Smartboards and catwalks at my fingertips S2Ep10

Show ten of this series of The Cool Stuff Collective’s 14 shows is currently airing. The show is one based around Sy Thomas having various hair related problems and a slight fashion vibe. Several of us were roped in to demonstrate some wearable tech. I got to go first. As you can see Sy is sat in a bald wig as a setup for the later gag during my future tech slot.
Catwalk at Cool HQ
I was given a musical t-shirt and asked to camp it up as I strutted on and off. Some how to get the hips wiggling, and because I had to keep hold of the volume control (as the t-shirt was rather sensitive and noisy) I found myself conducting with a swinging right arm. I don’t think I have a future modelling, though I was quite proud of my turn. I just have not developed anything approaching the Zoolander Blue Steel 🙂
After this item monkey gave Sy a magic potion to restore his hair with disastrous results.
This gave a good hook to tap into demonstrating the Smartboard, as I got to use some of the tools on it to show how to fix Sy’s hair.
Bad hair day
The Smartboard we had came from up near bagshot and Jamie came along to help make sure it all worked for us. We had to recalibrate it out the back of the studio, and ended up having to do it again when we moved it on set as it was a bumpy journey.
The Smartboard we had was portable though. As I said in the piece many schools now how these and I know in Predlet 1.0’s school the teachers do use them for more than just showing powerpoint( as I asked at parents evening). I was a little concerned we were going to be showing things that many kids had already seen at school but I hope it will help, via my simple demonstration, for some schools to start to harness the power of the tech more.
I had a picture of Sy on screen and used my catwalk finger to operate the board.
How to use a Smartboard
I showed drawing a gesture square which created a zoom function, then showed doodling and drawing lines. Then it was the piece that I found exciting in delving into some of the mathematical tools.
The story was Sy’s hair needed to be a perfect 39 degrees. The Smartboard software has protractors and set squares in it. You are able to bring up a device, set an angle then lose the device. It draws the angle and lets you use that to measure and adjust things on screen.
Maths, Smartboard and 39 degrees
You can see on the right an active 39 degree angle.
Also anything on the board that appears to be a doodle is a complete actual object in its own right.
So I took the scribble I made at the start of the piece dragged and rotated it to 39 degrees and placed it on Sy as his hair.
Smartboard objects
The future of these boards is of course multi-touch which starts to take more gesture based computing in a multi-user environment.
I was also intrigued to hear (though we did not talk about it as we may do a follow up item) that there is a physics based piece of software that means levers, cogs, gravity etc can be simulated. Draw a boulder and it will drop. I know also there are some virtual world adaptations that have been made to do similar immersive journeys on these boards.
We also did not have time to thread in the use of remote machines to control the Smartboard, though the Fizzbook makes an appearance in the shows later.
We have now finished recording this series, and series 3 is back in the autumn. It was quite a sad, yet exciting record last wednesday. Just a wrap party to survive now.
Don’t worry though there are still four more cracking shows and next weeks future tech is a snowy one !
The wikipedia pages for us all are getting some interesting traffic still.
Cool Stuff gets a lot of comments, Sy Thomas invented Brocolli apparently and mine gets the odd geek fan comment. Of course just comments or abuse tend to get reverted pretty quickly but it is good to see people realising they can contribute. If anyone wants to update things there are some pieces I have left on the talk pages 😉 such as

Introducing open source to kids TV – yes really!

