Week 2: Planning for Video


Artists working with video projections and space in interesting ways…
STARFIELD : an installation where a swing is used to create a large interactive starry sky.
(A Kinect is installed behind the swing and video projector, enabling an animated galaxy of stars to be controlled by the rhythm of the swing.)

The Light Surgeons showreels:  Installation / Video Production / Live Performance

HC Gilje (lots of lovely works.)
Anti-VJ (collective of video installation artists, with many great projects under their belt)
1024D  (co-designers of the popular madmapper projection mapping software. )
Rafael Lozarno Hemmer (lots of great installations involving clever use of light + video)

Mini-documentary on projection mapping, with key artists.
Article about Amon Tobin’s projection mapping

Combining Projection Mapping + Stop Motion Animations: La Cena by VJ Suave / see also Homeless by VJ Suave (interview with VJ Suave) and Suburbia by Zeal – another clip made using a combination of stop motion animation and projection mapping – the link includes a video describing his process of automating DSLR and projector synchronisation. ( Long exposure photography is also very relevant for documentation of video and light related projects. )

Planning For Video Production

Every hour spent planning will be savoured later when it has saved time shooting, capturing, processing, editing, rendering, exporting, loading into VJ software etc etc. Some useful tools/ideas?

Storyboarding? ( see also Hitchcock iphone app )
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud is a great book for stimulating thoughts about how to pre-visualise and storyboard your ideas.
The Sour music video is an excellent example of how good planning can bring excellent results ( in this case, utilising the webcams of users all over the world ).


Part 1: Develop a storyboard on paper, to demonstrate a journey, and to convey a particular emotion during that journey. eg:
– Going from cafe or library / tram stop to studio
– Going from studio to library/ cafe / tram stop
Choose one emotion you wish to convey during the journey:
– Stress / fear ( example motivations  >> about to get fined / fail course / meeting someone who has bad news etc )
– Excitement / anticipation (example motivations  >> receiving award / about to graduate / heading on a date / etc )

 Part 2: Take a series of photo stills to demonstrate that journey. 10 black and white shots. ( To emphasise framing and composition, without any colour distractions ) Explain how your

  • Establishing shot
  • Framing
  • shot choices
  • and sequencing of shots –  help convey your chosen emotion.

( Choose shots from the cinematography list here: http://classes.yale.edu/film-analysis/index.htm )

Groups of 3 : 1 actor in frame, 1 camera person, 1 director

Journey Considerations:

  • Include a foreground, mid and background.
  • Storyboard on paper – before you shoot.
  • Distance, angle and point of view –  from camera to character.
  • Where are you directing the viewer’s eyes?
  • What motivates each shot to be following on from the previous one?

As a composition exercise later: Create 1 or 2  A4 pages in Photoshop for compositing your images.
Import your images, and scale them for positioning within these pages.
Save the PSD file a few times, saving it as a different name each time,
then try some experimental lay-outs of your images with each example,
using your page design to emphasise the emotion you are trying to portray.

Look at Visual Literacy’s list of camera shots to get inspiration…

or these comic framing examples: ‘22 comic panels that always work‘ – by Wally Wood


Rethinking the Graphic and Aesthetic Possibilities of Video

“In retrospect, we can see that twentieth century cinema’s regime of visual realism, the result of automatically recording visual reality, was only an exception, an isolated accident in the history of visual representation which has always involved, and now again involves the manual construction of images. Cinema becomes a particular branch of painting — painting in time. No longer a kino-eye, but a kino-brush.” – Lev Manovich, from the essay, WHAT IS DIGITAL CINEMA?

((*”It was Dziga Vertov who coined the term “kino-eye” in the 1920s to describe the cinematic apparatus’s ability “to record and organize the individual characteristics of life’s phenomena into a whole, an essence, a conclusion.” For Vertov, it was the presentation of film “facts,” based as they were on materialist evidence, that defined the very nature of the cinema.”
– Manovich. ))

What is motion design? Motion Plus Design – have a nice 9 min video answer for this, and they are hoping to “found the world’s first Centre dedicated to the world of motion design”.

“To represent a dynamic study on a sheet of paper, we need graphic symbols of movement.”
Dziga Vertov, “We: The variant of the manifesto” (1920), in Kino-Eye: the writings of Dziga Vertov, ed. Annette
Michelson, trans. Kevin O’Brien (University of California Press, 1984), p.7.

A famous example of designing motion for the screen: Sergei Eisenstein’s sequence diagrams for his movies, Alexander Nevsky and Battleship Potemkin.

“Motion Graphic Scores use the ideas of Graphic Notation and reconfigure them regarding animation, time based media and the digital domain.” – Christian Fischer , What is a motion graphic score?.

Thinking about motion graphic design over time? See The Art of film titles (Esp. A Brief History of Title Design + their list of  film title analysis examples )

Animated GIFS that demonstrate motion:

rrrrrrrroll : animated GIFS created by rotating a person or object around an axis.
Stellar“ The models organic bodily expressions as they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial creation. In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of three-dimensional animated gifs. Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time.”
dvdp : Animated GIF motion graphic loops.


Walter Murch ( Godfather, Apocalypse Now etc ) – outlines 6 principles for editing. (His book on the topic, In the Blink of An Eye, is an inspirational read. )

From In the Blink of An Eye, Walter Murch ( via ) :

“One of the most important things he thinks every editor should do when chosing an out point for a shot, whatever their approach, is what he calls a ‘flinch’. He rolls the shot and then hits the editing button when it feels instinctively right to turn away from that shot.

When he does this he logs the frame (or marks the neg with a grease pencil) where he stopped the clip, repeats the process and if he catches the same frame again he knows that was the right cut point. If he is out even by a couple of frames (there are 24 frames in a second of film), he knows that it wasn’t quite right and he needs to look at that edit decision again.”

