Inspiring Videos 2015

Hi All,

Not blogged as much as usual. Work has been busy and so has my personal life. Been enjoying the great outdoors a litlte more; hiking, riding, camping, etc and preparing to be a dad early next year. I have still collected a few videos over the last few months that I knew I wanted to share. So here they are in no particular order:

XYZ tracking, before the kinect.

Shameless I know but this is one of my early experiments I had forgotten about. I remember wanting to track something in a 3D space; I could do the X and Y in Isadora and basically used scale to control the Z. The bigger something is t the camera the closer it is right? And vice-versa. Watching this made me think that often the basics are the best.

Interactive timeline/projection mapping for Education.

I love this. Simple playful and fun.

Listening to colour – Neil Harbisson.

I love this type of stuff. I am secret futurist at heart. I’d love to become a cyborg actually. This guy, in my eyes, is almost a cyborg because of his experiments. If you want to freak yourself out, check this out. If that’s not crazy enough then google Stelarc and Kevin Warwick

Watch all the videos at the end of this link. Amazing VFX!

David Gumbs – artist.

I have known of, but never me, David for a long time now. A polite, talented and friendly guy who is doing some incredible things with Isadora, motion tracking and more. He has inspire me recently in the video below. Working with children and interactive paintings. What is more rewarding than that? You should defiantly check out his work here:

I re-edited some of the dead links (sorry about that!) David also sent me to some more links on vimeo, etc.(see above).

Joe Hunt – projection using isadora for a piece called:’The Only Jealousy of Emer’

Great work here Joe. The video speaks for itself. Give it a watch.

Old and New. 

One of my favourite songs is Energy 52 – Cafe Del Mar. It’s an ibiza dance/trance classic. You will probably have heard it. I have always known that many classic trance/dance (and more) music takes chords, progressions and melodies from older classic music and the like. But this one really struck a chord when I hard the ‘original’ by Wim Mertnes. I just wanted to share this with you. Listen to the original and then the ‘remix’

One for the DJ’s! STEMS.

“This morning Native Instruments is launching the Traktor 2.9 update, which is the first software on the market to use their new Stems audio file format.”

I am very excited about this!

Modulations. A full feature film about the evolution of Electronica music as one of the most profound artistic developments of the 20th century!

That’s it for now. Comments welcome below.



Barbican Video Mapping (Isadora Mapping)

I managed to get some footage of a project I was helping with a few weeks back.

This was held at the Barbican Theatre/Performance Venue in London, UK. My friend Dan Shorten (from Anomic) who works as Guild Hall School of Drama had students help out and we helped the Barbican promote the spaces and areas they have for potential clients.

I helped with some of the mapping and made sure Isadora ran smoothly. Which it did… of course!

Future TV?

I have been keeping an eye on a few things lately that I do not normally blog about.

It all started about three weeks ago by randomly finding this video:

As I imagine it did for some of you, it blew me away. What an amazing project.

I then spoke to a friend called Gavin from the Digital Fun Fair who said he had developed something quite similar and we had a good talk about it.

Then I found this on kickstarter…

There are lots of demo’s on YouTube but this seems to be the best i’ve found:

Now this is seriously cool stuff. Plug and play functionality, affordable, multi platform, etc.

Then I found this….

This idea has been looming in my head for a while now after I had seen this from Sony;

All this stuff is amazing and right up my street. There are obviously huge technological costs for this kinda stuff, never mind logistics – who has space for projector behind the sofa? Not me.

I can imagine playing an xbox game with practically every wall being projected onto. Combine that with a xbox Kinect and the room would spin and rotate based on your head position… scary! A truly immersive, reactive and spacial aware experience could be created with this technology.

I think this stuff will happen in one way or another.

What are your thoughts?

‘Reveal’ Report Part.1 [LUX – Helsinki]

Approximately a year ago a good friend of mine Dan Shorten (Anomic) rang me up with an offer I couldn’t refuse….

He needed a bit of a hand with some technical guidance for a project called Reveal which would be shown at LUX, Helsinki in January 2013. So after many trips to London over the last year we developed, tested and created an Isadora patch and I happy report that it all went well.

I have had quite a few people ask me how it worked, technical details and the hardware used. I decided before I went that I’d write a report when I got back so below is as much detail as I can give…


The concept was obviously driven by Dan as the artist. He had the ideas but the odd effect was influenced from me. Dan has some great ideas and nothing is too crazy! I love having a beer with Dan as I can often see him thinking of an idea and I just sit waiting for him to ask me of its possible, then between us we try and make it a reality. This was the case for Reveal.

