David Waterhouse, the wonder of birds

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I was lucky enough to get a chance to meet with David Waterhouse and talk about his ‘Wonder of Birds’ exhibition currently running at the Norwich Castle Museum.

Wonder of Birds at the Norwich Castle Museum

Wonder of Birds at the Norwich Castle Museum

I was interested to know why he had chosen the pieces he had and whether he had looked at more modern technology within this show, trying to gauge if my work would be suitable in this kind of environment.

It took him 4 years to curate the whole show and he wanted to use new technology and computers as an extra way of interacting and layering information, but constraints on time and budget meant he really needed to concentrate on the pieces first and foremost, and not having an extra pair of hands, or a new technologist to concentrate on that side of things, meant it didn’t happen for this project.

But, up in the rotunda with the regimental museum section, they have introduced touchscreens to explain more of the exhibits that you can see. David told me that at one time they used to have museum interpreters working in the different sections and they would act as guides for the pieces, and they hoped that these touchscreens would be used in a similar way.

I then went on to show David my AR binoculars, which he was fascinated with and we discussed which parts of my project could have real world use and these he felt the strongest element that could translate across into exhibitions.

David Waterhouse using my AR binoculars

David Waterhouse using my AR binoculars

He loved the fact that inside the shiny binoculars was just an old iPhone which meant that it was accessible to everyone with just the device in their own pockets. He could see them being used for looking inside animals, seeing the skeleton over the stuffed animal, or seeing what it once would have looked like over the bones.

He also agreed with me that the recognisable form factor – binoculars – meant that you instinctively knew what to do with them, which was my hope!

David had also looked at the art of labelling and had read some research about the distance between the article and it’s label, the further away from the object, actually contributes to disconnecting the information. This made sense, if it took you a long time to find the correlating text, you may well have lost interest or seen something else in the meantime!

I think this is where AR has a real bonus, you’re right there and so is the information…

Touchscreens in the Regimental Museum section at Norwich Castle

Touchscreens in the Regimental Museum section at Norwich Castle

After our interview I went up to visit the screens in the rotunda, they look great, there is a vast amount of information on them, beautifully presented, but when I sat to observe people interacting with the space, everyone enjoyed looking at the objects in the glass cases, and stood and looked at the screens, but apart from children (and me) nobody touched them, the girl I saw quickly swiped back and forth over the timeline, but was called away by her mum to look in the case… The screens are sat on a wall facing the objects, but of course you have to sit with your back to the objects to use them and then you’re sat right in front of a wall, with a great photo on it, blown up to cover the entire wall, but only the screen…

The information on them is also quite dry, wonderfully detailed in many different layers, but no-one to click on them… a shame… they have done exactly what David was referring too, disassociated the information from the objects, through physical distance.

 

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Presentation Day – Interactive, Augmented, Audio Installation

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Masters Presentation Day loomed last week and in my presentation I made a positive effort to be less technical , use less jargon and not to dig down into the wires and connections that will make my installation work… I wanted to concentrate on the visual and audio research I had already undertaken and the beautiful animation style I hoped to output for my final piece.

So I put in my outline

“I am interested in line, form and movement, particularly figuratively using rotoscoping, but want to use current technology such as motion sensors and augmented reality to introduce interactivity”

but on reflection it should have mentioned that I want to add more dimensions, whether it’s layering sound or adding extra texture into the animation, I’m looking to use hand-drawn lines using charcoal and newsprint and trying to introduce actual feathers into the artwork/animation/model to give it ‘real feel’ .

and I should have delved into the Augmented Reality and projection mapping a little more to give a  rounded background to the project…

TTuTT_Presentation

This link if for a PDF version.

Here is the first sound file from Norfolk Brecks

The sound from Salisbury Plain.. unfortunately not clean as the wind sock wasn’t on and the cows made a lot of noise, just outside the hide..

The animatic flight video

 

Great Bustard Call

 

 

and the link to ‘Thought of you’ for animation charcoal style

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/14803194″>Thought of You</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/woodward”>Ryan J Woodward</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

 

ASU Analysis

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The Analysis of my short film ‘Just one more place to look’  to complete my submission for ASU1

This film was created using a technique called rotoscoping, whereby the original footage can be either completely drawn over with everything re-imagined or partially drawn over as in this instance.

