Robot Media

 

Co-Lab: Robot Media Studio
School of Media Studies
The New School
Spring 2018

Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT newschool.edu
Teaching Assistant: Athira Murali a920 AT newschool.edu
UAV FAA Consultant: Will Chatham wtchatham AT gmail.com
Course Numbers: NMDS 5283 & NCOM 1283
Time: Monday, 7:00 - 9:45 pm
Location: 6 East 16th St., Room 603

Course webpage is here: http://peterasaro.org/courses/2018Studio.html

Course blog is here: http://robotstudio2018.wordpress.com

Course Description

This course explores the potential of robotic media platforms and computer vision for cinematic expression. As a Co-Lab, students will work in collaborative groups that will utilize the latest robotic and computer vision technologies to make short films. The first half of the semester will consist of an introduction to these technologies and in-class group exercises that will familiarize you with advanced digital camera techniques, and robotic camera control. These camera techniques and platforms will include advanced computer vision techniques such as Time-lapse, High Dynamic Range Imagery, Motion Magnification, Facial Recognition, Object Tracking, Optic Flow, and others, as well as 3D active-vision systems such as the Xbox Kinect. Robotic camera control will be explored through the use of remote-operated and computer-controlled servo-driven cameras, including RC vehicles, mobile robot dollys, robotic arms, and quadrotors (drones). We will explore a variety of control methods from remote control to pre-programmed and 3D model-driven control, as well as how these can be combined with vision techniques for the interactive control of cameras with gestures. We will also explore how these cinematographic techniques relate to visual storytelling and expression. In the second half of the course, students will pursue projects of their own design in groups, with the goal of producing a short experimental or narrative video utilizing these techniques. Previous programming experience is not required, but students will be expected to learn and apply basic programming skills in this course, and will be introduced to programming languages such as Processing, Python and Java, and programming platforms and libraries such as Arduino, ROS and OpenCV.

OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment

Please email me to setup an appointment.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING:

Class Attendance and Participation: 20%
In-Class Studio Exercises: 40%
Final Project: 40%

 

Class Attendance and Participation: 20%

You are expected to have thoroughly and thoughtfully read the assigned texts and to have prepared yourself to contribute meaningfully to the class discussions. Your participation will be evaluated in terms of both quantity and quality.

As this is a studio course, and a co-lab, regular attendance is essential. Because you will be doing group projects, if you do not come to class your fellow group members will be at a disadvantage. You will be permitted two excused absences (you must notify me and your group partners of your inability to attend before class, via email or phone). Any subsequent absences and any un-excused absences will adversely affect your grade.

In-Class Studio Exercises: 40%

For the first half of the class, studio time will be devoted to in-class group exercises that are designed to teach you fundamental concepts, techniques and how to apply these towards an aesthetic goal. Your results for each exercise should be posted to the course blog, along with a description. Generally, this will be a short video, program/software, or both. You should also note the names of the group members, and their roles, in your description. This should be done by the end of each class, but you may edit or update it later. You should also create or own an account on YouTube or Vimeo to uplaod any videos that you produce.

You will be required to create an account on WordPress, and send me an email with the EMAIL ADDRESS used to create the account, so that you can be added as authors for the collective course blog. Everyone will be posting to a common blog page, and this will be publicly accessible. When writing and making comments, you are expected to treat other students with the same respect and courtesy as you should in the classroom. You are also expected to respect rules of academic integrity, research ethics, and copyright when posting to the blog.

At the start of each class, we will review questions and concerns from the previous week, as well as review and critique the films that you have produced.

 

Final Project: 40%
(Proposal=10%, Paper=30%)

Proposals Due: April 17
Paper Due: May 15

There will be no final exam. Instead, your Final Project will be due, May 15th at 7:00PM. If that time will not work for you, you need to make other arrangements by May 8th at the latest.

The Final Project could take different forms, but should contain two key elements: robots and video/media. Final Projects will be evaluated in terms of technological and aesthetic innovation and quality. Ideally, aesthetics goals should drive the technology.

