An interview with Aalto from AntiVJ
How much time did you spend on the mapping project in Norrköping and much time was spent working on site / off site?
From the very start of the discussions about this project to its final result, I think it was 3 months. We went to Norrköping to see the place in march, then we spent 2 days on site to do the mapping at the end of April, then we went back home to work on the content for 3 weeks, then back in Norrköping for 4 days to do the final tests and play the piece.
To precise things, I’d say we didn’t have any pre-produced content before we saw the site for the first time. We created everything from scratch, after we saw the place.
Could you break down your process in a few sentences, from idea to the final projection?
It’s always hard to describe precisely the work process, however, the building and its surroundings are always the starting point. We got inspired by the industrial past of the city, and, of course, by the new function of the building: the visualization center. How could we make these two elements meet each other?
We decided that I would be the director on this project, so I started to write a “scenario”, using the notion of labour as the central point of the story, taking both elements of its past (the notion of labour found in the textile industry, also visible in the nearby museum of work) and of its future – a visualization center – also questioning the relationship between intangible and practical work, statistics and factual, labour and its finality, which are all very current questions about our dematerializating world.
As we’re several people to work on the project, I drew a story-board so everyone can refer to the same document. As we work remotely, we meet every 2 days on Skype to see how things going.
Once all the content is done, I worked on the final editing – the actual piece the public sees.
What software do you use while creating and projecting your video mappings?
For this project, Simon Geilfus from our team created a new software so we can use some audio-reactive content based on vector graphics we designed. This software was used in the 1st part of the show. In addition, we used more traditional tools like After Effects, Illustrator, Cinema 4D.
What projectors are you using, how many and what hardware are you using to distribute the video signals to the projectors?
For this project, we used 2 Barco XLM HD30, that are 30K lumens projectors, outputting up to 2K resolution images. We didn’t use 2K resolution, but 1080p FullHD. For playback, we used Dataton’s Watchout hard/software, that is the easiest way to synchronize several projectors and have a smooth playback at such resolution.
The projectors can differ depending on the project. In Norrköping, the projectors were quite far from the building (on the other side of the river) so we needed pretty big ones. For closer projections/smaller buildings, 12 to 20k lumens projectors can be bright enough (also depending on the surroundings, public lights etc.)
Ok, this tech thing is going overboard, but what computers are you using?
Haha, this one’s going too far
For production and rendering in After Effects, Illustrator, C4D etc., we use Mac Pro’s (I you really wanna go geek, mine is a 4-core Nehalem with 8go RAM). By the way, Adobe CS5 is a must, working in 64bit on Mac Pro stations – it really improves rendering time and workflow in a general way using the total amount of RAM.
For Simon’s software, a Dual-Core DELL laptop was good enough (geek bonus: a PC running OSX…)
With your setup for video mapping – is it possible to mix content live (VJ-ing) or does everything need to be rendered and synchronized with the music in advance?
With the Watchout system, it’s possible to use live feeds from an external source. To do so, the Watchout must have the optional HD-SDI card installed, so it can take any input.
That said, I’ve never used it, and and I guess it’s a pretty big setup just for VJing. There’s an alpha version of a “mapping” module for Modul8 (made by some French guys as well) that would probably do the job too.