It paints a dark world of a lonely figure, seemingly endlessly trudging through the streets looking, or searching for something…

The audio has a sad tone and feel to it, it’s all quite low and slow, with rhyming phrases throughout the short poem that I wrote specifically for the film. It talks of unreality, memories, duality and a perpetual cycle for this character to follow day after day, trying to complete or repair their loss of ‘self’ and acts as if we are hearing the person’s thoughts.

The illustrative animation style although not photorealistic – it only uses two colours – gives a great sense of this figure actually walking through and physically reacting to light changes in the different spaces. This was a conscious decision I made to be as accurate and true to the original footage, as I could, even though it might take longer.

What I wanted to represent is the layering of a person’s life, visualised in this piece by the very obvious use of animation over live action.

The character is troubled by a loss in their life which has led to a mental breakdown and this is represented visually as reality fades out and we see him continue walking with his thoughts, getting more disconnected from the real world.

It starts almost imperceptibly between location changes but becomes progressively more obvious.

It’s a very short piece to talk about mental health but I think the strong visual element carries the viewer through the piece, intrigued as to what will happen, unfortunately they are more than likely to be disappointed as at the end it’s revealed that this is what the figure does everyday in the hope that perhaps they might feel connected again.

Personal Evaluation of ASU1

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With hand in day tomorrow, I have finally given my film a title, as a nod to the original script that I tried and tried to write, my films title is ‘ Just one more place to look’.

When we started back in October doing our soundwalk, I only intended to try making a film, after all, I may not get the chance again to script, film and edit my own cinematic piece. The things I over heard influenced the whole feel and tone of my intended film, my favourite soundbyte being the two guys running past me, and all I heard was, “there’s just one more place to look Danny..” what was Danny looking for, would they find it? It seemed exciting and full of opportunities for me to make a script out of this golden snippet.

But try as I might I couldn’t put together a script for this to work in.. I had visuals and scenes popping into my head, the main character and that it should be filmed at night, but no real substance to plan to film, not without a completed script anyway… So rather than struggle on I went and did a photographic recce and pulled  a loose storyboard together.

DSC_0084

This shot summed up what I was after, visually at any rate.

My script went through different stages and changed and came back, but I just wasn’t happy with it, I couldn’t find a reason why the character would have a reason to use the line, there’s just one more place to look…

ideasP1

I had such a clear vision of how I wanted the film to look that I started doing some test footage with a main character. This was a great testing ground as I discovered many little problems that I hadn’t thought of. Firstly the small and light camera with the little lens that I wanted to use on my steadicam rig had no manual control over the video side, which I only discovered out in the freezing cold with my actor jumping up and down to keep warm. Then the battery only lasted about half an hour as the temperature just zapped the power, and trying to use my fancy HD mobile phone video discovered that you can’t control the focus or exposure, so got shots flicking in and out of focus, most annoying.

I had to rethink my rig (merlin Steadicam and Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens), light though it was, it couldn’t cut the mustard

So the next night I could co-ordinate a shoot saw me taking out my pro Nikon, the D7000, but I could not manage – or balance – my beautiful pro 18-55 f2.8 lens, so took my nifty 50mm prime to cut down on weight.

This was a much more successful shoot,  although the 50mm meant I was much closer to the figure I realised that these were the shots that worked the best in the previous recce, nice and tight, not giving too much away about the character.

I got all of the night shots I wanted done after a third night out in the cold, and planned to include cutting in some daylight shots too, to ‘remind’ the character what life was like before the constant searching in the darkness took over.

I wanted to show the footage in a slightly unconventional way so had  a play with visual placement of the footage but binned this idea as it didn’t work, although some of the group liked the daylight shot I showed in the crit, but I think it’s best for the film to leave this idea behind, which I did.

Still trying to work a script, which by now had turned into more of a narration it was suggested that I try the cut up poetry technique by Burrows, which I duly had a go at, but found it came out with most unsatisfactory results… I now endeavoured to actually write a poem, specifically for the piece.

