Process Diary

Project Brief (February 6th 2009)
Initial project brief by Carol Houtman, senior lecturer of International Film. Her brief consisted of actual video footage and an prompt explanation of the type of installation/interactive element she would like to include in her piece.


Brief Intro (February 13th 2009)
Coral took us to the Ffloc Gallery and gave her ideas of how she imagined the project running. We also made a stop at the Avid editing suits to see parts of the film. The technicians wanted to know what program it would be run in and we told them .mov files would be the best. They then gave a brief in sight on the type of compression they might use on the videos.picture-3

Partnership (February 16th 2009)

Today, Adam went around the room asking each person what project they were thinking about working on. I found out that Owen would be working on the project along side me. It seemed we both had the same vision for the project and further discussed our ideas. We began discussing possible stakeholders/important members that would be apart of the project. It’s good to know I have someone working with me.


Basic Mock-ups (February 17th 2009)

We began by drawing mock-up/Gantt charts this morning. In the afternoon, I brought up the idea of using Max/MSP. Owen have never seen the project, so I gave him a brief intro into the project. We downloaded Max/MSP on two of the machines. We only downloaded the trial version, so they will only last a month. We also went to talk with Coral for the first time outside of the brief. See documentation for the course of events.


MultiScreener (February 18th 2009)

I brought my previous Max/MSP files to show Owen how my project had worked. I also drew out a rough estimate of how the interaction would work. I showed Owen a few tutorials in the Jitter side of Max/MSP and let him fiddle around with it for abit. We then decided to google around to find similar projects people have done in the past to get a better idea. Owen ended up finding a thread in Creative Cow that suggested a program. Someone had made a free program in Max and was giving it out for anyone to use. The program is MultiScreener and it works on a client/server basis. The program was perfect for synchronizing different movies together. We downloaded the program and tried it out. It worked perfectly and decided to use it as the basis of our project.


Circuit (February 26th 2009)
We began looking at some other Max/MSP tutorials that would help with the interaction. I also helped Owen understand a few more concepts in Jitter. Later in the day, we went down to meet with Kim in the electronics. We mentioned that we wanted to use sensors with an arduino. She gave us possible ideas with what sensors to use and how to set them up. She told us to use Piezo sensors attached to breadboards and then into an arduino. She said for us to come back on Tuesday and that she would build a prototype for us to look at and copy. I also mentioned using other sensors to test, which would be best for the interaction we were looking for.


Test (February 27th 2009)
Today, Owen and I decided to test the MultiScreener program a little more in depth. I quickly edited a short 12-second video with music and passed a copy over to Owen’s machine and kept one copy on mine. I loaded it up on the MultiScreener program as the client and Owen loaded his as the server. Everything worked out perfectly, and everything was in perfect sync. We also managed to realize that once the server video is loaded and not played, the other clients pause in 3-second increments. We decided to ask Coral and the editor how they wanted to fix that problem. They could have either put a screen of black before each clip or keep a static image for three seconds at the beginning.


Sensor (March 3rd 2009)
We went to see Kim in electronics to get the prototype she had built. To our surprise, she had the prototype along with all the materials used to make it. She wanted us to solder our own. This was new to me because I haven’t touched a soldering iron for a few years now. After about 40 minutes of working, we had finished. The only problem was mine wasn’t working. All the circuitry was correct but it wasn’t working. She couldn’t figure out the problem herself so she lent me the one she had compiled. Now we plan to put the sensors to the test.


Talked about the video compression (March 9th 2009)
We set up 3 Mac-minis with monitors, keyboards and corresponding mouse’s. This gave us a birdseye view of how the Multiscreener program ran. We used the same video, testing the synchronising element within the program. Everything ran smoothly, the clients being only a few milliseconds off of the server. We also managed to catch a problem within the quality of the video exports. The images were not the correct ratio, causing them to be stretched. We brought this problem up to Coral, and she took Adam and us down to talk to Simon (the editor) and Mike (the technician). It turned out; the videos were not exported with the proper codec. The videos were scaled improperly, so we decided to print out the MutiScreener guide for exporting videos and give it directly to the editor. Hopefully these next test’s will be better.

First Interaction Prototype
(March 12th 2009)
Adam helped us set up the psatso sensor into a key press. We took the sensors, and taped them to the bottom of a paper cup. The force put upon the cup acted as a drum. Any pressure applied to the bottom of the cup would make an applicable fluxuation in pressure to the sensor. We declared that the result of the sensor hooked up to the key press was unreliable. The simple key press function was not working more than half the time. We figured with these statistics, it would never worked properly in a gallery being left alone. Therefore we decided to rely more on the ardunio. I also determined that the psatso solder boards were not as reliable as we thought. We decided to use a simple breadboard, rather then the soldered boards. We felt that the testing period would be more beneficial with using a breadboard. The sensors would be much easier to remove and add. We decided to continue working on the sensors with Adam on the Monday.