I really enjoyed the chance to explain something really important on this weeks Cool Stuff Collective. The core of the piece this week was the principle of Open Source collaboration. I had started to lead up to this concept with the wikipedia piece a few weeks ago, showing the views that anyone can get involved can contribute and not just consume on the web.
The way to approach open source though had to be something other than the “traditional” software applications such as the Linux operating system. Whilst it is one of the most advanced and technically rich exemplars of the this self organisation and support eco system its really not compelling enough for kids.
The open source libraries for the Xbox Kinect however are spot on. It is a triumphant story of the explorers out there seeing what they could do with what is already an amazing piece of consumer technology. It being the big xmas hit only a few weeks ago most people can relate to it and what it does in the context of the Xbox. Many of the viewers will have played with one too.
The speed with which the open source community gathered and hacked the kinect, released the code and then people started gathering and building more and more things was so fast it highlights the speed disruptive innovation can side swipe large corporate entities. In the first few days of the hacking Microsoft took a “not with my box of bunnies” approach. Legal proceedings were threatened etc. Somewhere, somehow there was someone with enough sense to stand back and say… “wait a minute, at the very least this is selling even more kinects, people are buying kinects who don’t have xbox’s”. After all no harm was being done really, the kinect was not being stolen, it was not a DRM issue. The thing has a USB plug on it! Now it may have been all calculated to frown and them embrace the hacks but however it has worked out Microsoft come out pretty well having decided to join the party rather than stop it. Whilst not specifically part of the open source movement(s) they are releasing a home hacking kit.
The choice of how to work with your kinect on a computer is a varied one but just for the record (as we did not give any names/URLs out on the show)
I used (and hence was helping to support) the Libfreenect piece of software on my Mac. All the info you budding hackers need is at
This let me show Sy the depth of field display running on a Mac. The left hand colour picture reflects distance, one of the key points of the Kinect in sensing movement over an above a regular webcam. I was not altering any code just showing what was available at its very basic level.
I also demoed the audio hack of a Theremin the Therenect by Martin Kaltenbrunner of the Interface Culture Lab. I bumped into this demo via a serendipitous conversation about what a theremin actually is and how it works just before putting this piece together. Martin is also one of the inventors of the ARTag and TUIO integrations that I used in the AR show in Unity3d and the brilliant Reactable that I hope will be in the final Big gadget adventure film towards the end of series 2. (So a friend of the show as his stuff just works whenever I try it!)
There are of course lots more things going on and so many good examples of people working on the kinext and hooking up other free and accessible pieces of code, and more importantly sharing them. @ceejay sent me this link on twitter after the show aired.

Hopefully next (and final record for the series) I will get to do the Opensim piece, more open source wonderfulness to build upon this and the previous conversations.
Many people are not aware just how complicated Open Source is as a concept and the implications it has as part of any eco system. It is a threat and an opportunity, a training ground for new skills, a hobby and a political minefield of ego’s, sub cultures, competing interests. What come out of the early days of Open Source is usually very rough, but it works. If it does not work quite right you change it and contribute back. We have yet to see the ultimate long term effects of open source in a networked world. We have though seen it make massive changes to the software industry, but the principles of gathering and sharing and building applies to way more that our geeky business. It is about governments, banks, manufacturing and even the legal system. It is, not to put too much pathos on this, the will of the people. (just not always the same people who consider themselves in charge or market leaders.)
Open source projects also tend to spring up in response to a popular commercial event, challenging windows with linux as an example. Without something big and unwieldy, or not done quite how people really want it done, an open source movement will not form with enough passion and gravitas. That is not to say that people do not realise lots of things as open source. You write code and share it, build and show etc, but that is open sourcing and not the complexity of an open source movement I think.
So, a heavy subject once you drill down but it is the future and its already here.
Open source is messy, it about people, it tends to not fit all the preconceptions of a product. However people tend to expect a product to work and be supported the same as if they paid for it. Which is why there actually is a financial and business opportunity in wrapping open source up, and providing labelled versions and services with appropriate licensing. The people that build still need to eat and be recognised for their work too. So it is by no means just a load of free stuff on the internet, but you are free to join in and I hope some kids will be inspired to at least take a look or ask their parents and teachers about the social implications of all this too.