Some examples of good Final Projects:

Use of robotic platforms and/or computer vision for a short film

Use of robots in a short film

Development of advanced tools/technology for robotic/computational filmmaking

Development of an interactive media project that employs robotics and/or computer vision

A research paper that explores some advanced aspect of robotic media

In addition to submitting the final video clip, software and/or hardware that you created, you will also be asked to write-up an extended blog entry or webpage that describes how you created and used technologies to create your final project. These will be posted to the course blog. There may also be opportunities to submit films to festivals and events..

GROUPS & QUESTIONNAIRE

Because we have limited number of various robotics technologies and computers, and in an effort to build teamwork early, all of the studio projects will be done in groups of 3 or 4 people (depending on the number of students). On the first day of class, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to identify your skills and interests. You will then be put in a group which complements those skills. The goal is to have at least one person with film/video experience in each group, and at least one person with some programming experience in each group.

You will be in the same group from all of the in-class exerciese over the first 10 weeks. If one or more people miss a class, we may adjust the groups as needed.

You are free to form you own groups for the Final Project, or to continue with your exercise group.

EQUIPMENT

Because we will need Linux (Ubuntu Studio 12.04) for the in-class exercises, there will be laptops provided each week. Depending on the number of students, each group will get at least 1 laptop.

For various exercises, there will be more limited amounts of equipment. In these cases there will be a sign-up sheet in advance. So if your group is eager to work with a particular item, be sure to sign up early for it.

Equipment will be signed out at the beginning of class, and signed back in at the end, during the period of exercises. After that, or by special arrangement, equipment can be checkout out for longer periods to complete the Final Project outside of class.

SAFETY

We will be programming real robots and drones which move around in the world. They are mostly small and safe, but you should always use care and caution when working with them to protect yourself, classmates, and the public.

Don't run code if you are unsure of what it will do, or if you think it might be hazardous!

Anyone who behaves recklessly or endangers others will not be allowed to work with the robots any more.

We will review more detailed safety considerations when we start flying the quadrotors.

READINGS

All readings will be available electronically, via the web, in PDF, MS Word, HTML, or similar format.

FILMS & DVDS

Most of the films and TV programs that will be assigned are available from a variety of sources. Many are available through the New School Library on DVD. In addition, they can be purchased from most book or video stores, rented from most video shop, or found through Netflix. For the videos which cannot be obtained easily in these ways, other means will be provided for you to view these films prior to class.

 

 

Introduction

Week 1: January 24
Course Introduction

Course and Syllabus Overview
Questionnaire

Watch: Robot Media Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zINbyGTOFls

Marmalade

Bot & Dolly "Box"

Behind the Scenes: Bot & Dolly "Box"

Sun Yuan & Peng Yu's "Can't Help Myself"

Timo vs. Kuka

NYC Hyperlapse

Hong Kong Hyperlapse

RC Car chase

Behind the Scenes: RC Car chase

FPV Speeders

Drone Videos

Drone Racing

Drone Fails

Drone Dancing

#JetLagPonyClub

Neill Blomkamp "Tetra Vaal"

Spike Jonez "I'm Here"

music videos

Studio Assignment:

Do the Fun Programming tutorials, starting with "2. Download Processing. Use point() and line()", and work through as many of these as you have time for: 2-4, 9-12, 18-23, 29-32, 35-41, 47, 54, 74, 94, 104, 121
http://funprogramming.org/

You can work on the ones you don't finish at home.
If you prefer the textbook format, feel free to work through the Schiffman book below instead.
If you are already familiar with the Processing language, come talk to the TAs or professor.
Once you get comfortable with the language, or finish the exercises, trying writing your own original program, and post it to the blog!

