Euphoria Music Festival

This last weekend I was graced with the opportunity to work  Euphoria Music Festival. The Festival Prides itself in providing EDM, jam bands and all round fusion of those genres in an environment meant to inspire spiritual growth. It's a young festival and was overall a success. It was the second full scale camping festival I've done, probably the biggest with an estimated 10,000 and I was able to VJ for 40 hours all three days for the majority of acts on a 4 piece LED Wall. 

By far the biggest act I got to VJ for  was Ghostland Observatory. Long story short,  the  insane lighting direction, a well experienced laser tech and I on visuals combined to  create  a mind blowing visual show to accompany Ghostland's amazingly tight sound. 

There were many other awesome acts I was able to perform with and the weekend overall was a huge success. Another Highlight that was a truly learning experience was watching RL Grimes VJ work flawlessly on the  fly with their personal LD and see what it means to be next level. All his content was custom for the show and was amazingly synced and placed. and the color palettes between the LD and CJ were on point continuously without fail.

In relation to my earlier post on  DJs vs Bands, I got to spend a good amount of time learning to isolate frequencies in resolume for just about everything. Still needs some work but it was incredibly fun to play with and knowledge worth honing that was granted to me from a VJ named Angel from El Paso,TX that had been laying down some dope tips all weekend. 

UXD for the Effigy for Flipside (Texas Burning Man)

Work in progress this last week has been the UXD for the Flipside Effigy.

You may be wondering "What does that mean?"

Well, for those of you that don't know Flipside, it is the Burning Man of Texas. Although at Burning Man the Effigy is the man they burn at the end of the event. But At Flipside it changes every year and this year it's a Wizard head that throughout the event will have projection mapping on it at night with animations that are triggered by a control system inside the head. There will be a quest to find codes that, when put through the wizards spell controller in his head, will trigger the animation and, for special spells, flamethrowers out of his fingers of different colors. For the production of the Wizard head we have several sections: The Physical production of it, The Audio/Video Production,  Pyrotechnics, Software and probably others I have not interacted with.

I'm part of the AV production as the main video projection mapper and signal flow designer (UXD, User Experience Design)for cues for video and flamethrowers that are being carried out according to what code(spell) has been put in the interface. In the video department we also have Tavia and Jeff, two other former and current VJs. Tavia, former vj and current motion graphics artist, is heading the animation side with help from Jeff, I and others and Jeff is heading the Hardware logistics of the computer. my part sits somewhere in between technical and content.  

This last week we've been able to get our work flow fairly prepared for the streamline production of the thing as a whole, including a 3d simulation of the wizard head with each spell code used since we will not be able to see the real thing until the week of the event( may 21-25). All we need now is the spells and animation... which should be the most fun and creative part! How does a wizard of Flipside acquire his spells and what spells does a wizard of Flipside use? All of these things will soon to discovered muhahahahaha.

 

First Time Projecting Visuals at Cheer up Charlies using 2 Projectors mapped for a huge canvas

My most recent contracted gig was at a local well known LGBT friendly bar named Cheer up Charlies. It was for a 2 day showcase by Solstice Live, a company with a website business that easily connects venues to musicians/bands. It seems almost natural that a company like that go into the local booking biz and so far what they've been doing has been amazing.

The event I helped with asked for two 5k projectors on a backdrop made of limestone on the outside stage. I was able to stitch both projectors and align them to make one giant 50ft wide x 30ft tall projection. It was my first time at cheer up's projecting and setting up projectors there so it was hugely satisfying seeing everything work exactly as planned. Three bones got some footage the first day and the second day Transcontinental trip recorded their whole set so hopefully there will be some good video to link in soon. I look forward to using the limestone again as it created a very cool look that can be worked with to create some amazing effects. 

Since we last spoke: Projection mapping Cheer Up Charlie's, UXD for Flipside, Audio Reactive Augmented reality.

