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28 OCTOBER 2014

Questioning the goal of efficiency in contemporary culture

"Efficiency in human behavior is a goal that is rarely questioned in contemporary culture. This course will study and draw connections between disparate fields to trace the development and influence of this view. The course, drawing a mix of humanities and engineering students, will include readings and lectures on 19th and 20th century philosophers with discussions of new technology and team experimental projects.

Frederick Taylor, the father of industrial engineering, analyzed human motion to optimize industrial productivity, which had great influence on Henry Ford, military logistics, and Stalin. Michel Foucault traced the history of the minute analysis of human motion from Napoleon's methods for transforming peasants into soldiers to modern methods for reforming prisoners. Martin Heidegger claimed that 'efficient ordering' was the defining characteristic of modern culture. Through the course, students will learn to recognize how this obsession with efficiency for its own sake relates to technology and to their daily lives."

(Questioning Efficiency: Human Factors and Existential Phenomenology, UC Berkeley course syllabus, Fall 2006)

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TAGS

Albert Borgmann • Anson Rabinbach • Anton BragagliaBerkeley (University of California)capture a moment of timechronophotographycooking in the kitchen • critique of technology • Dale Huchingson • dematerialization of objects in space • Eadweard Muybridgeefficiency • efficient ordering • Eliot Eliofson • Emily Fox • engineering students • Etienne-Jules Marey • everyday life • existential phenomenology • fotodinamismo • Frank Gilbreth • Frederick Taylor • geometric chronophotograph • goal • golfer • Henri BergsonHenry Ford • homemaker • Hubert Dreyfushuman behaviourhuman bodyhuman factorshuman factors in designhuman motion • Idris Khan • increased productivityindustrial engineering • industrial productivity • infinite continuity of time • James Gleick • Joseph Stalin • Ken Goldberg • kitchen • kitchen studies • lecture programmeLillian Gilbrethlong exposure • management science • Marcel DuchampMartin Heideggermeasure performancemetricisationmetricsMichel Foucault • military logistics • model kitchen • modern culture • modern homemaker • motion studiesNapoleon Bonaparte • Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) • objects in motion • obsession with efficiency • philosophy of technologyproductivity • reconstruction of movement • schematic phases • scientific goalssimultaneityslow motion photographystudying motiontechnologyThe Kitchen Practical (1929) • time and motion studies • time savingtime-motion studies • Umberto Boccioni • wasted motion

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 NOVEMBER 2012

The creative industries provided twice as many UK jobs as financial services

"This Monday, [Andrew] Marr hosted a special edition of Start the Week on BBC Radio 4 to celebrate the RCA's 175th anniversary with guests including former RCA rector and Arts Council chair Sir Christopher Frayling.

In the show, Frayling pointed out that the creative industries provided twice as many UK jobs as financial services, but that this contribution went unnoticed.

'What I never understand is, there are so many column inches about financial services all the time,' Frayling told Marr. 'Financial services contributes about 1% more than the creative industries, which employ two million people whereas financial services employ one million people. So in terms of contribution to the economy generally, the creative industries actually have it over financial services in almost every way. And how many column inches about it? Very little. So there's this huge impact but people don't seem to be noticing.'

In his article, Marr argues that because the economic value of art schools is difficult to measure, politicians fail to appreciate their importance to the economy.

'And there's where I think the trouble lies,' Marr concludes. 'To invest in art and design means putting public money into areas whose value cannot be captured on a spreadsheet, where concepts like productivity, value–for–money, inputs and outputs–which so reassure the political world–simply collapse. That means faith. It means risk.

'But, without it, hard times surely stretch out rather bleakly. Other countries understand this, including China where more than a thousand art and design colleges are operating and whose students greatly benefit from colleges here too."

(Dezeen, 21 November 2012)

Fig.1 Jim Rokos "22° 36° 48°", fruit bowl [http://rokos.co.uk/].

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175th anniversary2012Andrew Marrart and designart schoolsArts Council (UK)BBC Radio 4Christopher Frayling • creative contribution • creative economycreative industries • difficult to measure • economic valuefinancial servicesimpact on the economy • importance to the economy • inputs and outputs • invest in art and design • jobsPeoples Republic of China • political world • productivitypublic moneyRCA • reassurance • riskRoyal College of ArtStart the WeekUKvalue and benefitvalue for money

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 APRIL 2012

Pictures Under Glass: sacrificing tactile richness

"As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I'm a little skeptical of, given that I've actually tried them and the animators presumably haven't. But that's not my problem with the video.

My problem is the opposite, really – this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It's a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible. ...

I'm going to talk about that neglected third factor, human capabilities. What people can do. Because if a tool isn't designed to be used by a person, it can't be a very good tool, right? ...

Do you see what everyone is interacting with? The central component of this Interactive Future? It's there in every photo! That's right! – HANDS. And that's great! I think hands are fantastic! Hands do two things. They are two utterly amazing things, and you rely on them every moment of the day, and most Future Interaction Concepts completely ignore both of them. Hands feel things, and hands manipulate things.

Go ahead and pick up a book. Open it up to some page. Notice how you know where you are in the book by the distribution of weight in each hand, and the thickness of the page stacks between your fingers. Turn a page, and notice how you would know if you grabbed two pages together, by how they would slip apart when you rub them against each other.

