Science confirms that Paul Thomas Anderson is the master of your eyes

The intersection of science and art has always yielded fascinating insights. As much as filmmaking is an art that requires a carefully trained eye and excellent talent to pull off, scientific studies often find surprising and actionable evidence of how we process and respond to images. That might take some of the artistry out of … Continue reading “Science confirms that Paul Thomas Anderson is the master of your eyes”

The intersection of science and art has always yielded fascinating insights. As much as filmmaking is an art that requires a carefully trained eye and excellent talent to pull off, scientific studies often find surprising and actionable evidence of how we process and respond to images. That might take some of the artistry out of the process, but it tells us exciting things about the human brain.

This great example comes from The DIEM Project, which studies eye tracking of moving images. Researchers tracked the eyes of eleven people who watched the same clip from There Will Be Blood. Paul Thomas Anderson is a gifted director, and he has a keen eye for composition; the selected portion combines long takes, close-ups, and tracking shots.

As you can see from the circles that represent where a person was looking, we are all immediately drawn to contrast, whether that’s a bright object in a dark room or a moving object in a static scene. The most interesting example might be the long shot of a car at the end of the clip. Even when the car is obscured by scenery, everyone’s eyes are focused tightly on the right edge where they expect the car to appear.

This video is a great demonstration of how a master filmmaker can command an audience’s attention with motion and composition. The next time you find yourself watching a static scene in a just-okay movie, you might wonder where the little eye circles would fall.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gets James Cameron to fix a scientific inaccuracy for the 3D version of Titanic

SlashFilm recently posted a great article about how Neil deGrasse Tyson noticed that the sky in the scene were Rose (Kate Winslet) is floating on a plank and gazing at the sky. According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, the sky is completely inaccurate for the time of night on that particular date (April 15, 1912 at … Continue reading “Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gets James Cameron to fix a scientific inaccuracy for the 3D version of Titanic”


SlashFilm recently posted a great article about how Neil deGrasse Tyson noticed that the sky in the scene were Rose (Kate Winslet) is floating on a plank and gazing at the sky. According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, the sky is completely inaccurate for the time of night on that particular date (April 15, 1912 at 4:20 AM).

Below is an interesting video in which Neil deGrasse Tyson describes the mini saga which finally resulted in a phone call from a guy who works post production for James Cameron. The call was requesting his assistance on a sky upgrade for the 10 year anniversary release of the film. This sky grade is also used in the 3D version of Titanic. Skip ahead to 26:00 or 26:10 for the bit about Titanic. Neil deGrasse Tyson is quite a funny guy.

Science in Society Film and Discussion Thursday, Oct 27, 7-10 p.m., Wechsler Theater

Science in Society Film and DiscussionThursday, October 27, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Wechsler TheaterJoin SOC professor Matthew Nisbet and University of Manchester (UK) scholar David Kirby as they discuss the role of scientists as Hollywood consultants on blockbuster movies ranging from Jurassic Park to A Beautiful Mind. Following the hour-long discussion with Kirby, there will … Continue reading “Science in Society Film and Discussion Thursday, Oct 27, 7-10 p.m., Wechsler Theater”

Science in Society Film and Discussion
Thursday, October 27, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Wechsler Theater
Join SOC professor Matthew Nisbet and University of Manchester (UK) scholar David Kirby as they discuss the role of scientists as Hollywood consultants on blockbuster movies ranging from Jurassic Park to A Beautiful Mind. Following the hour-long discussion with Kirby, there will be a screening of Carl Sagan’s Contact starring Jodie Foster.
Sponsor: School of Communication
Contact: Matthew Nisbet, nisbetmc@gmail.com
Web: http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science

Berkeley scientists create visual pictures from brain waves

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have managed to create a close approximation of what our thoughts look like. First they mapped brain wave response to 18 million seconds of random YouTube videos. Then, patients viewed a series of videos, and those brain waves were matched with the correlating visuals from the first test. The result … Continue reading “Berkeley scientists create visual pictures from brain waves”

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have managed to create a close approximation of what our thoughts look like. First they mapped brain wave response to 18 million seconds of random YouTube videos. Then, patients viewed a series of videos, and those brain waves were matched with the correlating visuals from the first test.
The result is this video of the clip watched and the matched brain wave activity. It’s amazing how close some of them appear to the original, and it’s equally amazing how some images become written words in our thoughts. The procedure may eventually help create visuals of our dreams.
As seen on the Washington Post blog.

