I have a wide variety of experience, spanning engineering, social science and the arts. The files I've included here will give you examples of the many diverse projects I've been involved with over the years.
Teaching Cinematography at the Community College Level
I've been an educator at the community college level for many years. My primary teaching assignment has been an entry-level course in cinematography, though I've also taught 3D videogame development and various other multimedia subjects. Not satisfied with the methods of teaching cinematography presented in existing textbooks, I developed my own approach, based on current research in cognition and perceptual science. My system has been fairly effective, and quite popular with students.
This is a handout for my students, explaining the process of making a movie in Hollywood, and how to identify who does what when you read the credits.Drawn from a number of sources, as well as my own experience, this is a great guide for students who want to get into the movie business.
Teaching 3D Videogame Development
In addition to cinematography, I've offered classes in 3D computer game technology in a community college. The class was fairly successful, despite having various technical difficulties - this kind of software-intensive class requires serious support from the IT department, and classroom computers capable of handling serious graphics applications.
The Genesistrine system is my ideal teaching system for a course in 3D videogame technology. This is a rough outline for a game engine-based system that teaches students about the technology under the hood of their favorite games. Based on the Torque game engine and some open-source components, Genesistrine would enable students to build their own world step by step, and learn about the underlying technology at the same time. This is a work in progress, and at present, not much more than a gleam in my eye. "Genesistrine" was a fantasy world suggested by Charles Fort, floating invisibly above the earth, and periodically raining strange creatures and other phenomena down on us terrestrial folk..
An Interactive Multimedia Authoring System
For a few years, I was the co-owner and manager of a small startup software company called Interactive Computer Television Inc., working on a line of multimedia products. We combined traditional nonlinear video editing with multimedia authoring, for producing interactive video, magazines, newscasts, newsletters, home shopping fliers and training materials. Our client software would run on either computers or television sets, using custom programming in set-top boxes.
The Impact Digital Video Effects System
For about 6 years, I worked as a systems software engineer at Microtime Inc., a television products company in Bloomfield, CT. My primary responsibility was developing the embedded system software for a special effects machine called the Impact Variable Image Transformer. The Impact was one of the first effects systems to map video images onto 3D shapes, and at that time, the only one that could do it with live television. One reviewer called my control panel design "the most user-friendly DVE on the market."
The original Impact had 32 "patches" - three- or four-sided polygons. We created an improved version of the Impact in the mid-90s, with 256 patches. About that time, Microtime was purchased by Pinnacle Systems, who weren't that fond of the Impact. I don't think many of these improved units were sold.
I wrote the paper entitled "System Details," created many of the images for the product brochure above, and added the music to the advanced features movie. Both of the movies were corporate marketing materials.
The TFlash Lightning Simulator
The most interesting project I've worked on as a consultant is TFlash. This was an application for power line design engineers, to predict the effectiveness of various lightning protection strategies. TFlash was commissioned by the Electrical Power Research Institute, for use by electric power companies throughout the United States and Canada. The lightning algorithms were supplied by experts in the field, but the design of the rest of it was primarily mine. The system worked quite well, and a successor to this application is still in use.
The Ulead Editing System User's Manual
We used the Ulead Video Editor for a few years at Holyoke Community College. I wrote a booklet for students to learn the basics of working with Ulead. This booklet was produced using Ventura, a page layout application from Corel. I've been using Ventura since it was a DOS program in the '80s. Sadly, Corel seems to have lost interest in the product.
Computer Cartography and GIS Systems
I spent the first half of the '80s at the University of Massachusetts, getting my bachelor's degree, and developing geographic information systems (GIS) software for the University Computing Center. I worked with folks at the local distribution center for US census data, developing software for creating and drawing maps. GIS software was relatively new at the time, so I wrote much of the software myself, in C and Pascal. The above article was written for a newsletter for GIS software users and developers, showing a technique in C for stripping unnecessary data from digitized files.