Go ahead and pick up a glass of water. Take a sip. Notice how you know how much water is left, by how the weight shifts in response to you tipping it.

Almost every object in the world offers this sort of feedback. It's so taken for granted that we're usually not even aware of it. Take a moment to pick up the objects around you. Use them as you normally would, and sense their tactile response – their texture, pliability, temperature; their distribution of weight; their edges, curves, and ridges; how they respond in your hand as you use them.

There's a reason that our fingertips have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body. This is how we experience the world close–up. This is how our tools talk to us. The sense of touch is essential to everything that humans have called 'work' for millions of years.

Now, take out your favorite Magical And Revolutionary Technology Device. Use it for a bit. What did you feel? Did it feel glassy? Did it have no connection whatsoever with the task you were performing?

I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade."

(Bret Victor, 8 November 2011)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 APRIL 2011

DSLR Slate App for iPhone and iPad

"The DSLR Slate App (by Chris Bayol) is a digital slate specifically designed for use with HDDSLR productions and works with iPads and the iPhone/iTouch. The app operates as a traditional slate, providing you with all the standard information (see picture above), but it also goes a step further and provides information tailored to HDDSLR production, allowing you to log shutter speed, ISO, aperture, lens, and many other details (which can come in handy while shooting tests). All of this additional information is stored by the app, and then displayed for the camera in quick bursts so that each page of information is captured for only a few frames. This makes slating on set efficient, and ensures that you have all the information you need in post–production.

This app is already quite useful, but I've spoken to the developer and there are already plenty of future tweaks in the works. Personally, I'd love to see the app give us the ability to put in production notes, to auto–increment takes as you go, and of course to find a way to jam sync the iPad to your audio recording device – right now I still use my DENECKE, which is a fantastic but expensive proposition."

(Vincent Laforet, 2 June 2010)

Fig.1 'Alex Walker (28/06/2010). 'iPad DSLR Slate App + Canon 7D Video'

Fig.2 Vincent Laforet (2010). 'DSLR Slate'

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TAGS

aperture • audio synchronisation • Chris Bayol • clapboardclapperclapperboardconvergence • Denecke • digital cinematographydigital filmmakingdigital media • digital slate • DSLR • DSLR Slate • filmmaking • HDDSLR • iPadiPhoneiPod TouchISO • iTouch • markerproductionproductivity • shutter speed • slateslate boardSMPTEsound recording • sound synchronisation • syncsync slatesync soundsynchronisationtime slatetimecodetitle sequencevideo production

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 APRIL 2011

Plural Eyes: sync software for dual-system and multi-camera audio

"PluralEyes is a product that can save you a lot of time, especially if you have good clear audio recorded with each camera. If there is too much redundancy in the audio tracks (concert) or a lot of echo in some of the tracks (Church) you may find that PluralEyes will only be able to match a part of the sequence, leaving clips on the timeline that need to be manually synced. When this happens you can try locking the clips that were successfully synced, then exporting the sequence once again in hopes that PluralEyes will find a match for the unlocked clips, but I personally haven't had too much luck with that process.

The biggest issue I have with any type of automated software is that if it's not 100% accurate, you learn not to fully trust it and rightfully so. When you have multiple tracks to sync and potentially hundreds of clips, it becomes a daunting task to have to go through the entire edit – once for each track you were trying to sync, just to make sure that all the clips are in their proper position. It may be just as quick (or as time consuming) to sync up your clips manually as it is to use automated software that might have to be re–run a few times before finally coming close – only to force you to manually go through your piece clip by clip and track–by–track to check its accuracy.

PluralEyes can save you tons of editing time, but it's really important to have good clear audio with each track you want to sync. On the first few projects that I used PluralEyes for CS5 with I was pretty disappointed with the results. I even delayed this review until I had more experience with the software. Now that I have learned not to expect 100% accuracy I have stopped 're–syncing' and 're–syncing' in hopes of achieving it. I let PluralEyes do most of the grunt work, then I go through and just manually sync up the small percentage of clips it missed. It's pretty easy to do since most of my footage is shot in chronological order so I know that clip C will need to go somewhere between clips B and D.

Part of my high expectations with this software was due to the many demo videos I have seen, not just from PluralEyes, but also from other reviewers. Their videos often show PluralEyes successfully syncing up just a few clips, so when I started to test the software with more involved edits it was aggravating to discover a percentage of clips that weren't synced. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why and trying to re–sync these projects, which in–turn wasted more time. Once I got over my high expectations I become much more productive. PluralEyes can truly save you hours of editing time, especially once you learn that itis sometimes quicker to manually sync the small percentage of clips that the software misses than it is to fiddle around with re–syncing using different settings."

(Ron Risman, March 2010, Cameratown.com)

Fig.1 Justin Davey http://www.mountstudios.co.uk/

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TAGS

Adobe Premiere Pro • audioautomationclapboardclapperclapperboardconvergenceCS4 • CS5 • digital filmmakingDSLR • dual-system audio • DualEyes • editingFinal Cut Pro • Justin Davey • marker • Media Composer • multi-camera • multi-take • multicamera • music video • PluralEyes • post productionproductivityrecording • Singular Software • slateslate boardsoftwaresound recordingsyncsync slatesynchronisationtime slatetimecode • Vegas Pro • videovideo editingvideo post-productionworkflowworkflow tool

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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