Hey there! If you're reading this post as a first timer then welcome! The next 6 posts are going to be a refresher of the things that have happened over the last few weeks post SXSW.The hardest part of coming back from sxsw has been building motivation to get back on a "normal" schedule. Freelance already holds it's own weird definition of the word schedule. And literally, in this field of work you are making up the job day by day, week by week. It's the beauty in the chaos of a new frontier.

 I  like to think about it in relation to the book Packing For Mars where the author, Mary Roach, dedicates every chapter to explaining the insanity and interesting  quirks of preparing to go to space in the early days of space travel. Things like what the flag on the moon was made out of and what it took and cost to make it or the rigorous amount of paper cranes a japanese training astronaut needs to make so that the psychologist can see how he produces under pressure and repetition. There was even the worry of peoples minds literally being blown by amazement of space once they got up there.  Surprisingly, no matter how trained you are, there is a deadly trance once you  gaze into space that all astronauts experience when they leave the ship. I say deadly because it's common for a person to ignore everything and everyone because of sheer awesomeness to the point of their oxygen almost depleting when looking into  the abyss. Much Like I often feel in this new frontier, it's as if there is no point of reference other then the present and the past moment. Besides that, theirs the infinite options of where to go from here.

Anyways. Frontiers and what not aside, I've been doing some amazing stuff i'm excited to share!

Interactive Projections for Dancers

One of the big resources that I've used for pushing and testing the boundaries for interactive design is using IR sensors with dancers. This is not the only way but it is easier to find someone who is willing to dance for a creative endeavor then find a model or friend to awkwardly stand in front of the Kinect IR sensor for hours. The growing popularity for projection mapping and set design and generative visuals for dancers has also pushed for demand of people that understand the field.

 About a year ago I first did a project with Crash Alchemy, a local circus/acro dance troupe,  where we got a dancer with a choreography and a narrative, got a costume for him, and created projections for him to dance to help drive the narrative. The outcome we called The Perfectionist which is on my interactive page. It took about 2-3 weeks from start to finish and 90% of communication and production was not face to face with the rest of the group. It was ambitious and it was truly impressive that we were able to sync it all together with the time and resources. The production went like this:

1)Solidify Story, song and Choreography

2)Get someone(Me) to shoot choreography with a camera from the projector's perspective and from the perspective of the audience. For this the dancer should wear finger lights on their hands and feet and the room should be as dark as possible. 

3)Send footage to motion graphic artist to create video FXs as in sync as possible to the choreography by following the finger lights in After Effects(I believe you can automate it to follow the light). Combine that into a video with the music.

4) Once motion graphics is finished, set up a full production shoot with three cameras, lighting, projections onto sharktooth transparent scrim, costume, makeup, music recording, people to run all these, the director and the actor. That was also the first day all of us had been in a room together. 

It was a beautiful chaos to say the least. With no monetary pressure since it was just all for experience.  But I had already been experimenting with the Kinect at that time and Had Brought up to the Production manager there had to be a way we could record the dancer's Body positions using the IR 3D scanner rather then using finger lights. He agreed that we should look into it and eventually I did find a way but not for that project. 

Recently though I decided to put it to the test with my knowledge nearly a year later. Within 3 hours, a dancer  and I were able to get a broad idea of the choreography and narrative, set up the kinect, record a brief performance in video and her limb positions in 3D space, and then create a 3D representation of her in a visual program so that The motion graphics part can not only see where she is specifically on stage but I may now use this data to set triggers for her movement to create visuals on her own.

This essentially does 3 things:

1) Allows for me both of us to see where and how the kinect may loose her

2) Watch exactly where she moves her body on stage without the need of her going through the choreography or her needing to be present.

3)I'm now able to create triggers for her to generate the video FX live rather than Having them try to be in sync with the choreography. This allows for a truly interactive performance rather than a pre-recorded video of the FXs. 

This also allows for the interactive part to be used by anyone as long as they know how to trigger what (hand to chest to create fireball, hand to foot to create glowing orbs, etc.)

