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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.



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.

26 Aug

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The Universe and Me

August 26, 2012 | By | No Comments

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In June / July I became reacquainted with the world of theatre thanks to an opportunity to work on a show with Liverpool-based theatre company 20 Stories High. Director Keith Saha is a keen collaborator, often working with other artists and integrating different practices into his shows, whether it be rap, puppetry, or in this case, interactive video.

The show was called Universe and Me, and had been developed with the 20SH youth theatre group. It was a great experience for me to work again in this context, not having done so properly since doing video design for A Different Tune. Keith was really keen to push what we could do with isadora, and I felt technically stretched by some of the ideas we had. We used live camera recordings, mobile projections, used multiple webcams for simulating Skype conversations (and no, actually using Skype is never a reliable solution, not even for Skype!).

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19 Aug

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‘Time back way back – Babel Fiche and the post-apocalytic archive’

August 19, 2012 | By | No Comments

“O what we ben! And what we come to …How cud any 1 not want to get that shining Power back from time back way back? How cud any 1 not want to be like them what had boats in the air and picters on the wind? How cud any 1 not want to see them shining weals terning?” – excerpt from Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

The above lament is taken from Russell Hoban”s post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, Riddley Walker – a story set in a future England, in which society is living through a new iron age. Fragments of the previous world are dug up from the dirt, or passed down the generations in broken english, to form the myths that underpin there current ”civilisation”. The main character, Riddley, is haunted by the evidence of a previous society that was far more technologically advanced, and yet sewed the seeds of its own destruction in the “1Big1”. A similar kind of post-apocalytic shamanism forms the basis for Dave Griffith”s Babel Fiche film, currently showing at the Castlefield Gallery, Manchester.

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