G33k Chic at Cool HQ

This weeks Cool Stuff Collective is themed around a musical. Lookout Glee!. I did wonder how that was going to end up but I really liked the show. In particular I loved Sy (who now has a proper wikipedia page) doing his wiki wiki wah wah rapping with Monkey shouting chiiiimp. I missed seeing that getting recorded as I was out backstage trying to help an inventor get his kit for my emerging tech piece working. It worked fine in the green room, but when it got wheeled out it failed to work at all. We will try again though.
So this musical show manages to not feature me in my g33k tshirt talking tech, but a lot of other great bits. The tshirt was still on me but covered up by my Dinner Jacket and bow tie.
Shocking I know but I was “dancing” and “singing” with the rest of the cast in what turned out to be something that took us the most takes of anything ever to do.
Cool Stuff Collective - The Musical
We are singing our lines to the William Tell Overture, which is a speedy piece of music to bumble your lines out to at the best of times.
I would say this is another string to my bow too (to keep the William Tell theme going) and I don’t think michael buble has much to worry about. A tux does make you move in that old jazz/swing style though. Maybe I should wear it more often.
Anyway normal service is resumed next week Sat 8:10am ITV1 (whatever normal service is!)

Cool kids presenting 3d printing and Cool Stuff Collective

Thanks andypiper for pointing me at this video of a cool kid talking about 3d printers on a big stage. It is the future by a participant of the future.

Whilst on the subject of kids doing cool things I also just bumped into this, which I assume is an homage to our Cool Stuff Collective. Brilliant 🙂

Once again the power of the web, the willingess to create and share and the ability for people of any age to create and engage. It really is a massive social and artistic change. Still ignoring social media ? (If you are you probably are not reading this though are you 🙂 )

Flying action presenter g33k

This weeks Cool Stuff Collective future tech was a bit of a departure from the usual studio explanations to Sy. A few weeks ago I went off with the crew to Milton Keynes to Airkix to film a piece about indoor skydiving.
Arriving at 7:00 am ready to do my first ever solo pieces to camera of this type was a little nerve wracking but having watched the guys at the Toy Fair it was a little easier to understand and feel how this would pan out.
I was expecting to do a few little intros, hover a bit and then say goodbye. It got a little more complicated than that of course 🙂
The pro sky divers and coaches at Airkix had come in specially to perform for us and were brilliantly helpful for the whole shoot. They have amongst their ranks world sky diving champions indoors and out. It was quite a shock to see just how high up they went (about 30 feet almost instantly).
World Sky Diving Champ
and then the precision with which they came hurtling down towards the camera again.
World Sky Diving Champ
I got to do some links to the chamber full of the guys performing as my first piece, but before I knew it we were up some very tall ladders at the top of the very large building and through a few hatches into where the fans where.
So if I look a little scared on this I was. They have 250 bhp turbines at the top of the structure that push air down and then round and up into the chamber where it gets up to about 150mph.
How it works
We shot a piece in the control room too as it is a precision operation to keep the wind stable.
Control Panel
Of course eventually I was thrown into a flight suit and doing what I expected to be doing, just hanging around close to the floor.
It was not hard to look like I was enjoying it because I was it was amazingly exhilarating.
Flapping face
It is a strange experience that requires you to be relaxed and not fight the wind, but at the same time control it. The closest thing is Tai Chi, force and grace together. (Though not so much grace nor force in my case).
I am not sure if it was the look of surprise I saw vanishing into the distance, on the shows Creative Director’s face (John Marley) or the feeling of an utter adrenalin rush that hit me that I will remember the most, when the instructor decided to grab me by the arm and run in circles up the wall Matrix style until with were 30ft up in the air. Of course we ended up having to then do that a few times just so they could shoot the right angle. I think presenter torturing is all part of the gig 🙂
That's me though
The stills of course do not do it justice. The edited up piece looks really good, along with Frankie’s Two Tribes as the soundtrack 🙂
It should be on the official site next week (UK only though still).
*update The full piece is now on the site here (UK only)
I think I got to feel another way of delivering information. It is strange the various mental models you have to engage when sharing things with people.
Talking to customers and giving small presentations about facts tend to be one flow of self expression. The bigger the conference the bigger the movements and stage pacing etc. Talking to Sy on the TV has tended to be like that but with the confusion of occasionally stopping and starting, hence maintaining and ad lib train of thought. This presenting required a different approach. Mainly that involved doing as I was told, as the director has the vision of the shots he needs and takes multiples of everything. Trying to focus the passion for the subject down the camera feels very different to a human reaction. Holding the for a period of time after you have finished talking to allow space for edits too is a more un-natural approach. I found I had to clear my brain more, not to think of the flow of the next few sentences but just to keep focussed on the one I had to deliver.
Before the studio record I also had to do a piece to camera pretending to be stuck in the screen of the SMART table, and the link back out of the VT was me sneaking up behind Sy and him asking me to help me get me out of where I was locked in 🙂
It was really enjoyable though, the experience and the filming slot we did straight after lunch too (more on that later) was great. The pulses of adrenalin needed to enthuse about the subject in tiny bite size pieces between lots of planning and walking/climbing/flying was probably more tiring than doing a single hours presentation on stage on a subject.
Not only did I get a levelling up in presenter skills, but I also got a certificate for flying 🙂
So thank you to the crew for being so patient and helpful whilst I get to grips with this sort of thing. There is still much to learn but now I have recorded four of them I feel I have some idea of what to do and how to do it 🙂
They make the magic happen
You can follow The Cool Stuff Collective on twitter @cstuffc and get an insight into whats going on at the office and what monkey is doing with all those gadgets.