The concept was started by finding out that Lux had given Dan a huge section of wall to project onto. This is no normal wall, it’s the side wall of a location callee the Baana which is a little tricky to describe, it’s like a mini valley running through the city which used to be a railway line. It had been converted to a walkway and cycle path last year for the locals to get quickly to and from the centre of town.

The image below shows this a little better.

The Banna by day.

We had limited knowledge as to how busy this area would be, obviously not living in Finland we didn’t know the area, the people or the conditions. We also didn’t know how active the people would be. Anyone who has worked with the public will know; people are unpredictable. Would people stop and interact and engage?

Another slight issue was the weather. Saying ‘it was cold’ just doesn’t cut it! It was so cold it hurt… But the local production crew and security firm assured us that it was a ‘good week’ and the week before had it dropped to -25 with the wind chill. This was as cold as the North Pole apparently. I will discuss problem and issues in more depth my next post.

The concept and focus of Reveal was to allow people to reveal parts of the wall and engage them in a variety of different ways. We wanted it to be somewhat random, bright and changing every 10/15 minutes. We didn’t want it to be a self contained and automated system either. We wanted it to be as interactive as possible but we could change the images/video whenever we wanted in response the the audience.

As Dan states on his website;

“…’Reveal’ is an interactive and participatory video installation in which the public can influence their surroundings by “revealing” the hidden possibilities in everyday spaces. Specially composed music and the sounds help create a fascinating new environment”

So we decided for 70% of the scenes in Isadora to use layers. When no one was in the space, or if no one was moving then we would project a near exact digital replica of the wall. It was just like a digital mask. Then the people moving, or the cyclists flying by made the reveal part by becoming active or human masks; moving the digital wall out of the way to see what is underneath. The human/live camera feeds worked as the mask, this raw video feed combined with short video delays, motion blurs and lots of other isadora configurations this made the reveal much more interesting. Image shows this below:

A screen shot of Reveal and the masking idea

Using the Eyes actor in Isadora (which I have a few tutorials on inside this blog!) we used simple but effective calculations, curvatures and scaling to ramp up music samples and background loops. So the louder the music became the more people moved and danced, etc.

This Baana is a new area for Helsinki and the people there where only just starting to use it. It was popular for cyclists though and we had to take that into consideration. As it was unlikely the people on bikes would stop and interact; yet we wanted them to be involved – even if they didn’t know it! So the reveal part of this worked really well because as cyclists went whizzing by the people watching got to see a really cool effect, this then spurred them on to get interactive with the space themselves.


We used an Apple Mac Pro Tower, which was amazingly specked out!

  • Mac Pro tower 2x 3.06GHz 6 core Intel Xeon
  • 64gig of RAM
  • 1 x TB 7200 drive
  • 3 x 512 SDD drives
  • Mountain Lion OS
  • DataPath x4 DVI graphics expansion module
  • 3 x Panasonic PT EX16KE XGA (1024 x 768) LCD projectors
  • DVI splitters to feed 3 x preview monitors
  • Lots of cables and power.
  • Coffee Machine!


Software was just Isadora running version 1.3.0f25. No additional tracking software or fancy quartz plug-ins. Isadora programming at its best!

Isadora had about 20-25 scenes all doing different things, some quite subtly different than others, some very unique. In some patches we used all three live feed cameras and in others just one (generally the middle camera). Again; this was just to mix things up. We had one crash and that was only because we where editing effects live and we messed something up. So its safe to stay isadora worked amazingly.


Dan took a hi-res photo of the wall during his first visit and stitched it together to give us something to work from in terms of scale and general planning. This helped a lot.

In London Dan started work on content for the piece. I seen a few edits whilst I was down there and they looked brilliant. All of the work was done in After Effects and Cinema 4D (which Dan is geting far to good at using!) My only input was general generation of ideas and introducing him to the 3D Element plug in from Andrew Kramer.

We had a few smaller projects on the go which helped us prepare and work out the video mapping side of things which was great. Dan also flew Isadora creator Mark Coniglio over to the UK to run a few ideas past him, ask about hardware set up and generally ask as much as we could whilst he was there. Mark always amazes me at how hard he works and he had some great ideas too.

All video and image files where 2600*600 quicktime running the ProRes codec.

We though we would have to use software edge blending but luckily the projectors had that feature built in so it was less work for the machine. And being a flat wall (well flat-ish) we didn’t require really advanced soft edge blending/warping.

A screen shot of the live CCTV cameras in InfraRed mode.

A screen shot of the live CCTV cameras in InfraRed mode.

Thank you to this person who filmed a bit…. (I have more videos on the way)

// So thats the end of part one…. I will post the next section in the next few days.