Processing Video Examples

For my interactive piece, I have analysed some examples that can be relevant towards the creation of my piece. It is important that I understand the programming language used, and that am capable of re-working it myself. There are those that program from scratch and those which hack examples together. Hacking examples together is a programming technique that some use, the advantages of this is that it is quicker and allows ideas to be more complex for those which are not that advanced in programming. However, the disadvantages are that if you don’t understand it, then mistakes can easily be made and it may be hard to resolve if the programming language is not fully understood. The advantages of programming from scratch is that it means your programming knowledge is more developed, meaning you can create complex ideas of which you can resolve errors more easily. However, the disadvantages are that it can take a lot longer as you will be writing out code that sometimes is already easily accessible to use. Therefore, if I do choose to use one of the following examples, it is important that I fully understand the code, which I will evident through the various sketches I have programmed and presented on my blog. If I decide to use one of the examples, it would just form a bit of my piece as I then need to use object orientated programming to create an array of gravitating objects, showing I have the ability to both hack and program. I will go on to analyse each example, understand and edit the code and experiment with trial and error.

Brightness Thresholdingbrightness thresholding v2

This is my favourite example, and I may incorporate it into my piece. Initially, the threshold was lower and therefore the figure isn’t that clear, however by changing the thresholding and positioning of the camera I was able to capture a black silhouette on a white background. Next, I need to go on to add objects the piece, and program it so when they reach a black pixel they move up and when they reach a white pixel they descend.

Motion Detection

motion detection v2

This example detects motion and produces a black outline around a moving figure. It works well, and I like the figure effect. However, it will be harder to program the objects as the black pixels are not as bold and clear as the example above.

Brightness Mirror

brightness mirror v2I like the effect of the grid of squares and think this looks very good and unique. Originally, the size was smaller which I don’t think worked as well, so I adjusted the size of the squares. When adding falling objects to this example, it could come across as being quite confusing and distorted but I think that this is a good back-up example that I could use.

Next, I will go on to experiment further with object orientated programming and will add an array of descending objects to the brightness thresholding example. I will experiment with different objects: shapes, figures, words or graphics, to see which works and looks best.

Shiffman, D, 2008. Learning Processing: Examples [online]. Available from: [Accessed 13 December 2014].

Idea For Interactive Piece

The brief we have been set is to…

‘Create a piece of interactive information design for a shared public space, which is intended to elucidate/explain some an idea or concept you perceive as key to our 21st century media experience.’

The interactive element of my piece will be related to motion, I will video capture the public space and detect the brightness threshold of motion. The piece will feature objects that gravitate towards the bottom of the screen; when motion is detected, the objects are then obstructed from falling. The video capture will be in contrasting black and white, with brightly coloured objects, and the people will be captured as silhouette like figures rather than in full detail. The interactive element of my idea gives the users a sense of agency, which hopefully will help to keep them engaged. A piece that relates to my idea is Text Rain, produced by Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv in 1999:

It features coloured falling letters which respond to users motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again.

‘If a participant accumulates enough letters along their outstretched arms, or along the silhouette of any dark object, they can sometimes catch an entire word, or even a phrase. The falling letters are not random, but form lines of a poem about bodies and language’ (Utterback 2014).

I like how the text produces a poem and think that this piece is very effective. For my piece, I could experiment with using different objects, for example I could possibly use shapes, texts or graphics. Relating it to the public space, I feel the idea would be suitable as the piece can be experienced singularly or by multiple people.

The concept that I could apply my piece to is surrealism. Surrealism is a

‘movement, which began in the 1920s, of writers and artists who experimented with ways of unleashing the subconscious imagination’ (Tate, 2014).

Duval (2014) describes surrealism as a form of expression that surpasses realism, hence in this case the surreal can be seen as being better than ‘real’. Surrealists were inspired by Freud, who

‘identified a deep layer of the human mind where memories and our most basic instincts are stored. He called this the unconscious, since most of the time we are not aware of it. The aim of surrealism was to reveal the unconscious and reconcile it with rational life.’ (Tate, 2014).

Thus, surrealism is related to the blurring the distinction between reality(conscious mind) and dreams(unconscious mind). This could link to Baudrillards’ idea of hyperreality, of which I am studying in my Consumer Culture theory unit. He defines hyperreality as the blurring distinction between reality and simulations of reality, of which in the case of surrealism, dreams and imagination could be classed as simulations of reality. Baudrillard (1970, p.12) suggests that

‘Instead of reality, people are treated to simulations involving the constant recombination of various signs, of elements of the code.’