This project is still in the works but the application beyond theater is one that I believe will create the way we interact with the world around us. No buttons or wires, only our bodies to control the world around us. Stay tuned!

 

SXSW 2015 reflections

SXSW 2015 has happened and is now long gone. All of us in Austin have happily taken a week off to relax and cash our checks to pay our rent.  I worked at my homebase Empire Control Rom and Garage for 6 shows and 2 shows for The San Francisco Visual company All of it now. Im still wrangling up pictures because when you're in the madness you neither have time nor organization to remember to take a picture let alone bring a camera. A quick summary though:

Highlights: Hotline Miami 2 release party and doing visuals for Magic Sword! Found a new local band called Capyac that knows how to throw a  Dance Party and we wana collab. Met the Co-founder of the EEG headset I own and wants to talk business. Saw nearly no interactive parts of the interactive party which says the future is still ripe for the taking. Learned to set up Live streaming with All of it now. Got to check out some amazing installations downtown created by friends of mine. My Roommate Jerome Morrison Was a Panelist for his hologram which was awesome 

Lowlights: Worked a couple of days at a shitty club called Krave on 6 street. Also, everyone performing were in weird moods and I don't blame them because this year felt very uninspiring as far as the event as a whole.  I can't help but think it has something to do with the business factor that has taken a lot of the joy of sxsw. A lot of shitty bros ruining the vibe(but that could be just me being raised here and having tourist anxiety).

Over all, I worked just enough to pay bills but nothing more to go international. Everyone says it was different this year. I think it was too. It was more tame, less spontaneous, more gimmicky, less impressive creatively. I think SXSW had a lot of pressure on it from the year before with the Car Accident and it growing too big that they may be restructuring it to be more formal. But I'm very proud of the people I got to work with who killed it creatively among the chaos and also the venue Empire for being the most laid back and friendly  while also being profession venue  I've ever worked in. Good people make a family and family business put in everything they have to make it work. 

The RJD2 Show and Augment Reality for Stage Performance

First off, here is a 360 degree video of my RJD2 show at Empire Control Room.
 

It's only a link to the streaming video so you will not need to upload anything but if your phone is fancy and smart you can turn the phone around the room and it will give you any angle as if you were standing right in the room room! It's made by a group called Omniception and is also viewable in the oculus rift(by far the best way to experience it).  The sound was recorded straight through the mixer but may not work on iphones, only ipads and androids and the computer/oculus rift .

Besides the RJD2 show, I was able to figure out how to set the object position for moving objects using your hand in the computer world. This is what is Refered to as Augmented reality because the object is not real but is digital but also is interacting with the real world. This is the beggining of What i believe is a possible use for props in live theater. For example, Say the person on stage is living in a limbo between reality and the dream world, Don Quixote style. Actually lets say it is Don Quixote, a man that believes when he is fighting windmills he is fighting giants. On stage you may have a prop or back drop that is a windmill. But with a projector you can now turn that windmill into a giant to portray it as his imagination. Not only that but the digitally projected giant may interact with the live person on stage as though one does in a video game. 

Another example, using a projector and a screen between the actor and the stage. imagine someone was a conjurer and they wanted to conjure elements of fire water or even electricity. Not only could they hold these elements in their hands but they can control them, throw them all over the stage, make one the size of a small house, and then actually have that ball of fire the size of house settle down  and morph into a real house of smoking charcoal.  That small house is now part of the set and the character can now grab the door handle to the house and walk inside of it. All done with a stage and computer and no trees to cut down or tucks to move props or people to build them in real life.  

There are many practical applications to this too besides entertainment! And soon you will be interacting with them daily!



Holograms and a calm before the storm...SXSW

Been working a lot on some private works lately and picking up a lot of VJ shows in on the weekend(6 in 10 days) one of those being an amazing sold out show By RJD2 himself.  I was lucky to be granted the opportunity to perform the after party in the Control Room of Empire in Austin, Texas, right after the the big show which happened outside. The design for the show outside was excellent and was done with  video mapping in sync with the music onto flying saucer by Jeff Kurihara and Kendall Clark, two amazing VJs and Austin locals.

