Laughter is the Best Medicine

Stand-up comedy routine using a live spherical camera

I make comedy shows about maths with Helen Arney and Steve mold as Festival of the spoken nerd. Our most recent show is out now on DVD. The others like to do their music and science things, but I like to stick to actual maths. To celebrate the release of the DVD I’m sharing a section of the show here on YouTube where I help edit live footage using projections outside of a sphere Now if like me you are of the mathematical persuasion you may occasionally be accused of not being useful Apparently just proving that theoretically everything will arrange in 3d space to fit does not count as putting on the dishwasher However recently I had an opportunity to use my maths for good when I came across this cutting edge piece of Technology, and a lot of people believe that being a nerd is all about having the latest bit of tech and that is true But the extreme version of that is when the tech is so new. You have to use some maths to write the software yourself Anyone who uses Linux will know the giddy thrill when you buy something and it’s so new you have to write the drivers yourself Okay fewer than I expected, that’s fine. Oh if you don’t know what Linux is, Linux is a bit like punching yourself in the face When someone says “Why are you punching yourself in the face”, you go “Oh it’s free” Thank you A little too close to home, huh? Okay, so what this actually is it’s something called a spherical camera You’ll often see these marketed as being a 360-degree camera, which is a shame because that’s incorrect Right because 360 degrees of freedom when filming would just mean you can go around like this but not up and down as well 360-degree footage would be like the world’s worst widescreen like that 360 footage this is spherical footage and the way it does it is by using two built-in Fisheye lenses, which if the software works we can get the live feed from up on the screen come Yes, okay so far so good. You can see one lens is facing me. You can see me over here The other lens is facing the guys over there so you can see them on the far side of the stage and there’s enough overlap That the computer can stitch them together into a complete Spherical view in every single direction at the same time So normally when you take a photograph, you can only look in the original direction the photograph was facing in this case You can grab a mouse and you can just grab the footage and drag it around wherever you want Right, you can bring an end over here. You can see. Oh there’s you guys loving the show as I can tell Thank you for waving just to convince yourself. It’s not fake Which would have taken more effort Will oh, by the way, this is what it would look like if I get this just right. Here we go This is what it would look like if you were in the audience watching the show right now Modern technology And oh you may have noticed are the one downside to this is when we put it together It flips the footage. So in reality, I’m on you’re right But the first Matt down, the one pointing at the next one down Is on the left and then on the right and then on the left and originally this was a bug Until we declared it a feature Because watch this. Watch what happens when I walk between it. Wait for all the Matts to get involved More dancing than I was expecting to do Okay, so, all right so we got this all up and running and I keep saying we because I went to a Mathematical friend of mine a guy could Henry Segerman who’s an expert in spherical geometry I was like, come on there must be some amazing maths we can do Using the sphere of footage which comes off one of these cameras And he was like, “Well you can, except, you don’t get it as a sphere.” Because it’s footage it’s got to come as a on a flat surface, right, as if it’s like normal video. And so what actually comes off the camera is called rectilinear footage This is what you actually get through the feed and this is not reality anymore We’ve broken it in a couple ways for a start there’s now an edge so you can see like here somewhere I look at Matt up there there’s the edge to reality. So if I go like That’s not normal It also ruins like the top and like that’s a mess What’s going on around there? if if I move my arm around at some point it’s going to detach from my body and fly across it’s not It’s not good right And we forget how bad this is because our normal projection of the earth is the same rectilinear projection and only works in the middle It gets distorted and changes shape the further out you go But we see it so often we forget how terrible that is a much better way of doing it would be a projection like this So here I have the spherical earth we all live on, and underneath it’s perfectly projected onto a flat surface OR Down the bottom here is the flat world We all live on and this is what it would look like if it was perfectly projected up onto a sphere It’s the controversy Well, this is done is actually it takes a vector from the North Pole Extends it down through the sphere and then wherever the pixel that goes through the sphere on hits the plane it projects it down there what it means is you’ve no Longer got any edges and you don’t get any weird distortions and so then who took all of this from Henry and I took I went to another guy called Aaron Montague an expert in live mathematical visualization I was like Right. Can we take the feed from the camera and do that live, and unbelievably Aaron got it working so this is the live sphere of footage coming off the camera right now and Underneath it. Is it being projected down onto the plane? And so there’s no longer any edges I can come underneath the camera and that’s all still fine I mean the North Pole is still a bit distorted, but very consistently so we can do some very interesting maths with this So I was like what we gonna do Henry’s like well now we’ve got this projection working with the camera we can take Reality, and we can copy and paste it I’ve always wanted to copy and paste reality. I mean, I’ll be honest my top request would have been undo but I’ll take copy and paste So now if we get this is just a fixed view directly overhead onto the stage and you can see there’s one mat up on the stage and occasionally you watch the show and you’re like “Man, I wish there were more Matts.” Well now two Matts. Loot at that So there’s now two mats two audiences two screens. I can chase myself around the stone get back here you Can indulge your little self high five. You can have a lot of fun with this It does cause a few weird side effects actually a few folks wouldn’t mind giving me a hand I’ve brought with me some footballs here. So I’ll give you one Hellen, Steve, you take one. If they throw these backwards and forwards in front of the camera Okay It’s not that hard. Here we go. Well, you’re making it look hard. Okay, now now all the spontaneity is out of it You can see in reality. They’re throwing the balls directly backwards and forwards in front of the camera. Up on the screen however, there are now two of each ball two of each person and it’s perfectly joint…it’s not perfectly joint Okay, so let’s try let’s try some juggling so actually if we give Steve I’ve got some juggling balls here, huh? Would you mind juggling around the camera? I’ll go back down to a single Steve. So if Steve juggles, I figure Wow look at that happy face If this is the biggest laugh we get all night you’re in so much trouble This Steve is juggling by himself If we now go up to two Steves you can see the juggling tricks are now between the Steves So each trick is one left hand and one right- NO! DON’T PUT YOUR MOUTH ON IT NO! I don’t know what to wipe it with Yes It’s your camera as well if you want it now Okay, let’s go down to a single Helen my goodness okay Okay, if we can get to six Helens you burst into applause. We all move on together. Okay, here we go. So one Helen So far so good Two helens Look at that concentration Three Helens. More Helens (Helen): This is quite stressful now Get them try again It’s your time you’re wasting We’re going back down to three as a penalty. Okay, here we go. Three Helens Now we’ve now got four Helens Great response, five Helens AND SIX! Six Helens! To watch the rest of the show grab a copy of the DVD or you can download it from all the usual places Link in their description. Oh and you can also get the show on floppy disk because Helen thinks she’s hilarious To watch some more of the show for free head over to Steve’s channel where he’s also put a section online (Steve): To celebrate the release of the DVD I’m sharing a section of the show here on YouTube where I help win an argument using temperature outside an aeroplane (Both) So do watch (Matt’s/Seve’s) video and if you can afford it we would love you to buy show. The download is just π pounds Or even less if you’re a patreon supporter.

