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2012 December

31 Dec

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Wave Machines video codec wrecking

December 31, 2012 | By | No Comments

I recently helped director Jack Whiteley on his music video for electro-pop band Wave Machines, doing an interesting little job as part of the post-production process on new single ‘I Hold Loneliness’. The video explores the use of digital and analogue trickery (much of it provided by Venya Krutikov) to colour, distort and animate the band members faces. Jack asked me to create some codec glitch effects for one short section of song during the breakdown.

Although I’ve run a workshop exploring the principles of codec wrecking, I’ve only used it once before as part of my own work, in the final sequence to my Noah’s Ark film. It is an odd process for a video-maker to work with, as it is a precision operation that yields surprising results. The particular compression and keyframe surgery do not easily anticipate the final outcome. In addition, the effects are dramatic, and yet no filters or fx plugins are used – just a couple of compression tools. It’s nice to work away from the FCP timeline and play with the material itself. I used ffmpeg and avidemux to produce several different treatments of the original sequence of singer Tim for Jack to include before his final post. The video below shows the original rough edit sequence, followed by 3 treatments fro the codec wrecking process.

If you want to know how to play with codecs, then you can follow this cracking tutorial series (note – if you’re using OS Lion, then you will likely need updated versions of FFmpeg and avidemux).

 

31 Dec

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Interlace

December 31, 2012 | By | No Comments


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A collaboration with OWT Creative in October gave me a chance to further explore video mapping and distribution in Isadora.

OWT deviated from their usual print-based activities to create a video-fanzine, collecting 100s of 10 second submissions responding to the theme ‘interlace‘. The videos were presented as part of an event at the Vault, Manchester on October 3rd. Alongside presenting these videos on monitors in the space, my role was to explore more dynamic ways to project the works, and from the off I was keen to utilise the tiled walls as part of the display.

I spent a lot of time creating a flexible masking system using the shape tool, and multiple layers of user actors, to  control the width, height, pitch and spacing of masks to fit the tiles. The other key aspect of the patch was creating a way to turn the tile masks on / off, manually or through a series of automated compositions, allowing multiple videos to be played through different (dynamic) tile masks. The final patch worked really well with the tiled wall, randomly sourcing videos from a database to create new compositions.

As with the modular screen system I developed for the Universe & Me theatre show, breaking a single screen down into component parts isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Multiple outputs creates complexity, especially when you want to isolate parts of the screen, or combine video sources.

I wasn’t the only person trying some new isadora tricks – student Matt Lees also developed a patch that allowed isadora to display tweets sourced live via a processing sketch, based on a given search term. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future, perhaps combined with the Live Writing tools.



30 Dec

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Composite Video

December 30, 2012 | By | No Comments


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Performance with video titlers

Composite is platform for the real-time presentation, annotation and re-combination of ideas.

The Composite Lectures format presents 3 short papers, each lasting about 5 minutes, followed by a final summary of the ideas shared in that session. Since the indivisual talks are annotated on analogue video titlers, the final summary itself becomes an overlaid remix, a video text cut-up.

The title refers in this case the yellow ‘composite’ phono cable I have used to connect the devices, from the camera, through the daisy-chained video tilters, through to the projector at the end. It is these through these cables and devices that the presentations are relayed visually, annotated, and finally summarized.

Composite 01 was devised by Sam Meech and Nathan Jones, and supported by the Cornerhouse Microcommissions scheme.

30 Dec

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‘Archive’ – video installation

December 30, 2012 | By | No Comments

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‘Archive’ is a single screen database video installation about the preservation and cataloguing of memory. Made of 16 reinforced file boxes, all backed with architectural tracing paper to form a simple back projection screen. Into these boxes are projected various films from the NWFA collection, footage of the NWFA itself, plus other bits and bobs exploring my own personal experiences in relation to preservation.

Shown as part of the Co-operative exhibition, Liverpool Biennial 2010 – http://thecooperative.info/

Like much of my work this is built using isadora to trigger and arrange a database of over 100 video clips. The patch arranges the videos in compositions to fit the grid created by the boxes. As a result, some lovely combinations occur of archive footage amongst the filming cabinets of the NWFA.

I don’t usually think of myself doing ’sculpture’ or ‘installation’, but as soon as you project anything the piece takes on a spatial dimension that has to be negotiated and in that sense becomes architectural (I have become very fond of the screen I have constructed from ‘R-Kive’ boxes). This piece was a way for me to document my experience within the North West Film Archive and explore the idea of selection and preservation in a much looser, more formal way than I could in Noah’s Ark.

It also let me bring in some other stuff taking place in my life whilst working on Noah’s Ark – namely the deterioration and death of my grandma, which I documented along the way. It is perhaps strange and morbid to do this, but it gave me some ownership of her memory, and infact some of the images are fascinating.

Photos of the ‘Archive’ used courtesy of Alex Wolkowicz

03 Dec

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Moston Cinema

December 3, 2012 | By | No Comments

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Small Cinema, Long Story.

Been a looong time since I posted. The main reason for this is one small cinema.

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01 Dec

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Composite: Feedback

December 1, 2012 | By | No Comments


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In October, myself and poet Nathan Jones presented the latest instalment of our collaborative experiments with live text and analogue video titlers, this time at the Cornerhouse, Manchester. Building on the Composite Video Lectures format, 3 speakers (Nathan Jones, Hannah Silva, and Steven Fowler) presented papers outlining perspectives on poetry, violence, composition and performance. Each paper was accompanied by live annotation from the analogue video titlers, creating a secondary text projected live behind the speaker.

This time we attempted to develop the role of the live video documentation, projecting the feed across three screens, each feed mediated by a combination of layered analogue video titlers, and digital text interfaces (including Mathew Lee’s isadora twitter scraper). The feed was also recorded to a database created  in isadora. for re-incorporation later. Following the 3 papers, each speaker performed a semi-improvised work in response to the collected annotations. The recorded footage was represented for the second part of the session, interrupting the living performances of the speakers, encouraging to improvise with their own material as it was re-played in random bursts.

The performances were re-documented using the isadora database, and a final ‘composite document’ – a version generated through random selection – created to mark the event.