More about Programming with Processing

http://processing.org/overview/
http://www.openprocessing.org/
http://processing.org/tutorials/
http://processingjs.org/
http://processingjs.org/learning/

Reference: Learning Processing, Daniel Schiffman

Recommended Additional Readings:

Bill Gates (2007) "A Robot in Every Home: The leader of the PC revolution predicts that the next hot field will be robotics," Scientific American, January 2007.
Hans Moravec (2009) "Rise of the Robots--The Future of Artificial Intelligence," Scientific American, March 23, 2009
Watch: Rodney Brooks says robots will invade our lives, Ted Talk 2003, 19 min
Watch: BBC Horizon, Where's My Robot?, BBC, 2008, 50 min.
Watch: Dennis Hong: My seven species of robot, Ted Talk 2009, 16 min.
http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/python

Part I: Sensing

Week 2: January 31
The Sensor: Inside the Camera

How Digital Cameras Work http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/HOW.HTM

Watch (in class):

The History and Science of Lenses

The Science of Camera Sensors

Capturing Digital Images

A Bit of History on Data

How Blurs & Filters Work

Finding the Edges

Canny Edge Detectors

Geometric Face Detection

More about Camera Hacking
OpenCV Processing
Image Processing and Feature Detection in OpenCV
Canny Edge Dector in OpenCV
https://github.com/atduskgreg/opencv-processing (should be installed)
http://urbanhonking.com/ideasfordozens/2013/07/10/announcing-opencv-for-processing/

Studio Assignment:

You should already have Processing installed, if not: Install Processing

Install OpenCV for Processing:

1. In the Processing IDE development environment, go to “Import Library” under the “Sketch” menu

2. Search for ‘OpenCV’

3. Install “OpenCV for Processing” by Greg Borenstein.

Complete Studio 2: Complete the Edge Detection and Face Detection Exercises

Recommended Additional Readings:

Watch: NVIDIA Drive Net Demo
Watch: NVIDIA Drive PX2 self-driving car
Listen: http://www.radiolab.org/story/211119-colors/
OpenCV http://opencv.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_dynamic_range_imaging
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-lapse_photography
Intro to HDR (1 hour 30 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3CPavb2NWs
HDR with RAW file in Photoshop http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY7cYyXjQ-I
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCD_camera

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_pixel_sensor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_photography

Watch:
https://vimeo.com/27582408
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_lens

http://photo.net/learn/optics/lensTutorial

Week 3: February 7
Seeing the 3rd Dimension

Watch (in class):

How Kinect 3D works

The New Xbox Kinect

Kinect and Processing Tutorials

The Depth Image in Kinect and Processing

Studio Assignment:

Complete the Kinect Basic exercises:

Studio 3

Recommended Further Readings:

Open NI http://www.openni.org/about/
John MacComick "How Does the Kinect Work?"
J. J. Gibson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_J._Gibson
Time-of-Flight Camera http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-of-flight_camera
Bullet Time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullet_time
Free Viewpoint Television http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_viewpoint_television

Kinect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinect

Week 4: February 14
Recognizing Objects & Structures: Skeletons & Particle Clouds

Watch: The Science of Rendering Photorealistic CGI

Point Clouds in Kinect and Processing

Hand tracking in Kinect and Processing

Videos on SLAM

Studio:

Using Kinect for Skeleton Detection & Point Clouds

Studio 4

Recommended:

http://www.pointclouds.org/documentation/tutorials/using_kinfu_large_scale.php
Microsoft Robotics Studio
Willow Garage ROS (Robot Operating System)
ROS & Blender
http://www.openrobots.org/morse/doc/stable/morse.html
http://opengrasp.sourceforge.net
ROS http://www.ros.org/wiki/
ROS & Arduino http://wiki.ros.org/rosserial
http://www.ros.org/news/2013/03/new-package-ros-arduino-bridge.html
http://wiki.ros.org/arbotix
Watch: Craig Gillespie, Lars and the Real Girl, 2007, 106 min.
Watch: David Hanson: Robots that "show emotion", 2010 TED talk, 5 min.
Watch: Caleb Chung plays with Pleo, 2010 TED talk, 17 min.

