If you are one of the many people who were waiting anxiously for the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance last Sunday and saw the continuous shot that was done for the opening group dance, you were most likely asking yourself, “how did they do it?” How is it even possible for the camera to flow from one room to another or how is it possible to not mess up the dance routine. There are many factors working against them, it is impossible for this to be done live, and it is. I hate to be the bear of bad news to all of the SYTYCD fans, but this seamless shot was done the night before. Not only was it done the night before, it took about 10 practice runs and around 15 takes. From the dancers not getting the dance moves right, to the camera man bumping into the dancers, to even having one of the lighting operators in the shot. These were only few of the factors that were working against this continuously seamless shot. No matter how many times they could have practiced this routine, each time will have a different result and the director, Bassem Christo, could not risk having any mishaps on live television because it is costly, both for him and the show itself. Recording such an impossible opening dance the night before is understandable. But this was not the only thing that was manipulated. The cheers you hear when the dancers enter the stage were added during the live broadcasting, because while filming the pervious night, there weren’t any fans or audience in the stands. This is why during the opening group dance, there weren’t any shots of the audience.
Another sad story, and I apologize in advance, the stage is not as large as it looks on television and there aren’t that many people sitting in the audience section. In a more technical sense, the production team used the right camera lenses to make the stage seem larger and the audience seem greater than they actually are in reality. The stage itself is also designed in a way which gives it the illusion that is large and spacious. It’s cone shaped design gives the stage more depth and make it seem wide. With the help of a 15mm lens (wide angle lens), the stage looks even larger on television. While the cameras directed to the audience use a zoom lens which manipulates reality to make it seem as if there are a lot more audience than there actually is. Next time you watch a live event, ask yourself, is this really live?
3D printers have been around for more than two decades and even though this technology was mainly used for prototyping and it was not commercially viable, about a year ago, Mar Mikhael became home to the first 3D printing shop in the Middle East. The company was founded by Guillaume Credoz, a French architect who happens to love Middle East. Credoz moved to Damascus in 2006 and lived in a 17th century Ottoman Palace, he renovated the palace to use it as his workshop for producing eye catching wood and ceramic pieces. However following the intensification of unrest in Syria, he moved to Lebanon. Now under the tagline of Rapid Manufactory, which is part of “The Bakery” shop in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael neighborhood, where Credoz offers 3D printing services. The main customers of Rapid Manufactory are architects, students, and artists, but people in Lebanon still need time to understand what 3D printers can really do for them. It really isn’t about prototyping and creating small models for architects anymore. This technology might still be new to people in Lebanon and around the world, and the possibilities of 3D printing are still unknown to many, especially to people in Lebanon. The prices of 3D printers in Lebanon are still not relatively cheap. Credoz had to pay a hefty price for this technology and he still needs to print many more objects to get a return on his 200,000 Euro investment made for the printer.
Since Rapid Manufactory opened, couple other other 3D printing shops have popped up around Lebanon. Even though they might now have the same expertise in chemistry and 3D printing, and many of the newcomers are making rougher models for designers needing multiple prototypes or simply looking for a cheap alternative.
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While 3D printing is still being used mainly for prototyping here in Lebanon, designers and engineers in the United States are manufacturing hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, guns, even cars. An American company Local Motors, located in Phenix, Arizona, has built the world’s first 3D printed car, made from a mix of carbon fibre and plastic. This is the first time a car chassis has been printed in one piece, using direct digital manufacturing. Called the “Strati”, the Italian word for “layers”, the battery-powered car can reach speeds of 65 kilometers per hour, although it is not yet allowed on actual roads. Local Motors expects that approval will come soon.
If you are interested, the Strati will retail for around $20,000.
We have barely scratched the surface of all the possibilities of 3D printing. We use to have a hard time looking for replacements for broken good, now we can simple print a replacement. With desktop 3D printers starting at around $500, almost anyone can own a 3D printer now. Even if someone does not have any background experience with 3D programs can purchase and use these desktop 3D printers because there are many different online communities like Thingivers, people share their 3D designs with others to print and use.
Next time your priceless antique car needs a new part, you could have this part scanned from another antique car to create a digital file, receive the file in an email, and print a perfect copy in a durable material. The process could be complete in a day or two.
Who knows, Lebanon might catch up to this murky new technology and create the first next big thing.