May 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM ET
This project isn't the first time that a Kinect has been co-opted into creating weird video art — not by a long shot. But it is strange and interesting to watch regardless.
The RGB+D toolkit was created by some Carnegie Mellon University Fellows as a way of combining the HD footage from a DSLR with a Kinect's depth mapping. The camera is mounted atop the Xbox 360 accessory, and they are calibrated to be more or less in sync. Then the footage and Kinect data are merged in special software, producing the images you see in this video over on Vimeo.
It's reminiscent of the music videos shot on Kinect last year and the various video experiments that have been done — but the accomplishment here isn't just the creation of the effect, although using a DSLR does give them more definition than earlier attempts. They're actually working on an open source software toolkit and instructions so that anyone with the time and inclination can make their own little Kinect cinema rig.
When so much of our data is digital, it's natural to want to cross-pollinate a bit — sometimes you create something worth sharing.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.