More TV – 1st Question Quiz Show in SL

I was honoured to be asked by Pooky Amsterdam to appear on her 1st Question quiz show filmed live in Second Life last Sunday. I was with some great panelists Zya Zavira and Avantgarde Frequency. Both of who are very well respected in their metaverse fields.
It was a late night as the show is recorded by Treet.TV with a live audience around midnight UK time. However we are such a multi national bunch from Australia to UK and mainland Europer to West coast US that it becomes part of the fun.
The show is a set of quick fire questions, some buzzer rounds and some intros and talking by the contestants.
1st Question
It was brilliant fun, though being a competition and relatively techie I felt a certain amount of pressure. It all came out alright in the end.
My first question was on Watson ! I wont spoil the show but I still can’t believe I got the ones wrong that I did 🙂
The full show is on itunes or you can watch it here on Treet.Tv

It was great to have an invited audience too as they shout/type out answers and Pooky Amsterdam and Hydra Shaftoe do a great job wrangling us all.
It is run as a TV show would be an Petlove Petshop briefed us and sound checked us beforehand. It is then recorded by Texas from Treet.TV and edited up with various insets and visuals too as you can see

There are also live scoreboards and a portion of audience voting as we try and get our panel words we bring along to be the most popular.
1st Question
There is an ad break too. Not your usual advert though as this one shows an incredibly important use of virtual worlds. Fearless Nation provide Post Traumatic Stress Disorder support in Second Life. The potential for anonymous counselling as well as directed role play to help people come to terms with real experiences is incredible powerful.
1st Question
Anyway, thanks all you came along and thanks again Pooky, in particular for the plug for The Cool Stuff Collective in my intro, and I managed to get the link out there to my showreel in the post event mingle 🙂
As I am recording an Opensim virtual world piece for the show very soon it was great to be part of such a professional and fun operation for the show.
Tomorrow its back to the BBC for more “traditional” TV not that @Cstuffc is traditional !

Feeding Edge is 2 Years old

Another significant milestone today. Feeding Edge Ltd is now two years old. It is something I am extremely proud about and when I reflect back on this year it has been so varied, there have been some challenges but the worst of those have been resolved. For the most part it has been such an entertaining and stimulating year its hard to think of it all packed into 12 months.
feeding edge 2nd birthday
(When I added the second flame from last years I used Photoshop CS5 puppet warp on the flames, its amazing, it puts a mesh over the part of the image and you edit it like a 3d mesh would)
A year ago I could not have imagined where I am at today. The diversity of which would not have really fitted into any other company. The ability to go with the flow, trust in serendipty and gut feeling has been incredibly useful. If companies let the creativity of their employees flow, rather than focus on control and crackdown then I am sure we would be be generating some fantastic innovations and growth in business. Though, selfishly, if everyone does that then it makes it much harder for me.