 Video from the event should be available of the show via a group called Thrillbox, who Create 360 videos for the Occulus rift, that also happened to be there! Over all it was a create night to work with awesome people. That aside, it was also the last big show before SXSW.

But back to private works. The last 3 weeks have been very much dedicated to  a construction by Jerome Morrison, my roommate, friend and collaborator of many works and experiments. The latest one is a Pseudo-hologram using a technique called pepper's ghost. This name was given to the technique after it was widely used in magic shows and theater to create an image of a person which is both well defined and  transparent. It may make more sense once you see pictures but technically it is the reflection of an object off of a transparent material, yet, you can not see the source, only the reflection so the image seems to be real! Much like the reflection of a city when you pass  a shopping window on a sidewalk. 

The structure is 12 ft wide by 12 ft deep by  6.5 ft high and is shaped like a glass pyramid that is upside down. Each side of the pyramid hosts a different angle of the image. The image we used is a user interface created in touch designer that simulates a solar system within the structure. This means that when someone gets into the middle of the hologram, they then become the center of the solar system and are perceived from the outside to be sitting where the sun is. Once they are in the middle, a body sensor picks up their skeleton and allows them to control the tilt of the solar system using their right hand: left and right tilt as well as forward and back. Among this there is an army of floating stars surrounding the whole simulation video that also slowly move. 

The piece is fairly simple but also wildly effective giving you the feeling in it and out of it that you are floating and viewing a vacuum of space! It's a weird inner/outer-space dichotomy it creates for the experiencers for sure. Unfortunately, the debuting event Infinity +Infinity has been moved back to May due to freezing temperatures. Though unfortunate, we were able test it all out this last week at the Museum of Human Achievement, or MOHA,  and are now able to fix and enhance all the small technical things you never think about. Most  of them things only we would notice of course. 

First post

Hello to all who've found this blog. Thanks for visiting! I'm no amateur writer but it has been a moment since my last blog post so bare with me as I find my rhythm.  I'll cut to the reason why we're here: my craft. You maybe met me or have seen my work or possibly heard from someone else and somehow found your way here!! Congrats, welcome and get ready cause I'm going to spill my thoughts on all things I do and why I do them. 

My background began in mass amounts of video games where i soon learned what and where the bits and pieces to a computer were and slightly how they worked. From there I began building my own. I carried this on as a hobby as I went to film school in Boulder, Colorado. There I learned film editing. It began with super 8 on a editing table for hours a night and carried into coming home and painting on the film and re-editing digitally using computer software. While this was going on, I believed it to be important that I learn lighting  so I started as a stage hand for concerts learning lighting on campus and at the local venues. I also began to study light as it occupied space by creating and researching art installations that used light. Many of these installations were overly ambitious but merely steps towards bigger ideas, but what that bigger idea was I wasn't sure of. So i began studying art therapy because I believed there was something new and valuable to using light and the moving image to express oneself. And then I graduated and came home without a job.

From there I started from scratch pedicabbing for rent and occasionally picking up something for green screen work or camera help but nothing substantial. Not until a year later, when I began doing lights again, did I find out that VJing was something I could do and something that people wanted. So I took my editing skills into the lighting realm and combined them into something worthy of bragging to my friends about.

It's been a year since then and I have found myself now combining the other skills of my research into this field including building computers, art therapy, modern art theory and many others. I have become involved with a Dance group, Crash alchemy,  that uses projections for their performance and I have integrated a infrared camera that tracks the dancers and creates visuals from their movements. I am now taking VJing into my own direction, a direction that needs the human body present to react and create. I'm doing this because I believe all creation should be an act of presence and learning to be present.  Anyways, I will try to keep most of my blog posts short and frequent and hopefully well littered with actual videos!  Drawings maybe? I'm a visual learner and  so I like to cater to my kin.