Week 5: February 21
Dreaming Like a Robot

Watch:

Neural Networks Demystified

Inside Google's "Daydreaming" Computer

Neural Network that Changes Everything

Deep Dream (Google)

Journey on the Deep Dream

Creating Videos of the Future

Maroon 5, "Cold ft. Future" music video

Studio:

Make your own DeepDream Image (upload)

DeepDream on Mac

Deep Dream on Windows

Studio 6 (OLD)

Other Resources:

http://www.download3k.com/articles/How-to-Generate-Your-Own-Images-with-DeepDream-Google-s-New-Open-Source-Tool-for-Visualizing-Neural-Networks-01337

ROS & Arduino http://wiki.ros.org/rosserial
http://www.ros.org/news/2013/03/new-package-ros-arduino-bridge.html
http://wiki.ros.org/arbotix
Watch: Craig Gillespie, Lars and the Real Girl, 2007, 106 min.
Watch: David Hanson: Robots that "show emotion", 2010 TED talk, 5 min.
Watch: Caleb Chung plays with Pleo, 2010 TED talk, 17 min.

Week 6: February 28

Bring a DSLR Camera!
At least one per grou, and preferable a Canon. These are available for checkout from The New School

Seeing Like a Robot: RGBD

Watch: RBGD SLAM with Kinect

Studio:

Part II: Actuation

Week 7: March 7
Drones I: Remote Piloting with Parrots

Prior to class:

If you have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, please download and install this app from iTunes, GooglePlay or the Android Market: AR.FreeFlight

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/freeflight/id373065271?mt=8
http://ardrone2.parrot.com/apps/

It is also strongly recommended that you download this simulator, and practice with it before class: ARDrone Sim
Note: This app costs $1.99 (iOS) or $2.39 (Android)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.DDI.ARDroneSim&hl=en

For the Simulator options choose: AR.Drone 2.0, Indoor Hull, Standard Battery

Press the Green Takeoff button to launch and hover, the Green Landing button for an automatic controlled landing.

The Left joystick tilts the drone, and causes it to move laterally.

The Right joystick causes the drone to go up and down, and rotate clockwise or counter clockwise.

The Camera icon will shift your viewing perspective.

If you crash, it will simulate damage, so you may need to go to Settings on the main screen and Restore Defaults to fly straight again.

Studio:

Drone Safety

AR 2.0 Tutorial #1 SETUP

AR 2.0 Tutorial #2 PILOT

AR 2.0 Tutorial #3 RECORD

Sign DRONE SAFETY waivers.

Fly Drones!!!!!!!

Recommended Further Readings:

AR 2.0 Best Of SDK

http://robohub.org/up-and-flying-with-the-ar-drone-and-ros-getting-started/
http://www.ros.org/news/2010/10/ros-interface-for-the-parrot-ardrone.html
http://vision.in.tum.de/data/software/tum_ardrone
http://www.diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/new-ros-package-for-ar-drone

Week 8: March 14
Drones II: Flying DJI Sparks

Guest Lecture: Oscar Frasser oscarfrasser@newschool.edu

Required:

Oscar's Slide Presentation

15 Tips for Drone Cinematography

https://vimeo.com/223939486

https://vimeo.com/223938608

Studio:

Introduction to DJI Sparks

Review of Drone Safety Rules

Choose a Pilot & Camera Operator

FLY SPARKS!

Try to do each of these shots, First using Camera-only (if possible), Second using Drone-only (if possible), and then using Both:

1) Pan Left-to-Right & Right-to-Left. Try different speeds.

2) Tilt/Rise Up & Down a Subject. Try Different heights.

3) Zoom-In & Zoom-Out on a Subject. Try different speeds.

4) Strafe/Fly-by of a Subject. Try different speeds.

5) Orbit a Subject. Try different speeds and distances.

Rotate the Pilot & Camera Operator roles in your group, and repeat the above shots.

