Interactive video journal, week 6: first series of RGBD Toolkit videos

This week I was able to shoot with the Canon again, and was eager to get back at capturing and experimenting with other forms of movement and props. My next critique moved up a week earlier to this Monday, so in the interest of having some new material to show, I decided to try some test shots with myself as the performer.

After not working with the RGBD system for a few weeks, I had been brainstorming different approaches to shooting, and was getting curious about how we could use objects or props to create some more interesting visuals and extend the capabilities of the Visualizer system.

I tried a lot and found that many objects did not produce great effects. First I moved in front of the camera with a sheer scarf, which surprisingly produced the effect of a sort of window… the scarf itself acted as negative space when in front of my body, and when in front of the wall simply revealed what was on it. I also found that rapid movement made it very hard to sync the video with the depth map in the Visualizer system, and generally produced a lot of globby movements that don’t read well in Visualizer.

It was the same sort of results for several other objects I tried, like a large glass bottle and a solid wooden club. The objects create negative space when in front of my body, are hard to sync movement to, and generally don’t appear very well in visualizer. I also tried throwing objects at the camera, but again the issue with high-speed movement made it nearly impossible for the kinect to read fast motion as anything but a very momentary glob in the depth map. I did shoot video of a fern plant, which I included in my video samples (see below).

I found that the best results were with objects that extended my body. I have several takes of myself in a cape, flipping the cape around the sides of my body as well as over my head to create a beautiful fluid movement in the wireframe. I also had success capturing myself swinging too long fabric sashes, one from each hand. When swung slowly enough, the sashes create dramatic extensions from my arms and body in visualizer. I also found that costuming added another level to the visuals. I wore a sparkly top and gold cape, which in visualizer both add a great deal of dimension and visual interest because of the reflections.

The results of my many captures can be seen on my Vimeo channel of RGBD videos. For the exported videos, I experimented with different camera angles as well as a few variations in the image processing, which I note on each of the video samples. I had a hard time perfecting camera movement in the Visualizer, so you don’t see any movement in these shots, just alternate angles. I’m really happy with the results and am looking forward to hearing the impressions from my class in critique!

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