Max Guy (March 13th 2009)
We managed to get a hold of one of the professors for Creative Sound Design. His expertise in Max goes far beyond ours. We managed to get a little time with him before he broke for lunch. We described to him the project we were working on and how the interaction would take place. He brought his laptop and we managed to load the patch we were working with. We described everything to him and asked for his advice. Because the meeting was a little rushed, he managed to show us of few bits to add onto the code we already had. Three quick points he helped us with were opening a gate to play two videos, splitting the two into different parts and then closing the gate once the interaction takes place. The split would also be sent from the server to all the clients. We also found out that we could attach two arduino to one computer, using the same 5volt power source attaching it to a bus on a single breadboard. We decided to meet up with him in a later date to discuss the concept in a bit more detail.

Moving In (March 17th 2009)
So today was the big day. The Fflock gallery had been reserved for us, so we moved everything in. We first cleared up most of the unwanted clutter and brought a large table up from G1. Carol was not with us at that very moment, so we began setting up the table on the closest wall to the door. We set up three monitors side by side with a smaller table underneath the larger one. On the smaller table, we housed 3 mac-mins and the ethernet box. The mac minis connected to the box using 3 separate cables. There was also enough room for 3 mouse’s and one keyboard. The other two keyboards were placed on the floor under the smaller table. Adam had also suggested using black sheets to cover the tables and hardware. By the time Carol appeared, we had all 3 monitors running on the client/server MultiScreener program. The only problem with the set-up was that it wasn’t what she had in mind. The monitors were not supposed to be side by side. She wanted to immerse the user in the space, rather then make it seem like you were watching TV. So we then moved the tables to the corner and placed one monitor on a steeple, situated a bit higher then the large table. We also brought 2 other tables and placed them beside the larger table. Two monitors were placed on the side tables, creating more of an immerseful atmosphere. Three large posters were also placed on the wall to the left of the installation. The 3 posters depicted what the installation would like in the future with more money, as well as credits. By that time, the day was begging to wind down and all that was left to do was get the projector working. We received a projector to computer attachment from Adam and played/calibrated the projector for maximum performance. I will be leaving to Switzerland for a few days so Owen has planned to move forward with the interaction attachment.






Fine Tuning (March 23rd 2009)
I met with Carol today to make sure everything is set up for tomorrow. She has invited other professors, students and other people to attend the pilot/prototype of her interactive film. We first began the day moving chairs into the room. Owen was still returning from a trip so he was not present. As Carol was finding more random chairs, I installed a larger ethernet cable from the projector Mac around the outside of the room to the ethernet box. I also went and retrieved Carol’s i Mac from her office. Her Mac was placed on the center table and acted as the middle screen. We began to fiddle with the set up of the tables. Carol would rather have the screens closer and be directed to the side of the viewer. We did that and it seemed to be the best result. We also needed a solution for sound. I determined that the top and middle screens were most important. Carol’s i Mac already had speakers so that wasn’t a problem. The mac minis had barely any sound. So I managed to scrounge up some old speakers from G1, which worked well. A table with refreshment was also placed in the corner. Everything seems to be set up; all we are missing is another i Mac, which will be set up the following morning. The plan for tomorrow is to the various installations monitors playing as the people walk in. Then they will be stopped and the projector video pilot will play. After the projected video is finished, the monitor installation will be played as people leave. It should go well. I also plan to video tape everything that takes place.



The Big Day (March 24th 2009)
Today was the big day when we would premiere the prototype we’ve been working on for a little over a month. The day began with me coming in early and setting up another I Mac I had taken from G1. This mac would be the final mac we would need out of the 5. Everything was into place. The chairs had been placed in the proper direction, the refreshment table was ready to go and the DVD player was paused on the installation mock-up. Carol showed up a bit early to greet the lady from the gallery in Bristol. I had asked her to get some screen cleaner because the monitors had been a bit smuged We had two showing’s set up. The first was at 12:30 and the second at 3:30. At about 12, I began screening the multi screen 5-screen installation. It began running smoothly and at about that time, one of the actresses appeared to see the prototype. I sat her down right away in the “viewing” spot. She nearly watched the entire video by the time Carol re-appeared. At about that time, more and more people began to appear. I had taken out a camera from Adam and set it up at the back of the gallery. I didn’t have a tripod, so I asked Carol if she could go get one. As people began to show up, I started filming and planned to speed it up. As soon as everyone sat down, Carol was asked to briefly explain her project and what the story line was in her film. I had also tapped the entire explanation for documentation purposes. As soon as she finished, I started the DVD player that projected her 5-screen video from a projected. After it finished, the criticism began along with the praises. The second screening at 3:30 was primarily used to show Adam and another friend of Carol. They both seemed to enjoy and it and about after an hour, I took the time to tape the entire installation from a good focal point of view.