This highlights the blurring boundaries between reality and simulation of reality, of which can strongly be applied to contemporary postmodern culture. It can relate to my idea as users may think it is reality as they are present on the screen, but in fact it is a re-presentation of reality, with the juxtapositioning of random falling objects. This also relates to Saussures’ earlier ideas regarding semiotics: the signifier (object/words/pieces) and signified (concept/meaning), and as Barthes (1964 p.42) suggest:Saussure-Signified-signifier

‘the signified is not ‘a thing’ but a mental representation of the ‘thing’’

My idea could also relate to the concept of audiences, which I studied a lot in my first year theory modules, relating to the changes from passivity to activity, audiences to users and consumption to production (see previous post – Active Audiences).

Next, I will go on to explore some surreal art work and photography that I find of interest, and will relate it to my idea, as well as further exploring my chosen concept of surrealism. I will also go on to develop my processing skills, by watching tutorials and independently experimenting with trial and error, as well as attending the workshops.


Barthes, R, 1964. Elements Of Semiology. New York: Hill and Wang.

Baudrillard, J, 1970. The Consumer Society: Myths & Structures [online]. London: Sage Publications.

Duval, A, 2014. Surrealism: What Is Surrealism? [online]. Available from: [Accessed 27 November 2014].

Tate, 2014. Surrealism [online]. Available from: [Accessed 27 November 2014].

Utterback, C, 2014. Text Rain [online]. Available from: [Accessed 27 November 2014].

Inspirations For Interactive Piece

In order to help me to further develop ideas for my piece, I have been looking at existing interactive motion pieces that interest me. These are the main two examples that stood out to me when carrying out my research. I will analyse what I like about each one and will reflect on how they have inspired me.

I like the fact that this installation is based on pixels, using black and white circles to create silhouette like figures. It captures peoples movements but I feel it is more interesting rather than just being a simple video capture. I like how circles are used to create the figures on screen and think it makes quite a good effect. The use of black and white contrasts the figures from the background and I think that this works really well.

I really like the use of colours in this piece, the black background with bright luminous colours works well and stand out a lot to me. When someone moves, the multiple lines all move randomly, changing size and colour. This piece is more abstract and artistic, and the movement of the person creates a nice abstract visual.

Similarly to these examples, I would like my interactive piece to be on motion and movement. Carrying out this research has been very beneficial and it has really helped me to gain more ideas for my own piece. From this, I have decided that I would like my piece to video capture people as silhouettes rather than being in full detail. By doing this, hopefully it’ll encourage more people to engage with the piece as I’m aware that some people don’t like the idea of being on camera. I would also like to use bright colours, possibly on a black background, to make it eye catching and appealing to users. Relating back to my previous processing workshop, I would like to incorporate the use of objects and vectors into my piece, and the motion of the people can obstruct and alter the direction of the objects. Next, I will go on to produce a post finalising my idea as well as looking at some motion tutorials online.

Hype, 2012. Iris. Available from: youtube [Accessed 17 November 2014].

Universal Everything, 2013. Nike Flyknit . Available from: [Accessed 17 November 2014].

Processing – Experimenting with Video

I have been looking at some processing video examples that I find interesting in order to help me develop ideas for my interactive piece. I have also been watching some of Daniel Shiffmans’ processing tutorials in order to improve my understanding of past processing skills that I have learnt as well as develop new skills. I have learnt more about the Capture class, and the steps required to setup video capturing. I am going to analyse some video capturing examples, and explore how I could make it interactive within public spaces.

  • Video Pixelation – Likewise to images, you can also get the pixels of a video capture. Similarly, you have to use for loops and the pixel array formula (x+(y*width)) but in this case you load the video capture rather than an image. An idea relating to video pixelation could be that if people are moving at a certain speed, they will become pixelated, whereas if they are stood still in the space they become in focus.
  • Motion Detection – This is something I would like to incorporate into my interactive piece, but I need to be aware that at busy periods, there will be lots of movement within the public space. An idea related to motion is that when someone walks into the pubic space a new class/object will be created, which then follows the fastest movement within the public space (motion tracking).
  • Colour Tracking – Instead of tracking motion within the space, I could set it so the camera tracks a certain colour. For example, when someone walks past wearing red, an object could follow them on the public screen. However, this would become complex if there was lots of people wearing the same colours.

From looking at these examples, it has helped me to improve my processing knowledge about video capturing and motion detection/tracking. From this, I would like to incorporate motion in order to make my piece interactive, but still need to continue to fully develop an idea. To do this, I am next going to look at some existing interactive pieces that I find interesting.

Processing (2014). Processing [online] Available from:[Accessed 11 November 2014].