small actor on giant table

NERF – Neural Radiance Fields

Making narrative film just keeps getting easier. What once took a studio is now within reach of the dedicated hobbyist. And Neural Radiance Fields are making it a dramatic step easier. The guys from [Corridor Crew] give an early peek.

Filming and editing have reached the cell phone and laptop stage of easy. But sets, costumes, actors, lighting, and so on haven’t gotten substantially cheaper, and making your own short film is still a major project.

Enter 3D graphics. With a good gaming laptop, anybody can make a photorealistic scene in Blender and place live action actors in it. But it takes both a lot of skill and work. And often, the scene you’re making is available as  a real place, but you can’t get permission to film or haul actors, props, crew, and so on to the set.

A new technology, NERF, for “NEural Radiance Fields”, has decreased the headaches a lot.  Instead of making a 3D model of the scene and using that to predict what reaches the camera, the software starts with video of the scene and machine learns a “radiance field” – a model of how light is reflected by the scene. Continue reading “NERF – Neural Radiance Fields”

At A Loss For Words? Try A Teleprompter

With everyone doing videos these days, you might want to up your narration game with a teleprompter. [Modern Hobbyist] can help. Since he does videos — like the one about the teleprompter below — we assume he built it out of his own need for the device. Actually, this is his second teleprompter. The first one was larger and not battery-powered, so this new version offers more portability. The camera shoots through the teleprompter screen so you can look right at the camera and still stay on script.

The project reuses some of the original teleprompter code, showing a text file via a Raspberry Pi. There’s also a control keyboard that lets you remotely control the scrolling speed. The real key to this project though is the 3D printed housing. Well, that and the reflective glass screen. Given that, you could do the actual text display in a number of ways.

Apparently, the portability of the build is limited somewhat by the weight of the camera. You could, of course, use something lighter or perhaps add some weight opposite to at least balance it a bit. The 3D printing files are on Thingiverse and the rest is on GitHub, so you can easily make changes if you want.

You would think we would see more teleprompter projects, and we do see some. We’ve also seen a hack to let you look through your laptop screen on video conferences.

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DIY Streamdeck Helps You Professionalize Your Twitch Show

The one thing that separates the pros on Twitch from the dilettantes is the production values. It’s all about the smooth transitions, and you’ll never catch the big names fiddling with dodgy software mid-stream. The key to achieving this is by having a streamdeck to help control your setup, like this straightforward design from [Electronoobs]. (Video, embedded below.)

The build relies on an Arduino Micro, which is a microcontroller board perfectly equipped to acting as a USB macro keyboard. It’s paired with a Nextion LCD touchscreen that displays buttons for various stream control features, like displaying a “Be Right Back” screen or cuing up video clips. The build also features bigger regular buttons for important quick-access features like muting a mic. It’s all wrapped up in a 3D printed housing, with some addressable RGB LEDs running off another Arduino to add some pizazz. The neat trick is that the build sends keycodes for F13-F24, which allows for the streamdeck’s hotkeys to avoid conflicting with any other software using conventional keyboard hotkeys.

It’s a useful tool that would be of use to anyone streaming on Twitch or other platforms. Alternatively, you could repurpose an old phone to do a similar job. Video after the break.

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Photo of the back of a slingbox appliance, with ports shown and arrows going to them describing what each of the ports does.

Slingbox Getting Bricked – You Have Less Than 24 Hours

The Slingbox devices used to let you catch up with the programming on your TV when you weren’t near it, using your Internet-connected mobile device. As cable TV became less popular, their business model faded away, and in 2020, they scheduled a service shutdown for November 9th, 2022. If you own a Slingbox, it’s getting bricked tomorrow – for those reading this in EU, that’ll be today, even. Do you have a Slingbox? You might still be able to repurpose it, let’s say, for local media streaming – but only if you waste no time.

[Gerry Dubois] has been developing the “Slinger” software for the past few months, a small app you run locally that proxies commands and video for your Slingbox, thanks to reverse-engineering communications with Slingbox servers. However, it needs a “hardware password” alphanumeric string, that you need to get from the Slingbox service web interface – which is to be promptly shut down. If you think you might have a use for what’s essentially a network-connected analog/digital video capture card with decent hardware, the GitHub repo has a lively discussion tab for any questions you might have.