Clean Up (March 26th 2009)
I came in early today to clean up the installation because the Ffloc gallery was going to be used for another project. I started showing the installation to my classmate Mike as well as my professional practice professor Lee. They enjoyed the experience and commented that it was tight knit and well put together. I explained the process I did, to give them a better idea of what was put into the project. They sat in the initial position of where the viewer should sit and watched a fair bit of the video. They also asked me a few question’s, en which I answered regarding Carol’s film. After showing them my current process, I began to disassemble the project. I stared by disconnecting the all the Mac-minis and the i-Macs. I put them all into a box along with the Ethernet box/cables and transported them back to G1 for storage. Everything went very smoothly. Mike and Lee ended up helping me transport some of the monitors downstairs. Owen was still away. I met with Coral briefly while reconnecting her desktop. We discussed a possible meeting with her the following week to further discuss the next process of the project. She was quite satisfied with our work so far. She gave us great complements, and hopefully her expectations will continue to stay the same as we finish with the interaction and documentation of her installation.

Back to It (April 20th 2009)
It’s been a while since working on the project. Because of the Easter break, not much time was left for the development of the project. But today, Owen and me managed to be together and further develop the project. We arrived, discussed where the project was at and what we had to do in the next week. It turns out that I have to present on the Monday (a week from today) so we have to look at a possible presentation. I will be flying out on the Friday, so I may take the few extra days to finish my research folder. Nevertheless, today, Adam helped us figure out a simple circuit for the Piazo sensors. The circuit is almost identical to the one I used for my last project I did last term in Canada. All we really have to do is manipulate our Max code into it. With a few tests, the sensor manipulated into the arduino and worked flawlessly. We also needed to download Max MSP onto another machine because the trial version had expired. The further few week’s will enable us to hopefully get in touch with Matt from Creative Sound and Coral and discuss the possible next step in our project development.

Testing (April 21st 2009)
I came in today and began to fiddle with the arduino mock up we tested the other day. I brought it into Max MSP and began to make changes to the sketch. The big thing that happened was it didn’t work. I tried for ages and nothing made sense. It should have been working but there must have been a small problem. Rather then fiddle through the code, I began to simply go through it slowly, making sure all connections were right. I decided to give it break for now and look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow. Owen and I decided to go see if Matt was in (Creative Sound) and he was. He said he had looked at the code we gave him and didn’t really understand it. He also said he didn’t have much time to sit with us and talk to us about it. So we decided to maybe meet up with him another day.


Recap (April 23rd 2009)
Owen and I were in bright and early to get back to the project. With Matt on hold, we decided to go into it as much as we could. We decided to fiddle with Max and the sensor and were seeing results. We rigged up the pebble drop cup demo and it worked. The pebble dropped into the cup triggered a video to play. Everything worked out, the only thing was it wasn’t consistent. There were off times when the sensor would act up, not portraying the video. It was set on a simple start and stop variable. We were satisfied with the results and we decided to put it off for the weekend and resume next week. We need to present next week as well so we are in the framework to get everything done as soon as possible.

Presentation (April 30th 2009)Owen and I had to present our project today. The night before, we went over a few things for the presentation. I had edited a few movies for the presentation and linked a few photos. Everything seemed to be falling into place. We set up all 5 Mac’s in the corner and used black sheets like we did in the Gallery. We met early to set up the equipment and put final touches on the powerpoint. A few people showed up so we presented at 11. Everything seemed to run smoothly, we also showed the installation with a small interaction bit at the beginning. There was a lot of good responses and Adam and Lee seemed to be satisfied. After the presentation, we had taken a few photos to document the last set up.


Rap Up (April 30th 2009)
Heading home soon, so finishing up with the project. I have to hand in a special report so this will be included in the package. In all, I was satisfied with the project. I was very fun and useful and I learnt quite a bit in the process. I had a great time here at the University and I will be brining many skills learnt back to Ryerson. I feel the project was accomplished and I feel we did meet the expectations set before us. There is still improvement for the future and hopefully the interaction bit for the endings will be finished in the near future. I wish Coral all the best.



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