Fishing Rods and Ideas

Not much to say here really.
I had the dance studio booked out to refilm what I have currently, but the lights and sound system weren’t usable, so I had some experiments with what I had with me, which included a fishing rod. So hey.

Definitely some usable ideas here, I like the idea of using a pendulum to keep time, and if the rod was black, I could get some good ‘magical’ effects with getting balls to fly out in unexpected directions.

The rod also gives me a far greater range of movement to control than I would otherwise have with the balls as I have been using them.

Monday, January 21st, 2013 3rd Year, Live, Stuff I've Done No Comments

Live – A halfway-there summary.

Ok, so we’re half way through the year, and half way through this project, from an academic point of view, at least.

I’ve done 3 live performances ([1], [2], [3]) and stepped forward hugely in both the presentation of the piece and the underlying code. Allowing the tracking to work around stage lights has opened up the scope for performance massively, and general software improvement has opened possibilities in how sounds are effected, with a lot more aspects of movement being used and translated into sonic elements.

Aside from the performances, I’ve done large amounts of technical and performative development, moving from tracking with with webcam, through trying to use a webcam and wiimote together to make a faux kinect (to some success, but I eventually decided it wasn’t worth the hassle) and then on to using a playstation eye. I’ve also done a lot of visual experimentation with lights and juggling props to explore the deep sea theme that is running through this piece. I’ve also been discussing my work with various people in regards to getting them involved with the project.

So… where am I going?

I have a lot more ideas in a technical sense that I would like to explore, though with the performance working well in it’s current state these will have to be implemented if and when i feel the inclination and have the time – as with any programming project adding new elements to a project often takes a huge amount of time and there may be more important things to focus on.

As a tourable modern circus performance, the project is really too short currently to stand on it’s own. The types of venue that it would suite in it’s current form as part of a bigger show would be medium sized theater stages (Newport’s Riverfront Theatre, or Cardiff’s Chapter Arts to name a couple of local ones).
To be able to perform in such venues, I would need to either obtain funding to develop the project into a full-length show, or find a company which will include my project as part of it’s show. I have started talking to NoFit State circus in cardiff to this regard, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

I could also quite feasibly tour with a circus festival stage such as Bassline Circus, or Big Top Mania, and I have already had an offer to join Basstrology which is an example of such a stage (though one that is still in fairly early stages of development). being festival format shows, the acts can be more varied, and less cohesive as a whole than theatre shows have to be, making it more feasible to start touring the performance in its current state.

As it is, my project could easily stand up on its own performing at circus festivals and conventions, though this is not financially viable in the long run. I will also try and perform in a few scratch sessions in Cardiff (The Forge) and Bristol (Volt, Ausform)

As it is a performance of spectacle, the audience for circus performance is interesting – it is very varied, with a wide range of people going, but not very often. Modern theatre based circus is a little more narrow, however, but definitely supported, with Newport’s Riverfront putting on regular circus shows (both NoFit State and Crashmat Collective are performing in February). I think, however, that the real audience I’m aiming this project to at the moment is the bigger circus companies or funding sources, as I realistically need those connections for this project to really take off.

Once the project is performable in a larger scale, promotion should be relatively easy, as I have already been working sporadically as a walkabout performer in south wales handing out fliers (usually on stilts), which has proven very successful. This approach combined with posters and an online presence should be easily sufficient to draw a crowd.


Jan – migrate system to new laptop, confirm which additional performers I am having involved with the the project at this stage.
Feb – march – musical and visual development
April-may rehearsals & any performances I can organise.

Tech development will have to continue throughout, as any visual or sonic changes will undoubtably cause the necessity for changes to keep it all working.

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 3rd Year, Live, Tutor food No Comments

Jellyfish! – Playing With Par Cans

Over the holidays, I’ve been experimenting with scarves as an extension of an idea born in the meeting I had with Danny and Cole back in November.

I hired 2 DMX RGB LED par cans from uni scores, and have been experimenting with using them in different ways.

