Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Danceworks Projection at the UM Exhibit Museum

UPDATE  9-12-2013

They did a reprise of the show right after school started.  Here's 2 photos.

Here's a stitch of what the rotunda looked like from above.  We got the video almost 2x bigger this time around.
This time we used a large SANYO with 0.8:1 wide lens.  Same mylar mirror.
earlier posting from June:

Here are some shots with dancers in them.  The first gives a good view of the venue and the second shows how they worked with the projections.  These were taken at a rehearsal.

The photographer is Kirk Donaldson.  The rest of his photos can be found on a June 7th post on the Ann Arbor Dance Works Facebook site:

Early in June I worked with Peter Sparling (Dance Faculty) and Matt Linke (UMEM Planetarium Director and all around helpful guy) to devise a way to get the best possible projection onto the center of the rotunda floor from the second story mezzanine.  This was for the Danceworks summer site-specific show. Excerpted from the full site, here are short descriptions of the works presented:

"Four choreographers find inspiration in cutting edge scientific research taking place at the University of Michigan and beyond. 

-a new work by Edisa Weeks, inspired by the spiraling structures of DNA.

-Jessica Fogel premieres a dance inspired by the research of UM Associate Professor of Astronomy Sally Oey, whose focus is the role of massive stars in the evolution of galaxies.

With 'How Autophagy Works",  Peter Sparling offers a dancer’s guide to cell biology that is both spoof and serious interdisciplinary research, freely interpreting the ongoing cellular process of autophagy, or “self-eating”, the body’s method of cleansing, recycling and defending against disease.

-Robin Wilson performs a new solo inspired by the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", whose cells became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more."

Do visit their site for the full story.

Anyway, here's what the resulting projections looked like:

Peter created the circular images in his editing process.  The task was to find a way to make it as big as possible and as square (or round, actually) as possible.  If we had to shoot it at an angle there would be a lot of keystone distortion to try to correct.

The solution was to suspend a mylar mirror (saved from when the CAVE was refitted some years ago for just such possible uses) using 2 C-stands.  A C-stand is a standard film industry useful tripod style stand that holds lighting accessories or just about anything else that needs to be supported.

In this case, we set the poles at the top to be horizontal and attached the mirror to that.
The mirror is almost invisible in this shot, but you can see the projected image reflecting off of it.

This is Matt, the stage manager, and Peter:

Next is Peter and me adjusting the setup, followed by a shot taken just for the artistic merit.  ;^)

Unfortunately, I was at the NMC conference for the shows that weekend, but it was a big success.  If I can track down some photos I'll add them to this post.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Judy Irvine (Michigan) and Liz Gunner (South Africa) at the DMC

This is a shot of Judy Irvine (Edward Sapir Collegiate Professor of Linguistic Anthropology and Professorr of Anthropology) & Liz Gunner (WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Witswatersrand) working with me in the staff multimedia workroom at the DMC:

Liz is holding up her cell phone because they come to me for help in retrieving some audio recordings she had made with it.

I had originally met Liz in July of 2011 at the second Humanities conference sponsored by the UM African Studies Center.  Judy and other colleagues from UM were also at the conference, which was held in Johannesburg.

The two of them have been collaborating in South Africa for a while, and these recordings were from a recent visit to Soweto where they were pursuing a collaborative research project in linguistics.  Liz recorded several conversations using the audio recording function of her cell phone, as that was all she had with her at the time.

I digitized her recordings and tweaked them up to make them much more intelligible so they could better use them in their research.  All told it took about 3 hours, but they went away very satisfied with the resulting audio files.  I also put them up in Google Drive as MP3 files so they could grab them and put those files into their own Google space.

A lovely afternoon of international collaboration.  Liz was delighted that Judy had access to the resources and assistance to get to this next step in their research; she had been saving the recordings for almost a year trying to figure out what to do with them.


Friday, 7 June 2013

2013 New Media Centers Conference

UM wins 2 Awards at the NMC

The UM Team won both the Audience Choice Award and one of the Judge's Awards for their Idea Lab presentation called "Connectedness, Openness and Evolution in a Learning Space", which presented the research they did with Steve Lonn on Design Lab 1

Quoting from John Williams:

"Linda Knox and Matthew Barritt presented some of the CLE/Design Lab 1/GROCS research (under Steve Lonn's direction) at the national NMC conference this week. The presentation included an interactive "create your own connected learning environment" - a somewhat high-risk proposition for this audience. It seems the principles of active peer-to-peer learning works even among the pros. Of course this included Matthew's presentation. Note that the pipe cleaner and cardboard CLE included a second interactive media display - the iPad in the left of the picture.

NMC is one of the most active learning technologies higher-ed groups, has strong pedagogical emphasis, includes many research universities, and does the research that they co-publish with ELI: EduCause as the annual Horizon Report on emerging learning technologies in higher-ed - suggested reading:  http://www.nmc.org/publications/2013-horizon-report-higher-ed"

Herein I include a bit of the inside information of how this came to be.  It should be noted that this model was made almost entirely from the broad array of "sketching tools" available in DL1.  We had to buy more magnets, more alligator clips and a bit of fabric (and only because it was a better loose-weave match than the fabric on hand).

This photo shows the 2 table layout for the NMC setup:
- a laptop on the right screening some of the timelapse footage from DL1 that was part of the research
- the foreground table holding the interactive model of DL1

You can see (from left to right):      - the projection screen ( iPad Mini)
                                                   - the green screen corner
                                                   - the workbench and shelves (just flat photos for the model)
                                                   - the conversation area
                                                   - the glass wall (one panel with the "Welcome to DL1" sign)
                                                   - the timelapse laptop (on second table)
                                                   - and you can also see the 2 prize ribbons in front...

The way it worked was that you could choose a Pipe Cleaner Person, use one of our pre-made faces or draw one yourself, place the face in the head loops, then stick the feet into the styrofoam base/floor of DL1.  If you made the right connections there (an LED person, a battery person, a connector person) your idea (LED) would come to light (light up)!

Here's the Video fly-through of our DL1 model - a video is worth 100,000 words:

Tom showing a step in building the Pipe Cleaner People.

The People Holder made from cable racks, a bookend and lots of tiny binder clips.

Linda lowering the last floor pieces into the suitcase for travel.

Here is Linda showing the model to a couple of the attendees.
Note the shining green LEDs in the model in the photo below.

Matthew talking about the research findings with attendees.
In the photo on the right the attendee is from Case Western University in Ohio, and we discovered that they are embarking on the construction of similar spaces.  We plan to talk further with them about organizing near future collaborations and activities, hopefully including faculty from both institutions.

Here's what it looked like most of the time: very busy!
The supply of People & screens that attendees could add to the model, and a happy participant.


Here's a link to a quick stop-frame animation I made on the "set", also below.

And finally a shot of me with my very own pipe-cleaner avatar!
(the sign says "You can make a movie - it's easy!")

It was both fun and a great presentation of the work.  The photos I did not get include:
  - Linda ironing the graphics that had curled
  - me finishing making all the People at the desk in her room
  - putting various panels under a book under the TV in her room to flatten out the wall pieces