100 thoughts on “Stand-up comedy routine using a live spherical camera

  1. Watching 2 people who know how to juggle trying and failing to throw balls to each other is amusing. I call that:

  2. You didn't just copy and paste reality, you created a black hole! There's an even horizon and everything. Well done, Matt, you've doomed us all.

  3. I punch myself in the face because it beats being punched in the face by someone else who insists on using an aluminium baseball bat.

  4. hi, @4.37 that 2d projection is called equirectangular not rectilinear.
    I think the 'flat world' projection used later is a type of Gnomonic projection, but I could be wrong.

  5. It's kind of ridiculous not to have a (more popular) spherical image file format. The equivalent to resolution would perhaps be density, each graph node would have a colour with a graph that makes sense for a sphere.

    A more general format could store through the file:

    Meta. For example camera model.

    A vertex transitive simple-graph description. For example a description of an endless square grid, or a repeatedly truncated/chamfered tetrahedron.

    Cropping/bounds for said graph, so you actually got a rectangle of pixels, not an endless plane.

    The colour channels available image wide, here is an example description …

    {(1, r), (1, g), (1, b)},
    {(1, r), (1, g), (1, b)},

    The first part explains that 1 byte values are stored in 3 channels respectively called (0, 1, and 2) or (R, G, and B). The next part uses big integers along with the operations +-*/^() to describe how to convert between the stored values and RGB values, useful for if you're using another format such as HSV, or RGB with log colour grading etc…. The third part specifies that the RGB channels values (brightnesses) are proportional to the screen channels full brightness, as is usually the case, or an absolute unit, such as "Standard Candles".

  6. I guess my skate films are about to get even "trickier" …get it?
    If you didn't laugh, you probably got it.

  7. I love that you and Steve used the same script for these videos. I just watched them simultaneously, but I couldn't bear to watch the last 20 seconds. Two copies of each of you was a bit much 🙂

  8. For those who haven't watched all of his 133 videos, here's Matt and another guy doing more messing around with spherical videos:

  9. Fun to see a 360 cam (hello theta heheh) in use for maths demonstrations! 360 photos got me into 3d and more advanced maths. I've been playing with using the equirectangular projector from the Three.js examples. Not sure how you did this but if one wanted to do something similar, they could have three.js use video frames from a live stream of a 360 cam as textures in a 3d scene

  10. Pretty meaningless uses that you showed but I get it you were advertising to the kids and trying to get them to get their parents to buy one. So can you now make a video for adults and why they would want to buy one of these and some of the things you can do in nature and stuff and maybe some experiments that could be done with these cameras?

  11. Came back to re-watch this, and I just noticed that the spherical camera even made those footballs look perfectly round.

  12. I'm not gonna lie, I wanted him to dance and then point at the other Parker so it would look like an infinite dance-off.

  13. Windows is like paying Steve Ballmer to punch you in the face. Mac is like paying Tim Cook to kick you in the nuts.

  14. I like your wife's taste on decoration. The Sun photo is amazing ( I assume UV filter)

  15. Steve: No one's laughing so I'll just lick the camera now. That's a good idea.
    (Well, it did make me laugh though…)

  16. "[…]or you can download it at all the usual places[…]"


  17. Because it's free. People go to amazing lengths and spend alot of time and effort to get something for free 😅

  18. Linux is more like: God, am I really gonna have to use aptitude install rather than apt install just because bash is crying about broken packages? Yes. Yes I am.

  19. What kind of floppy disc are we talking about?

    3 1/2"
    5 1/4"

    Are they high density? Double or single sided?

  20. Nevermind, link in description! Steve's video was equally as good. Looking forward to the floppy's!

  21. Really these cameras cover many thousands of square degrees.
    Easier to just call them 4pi steradian cameras.

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