I started experimenting with ways to make the scarves easily visible to the camera, as well as experimenting with trying to convey sea creatures with them.
I then had a few experiments with controlling them via DMX and using them to create contrasting layers by lighting foreground and background differently, which created a striking effect.

I’d like to experiment with getting them to react directly to the balls if I can get them to do so without messing up the colour tracking.

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 3rd Year, Live, Stuff I've Done No Comments


I’ve just realised that I don’t think I’ve ever posted this video on here!

This masterpiece directed by  was the seed that this whole project grew from, way back when it came out 10 months ago. I’d been toying with methods of control and ordered the balls, but the whole conceptual aesthetic slammed into place after watching this video – brought it into being anything more than just a neat bit of tech without direction. The creatures that come in at 2:50 were obviously the main inspiration in this regard.

This is where the deep sea vibe came from!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 2nd year, 3rd Year, Inspiration, Live, Production No Comments

Striving for perfection on Vimeo

Striving for perfection on Vimeo on Vimeo

via Striving for perfection on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 15th, 2012 3rd Year, Inspiration, Live No Comments

Performance – 13/12/12

With only 2 of us setting up in the space things worked much more smoothly. All the changes made before the last performance have been completed, but as ever, there are a few things half finished – in this case a few changes to optimise the processor hit (which is still greater than I’d like, restricting the performance to 3 balls). being optimisation issues, they don’t really effect the performance, however, more preventing expansion of the project in certain directions.

There are a few small changes I can make, but I’m fairly happy with this performance. I think it nicely wraps up this train of experimentation, allowing me to deviate more from the specific sounds I’ve been using – visually and musically the piece hasn’t developed a huge amount in the last month or so… now the programming has caught up somewhat, I can start looking into that again.

I will hopefully also start working on new methods of control and expanding the performance to multiple performers now. I will attempt to record at some point a version of this however with higher quality audio, and no audience so that I can record a few takes and use the best one.

Thanks to Rich for filming!

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 3rd Year, Live, Stuff I've Done No Comments

Meeting with Danny and Cole

Yesterday I met up with two performers from Circomedia – Cole, a graduate aerialist and dancer, and Danny, a second year slackliner and juggler.
We met up in a dojo in bristol and I set up my gear and mostly just let them play with it to see what came out of it.
I filmed little bits, but unfortunately my camera is pretty low quality for film.

It was a pretty productive session, with a lot of good creative silliness. Danny brought some juggling scarves with him which I thought were really interesting, as they could be well lit and tracked and gave a nice floaty feel that was much slower than the balls. This also elaborates on the deep sea vibe that the whole project grew from.

I’m looking forward to working with these guys more!


Saturday, November 17th, 2012 3rd Year, Inspiration, Live, Stuff I've Done No Comments

Performance – 14/11/12

Another performance in the dance studio yesterday, This one is visually and sonically pretty much the same as the last one, but a lot has changed under the hood.

In response to the outcomes of my last development session, I’ve tried to shorten the set up time, and allow for brighter stage lights to be possible with the tracking still working reliably.

The first major change is the integration of a preset system, where settings can be saved and recalled at a later time. This allows much faster set up when performing in a space I have used before.

The second major change is the modification of the tracking algorithms to work in HSV colour space, as opposed to RGB, which I was working in before. This allows the colour detection filtering to be much more accurate to define as you can specify a specific colour and then allow different degrees of variance in brightness and colour away from that point, as opposed to different levels of red, green, and blue light.

Because I was again sharing the performance space with other people, and because the changes outlined above were not fully implemented at the start of setting up, everything ended up very rushed and was badly calibrated for this performance. As such, the tech didn’t quite work as it should, and because of this, I was put off the performance somewhat. Once the changes have been refined and finished properly, they will hopefully help a lot.

Thanks again to Kai for filming.

Sunday, November 11th, 2012 3rd Year, Live, Stuff I've Done No Comments