Thom Yorke is missing the back of his head. Four years ago, the frontman and his rabidly worshiped band shook the music industry with a video shot in 3D. No cameras. No lights. Instead, a plotting technology collected information on relative shapes and the distance of objects and created an entire video around it. The video for “House of Cards” opens with a strum of an electric guitar and half of Yorke’s pensive and pixelated face lifted up towards, well, nothing but darkness.
Four years ago, that video showed us at once what was possible and nearly impossible to create without Radiohead’s budget.
This week, 3D animated humans look easy enough to redefine all we know about digital from here on. Technologists James George and Jonathan Minard have created “virtual cinematography” using a Microsoft Kinect and an SLR camera.
Wait. Let’s me type that again. “Digital phantasm” made possible with a stock Kinect and an SLR, according to Minard in an interview with Fast Co. Design.
Both George and Minard use their own RGBD Visualize software that may eliminate the need for an animator, or even the need for motion-capturing. And the two have decided to use the advancement to create an interactive documentary in a video game environment. The couple has started a Kickstarter to fund the project and they’re asking for $25,000. In a world of billion-dollar start-ups, that price sounds fairly reasonably. After all, what we have here is a hauntingly beautiful emerging technology, from two creators who may become as influential to entertainment as Yorke himself.