IxD and Assistive Technology

Advanced Multimedia Authoring – Week 06

Advanced Multimedia Authoring – Week 06

Classwork

Disparate ideas came together quickly in class this week. With the amazing assistance of a guest tutor (who’s name escapes me now – note to self: find out name and compliment guest tutor), it wasn’t long before we made quick work of the structure of OSC and had a prototype sketch up and running in Processing.

Processing (left) and OSCulator (right) speaking to each other via OSC

As you can see in the above image, both Processing and OSCulator use the surprisingly logical OSC syntax. In this example, I’m sending the pry (pitch, roll and yaw) information from Wii remote number 1 to Processing. Each of these can be isolated as individual variables and put to use. For the mockup lighting rig sketch I put together in Processing (you’ll need the oscP5 library for this one), pitch and roll of the Wii remote change the intensity of the six lights represented in my original Concept Pitch…

The stage mockup from my Concept Pitch
The lighting rig, represented in a Processing sketch

What is happening in this sketch is actually very simple: data coming from the pitch and roll is mapped to greyscale values, changing what was originally from 0.0-1.0 in OSCulator to 0-255 in Processing. The output is assigned to the fill of each ellipse, depending on the amount of pitch or roll. An increase in pitch increases the number of ellipses effected (bottom to top), and roll left or right changes the effect (left to right) on the ellipses.

Similarly to the problems I am likely to face in Sound Media 2, I will need to find a way to make the lighting meaningful to the dancers’ movement. Flashing lights may look spectacular, but if the audience cannot make the connection between the performance and the visuals, then I won’t have succeeded in one of my major concept goals.

Research

Arriving in the past few days is my newest toy: the ENTTEC DMX USB Pro. Besides being a whore for capital letters, this little box promises to make my MacBook Pro a stage lighting controller. In short – I will be able to convert the movement of dancers into a controller of lighting.

ENTTEC DMX USB Pro - way sexier than it looks

The downside: 5 pin connectors. So much of this kind of gear could really benefit from standardisation. When a 3 pin XLR cable will do the job, why not use one? And so now on the shopping list is a lead converter, to get me to the next stage of lighting – a dimmer rack. Basically, another box, which will give each light the amount of intensity I choose.

So now, with some assistance from the proDMX library, I’m getting a happily flashing LED on my DMX USB Pro. Sure, it’s still a long way from a fully functional lighting rig, but this is the very beginning of moving from concept and theory into practice. And it’s pretty exciting.



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