In the fall of 2006 I built a helium-balloon camera rig with a remote-control pan/tilt device and a wireless video viewer/controller. The balloon rig and viewer/controller are both powered by lithium polymer batteries.
In 2007 I built a jib using materials and hardware from Home Depot. The jib can extend to a total length of about 16 feet. It uses circular wood discs at the pivot points to provide smooth, stable motion.
The jib works with a remote-control pan/tilt head that uses heavy-duty RC servos attached to external gear boxes. Both servos are modified to rotate continuously. The pan-tilt head can be supported from below or hung from above (the jib supports both options). To use the hanging mode without flipping the camera, the tilt module can be rotated 180 degrees.
The camera attaches using a custom mounting plate. Future camera rigs can use the same mounting system, so that the camera can quickly be moved from one device to another.
The jib can ride on a dolly I built in 2006. This dolly works with standard dolly track, including curved track.
I created software and electronics for several parts of the installation. A train interior and bedroom interior both had video windows that could be switched between day/night and country/city. A car had a projected background, also switchable between day/night and country/city, with the playback speed and volume controlled by a gas pedal (a hacked guitar pedal).
Two units had video backgrounds that moved in syncrhonization with hand-cranked miniature foregrounds. I created wooden optical encoder wheels to measure the rotation. The structural and mechanical parts (along with all of the other sets) were created by Tim Rossiter.
After being installed in New York, the installation traveled to Sao Paolo and Rio.
In August 2007, I worked on a Daft Punk music video directed by Olivier Gondry.
The video was shot using hundreds of cameras, mostly wielded by audience members (mostly using cameras brought be the audience members). Tapes were distributed at the start of the show, people were assigned locations to stand, and tapes were collected at the end of the show.
Within hours of the show ending, we began around-the-clock tape transfers, using 7 computers and 8 cameras (see photos below). The transferring finished ahead of schedule, in about 24 hours, producing a couple terabytes of data.
Then we began processing the data. Olivier worked on one copy of the data while I worked on another copy. We each wrote custom software to align and edit the footage.
In the summer of 2008, I designed and built the electronics and software for an Os Gemeos installation at Deitch Projects. The installation consisted of a 1960’s electric analog organ, modified so that each key played a digital sample, enclosed in a plywood box, attached to a set of speakers.
I used a Mini-ITX computer with custom software (using the portaudio library) to play the audio samples. Key presses were detected by a pair of Arduinos. One Arduino was used simply to multiplex the other Arduino’s I/O lines.
The software included a recording mode, so that Os Gemeos could record each sample using the organ keyboard and a microphone. For some samples, they played songs from a laptop attached to external speakers, which were then recorded using the organ’s software/microphone (a nice digital to analog to digital process).
The work was subsequently installed as part of The Margulies Collection in Miami.
The robot planted seeds and recorded videos/photos of the plants growing. The robot used a set of attachments: soil moving, seed distributing, watering, and lighting.
Watch it here: Fast Planting Video
The MGR-3000 is a modular gantry robot. It consists of two computer-controlled XYZ gantry modules. One gantry holds a camera using a pan/tilt device. The other holds interchangeable attachments.
Structural / Mechanical Design
- The motors are 12-24V DC with worm gears.
- Connecting structures are lasercut 1/8″ MDF, layered with wood glue to form 1/4″ rigid parts.
- All other mechanical and structural parts are from McMaster.
- Motor adapters reduce from 5/16″ (motor) to 1/4″ (shaft) using 5/16″ shaft couplers and 5/16″ OD / 1/4″ ID bushings.
- Shafts are 1/4″ steel.
- Bearings are 1/4″ ID, flanged and shielded.
- Horizontal rails are lined with 0.08″ pitch timing belt, matched with 48-tooth and 60-tooth timing belt pulleys.
- Vertical mechanisms use 25-pitch roller chain and sprockets.
- Primary structural elements are 1″ x 1″ square steel and aluminum tubes.
- Mounting hardware is predominantly 1/4-20 bolts.
Electronics / Software Design
- The attachment modules are provided with 120VAC (relay controlled), 24VDC (relay controlled), 5VDC (relay controlled), a 5VDC servo signal, and ground.
- Each limit switch is an IR interrupter attached to a breakout board.
- Motors are driven using an L298 kit.
- Digital and analog inputs/outputs connect to Arduinos via a proto shield.
- The Arduinos communicates with a computer via USB.
- The user interface software is implemented in C++ using the FOX Toolkit.
Director: Peter Sand
Editor: James Holland
Producer: Chris Tsonis
Producer: Tilke Judd
Sets: Olivier Koch
Sets: Chris Peters
Sets: Chris Grossman
Sets: Arnaud Pilpre
Sets: Zea Barker
Sets: Keith Kowal
Sets: Guy Hoffman
Sets: Tilke Judd
Sets: Karena Tyan
Sets: Estevan Martinez
Sets: Christina Hawkes
Sets: Amy Wibowo
Sets: Austyn Hill
Gaffer: Neil Forman
Make-up: Michelle McCormack
MIT Council for the Arts