WARNING! These videos probably not safe for epileptics. Sorry!
Today I actually made some video improvisations! Thanks to the enlightening (if somewhat peculiar) videos by Ned Rush (in the YouTube playlist), I decided to take the shortcut offered as being totally in the spirit of the project and started to play around with the assortment of ‘VIZZIE’ objects provided within Max/MSP to make working with video faster and easier. So I would like to say wholeheartedly, as a video newbie, HUZZAH FOR VIZZIE! As a way of getting up and running super-fast, these things are great. And having started to play around with some bits, I was then able to use my existing limited Max skills to start to take them further with things like metro and line objects to move sliders at random. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I actually had a bit of a play with VIZZIE last night post-blogging, but my computer rather swiftly came over all overwhelmed and crashed out before I had (ahem) remembered to save what I’d done.
The overwhelm was also a bit of a problem today and I suspect will continue to be so simply because this beastie doth not have enough grunt. Even with the displays in the various modules switched off so that only the Viewr window received moving image, it struggled, and setting to record was a bit of a challenge as it kept crashing partway through. In the end I managed to record a few videos but only at low quality, which really isn’t going to be enough for the final product unless I want it to be internet-only. Will have to have a think and a play. And possibly consider the possibility of Much More RAM very quickly. Anyway, the results. For my patch, I started with two instances of Playr (which plays a video file you drag and drop onto it), 1 instance of Sketchr, one of Chromakeyr, one crossfader and the Viewr window (oh, and Recordr so I could tape what I did). I loaded up both the versions of the photos video I’ve been talking about – the first one and the simplified one, aiming to mix them together and see what sort of layering effects would result.
I’m quite pleased with this. I like the simplicity of it and the small movements occasioned by adjusting the sliders. I find it interesting that at times the combination of settings almost seems to be trying to highlight an image in the textures, but not quite. Fleeting and hard to catch hold of. Ambiguous. After the first one, I was wondering what the effect might be if I mixed some live video from my laptop’s webcam in with the abstract footage. This of course had the unfortunate side-effect of introducing my face into the project (why do I always look so glum on this web-cam???). I tried waving my hands about in front of the camera, and then thought to wiggle my hair directly over the lens (aargh! get my face out of there!) which created a really great effect which was more about lighting being hidden/revealed plus added a sort of reddy blonde tinge to the proceedings, flickering moments of colour and light.
Really liked this – but the problem with it was that as my paws were busy with the hair-wiggling, and there was hair all over the screen, it really wasn’t practical to do any slider-improvising at the same time. Which led to version 3, which is the same as version 2 except that I added in some code to generate random numbers to drive the position of the sliders for tolerance and fade (Chromakeyr) and the crossfade.
Bits of this work and bits not. Overall, I’m less pleased with this version than the other two, but there’s still some useful stuff in there to build on. I think it could be possible to just stick with the patch as it is – there’s quite a bit of scope there and I’m pleased with the visual results, but I kind of want to push it further, maybe play with some effects that apply to this result or experiment with different things through the webcam – maybe create a physical artwork (collage?) or use photographs? Maybe different semi-transparent materials? The second two also highlight the fact that the original photographs don’t fill the video frame. I quite liked the flickering shades of grey at the sides in the first one, but having the webcam image overflow into the margins in 2 & 3 is just distracting, I think, so I might try to work out how to trim this down tomorrow so that the image fills the screen.