Okay, so that Marco Polo app that I was talking about all through the last blog entry? I decided to reach out to some friends (outside of the family) to see what they thought about it, and if they’d have any interest in getting it to not only be able to drop vids to / from me or whoever, but even for possibly creating groups for their own family, groups for their coworkers that they care to talk to, that sorta thing… 🤔 but in general the suggestion has been met with a resounding “meh” all around. 😒
The two biggest things seem to be that people are already overwhelmed with social media and communication apps, and don’t necessarily want another one – as I suspected. The next biggest hurdle towards getting people interested is that nobody really wants more communication options with other humans. 😅 I won’t write it off yet, in case Gen has better luck, so it’ll probably just sit on my phone for a while until I forget about it.
Megan pointed out that FB Messenger can do the same thing, adding folks to a group and then just sharing video messages, and most people already have that app… and she’s not wrong. 🤷🏻♂️😏 My bias is that I haven’t been active on FB for almost two years now, so I’ve got that “meh” when I think about their messenger, plus I just like how Marco Polo seems casual while FB Messenger feels like “Shit I need to hurry up and read and answer” due to it being a more “immediate” messaging app for most. 🤨 But anyway…
Another thing I’ve been debating playing around with… I’ve found an app that allows you to animate old photographs, much like you’d see in the newspapers in the Harry Potter movies. 🤓 But this wouldn’t be like “live photos” where you capture five seconds of silent video “around” the still photo that you’re taking… this is taking any old photo that you’ve taken and using AI to animate it in a subtle, natural way that makes it look like you’re watching someone standing there or sitting there, blinking, moving their head around in slight ways, maybe looking around a bit, adding a light smirk or slight frown, a hint of breathing… stuff that is approximately 50% kewl and 50% creepy as hell. 😧😬😄
I think the photos that I’d be most interested in trying this on are ones of my family members who were already gone before I was born, or like in the case of my great grandparents on Dad’s side, ones that were around when I was little but of whom I have almost zero “moving” memories of in my head. 🥺 Right now the AI results are pretty random. Sometimes you’ll get something realistic, sometimes it’s just creepy weirdness that you don’t want to see anyone doing. 😏 I think maybe I’ll find some of the old Olan Mills photos of me from the first handful of years of my life, and see what it looks like if I animate myself. If I could get results that actually “look like me” in motion, then I could sort of trust that it could be accurate for what relatives may have looked like. 🤔🤷🏻♂️ Meh… like a lot of things, it’s just something that recently caught my interest so I may or may not end up doing something revolving around the idea.
Speaking of AI A/V enhancement stuff… the other day I ran across a version of the Rick Astley “rick roll” meme video on YouTube which someone had upscaled to 4k resolution at 60fps and it looks amazing. Not amazing good, but amazing in the detail and clarity and the way it looks as if it could have been recorded just last week instead of a few decades ago. But having a pretty good collection of VHS home movies that I converted to digital a while back, at the same low resolution that NTSC video was back then, I’d sure love for someone to create an app or program to convert and enhance them as a batch up to the same 4k 60fps format as that Never Gonna Give You Up video. The video notes says that they used Topaz Video Enhance, so I guess I’ll start by looking that up and seeing if it can really work magic, or if it has to have a reasonably good source file to start with. (Much like this Wham video, which was shot on film back in the day.)
(Oops, going down the rabbit hole, this 4k version of Nikita, also converted to 3D, is neat if you can cross and lock your eyes. 🥴 Heh… leaving YouTube now before I get hooked.)
Okay, I guess that’s enough rambling for the moment. But yeah, Marco Polo probably a no go, debating the creepy vs kewl factor of animating photos of dead relatives, and then hoping that the tech will be here sooner than later which can make the digital versions of my old VHS tapes look less like garbage and maybe worth watching again. 😛 That could also be a neat thing to do for Jim… converting all his Squirtman shows from our public access days up to today’s standards.
See, getting a decent amount of sleep works wonders for my brain, eh?