Recommended Further Readings:

Watch: "Spidercam US Open 2010 Opening," YouTube, 1 min.
Watch: "Spidercam European swimming Championships Budapest," YouTube, 3 min.
Watch: "Spidercam Real Madrid Barcelona El Classico," YouTube, 5 min.
Watch:
"How Does Skycam Work?" YouTube, 2 min.

Spring Break March 17-25
Week of March 21
NO CLASS

Week 9: March 28
Drones III: Cinematography Techhnues with DJI Sparks

Guest Lecture: Oscar Frasser oscarfrasser@newschool.edu

Required:

Oscar's Slide Presentation

15 Tips for Drone Cinematography

Studio:

Review of Drone Safety Rules

Choose a Pilot & Camera Operator

FLY SPARKS!

Try to do each of these shots, First using Camera-only (if possible), Second using Drone-only (if possible), and then using Both:

1) Pan Left-to-Right & Right-to-Left. Try different speeds.

2) Tilt/Rise Up & Down a Subject. Try Different heights.

3) Zoom-In & Zoom-Out on a Subject. Try different speeds.

4) Strafe/Fly-by of a Subject. Try different speeds.

5) Orbit a Subject. Try different speeds and distances.

Rotate the Pilot & Camera Operator roles in your group, and repeat the above shots.

Recommended Further Readings:

Crane & Aerial shots
Paul Virilio, "Cinema isn't I See, it's I Fly," in War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception, London: Verso, 1989: 11-30.
Beth Herst, "Review: The Disembodied Eye," PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Vol. 24, No. 1, Intelligent Stages: Digital Art
and Performance (Jan., 2002), pp. 122-126.

Chayka, Kyle "The Troubling Contradictions of Dronestragrams," The New Republic, April 19. 2017.

Belton, John. "The Bionic Eye: Zoom Esthetics." Cineaste (1980): 20-27.

Brown, Garrett, "It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's a... Camera!", American Film (Archive: 1975-1992) 8.10 (Sept. 1, 1983): 59-61.

Week 10: April 4
DSLR Hacking with Magic Lantern

Introduction to Magic Lantern

Studio:

Installing Magic Lantern on a Canon DSLR

Time-Lapse setup and Practice

Motion Time-Lapse Experiment

Week 11: April 11
Studio Time to meet in Groups and Plan Project

Week 12: April 18
Project Proposals Due!
Drone Field trip: Blimps
Guest Lecture: Will Chatham

Week 13: April 25
Robot Art
Guest Lecture: TBA

Recommended FurtherReadings:

Watch: Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer, Likely Story, 2008, 90 min.

http://alexrivera.com/films/

Steve Dixon, "Metal Performance: Humanizing Robots, Returning to Nature, and Camping About," and "A Brief History of Robots and Automata," TDR: The Drama Review, Volume 48, Number 4 (T 184), Winter 2004, pp. 15-46.
Eduardo Kac, "Foundation and Development of Robotic Art," Art Journal, Vol. 56, No. 3, Digital Reflections: The Dialogue of Art and Technology, (Autumn, 1997), pp. 60-67.
Edward A. Shanken, "Tele-Agency: Telematics, Telerobotics, and the Art of Meaning,"Art Journal, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Summer, 2000), pp. 65-77.
Watch: Jonathan Mostow, Surrogates, Touchstone Pictures, 2009, 89 min.
Watch
: http://www.ted.com/talks/guy_hoffman_robots_with_soul.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valleyBrian Fung (2012) "The Uncanny Valley: What Robot Theory Tells Us About Mitt Romney," The Atlantic, January 31, 2012.
Watch: Errol Morris, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, Sony Pictures Classics, 1997, 80 min.

Week 14: May 2
Guest Lecture: Nina & Georgi Tushev, Tushev's Aerials

Required:

Tushev's Slide Presentation (PPT) from 2017

Week 15: May 9
Final Project Presentations

Week 15: May 15
NO CLASS MEETING
Final Projects Due