At this point, inspiration struck, one of the parts of the film that I was really unhappy about was the way that my actor’s jacket had branding on the back that occasionally would really show up, this bugged me and I couldn’t think how to change it as I had already used up a lot of pre production time, struggling with the script and cold issues. Then one of the guys showed a film which was rotoscoped, about a teenager with autism which had been given to many different artists to interpret the original footage in a graphic way… entitled Snack and Drink it sent my imagination into overdrive and I really wanted to use it in my film.

Knowing how long it takes to animate though, I didn’t now if I would have time to complete it, but again, eureka moment, I could just rotoscope my main character, thereby removing the nasty branding and going back to animation, but using my own personal style of illustration to do it – perfect!

See post the digital ‘cel look: https://traceytutt.co.uk/2014/01/15/the-digital-cel-look/

Then it was just  a case of time and effort to edit my footage down so that I would be animating economically, and drawing my character on each and every one of the 1286 layers that I ended up with in Photoshop.

market_roto_143

Time raced away from here and I was all absorbed with the rotoscoping process, and whilst working my way through them I visualised different parts of the film, with no background at all,  just the figure walking lonely in the midst of nothingness, mirroring the mental state they were in.

The poem was going well and I had 5 verses complete, and a backing song I really liked, so once the rotoscope marathon was over (approx 60hrs for the 2 minutes!) I put the separate images into after effects to make a full sequence that I could show to others in the final crit. Feedback  mostly came from the sound, ie, it’s too quiet and there is too much audio space so I revisited the poem and tweaked the rhythmn of it and inserted another verse.

I re-trimmed the visuals, losing about 10 seconds of footage and made the decision to remove  another short bit entirely (which I used over the credits) this took the film down to just over 2 minutes in length, the longer audio (re-recorded with my voiceover guy) and the shorter body of film fitted really well together, and I even got to add in a bit of text tracking.

So what do I think overall? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, I’ve reverted to type and gone on the visuals but doing the rotoscoping actually made me smile – apart from the bit where I realised I’d missed a whole section and had to restart the whole video into layers thing in photoshop – and I love the way it looks. I’m proud of what I have achieved and I would love to use this style and technique, for something else. I just wish I could have had a better script, as I’m unsure of the quality of my poem, or if it’s all gone a bit too arty…

Great Feedback from my SNU

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Amazing feedback from Suzie yesterday on my SNU project, if it had been my Masters Project I would have received a distinction, wow.

 

 

SNUfeedback

 

Must try and get some of those stars over to the first column… 🙂

Strengths:

Submitted: Learning Agreement, Blog Journal including research process and Pecha Kucha presentation, Critical Evaluation, Aurasma Augmented-Reality CGI model of Great Bustard.
This ambitious, cutting-edge, innovative contemporary work is located in a developing area of information technology. Your project is thoroughly researched through site visits and through communication with target providers and consumers. You have not only taken on new and complex digital design skills but also started building your networks for future product development. Your organisational skills are excellent, and the work is well designed and clearly presented, illustrated and explained throughout. You have tested your product on site and got professional feedback from museum staff. This unit evidences exciting potential for further development and production in your Masters’ Project,

Areas for improvement:
This is a work in progress and has a great deal of potential still to be developed. You can improve your methodology by clarifying stages of design and identification of technological, budgetary, Health and Safety issues, and by separating the elements of the project out more with attention to design layout . Some design aspects such as placement, orientation, readability and size of texts, and potential of adding sonic content could be further articulated.
Further research into the use of this area of information systems in museums/galleries would be useful including international practices.
(Note:Victoria & Albert museum furniture gallery :new touch based information system)

ASU4 submission – Moving Image and Sound MA – NUA

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For my sound module I have tried to investigate the potential of audio to change the feelings of the viewer, to see if it is possible to alter the context/perception and interpretation of a single piece of visual footage just by generating alternative soundscapes.