“It’s almost an involuntary flinch, an equivalent of the blink of the eye. That flinch point is where the shot will end,” he says. “It’s very similar to gunslinging. That’s the reason I stand when I edit.”

Editing: Alfred Hitchcock explains the Kuleshov Effect.
Filmsound.org hosts a great range of writing about how sound can work with video.

Exporting a video clip?

Vimeo guide to compression. Although this guide is written to suit video exports for the web, rather than video for projection, it explains succinctly in one place, some of the key parameters to adjust when exporting a video.

Software based Origami?

ORI-REVO:  – A Design Tool for 3D Origami of Revolution.
ORIPA – An Origami Pattern Editor.
Treemaker –  a program for the design of origami bases
Pepakura Designer – make templates for paperwork models from 3D data files.

Video Projection Software?

VDMX – my preferred live video software, can be heavily customised, providing much depth and flexibility for many purposes. Includes good Quartz Composer integration.

Resolume – the most popular PC based software for real-time playback of video clips.
Millumin – developed to suit theatre performances, it prioritises cue points and timelines, in addition to built-in mapping and triggering functions.
QLab – software for stage environments, syncing and sequencing video, light, sound, midi.
Dataton Watchout – A PC based platform for controlling video across multiple displays simultaneously.

Animata – Live animation software, controllable via Quartz Composer and OSC (eg control limb movements / animation components in real-time)
Madmapper – Probably the best consumer-grade mapping software at the moment.

VPT :  A free (Mac + PC ) multipurpose realtime projection and mapping tool created by artist HC Gilje.

Integrating projections with interactivity

Digital interactives work by using some sort of sensory or gestural input.. generating data from this, and using that data to control software parameters of your projection/video. To move past simply using a mouse to control your software, there are a range of MIDI controllers available, as well as more sophisticated hardware and software that allows heavy customisation to suit each project ( eg measure temperature / colour / volume / brightness / movement etc and massage these elements into software friendly ranges of numbers for controlling software. )

makeymakey : “MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween”

max/msp : ”Max gives you the parts to create unique sounds, stunning visuals, and engaging interactive media. These parts are called ‘objects’ – visual boxes that contain tiny programs to do something specific. Each object does something different. Some make noises, some make video effects, others just do simple calculations or make decisions. In Max you add objects to a visual canvas and connect them together with patchcords. You can use as many as you like. By combining objects, you create interactive and unique software without ever writing any code (you can do that too if you really want to). Just connect.”

arduino ”..an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.”

Ninja Blocks – another DIY electronic sensor kit.

Kinect – infra-red camera for X-Box, capable of generating data from spatial movement within 3D depth.

LEAP motion – similar to the Kinect, but much capable of much higher resolution and more finely detailed interactions.

Game controllers, and joysticks etc – can be used to send data results to video or audio software (using software such as Junxion to translate the gestural data, into midi information for your video or audio software ).

FACEShift + FaceShift OSC – Use your facial expressions to control your software!

Integrating video with lights

Artnet / DMX are protocols for sending information about lighting between a computer or lighting desk, and lights. ( You need a DMX interface to link a computer and lights, or a computer and a lighting desk. )

See also: DMX Lighting 101

Integrating projections with sound

Idiron (link and control Resolume with audio sequencing software, Ableton Live)
filmsound.org ( lots of ideas about audiovisual relationships, on and offscreen )
freesound.org (archives of creative commons licensed soundscapes and recordings )

WEEK 1 TASK: Set up a free account at Lynda.com.

Campus login for Lynda.com
Off-campus login for  Lynda.com ( see also: http://www.rmit.edu.au/library/lynda )

Find the series: Premiere Pro CC Essential Training
and add these tutorials to your bookmark list there ( add as many as you want – but be sure to include these sections) 


1. Up and Running with the Premiere Pro Workflow
2. Getting Started ( see also: useful keyboard shortcuts / another list /
3. Importing Media
4. Marking and Selecting Clips
5. Basic Video Editing
19. Finishing and Output


Upcoming Events of Interest:

Sat 15 March, 1-4PM (2a Little Breese st, Brunswick ) Motion-Controlled Instruments and Audio-Visual Design – Artist talks: Presenters will include Ethno Tekh discussing their latest motion controlled audio visual instrument ‘Gravitate’, Richard De Souza talking about his recent visual designs for Future Music and Robert Jarvis will be showing his own VJing tool Vizzible. There is an art and technology exhibition happening at this space at the same time.

 Mon 24 March 6-7.30PM – What’s the future of music? A sound Discussion @ Fed Square, (For thinking about the role of sound and music in your performance?)

Mar 14-30 – Festival of Live Art

Arts House will erupt into a giant four-day live art experience, animating every space with over 20 projects including one-off encounters, durational works, short performances, club nights and more.The Festival of Live Art (FOLA) hits Melbourne for the first time in March, with performances, experiences and happenings that defy convention and put everything on the line to seduce, cajole and provoke.”

Constructing Situations

Week 1 – Introduction to Video


  1. I have found myself gravitating towards slow motion video for quite some time now. I find it really beautiful and theatrical in the way in can build suspense and anticipation for an action. The action could be something common, like popping a balloon, but slowing it down really helps to put it into perspective.

  2. Kaleidoscope – Len Lye https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF_ehWEL0Wc

    I enjoy the use of abstracted lo-fi animation in this video. The multiple layers make for quite a captivating visual experience.

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P74xmTK6W4Y&feature=player_detailpage

    Like how the projection works with the modeling stage. This might require layering or sensor technique?

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