So this year I have a few sparklers (though some customer names and projects are not public)

  • Consulted on virtual worlds and games for the government
  • Built a complex system of second life and open sim interactions with drupal and a java model for medical training
  • Toured washing away cave paintings at conferences and gathering all over the UK and elsewhere including Finland and Ireland
  • Appeared on shows in Second Life and given many talks too
  • Started to get the ball rolling as Chairman of the BCS animation and Games SG
  • Been a port of call for references and direction as a virtual world advisor to startups
  • Built a drupal based social and political hub as a proof of concept
  • Review games on Game People like Kinectimals and 3d GT5

  • The ultimate highlights though have to be.

  • Forming the as yet in stealth social games and transmedia company and getting seed funding and filing the patent for the idea.
  • Being given the chance to work on kids TV inspiring the next generation with future technolgy with The Cool Stuff Collective

  • The games company is a mix of having to architect design and direct some development and is very much hands on with the technology. The concept for our first product still amazes me and I am very proud of it. With a bit of luck we will get bigger very soon and we can deliver an even more amazing rendition of the concept, but to my partners in all this I say a huge thank you. I want to write more about what we are doing, but now is not the time or place. I still have a stack of code to write, but my coding partner out there is doing some awesome work making sense of the ideas we come up with for implementation.
    The Cool Stuff Collective has been an amazing journey too from the first conversation about being a technical advisor to being thrown into the studio to present, and now mid way through series 2 yesterday I was out with the crew filming at the Pure Tech racing simulators then dashing down to Intech hands on science centre. Being able to inspire or interest the next generation of techies, and maybe reach some of their parents with tech that is already here but seems like science fiction has been an incredible honour.
    Look at the list of things we have covered

    3d Printing, Haptics, Ardrone, 3d scanning, MMO Lego, AR, Kinect, Mind control, SMARt tables, eReaders, 3D cameras and glasses, Unity3d/evolver games dev, Cloud Computing, Wikipedia, Photoshop, Laser Holographic projection….
    To come is Solar Flares, Opensim and the outside video we have now done indoor skydiving, indoor snowboarding, Racing simulators, science gadgets and planetarium.
    So I have ended up on wikipedia and have over 20 TV records under my belt now. I have a showreel of sorts with its own page here and my new business cards say amongst the blurb TV Presenter. (I think that’s valid now isn’t it?)
    When people ask what it is I do and what Feeding Edge does, I think this does all some up in “Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to”.
    I think that because pushing things forward, thinking of the whole not just design not just tech but the social implications of it, but mashing in the fact that things should entertain and engage us as humans is my mission.
    So what does next year bring? Well for me more of the same is the answer.
    I am asked how I have time to do all the things I do. The answer is I don’t. Sometimes things have to slide a bit. Whilst many things seem diverse they are linked. I play games, looking at them for review, to spot trends, to see how things might be used in other gamification contexts and for enjoyment. Then I write about them, present about them and even build them. It’s all part of the flow. The same goes for the other emerging tech. If you are interesting in 3d virtual worlds, then naturally how to create 3d content, how to experience 3d content and how to use 3d environment to reach an audience becomes part of everyday life.
    Then there is the social media side of things. I tweet, blog, share photos on flicker, put game achievements up on facebook and raptr. It is both a personal sharing of whats goidn on to those who need to know or are curious, but it is also a social experiment in how it feels to do these things and the impact it has on my life. Having that personal experience lets me share it with others and with companies and get them to the good part of this communication revolution rather than stagnating.
    People I know often say to me they only understand 1/3 of my tweets. That is great as probably the 1/3 was for their benefit the other 2/3 for others. Mixing busines, social, tech and existence on one channel in 140 characters is still fascinating. It is a microcosm of the whole of what I do with Feeding Edge.
    So to all my customers, partners, competitors, friends, mentors and fellow virtual world evangelists I say a huge thank you for all your support.
    Right, back to it, now what was I do again?

