Chromatouch Dome at Shambala festival

Chromatouch Dome at Shambala festival

After the success of the Black Country Touring piece, Occasionally We Skype, I went back to my immersive engine research, bought a 10m geodesic dome from www.shelter-systems.com, (something that I’ve wanted since I finished my first piece for fulldome) and hunkered down in the studio to build a software engine to accomodate the various audio, video and control inputs from other artists,

This would entail a video server software like Resolume Arena to handle the content such as live cameras, laptop input, video files and to apply effects. it works in real time on many layers and you can pipe video around within the computer from app to app using a protocol called spout. Then you need a 3D engine to map those layers to a virtual model of the space you are going to project in/onto so they appear correctly in the cameras (which in turn go to the projectors) – a lot easier in a dome which intrinsically has no corners. Initially Unity 3D seemed like a good idea to do all the mapping for the realtime engine, but after what seemed like a month of a programming friend failing to get it to work (bad spout plugin mainly to blame – Unity is a gaming engine after all…) I decided to rebuild it in a proper VJ software – Touchdesigner which is essentialy a 3D engine made for realtime video work. It worked a treat and handled all the UV mappings beautifully and I can’t wait to do more with it over the coming months.

I’ve been working at Shambala festival for coming up to ten years now and from running the visuals for the Gaia Nova dome back in the day and through to when it turned into the Kamikaze dance tent, I now always do the mainstage visuals – mixing the live cameras nightly and nursing the visuals for one of the days – usually Saturday. It is my fave UK festival because of it’s size, friendliness and holistic attitude to qualitative fun and mutual respect. As a more sober individual in my forties than i was in my thirties I don’t note any  change in my enjoyment of Shambala from the early days to now. An experience I can’t say carries across from your average pub.

So, having built the engine and bought the dome it was time to convince the festival to give me a slot and to decide what was going in it. My experience of working for Rejenr8 dome (the last guys to run a dome in the woods at shambala) was that a full on rave wasn’t what the woodlands organisers wanted, so the perfect candidate to curate the Saturday night was long term fave of mine, my friends and the (now sadly defunct) Big Chill forums – the ambient supremo Mixmaster Morris who rules the mixcloud charts in many categories…

Also, now the woodland area is open in the daytimes it made sense to bring in the 8bit lounge gamning sessions as an aside from all the visuals when it wasn’t possible to project. With this in mind it was only fitting to bring a selection of UK chiptune musicians for the Friday night such as GrayCFGK, Sam Wray and George Lazenbleep. My partner in crime at 8bit lounge Tony Grainger (DJ Subcitizen) has a vast collection of other worldly electro so this was also a good mix to introduce into the Friday blipfest. And finally to round off the first night I had a chance encounter with none other than Tony Culverville who i befirended on a trip to Brazil in 2012 – four times DMC DJ winner and current champion of the world, Mr Switch!

Friday and Saturday sorted I decided to take it down a notch in terms of popular culture and turn to some more academically minded sounds on Sunday night, combining electro-acoustic, live-coding, live AV and modular disciplines, namely BEAST, Shelley Knotts & Holger Ballweg, Diarmo & L’Aubaine and Dave Headcleaner, respectively.  Thrown in for good measure and to utilise the 280 slices of vinyl he had brought, Tony Grainger soundly rounded it off with some suitably shuffly techno.

Visuals were taken care of by myself on the whole, but also Sam Wray with his self-programmed visualiser engine ModV – a bit like the dome engine i built, a very solid software creation but slightly unfathomable to anyone else but it’s creator 😉 Also Laurie Bender (L’Aubaine – London based, Swiss born). George Lazenbleep, lastly, stepped in with his own projectors fed by the Gieskes 3trinsRGB+1c and they really made a nice addition to the darker corners…

I’ll leave the exact tech to another post but suffice to say it all worked well on the whole. A great weekend with a weeks worth of time spent in the woods to make it happen. Special thanks to everyone who helped out like the Cliffords, Paul Kent, Liam & Arlene Burnett, all the daytime DJs like Jon Harris, Mark Smallman, Mach V, Olbi Iyah… And big big thanks to my old college buddy Sid Sharma for giving the thumbs up to the whole thing along with master man Morgan Robinson who drives buggies around and shouts at bridges a lot. 😀

Photo Credit: Laurie Bender

p.s. our neighbours in the Mexican Cantina were awesome, they had essentials like water, brooms and frozen margueritas at 1.30am when we were setting up cheers Lynne!!!

