Help supply our windowless office with a little dose of nature
February 9, 2011 1:56 PM   Subscribe

What images or video should we play on our office TV as a pleasant background? Basically, we want a fake window to a nicer world.

Our student office recently acquired a 55" wall-mounted LED display for use in occasional presentations, but we'd like to run something on it the rest of the time. We considered a slideshow of research images, which will probably be going some of the time (when we have visitors), but it would be nice to have something less repetitive/more relaxing going the rest of the time. We've considered the Planet Earth DVDs (gorgeous, but distracting, even when muted), as well as live webcam feeds (no high-quality streams seem to be available). The TV currently runs off of either the internet, a connection to a laptop, or a flash drive, but we could think about getting a specific media player if it's worth it. We'd ideally like a couple of long videos of a camera sitting mostly or completely still in the woods or on a beach, either with ambient sound or none (it can be muted if there's an undesirable soundtrack). HD is obviously preferred, but not completely necessary.

Any suggestions for beautiful media that isn't a nature scene are welcome as well.
posted by you're a kitty! to Technology (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, I forgot to add: one thing that was very popular was a short, slow video of Earth shot from space that the ESA released; a longer version would be very welcome.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:02 PM on February 9, 2011

Best answer: What about a nice fireplace in HD?
There's also one for rainy days.

I'm a graduate student in WI (where it gets cold) and I would love this to play in my cube in the winter. In fact, I'm going leave one up on my second monitor right now.
posted by aganders3 at 2:03 PM on February 9, 2011

Could you run a slideshow of your favorite photos from National Geographic's website? You can download them as wallpaper here or just as images and just let it play through the images, changing once a half hour or so? You could store it on a flash drive or set the changing pictures as a screen saver on the laptop or as a photo album slideshow on the laptop.
posted by jillithd at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Webcam feeds?
posted by Kale Slayer at 2:06 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bergen to Oslo from your armchair
posted by Think_Long at 2:12 PM on February 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Maybe not what you're looking for, but Adventure time, the subject of a wonderful post a week or two ago, has all of its animation backgrounds - which are usually colorful, interesting, and well-drawn, but rarely distracting - available for free on their flickr. A little cartoony, and a tad silly, but they're on rotation as my computer background and I love them. Going through all of them and saving them can be a hassle, but I've compiled a good deal of them and would send you a .zip of them if you messaged me. Season one, season two.
posted by Rinku at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

If the video of earth from space was popular, check out NASA's HD video archive. I don't think most are very long, but you could just put them in a big playlist or something.
posted by aganders3 at 2:20 PM on February 9, 2011

My doctor's office has some kind of HD fake aquarium thing going (hmmm), and there are a bunch of shovelware discs of things like train rides and scenery in various locales -- libraries sometimes have these if you want to try them out. I'm not totally sure whether you can make playlists (albums) in Vimeo and then tell it to just play one after the other, but if you can, there are a lot of beautiful, high-quality videos on Vimeo.

Nature Time Lapse III
Another Cloud Reel
Soothing Glimpses of Tokyo
static : pulse
Winter in Yosemite National Park
Mt. Ontoke - time lapse
posted by wintersweet at 2:50 PM on February 9, 2011

I love the Sunrise Earth series from Discovery
posted by DizzyLeaf at 3:09 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Earth Seen from Space (1080p HD) - 20 minutes

Hope that's not the short one!
posted by circular at 4:56 PM on February 9, 2011

43 Minutes of continuous nature sounds with... (720p)
posted by circular at 4:58 PM on February 9, 2011

Virtual Trip the Movie (1h 33m, 720p HD)
posted by circular at 5:01 PM on February 9, 2011

Planet Earth, Life, Winged Migration, maybe stuff like Baraka and the Qatsi movies.
posted by box at 5:20 PM on February 9, 2011

Best answer: Another idea: find screensavers, fake slideshows, and charts of randomly fluctuating data like computers often have in TV shows. It'll make you feel like you're working at a fictional science-fictiony company.
posted by Rinku at 7:19 PM on February 9, 2011

You might look here, some are pretty subtle but still move enough to make them interesting.
posted by occidental at 7:23 PM on February 9, 2011

The original Windham Hill videos are exactly what you need. Soothing views of nature with a non-vocal acoustic soundtrack. Don't bother with their Solace DVD -- although that's got some of the good stuff, the rest ruins the DVD, at least for me. Find those titles and a little more info here (the bottom six are the originals).
posted by Rash at 8:35 PM on February 9, 2011

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