Monthly Archives: September 2015

Happy “Happy Birthday” Day!

When I heard the news about the Happy Birthday lawsuit this (yesterday?) morning, I knew it would be hard to resist. As y’all probably know, we cover music and copyright law often over here at Vi Hart headquarters (see “Oh No, Pi Politics Again” and “Twelve Tones“), and I think about the Happy Birthday song more often than I’d like to admit.

This is the video that happened to me:

It happened like this

I read about the ruling in the morning, while drinking a cup of matcha that stained the dry skin on my lips all weird; I should probably not bite them so much

On my walk to work, I rolled around the concept of a video until it was an actual video concept. Only got interrupted by a couple dudes. By the time I arrived at the office I was ready to start writing the script.

Script-writing is always the longest part. It involves research and editing and phrasing and perfecting the tone and pacing around the office. It involves primary sources on the lawsuit, and the Wikipedia article on most common names. Breaks for lunch and office book club. Finished and walked home at about 7:30pm.

On my walk back I worked on the music. I really wanted to be able to finish this thing today and get it up while the news was still current, and that all depended on being ready to record a half dozen unique arrangements of Happy Birthday as soon as I sat down at the piano.

At this point I was pretty tired so I called a friend and arranged to go out for dinner at midnight, as some sort of motivational guarantee to my body that doing this thing would not end in me being starving and crazy. At least not tonight.

By 8:30 piano was done, by 10pm notebook filming was done, then voiceover and vocals, which had to be aligned with the piano and everything, so that took another hour. A bit of editing. Then out for dinner. Settled back in at 1:30am to finish editing, exporting by 2:30, and at the moment it’s 3am and it’s uploading to the YouTubes… but I won’t post this ’till it’s up, which is looking like it’s gonna be a few hours. 5:30am: processing. 6am: live!

Huh, I hope it makes sense. Not like I had time to check.

I am a machine and it is my nature to do these things

Thus ends an account of my day

Jaynes Bicameral Video Experiment

I did this 360 video as part of my team’s ongoing spherical video experiments. Use the WASD keys or mouse on the video to look around, or the native Android YouTube app and just move around your phone. Use headphones and listen with both ears, or just one.

So here’s how that happened:

I vlogged about Koestler’s Bisociation theory and it’s relationship to VR using a spherical camera in a pool (about VR, in VR, about the frame, without a frame, etc), then Emily Eifler replied with a spherical video relating that book to Sousanis’ “Unflattening” (as a non-flat video, an unfinished thought unfinished and fragmented, etc), and then I wanted to reply relating that book to a book I read recently, while upping the ante on metanesss of the connection between the video format and content, hence the bicameral video done by, without choice or thought, acting out my own bicameral voice.

The sheer breadth of different ideas Emily has explored in her spherical-video-a-day project was a big inspiration (“Clear Margins” in particular, for this form). I wanted to do something that takes advantage of the spherical format to better express my thoughts on the Jaynes book, and hopefully people make the connection that that’s what I’m doing, but if not, whatever.

First, I had to make a fake video, a prop, the bicameral god-hallucination that I would listen to and repeat. This was done in typical vlog style, by talking unscripted in front of a video and then editing it to smooth out the “um”s and repetitions. I’m not used to doing this style of video, but luckily I wasn’t actually making a vlog, but just an imitation vlog prop. So. This is not a vlog.

In a real vlog I’d want to think out my thoughts better, be more in focus, maybe not look like a crazy person, but in an artificial vlog prop, it’ll do just fine. Nice and close to the camera so you’ll be able to track my lips and match them up to the correct audio track even after re-filming with the low-res Ricoh Theta spherical camera.

In Jaynes’ book he talks about the god-voice as coming from the right hemisphere (even if later he changed his mind based on new scientific evidence), so the right sound channel gets that one, left the other. I equalizer’d the two audio tracks to sit mostly in different frequencies so they’d be even easier to aurally separate; deeper for the real me, tinnier for the bicameral voice (though I might have made the wrong choice… the voice we hear in our heads is often deep and round, while those unused to hearing recordings of their actual voice are often surprised how high and nasally it sounds in comparison).

Perhaps I should worry that my hallucination is more popular than the actual video, but then again, my hallucination has more followers…

Of course, if I really wanted to express my thoughts on Julian Jaynes’ “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind”, I probably would have done it better and more thoroughly as a regular blog post. I barely talk about it in the video, besides a summary and recommendation. But I have so many thoughts about so many things that it takes artsy yearnings or current-event importance before I can be convinced it’s better to spend time talking about old thoughts rather than going off and having new ones.

Infinite Binary Trees

So I thought this week I might remember what it is like to be a Vihart-brand Vi Hart and make a regular ol’ flat youtube video about a math thing. Also I came across this script I wrote last year that was supposed to be the next follow-up to the infinity series, and all it needed was a little editing (and then all the production, but that’s the easy part).

So yes, a little musing on infinite binary trees, the next in the series after:

How many kinds of infinity are there?
Proof some infinities are bigger than other infinities
The Reverse Cantor
Transcendental Darts
and now, behold: Infinite Trees Are Super Weird

That is the thing I did. The end.