AVSynth: Browsing lifestreams in 3D

So a few weeks ago I posted a link to the Photosynth demo. I’ve watched it so many times since then — maybe I’m a little obsessed — and I can’t stop thinking about what the 2017 version of this software is going to be like. If ten years from now all the kids are still going out with their audio/video recording cellphones turned on, we’re going to have a lot of data on our hands. Something like Photosynth — call it “AVSynth” — should be able to stitch all the live audio and video feeds altogether and produce an active mirror of the real world. An AVSynth browser will make you a virtual tourist, a voyeuristic ghost, jumping from camera to camera in what appears to be 3D space, listening to live sound, also arranged in 3D. Maybe to keep the A/V feeds going, an AVSynth browser sends micropayments to individual recorders, making a market demand for interesting scenes. Even if the kids finally just end up recording themselves watching AVSynth and it all degenerates into fractal video feedback, we’ll be able to pull our AVSynth browser’s time slider back to the beginning of time and watch the world all over again, starting with the good old days when we took still photos of Notre Dame… “and we liked it!”

My friend Brian Hawthorne just passed me a pointer to waymarkr.com, which can turn some of today’s common camera phones into automatic flickr-based life-logging tools.

The Photosynth demo prompted another friend to show me this home page for a classic 1997(!) computer animation of the UC Berkeley Campanile by Paul Debevec demonstrating that 3D models can be derived from a just a few photographs. The video itself is probably most easily viewed on YouTube: The Campanile Movie. Apparently this graphics research inspired the “bullet time” effects in The Matrix movie.

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