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Digital Video Art: Two Interesting Techniques

As I’ve been playing around with content creation lately for whatever purpose my subconscious has dreamed up, I found a few really interesting techniques that produce beautiful, creepily wonderful results.  These techniques appear to be usable as either a live effect or in the creation of recorded content.

The first – Liquified Video:

The blog where I found these techniques, Create Digital Motion, is a grrrrrreat resource for aspiring VJs, content creators, or interested enthusiasts like yours truly.  From the article on Create Digital Motion on Liquified Video:

Datamosh? (The “forbidden” but harmlessly meaningless word?) Video squishification? Mushy data?

Call it what you will, but applying real-time distortion and displacement to video so that video textures become flowing layers of pixels looks absolutely beautiful. Andrew Benson of Cycling ‘74 has only just begun playing with this in Jitter using GLSL shaders, and already the results are really compelling. (For a simpler example that looks more like the compression artifact technique we’ve seen recently, have a look at the second video – though, personally, I like the more sophisticated, layered approach of the video at top. This is going some very cool places.)

This is a Jitter patch, but would be simple enough to port to code for Processing, FreeFrameGL (which implements shader code), or other tools, too, in case you can’t bear being away from your moshness.

The second technique is akin to all of the Light Painting I’ve been writing about; a technique that employs a chroma sample and exploits it, as if you’re painting live with the color:

User naus3ayt on YouTube has penned this technique – his channel is interesting, and I highly recommend checking out both it and Create Digital Motion. Great work, fellas!

ETC Unveils The Element Console

What’s that you say?  Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) has released a new series of consoles!  So, to the huge family of consoles at ETC – from the Microvision FX way back in the day to the Expression line, the Express line to the Obsession line, the Congo, Eos, Ion, SmartFade, and architectural controls Unison and Pharos – welcome to the market, ETC Element!

People at USITT 2009 today will be seeing the new console.  I had a plane ticket to USITT, and I’m supposed to leave tomorrow – but I am too sick with this bronchitis crap, and I’ll be missing this year’s conference.  Someone take a picture for me?

element-angle1

ETC unveils new ElementTM lighting control consoles, USITT 2009

Middleton, WI (20 March 2009) – When customers demand, ETC listens. Users have been asking for an ETC lighting control console designed expressly for modest rigs and maximum hands-on fader control. In response, ETC is introducing their new ElementTM consoles at USITT 2009 in Cincinnati. ETC Controls Product Manager Sarah Clausen explains: “ETC defined the basic lighting controller when the Express console was introduced in 1995. We’ve seen over time that the basic lighting rig has changed. With Element, we’ve redefined what ‘basic lighting console’ means, without losing the ease of use of Express.” Element comes in two hardware versions, based on fader count (the Element 40 or the Element 60). Each supports either 250 or 500 channels and a full two universes of DMX output.

Element is directed at smaller venues like schools and houses of worship who depend on single console operators or volunteer staffers. It is designed to handle rigs outfitted predominantly with conventional fixtures (spotlights, PARs, fresnels, and their accessories – scrollers, mirror heads, gobo rotators, etc.), while also accommodating some LED fixtures and/or a small number of simple moving lights. “We based Element on our Eos® control system but with a simplified feature set in a stand-alone console,” says Clausen. Integral faders, a single cue list and command prompts echoing those of the Express console make operation of an Element console simple and direct.

ETC addressed a number of special requirements in this new console. Users asked for channel faders. ETC engineered Element with true LTP channel faders for handling simple shows directly or for building up looks for use as submasters or cues, or for editing levels live. Users wanted submasters. By turning a switch, Element’s channel faders become 40 submasters for simple playback of live shows. When submasters are needed all the time, the Element 60 console provides 20 additional dedicated submaster faders. Users wanted the simplicity of one-button operation if needed: Element records cues and fade times into a single cue list for simple playback of more complex shows using a GO button. Or, when users are ready to move up, they can access more complex timing functions like cue parts and follows to create more intricate lighting transitions.

Element also opens the realm of special effects to basic operators by recording effects directly into cues or loading them into submasters for more dynamic lighting looks.

Element even navigates basic accessory, LED and moving-light control. At the press of a button, the console’s On Demand ML Controls appear on screen with tools designed to control smaller numbers of non-intensity equipment like scrollers, gobo rotators and mirror heads for conventional fixtures. Element’s color and gel-picker tools simplify the control process further, applying appropriate colors to LEDs and color-mixing accessories and fixtures.

Smaller-scale venues like schools will appreciate the deep customer and technical support behind Element — from its on-screen prompts, Help system, and video tutorials, to ETC’s online Community Forums and standard expert 24/7 phone support.

ETC plans to begin shipping Element this summer 2009.

For more on Element, see product page: www. etcconnect.com/element

ETC Stops Taking Orders for Express/Expression

This is a little bit of old news (not to me, apparently) , but on the ETC Blog today I read that they have abruptly stopped taking orders for their extremely popular lighting desk lines, the Express and Expression.

Wow.  All things come to an end, huh.

Am I wrong to say that most lighting programmers cut their baby teeth on one of these?  I offer programming seminars on both of these lines, and I have the strong believe that there is not a lighting design inspiration that didn’t take place on one of these two control surface lines, some time.  Teaching students about how to write a moving light bally with focus points and finessing fade times.  Learning how to write a chase.  What the heck is a split fade?  How do I write a part cue?  All of these are questions were answered on an Express.

The Microvision FX was my first console.  How about you?