I have created a short piece of film which I have produced two different soundtracks for. I have recorded various natural and mechanical sound bytes, capturing some of my own musical output and taken them into the sound suite to digitally alter, resample and re-record, thereby gathering the required starting points for my soundscapes.

I have looked at audio-visual phrasing, rhythm and acoustic expressions of emotional states to help understand what will make two differing musical designs. I have asked friends and family, what music alters their mood, and looked into how personal perception of music may also add to the interpretative process.

beach_storyboard

I am submitting one film, but with two soundtracks.

All of the sound was put on in post-production, no sound was taken from any of the video clips, in fact when I brought the video footage into Premiere I deleted the audio tracks completely before cutting the visuals together from a brief storyboard.

All of the sound was recorded using my Zoom H1, the live sound recording studio at College or the synthesiser midi keyboard. Some extra effects are from the digital sound libraries, but I tried to use as much of my own sound as was possible, all mixed in Logic Pro to produce two different soundtracks.

Below are a purple button and a red button, please choose one, watch the following film and then click the link to take the survey. This will inform me if my experiment into sound and emotion has been a successful one.

RED_BUTTON

PURPLE_BUTTON

Thanks!

Red Video Experiment

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After watching this video please click on the link below to feedback your thoughts on my video experiment.

Please use this survey monkey link to leave feedback

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2YHQ57S

Many thanks.

Tracey

Purple Video Experiment

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After watching this video please click on the link below it to give your responses to my video experiment.

Please feedback on this survey monkey link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/29Q8GWC

Many Thanks

Tracey

ReMAstered

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I spent this morning editing and remixing my sound for piece 1 this morning, very pleased with the improved results, I could do with another group crit to ensure I haven’t gone over the top in fact, but I’m going to work on the other areas I need for my submission and re-listen to them freshly tomorrow, then I can re-evaluate the outcome.

Re-connected some of the sound effects that got lost for piece 2, and added in a lovely extra piece of my own recorded sound which works so well, I’m so pleased I took my recording equipment to an event over the weekend, it has made a big difference to the end result.

I just need to type up my piece review, make sure everything I want them to assess is in the right sound category on this blog and I think I’m all set.

I will spend tomorrow looking to create a self contained  player for my two pieces, but am not sure if I will get all of the functionality to work in the flash container as I have never used flash to get feedback from the content, but will give it a go as the whole point of this experiment was to see if I could flavour emotion just using  sound, over the same piece of video… Therefore getting the viewer to – unbeknownst to them – only see one version of the video, for only me to know which one and see a small piece of feedback for the overall feel of the piece.

Final Group Crit

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In the final crit  it was great to see the others work and then get feedback on my own piece(s).

After working all morning on my 2nd sound piece watching them both back to back made me realise how much more I needed to do on my 1st piece as the 2nd was much more complete, I could still see areas for improvement, but as a base it was much closer to the finished article than piece 1.

The feedback was surprising and I totally agreed with most of it, a little too contrived in places – we are being told what to think in piece 2 whereas piece 1 is more left to the viewers imagination.

It also pointed out  some things about the way I had shot it and edited it that I hadn’t thought of, quite sharp edits, back and forth with my visuals and the sound followed the same feel, totally by accident, also something I hadn’t noticed was that all of the shots are static, no pans, no zooms, the movement comes from the sound and what is actually happening in the film, trees rushing by, the waves lapping, the girl moving in and out of shot and focus. But they are all as I wanted them to appear, from my first storyboard they were all straight cuts.

The other guys in the crit were quite kind about piece 2, dreamlike, delightful, all on the positive side of feeling, which is where it is aimed. Suzie had another question about my parameters, ie, would I consider using a tinted filter over the visual to give the piece a sunnier, warmer look? I know what she means.. the video was mostly shot on a very cold winters sunny day and looks cool, compared to the sound which is warming –  I’m not going to do this – but picks up on another way to influence feeling.

On re-watching piece 1, although the feedback was ok it was mainly left to a bass tone to imply what I really was trying to portray, I couldn’t hear any of my key sounds, so was disappointed with this piece as a whole, fortunately I had the sound studio booked for half a day so would be able to correct and add what I need to.

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