    He has done it again! Telepresence this time

    This guy Johnny Chung Lee, now “rapid evaluator” at Google, is amazing and I love how he approaches things. Way back he did the wiimote hacks that made 3d motion control out of wearing the sensor bar and keeping the wiimotes steady. As Feeding Edge’s tag line is “Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to” you can see why I have an affinity for his work!
    This time he has hacked together a $500 telepresence robot. These things seem to keep popping up so he is definitely “bang on trend”. They are a weird combination of a physical avatar used to navigate physical space and “be” somewhere. Like all new ideas they may seem daft, and I did have a “that’s stupid” fleeting momentary thought. However, as I have mentioned before, when I see something and think that I know I have to look further into the idea, especially when serendipity subconsciously shouts out about the subject
    I bumped into this because I was looking at these more commercial telepresence robots from vgocom. This version though uses the IRobot Create (Roomba)

    They had featured a telepresence ER/A&E robot on BBC Horizon and combined with a piece we filmed on wednesday for The Cool Stuff Collective where I was trapped in a video box it all started to link up. Further re-enforced by a conversation about driving robots from a virtual world that started the very same afternoon!
    This has a nice circular element to it in that you will notice from the great Johnny Chung Lee’s blog featuring this quick build is called Procrastineering and the tag line, which is something I live by is “giving in to productive distractions”. It brilliantly sums up the flow of serendipity and the combination of tech and art and ideas mixed with human conversation that seems to lead in a positive direction. I know it is not for everyone and it is a seat of the pants existence but for me it feels right.

    My series 1 TV showreel

    I got to hang out in the edit suites at MTV Camden today where the magic of TV gets crafted together from all our bits of film. John was making a showreel for the entire show to take to New York and the Kidscreen summit a version of that will get posted soon.
    Afterwards though I got to suggest some pieces for my own personal showreel. This is all very exciting as much of the official website doesn’t work outside the UK. We stuck to pieces of series 1 (apart from the end as a taster of the current series). It keeps the comedy spirit and shows a range of things. My acting is getting better I promise over time 😉

    See what you think.
    Dont forget The Cool Stuff Collective ITV1 9:00am Saturdays