One one hand, Slingbox shouldn’t be bricking the devices in a way that requires you act fast – perhaps, releasing a final update that makes the device hacker-friendly, like O2 did with their Joggler appliance back in the day, publishing the hardware documentation, or at least setting up a service up that lets anyone retrieve their hardware password indefinitely. On the other hand, at least they gave us two years’ notice, something less than usual – the amount of time between bricking and an announcement can even be a negative number. For those of us stuck with no operational device, a hardware exploration might be in order – for instance, we’ve torn down the Sling Adapter and even ran simple custom code on it!

A Raspberry Pi 3 with a black Raspberry Pi Camera PCB on top of it, looking at the camera taking this picture. There's a Jolly Wrencher in the background.

Make Your Pi Moonlight As A Security Camera

A decade ago, I was learning Linux through building projects for my own needs. One of the projects was a DIY CCTV system based on a Linux box – specifically, a user-friendly all-in-one package for someone willing to pay for it. I stumbled upon Zoneminder, and those in the know, already can tell what happened – I’ll put it this way, I spent days trying to make it work, and my Linux skills at the time were not nearly enough. Cool software like Motion was available back then, but I wasn’t up to the task of rolling an entire system around it. That said, it wouldn’t be impossible, now, would it?

Five years later, I joined a hackerspace, and eventually found out that its CCTV cameras, while being quite visually prominent, stopped functioning a long time ago. At that point, I was in a position to do something about it, and I built an entire CCTV network around a software package called MotionEye. There’s a lot of value in having working CCTV cameras at a hackerspace – not only does a functioning system solve the “who made the mess that nobody admits to” problem, over the years it also helped us with things like locating safety interlock keys to a lasercutter that were removed during a reorganization, with their temporary location promptly forgotten.

Being able to use MotionEye to quickly create security cameras became quite handy very soon – when I needed it, I could make a simple camera to monitor my bicycle, verify that my neighbours didn’t forget to feed my pets as promised while I was away, and in a certain situation, I could even ensure mine and others’ physical safety with its help. How do you build a useful always-recording camera network in your house, hackerspace or other property? Here’s a simple and powerful software package I’d like to show you today, and it’s called MotionEye.

Continue reading “Make Your Pi Moonlight As A Security Camera”

A terminal window with a search for "Guineau Pig Olympics" is inset on a photo of an ortholinear keyboard attached by a yellow USB cable to a 70s aluminum and plastic Super 8 film editor/viewer. The device has a large screen on the right hand side, a silver grate on the left, and a tray at the bottom for slotting in film.

Super 8 Film Editor Reborn As A YouTube Terminal

We love hacks that give new life to old gadgets, and [edwardianpug]’s YouTube Terminal certainly fits the bill by putting new hardware inside a Super 8 film editor.

[edwardianpug] could have relegated this classy-looking piece of A/V history to a shelf for display, but instead she decided to refresh its components so it could display any YouTube video instead of just one strip of film at a time. The Boost-Box keeps the retrofuturistic theme going by using the terminal to search for and play videos via Ytfzf.

The original screen has been replaced by an 800×600 LCD, and the yellow USB cord gives a nice splash of color to connect the ortholinear keyboard to the device. Lest you think that this “ruined” a working piece of retro-tech, [edwardianpug] says that 20 minutes would get this device back to watching old movies.

Are you looking for more modern and retro mashups? Check out these Dice Towers Built In Beautiful Retro Cases, a Vacuum Tube and Microcontroller Ham Transmitter, or this Cyberdeck in a Retro Speaker.

Continue reading “Super 8 Film Editor Reborn As A YouTube Terminal”

Gesture Controlled Filming Gear Works Super Intuitively

Shooting good video can be an arduous task if you’re working all by yourself. [Pave Workshop] developed a series of gesture-responsive tools to help out, with a focus on creating a simple intuitive interface.

The system is based around using a Kinect V2 to perceive gestures made by the user, which can then control various objects in the scene. For instance, a beckoning motion can instruct a camera slider to dolly forward or backwards, and a halting gesture will tell it to stop. Bringing the two hands together or apart in special gestures indicate that the camera should zoom in or out. Lights can also be controlled by pulling a fist towards or away from them to change their brightness.

The devil is in the details with a project that works this smoothly. [Pave Workshop] lays out the details on how everything Node.JS was used to knit together everything from the custom camera slider to Philips Hue bulbs and other Arduino components.

The project looks really impressive in the demo video on YouTube. We’ve seen some other impressive automated filming rigs before, too.

Continue reading “Gesture Controlled Filming Gear Works Super Intuitively”