Monday, 28 February 2011

4D Animated Exeter Fireflies

original idea for this project was based around fireflies mainly due to the reason of light.Its surprising how such a small living being can create art with just its everyday life without knowing it and without many people realising it as art. So we wanted to highlight and copy the talent of this insect.

Another inspiration came from the live music scene and large festivals in particular. Remember the old days  when everyone used 2 use their lighters and follow the mood of a slow romantic ballad? Well in our days that has been changed to using the light of peoples mobile phones .And thats when it clicked,fireflies could track the light of the phones.

Ideas started to float around and technical issues were introduced.Would the phone light be bright enough?
And then we realised that the fireflies should track the people instead with the use of motion tracking.In order to be able and link the fireflies to people though we needed a context.Fireflies emit light therefore it seemed appropriate for the fireflies to follow the light emitted by humans(Infared),this also resolved the issue of lack of light in the area where the project would be showcased.This area was Exeter cathedral.

Then we started prototyping.We decided that the fireflies would follow the path of the architexture on the window so we started working on that to start with.When that was done we used stock infared CCTV footage to test the motion tracking while waiting for the infared camera Ash ordered to arrive.We also thought it be more interactive if the fireflies that followed the people created a light explosion when 2 or more people collided.I started working on that.bellow are a few screenshots of the process and the final explosion.

We also thought that It would be nice if the fireflies created the IDAT logo and a Fireflies logo.
Here are some screenshots of that.

So far so good but we were lacking the element of sound.We decided to use a microphone to interact with the fireflies.Loud noises would scare the fireflies and make them disperse for a few seconds.Another idea introduced was that we should have a soundtrack.I started researching for chillout themes and songs, but i wanted the soundtrack to be really chilled out but with a mix of happy and moody feelings.Also wanted it 2 be based around the sound of insects and potentialy use the insects sounds to create beats and loops.To be honest I have never made a song from scratch or loops but I did know loads of music theory so i started playing around with Garage band.Here are some screenshots of the final song created.Some tweaking was needed so used Soundbooth aswell.

At this point we were all done and ready to test our project, problems occurred such as bad weather lack of security on the site etc and we could not test our final piece before the actual projection but we managed to have a few tests while hidden in our little van headquarters.On the actual day of the projection there were functionality issues like camera wasn't working ,speaker connection didnt work but in the end when it came to our time slot all went down perfectly.Bellow are images of the night and a video.

The day were it got cancelled:

Bad weather 

No projection

Secret undercover van

Hardcore testing

 The actual day where it all went well:

Ash holding the camera

Testing under the gazebo that saved our lives

fireflies in action

And again

People reaction.Btw we can change color whenever we want aswell

Fireflies just chillin

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