Back in November, I wrote about a book that, to me at least, contained a mind-boggling new technological idea. The book is called Inside Tracks, and is full of breathtaking pictures taken by Rick Smolan in Australia as he documented the 9-month journey of Robyn Davidson across the Australian desert in 1977 with only her dog and a few camels for company. And of course, Rick who showed up now and again to take absolutely amazing photographs. Adam Driver was starring in the movie, Tracks, along with Mia Wasikowska (who plays Robyn), and I had just seen Adam in a movie and read about Rick in Zoomer magazine, so I was quite intrigued by the idea of a book that link to video clips from a movie about the same journey illustrated in the book.
Well, I bought the book, downloaded the free app (called Aurasma) as directed on the back cover, and . . . I couldn’t get it to work. Christmas was coming so I put it aside and then took it along with me to the family get-together thinking I’d get my techie sister-in-law to figure it out, but we had no time. So I brought it home, and set it aside again, mostly forgetting about it. Finally, I took it in to Best Buy and, hanging my head, asked a young clerk if he’d seen this book before. Well, he downloaded the app onto his phone and let his camera hover over the picture and suddenly his screen did something mine hadn’t done in all the too-numerous-too-mention times I had tried it! Within seconds, he had a video playing. When they say it’s a coffee table book, that’s because you have to be far enough away to have the corners of the app scanner centred around the corners of the picture, and the pictures are huge. We had the book resting on a display case, but the clerk was taller than me!
Well, now that I have it working, it’s a snap! Of course! I counted 15 pictures that you can “Aurasma” to videos (there are two I haven’t been able to get to work, but . . .) and the picture quality is really terrific. I’ve done it with both my iphone and my ipad successfully, and I prefer the ipad if I’m sharing the video with others. Rick introduces the first half of the book and the quotes throughout are from Robyn’s book (which I have ordered now and will talk about at a future time), and the last half is about the movie, with commentary by Tracks director, John Curran, with excerpts from the script.
Australia is more and more becoming a place of fascination for me. The photos from both Rick and the movie are so beautiful that you imagine all kinds of adventures and can see yourself there, although perhaps not walking 2000 miles across the desert. I never saw the movie at the theatre (even though I looked for it) and so it will be arriving in a couple of days along with Robyn’s book. I’m anxious to get into both of them but in the meantime, I recommend Rick’s book, “Inside Tracks” highly, whether you want to watch the videos from it or just enjoy the inside story along with the amazing pictures. * * * * *
This is a great video of Rick talking about meeting Robyn and how National Geographic sent him on this incredible assignment.