Chromatouch asked to enter Michigan ArtPrize

Chromatouch asked to enter Michigan ArtPrize

ArtPrize

Last year Chromatouch had the honour of being contacted by Rickey Ainsworth at Grand Rapids Michigan Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium and asked to show the fulldome film Written on the Body in Michigan’s ArtPrize festival.

From Wikipedia:

ArtPrize is an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first exhibition took place between September 23 and October 10, 2009, and the 2010 exhibition was open from September 22 until October 10. ArtPrize is unusual both for the large size of the top prize ($250,000, combined with other prizes cummulatively amounting to half a million dollars), as well as for the method of judging entries. There is no juror. The artists negotiate a venue with local exhibitors, and the works are voted on by the public using modern networking technology.

Rickey, being a follower of the Birmingham Thinktank Planetarium‘s highly entertaining Facebook page got in touch with Mario DiMaggio there, saying

I’ve long been a fan of what I’ve seen of Trimble & Wetton’s “Written on the Body,” shown not too long ago at your institution. Do you think they’d be willing to re-exhibit their work at another planetarium?

Well of course we agreed, the only problem was that the original footage had been lost due to hard drive corruption, so the fulldome, six channel, Digistar 3 format had to be reverse engineered into the original single frame Dome Masters ready to be re-rendered into the Digistar 4 format for the system they hired in especially for the festival. Thanks to Mario very kindly upgrading his software and passing it on to his team of highly trained assistants, it was possible to do this, and the thing was copied to a hard drive and ready to send…

Hard drive all packed up and ready to go...

It took a while to get through customs but arrived just in time for the festival and it was shown alongside two other fulldome films by Scott Hessel and also Paul Grimmer that Mario suggested would fit the bill.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to get out to the festival but it sounded amazing, with the whole city turning into a gallery for two weeks! In Paul’s words:

During the three weeks of ArtPrize, our venue at the Grand Rapids Public Museum attracted over 241,000 visitors, more than we typically get over the course of an entire year. Likewise, we set records in the planetarium with over 65,000 visitors (which would be a just-below-average annual attendance for us), all there to see three video installations, including yours, projected by truly state-of-the-art planetarium technology. We couldn’t have done it without your participation. Thank you for all the effort you put into to creating (and restitching) Written on the Body, and for giving us the opportunity to share your work in such a unique way.

One of the highlights for me–aside from the art itself–was the ArtCation program, which gave roughly 2,000 area students the chance to experience your work and think about the intersection of art and technology in new ways.

So all in all a highly successful venture, international exposure along with a chance to hopefully show my next fulldome film this year and visit the festival…

BBC NEWS | Technology | London skyline time-slip photos

A circular photo gallery on London’s Southbank is capturing images every five seconds for three days. Gabby Shawcross and Jason Bruges designed the memory project, which is touring the UK.

I really hope this turns up in brum. It’s inspired. Time-Slip in 360 degrees…

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camera array – fulldome simulation

camera array – fulldome simulation

after matt gough mentioned me in relation to seeing some 3d video stuff, akin to a qtvr with video instead of still images, it spurred me into action. i’ve been thinking about doing it with flash for a while but needing lots of lie-downs when i force myself to do anything too codey. i’m not quite there when it comes to working out the papervision thing, but here’s a test render of the array stuff mapped onto a dome in 3ds max.

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so i had a slight problem in that the fulldome masters are big circles that wrap onto a half sphere and 3ds max doesn’t wrap textures like that. so i guessed it might be cool to use the polar coordinates plugin in photoshop as it now supports video and it did work. i found a short tutorial from an age ago that helps illustrate this.