It’s Shark Week!!

As you probably already know, this is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. In case you don’t have the Discovery Channel at home, here are a few Home Use titles that may help you get your shark fix. The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D – HU DVD 5499Endless Summer Revisited – HU DVD 179Finding Nemo … Continue reading “It’s Shark Week!!”

As you probably already know, this is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. In case you don’t have the Discovery Channel at home, here are a few Home Use titles that may help you get your shark fix.

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D – HU DVD 5499
Endless Summer Revisited – HU DVD 179
Finding Nemo – HU DVD 836
Jaws – HU DVD 98
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – HU DVD 5101
Open Water – HU DVD 1134
Planet Earth: Shallow Seas – HU DVD 2723
Planet Earth: Ocean Deep – HU DVD 2724
Point Break – HU DVD 6765
Sealab 2021: Season 1 – HU DVD 1264
Search for the Great Sharks – HU DVD 3188
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 1st Season – HU DVD 8451 – 8453
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 2nd Season – HU DVD 8454 – 8456
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 3rd Season – HU DVD 8457 – 8458



Watch full length episodes of the PBS series, “P.O.V.” for free.

“POV (a cinema term for “point of view”) is television’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 275 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable … Continue reading “Watch full length episodes of the PBS series, “P.O.V.” for free.”

“POV (a cinema term for “point of view”) is television’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 275 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.” —taken from the POV website.

Watch episodes of NOW, now.

“Hosted by veteran journalist David Brancaccio, NOW on PBS goes beyond the noisy churn of the news cycle to probe the most important issues facing democracy and give viewers the context to explore their relationship with the larger world.” –PBS website. First started by Bill Moyers back in 2002, this news program gave issues more … Continue reading “Watch episodes of NOW, now.”

“Hosted by veteran journalist David Brancaccio, NOW on PBS goes beyond the noisy churn of the news cycle to probe the most important issues facing democracy and give viewers the context to explore their relationship with the larger world.” –PBS website.

First started by Bill Moyers back in 2002, this news program gave issues more of a chance to breathe due to its hour length. A couple years ago, PBS cut the program back to a half hour, but the format focuses in on a current issue that most media outlets designate a soundbyte to.

Mind Online: Streaming video of lectures at the University of Chicago

Errol Morris is among the few Film Studies lecturers in this rich electronic archive of video and audio recordings. In their words, this is “a collection of thought-provoking samples from the University’s intellectual life, both past and present.” link

Errol Morris is among the few Film Studies lecturers in this rich electronic archive of video and audio recordings. In their words, this is “a collection of thought-provoking samples from the University’s intellectual life, both past and present.”

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MIT World – on-demand video of significant public events at MIT

An extensive set of lectures, events, readings – heavy on the science topics but there’s probably something here for everyone. Things that caught my eye included readings by Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Robert Pinsky, Maurice Sendak, and Seamus Heaney. Lectures by Noam Chomsky, Eric Foner, Thomas Friedman, Frank Gehry, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Dean Kamen, … Continue reading “MIT World – on-demand video of significant public events at MIT”

An extensive set of lectures, events, readings – heavy on the science topics but there’s probably something here for everyone. Things that caught my eye included readings by Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Robert Pinsky, Maurice Sendak, and Seamus Heaney. Lectures by Noam Chomsky, Eric Foner, Thomas Friedman, Frank Gehry, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Dean Kamen, Helen Thomas, Howard Zinn and many others on current topics in a broad variety of fields.

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Must-see film: Powers of Ten now viewable online

This is a really cool film that illustrates the size of the universe in powers of ten – starting with a couple having a picnic in Chicago zooming out to 100 million lightyears away – and then all the way back in to the man’s hand and on down to a single proton, .000001 angstroms. … Continue reading “Must-see film: Powers of Ten now viewable online”

This is a really cool film that illustrates the size of the universe in powers of ten – starting with a couple having a picnic in Chicago zooming out to 100 million lightyears away – and then all the way back in to the man’s hand and on down to a single proton, .000001 angstroms. It was originally released in 1977 but has stood the test of time. The narrator’s rapid-fire descriptions are a fitting complement to the amazing visual images. It was produced by Charles and Ray Eames for IBM.

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