Let’s face it – IR lights are just magical. The idea that you can only see the light on camera – totally magical (yes I know, science).
We initially had problems with getting our IR camera to be detected on my computer, but once that was solved (thanks Aaron!), the lights were working and were being detected. The downside was this though: we didn’t have as wide a reach as we thought we would. The camera lens was not as wide as we had hoped, and we couldn’t get very far away form the camera before the lights didn’t show up at all. So we had to massively scale down our performance idea. Instead of a human and a puppet, I thought we should go with doing two mini puppets and a mini puppet performance.
We began building the patch with Isadora. We used a blob decoder to single out each light. We decided to use three lights on each puppet rather than using six per puppet, which was our initial thought when we were thinking about making bigger puppets. Scaling down also meant, for the positive, that we were scaling down our quantity of materials. I decided to make a puppet out of found material. I was able to procure odd-shaped pieces of wood that when I found a way to put together, I was able to create a wizard. This surprisingly took SO LONG to make a TINY puppet, because I had to choose the right type of string, figure out where I would want to put the lights and figure out how many parts of it would move, and how it would move. It ended up being a puppet that was a combination of a string puppet and a rod puppet since once we soldered the wires and the lights and attached them to the hands, the mini wizard loss its ease of mobility with its arms. Using kebab sticks gave it more force to move the arms, but it wasn’t ideal. If we were to go back and do this again, I think I would have either chosen a different spot for the lights, or done the arms exclusively out of wire instead of wire on wood (that was from a mini popsicle stick).
Nahil decided to 3D print a dragon. The problem with this was that it would take hours to make, which was concerning since I wasn’t sure when we would have time for a rehearsal. She seemed determined to not make the puppet out of wood or cardboard, so she went ahead and found a design for a dragon and 3D printed it.
Meanwhile I was super frustrated that the lines weren’t working out like we wanted them to. I couldn’t get a super accurate read on the individual lines, and they also didn’t always draw on. I abandoned the work in frustration one night and returned to it the next morning, where I increased the threshold, added more lines actors, and also added a motion blur actor, which produced a really nice effect. When we were doing our first presentation in class, we were quite happy with the effect the lines were creating.
I made user actors in Isadora to clean up the patch a bit, but this got only crazier when we did add lines connecting all six lights to each other. Here’s what our Isadora patch ended up looking like, even with some user actors thrown in for tidiness: