Radiohead video on the Google code page

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the new Radiohead music video for their song “House of Cards” was created using a technology that captures 3D images as data, without cameras or lights.

A version of the video was released on the Google code page, which allows you to manipulate and move in or around the objects as the video is playing using a 3D viewer. You can also download and modify the data to come up with your own version of the video.

Its hard for me to wrap my head around this but apparently neither light nor a camera was used to capture the images in Radiohead’s “House of Cards” video, but rather it was created using a combination of technologies that model objects as data.

A “Geometric Informatics” scanning system was used to obtain the close-up images of the singer’s head, while a “Velodyne Lidar system” was used to capture the large cityscape environments, apparently by shooting some 64 lasers in a 360 degree radius.

To see the video, go to the bottom of this posting. If you want more information check out “The Making of “House of Cards” video on YouTube. (Where, interestingly, I learned that the distortions seen in the video were not only intentional, they actually had to work hard to create them).

What’s cool here (aside from the inherent coolness of camera-less imaging) is the following:

  1. You can play around with the images using the 3D viewer on the Google code page.
  2. You can download the data and use it to create your own visualizations.
  3. If you do create your own version of the video, you can upload and share it to the House of Cards YouTube group for the world (and the band) to see. (Update: this has been discontinued).

This song is from the famous “In Rainbows” album which the band first released on the internet and allowed people to set their own price and download in MP3 format (I paid $5 and was rather all pleased with myself ;) ). Unfortunately that experiment is no longer available.

Watch the “House of Cards” video:

Go to the House of Cards project page on Google code. (Update: the viewer is no longer online, and the project page seems largely abandoned).