The contemporary dance video that El Guapo showed me this week had me nearly speechless. And now, trying to describe it for you, I’m having the same sort of problem–do I pile on superlatives?* Or do I just borrow a phrase like, “Well don’t that beat all?!” As it begins, you think you know what’s going on, and then you clearly don’t.
Here–just watch this, and afterward I’ll try to explain what’s happening, and what we know about how it’s done. (It’s best on as large a screen as possible, make sure to expand the view if you can.
This visual treat came my way because El Guapo is really interested in motion capture in video. He and Fiddler have been collaborating on a motion capture project, so I’ve been able to catch a glimpse behind the curtain.
The process involves using a device that will track a dancer’s movements using infrared (or other) signals and then feed those signals into some sort of visual manipulator to create a combination of dancer and computer graphics.
In our local project, Fiddler used a Microsoft Kinect camera, a computer running Processing (a programming language focused on visual arts), and a projector. The process captures the movements of a dancer, translates those movements into digital designs, and then projects those designs in real time back onto (or next to) the dancer.
The dance video you’ve just watched is on a whole different level, but there are common elements–a dancer, motion capture, and digital designs. The Method Design video uses sophisticated 3D renderings that aren’t created in real time, and probably take ages to put together. To my mind, it’s time well spent when it brings us a collection of multicolored rubber strands busting a move, or legs that continue to dance after the torso has fallen to pieces. I can’t get enough of it.
*I struggled to find words, but a few of the commenters on Vimeo reacted with “Fierce!” and “a full plate for the eyes” as well as “I’ll buy what ur selling!”
†The first thing that came up when I tried to figure out what AICP stands for was the American Institute of Certified Planners; the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects was not far behind. But I think this particular AICP stands for Association of Independent Commercial Producers. I’m not sure what any of these people do; there were hints that the Certified Planners might be community planners, but it was hard to tell amid all the links for Financial Planners and Wedding Planners. If I decide that joining any version of the AICP is in my future, I’m going to have to dig up a lot more information. But odds are good that my future will contain a lot more of just watching this video and being amazed.
[Images: Method Design, El Guapo]