    G33k on tour part 1 – Falling down, levelling up

    I think I will remember Tuesday 8th Feb 2010 for quite a while. A series of experiences all came together at once and it made me feel incredibly fortunate. It is still work though!
    The day was spent in Milton Keynes as part of a road trip feature for The Cool Stuff Collective. There was a very early 7am start, which given I live 120 miles away meant it was sensible to stay over the night before. It also meant I could catch up with my mate Mike Edwards, who normally ends up visiting us. It is amazing to hear his stories of keeping his racing motor bike team going, Mist Suzuki. As a team they do amazingly well with their results, but sponsorship and funding is always tricky. The passion, drive and results are stunning!. (Just in case anyone out there wants to get involved in making the team even more successful just give Mike a ping )
    On Tour
    So what was I there to do? I was there to talk about a couple of giant gadgets, to camera for the show. This in itself was a new experience. It is very different talking to Sy in the studio about something I have brought in, compared to addressing a camera directly about someone else’s stuff. The individual pieces to camera are also broken up into all sorts of orders, multiple takes, cut aways and given its a kids show some gags too. So take away the rest of what the day was about and I feel I personally levelled up in TV presenting, but there is always more to learn! It is different to the flow of standing on stage at a conference and presenting too. I tend to present, when on stage at a conference to an audience, a stream of consciousness. I have points to hit with a beginning middle and end, but very often I don’t recall exactly what I said. These mini bits to camera have to be much more punchy, whilst you get a few takes and goes that in a way puts more pressure on concentrating on the piece. The sort of filming we were doing also was being timed with some external events too. It sounds a doddle, turn up and talk, it is fun, but not what you expect it to be.
    It is also a brilliant study in teamwork. The presenter is really just another paint on the canvas. The location, the look, the movement, the sounds, the paperwork/permissions and the vision of the combined piece all have to be combined by these guys.
    They make the magic happen
    Then of course afterwards all the footage goes off for editing, so lots of what is shot will not be used, but together everyone gathers enough extra material that can make a piece work.
    So what were we filming? The aim was to create to on the road pieces about large gadgets and also do some action style filming.
    The morning was spent indoor skydiving at Airkix. Yes that right I was thrown into an indoor skydiving chamber and had to learn quickly how to do it to some degree of competence, or fail horribly and make it funny for the camera. The production team at Archie had arranged for some demonstration flying too which included the World Champion, who held indoor and outdoor titles.
    They went first, and to say we were all gobsmacked at the speed, precision and seeming madness of them would be an understatement. We did a filming tour of the building too, it is a massively impressive gadget generating huge wind forces.
    I then got kitted up and my instructor got me going straight away. It is a surprising experience to suddenly be suspended in mid air. You body position becomes critical, you are a wing. The instructor stands, and sometimes flys in there with you. It is like Tai Chi at 150mph. You have to hold a position, both with and against the wind. The instructor uses hand signals to suggest moving arms, straightening legs. once a bit stable you can turn with the slightest twist of your shoulders. Straightening your body a little and you climb.
    The chamber has a net you start on covering the lower section where the air is accelerated. There is a 30ft roof space and yes I did end up there in quite a surprising way, which I hope makes it to the film! Luckily it was so noisy I was not supposed to commentate or talk to camera whilst doing this too! It was incredible and a huge thanks to the Airkix staff and coaches for making the visit (and my first filming) go so well.
    I did OK too I think 🙂

    That would have probably been enough for the day, but…. we had some lunch and then went next door to the indoor snow slope, the SnoZone
    So fresh from the rush of indoor skydiving and pieces to camera I jumped into my snowboarding gear and we spent a while on the slope doing more an more elaborate pieces to camera. John Marley (the director) was giving me some great advice on how to approach some of these. It was a brilliant lesson and I tried to absorb as much as possible. You can just talk to a camera and be natural, but there is a lot stagecraft to that. So I know there is lots more to learn.
    After all the links, facts, figures, getting covered in snow I then had to see if I could still snowboard. It has been a good few years since I was up a mountain on a board.
    Boarding View
    When I was kitted out one of the guys there saw my g33k shirt and asked if I had a l33t too. Maybe I upgrade the shirt to l33t g33k?
    However I thought I would still have the muscle memory and be able to give it a go. I have also been using the Kinect to exercise a lot, so i was confident that I had the strength (even after the sky diving) to get on with it. Still though it was a very nervous moment click the bindings and going down a moderately empty slope, but being filmed! Back heel turns were the easiest as usual but as I ride goofy and the filming was from the right hand side of the slope I was happy I could carve in. Though it all came back and I felt a toeside turn and it worked. I was pretty ecstatic 🙂 It may not be the smoothest riding but to drag that back after all the years and do it in a confined space with people definitely watch was a massive #win. We did not stop at snowboarding we did some headfirst sledging and bin lid sledging and a bit more boarding, then some more larking around shots. I probably should have stayed a while longer and boarded some more, but once we had wrapped the shoot I was pretty much done for. More mentally than physically. The day had been a blur of experiences, and I had to switch mental focus a lot. Another huge thanks to the guys at SnoZone
    So yes that could be considered a jolly, and rather like all the other things that look like jolly on the outside, on the inside they are exciting, entertaining and hard work in completely different ways to how you might expect.