- and Lunchbox Lady too!

If you are in the photos, or know the names of those pictured, please let me know.

Feel free to use the images for non-commercial purposes. If you could credit "Stephen Black", that would be great, and do let me know your link, so I can publicize your site. If you want to use the images for commercial purposes, please ask, so that I can discuss with those in the photos.

Perhaps you can tell, but this was my first experience with posting photos with Gutenberg, a new OS from WordPress. It is not what I am used to, and later I will redo these posts.

Finally, in Alphabet Spikes, there are two short stories about drones. Alphabet Spikes is about my travels in Southeast Asia and China. It is available on Amazon, as are my other books...

Support? VR films about relationships and China’s Silicon Valley

Hello! An update... and a request for support. I know the world is a goofy place and that a film is a luxury, in many ways. But I am now, with a great team, making a short 360VR film. The setting is the city of Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China. The film is about a couple, one of whom is a robot, but the film is ultimately about relationships.

Additionally, we are also in postproduction for a documentary on the city of Shenzhen itself.

Your help would make these two projects the best that they can be. We documented Shenzhen for 24 hours on August 18th. The documentation actually started on the 17th, which was Chinese Valentine's Day. That inspired the second short film, called Lotus Mountain.

I will write and do some Facebook Live broadcasts soon. If there were more time, I would do a crowdfunding campaign.

Stephen Black holding a Qoocam 360VR camera at the 2018 Maker Faire in Hong Kong.

Leo Wei, on the left, demonstrating a Kandao camera at Hong Kong Polytechnic

But we discovered the deadline for the Sundance Film Festival is this month, as is the deadline for a major European VR festival.

>

We are looking for sponsors and perhaps there is a way to sell it later. VR is a frontier, and there is no way to predict what will happen. For what it is worth, my first VR film was shown at festivals in Brisbane, Las Vegas and Singapore.

If you would like to support, the easiest action with the most value is to buy one of my books, probably i ate tiong bahru. It is a bestseller in Singapore.The paperback version is 17.88, and the ebook and audiobook versions are less than that. If you want to support more, please send me a private message. If you have a company that has a product that could appear in the movie, I am very happy to talk about that as well. Thank you very much for reading this!

At the 2018 Maker Faire at Hong Kong Polytechnic

Stephen Black holding a Qoocam 360VR camera at the 2018 Maker Faire at HK PolyU.

In the next post I will write about the great production, music, art and acting talents who are involved.

Oh yes... Beach Road, my first VR film, was a co-production with Hiverlab that has been featured in VR film festivals in Las Vegas, Singapore and Brisbane.