Blogs Media Lab Motion Graphics

Digital Wayfinding in the Walker, Pt. 1

An ongoing conversation here at the Walker concerns the issue of systemic wayfinding within our spaces — certainly an important issue for an institution actively seeking attendance and public engagement, not to mention an institution whose building is literally a hybrid of the old and new (with our 2005 expansion). While not normally in New […]

An ongoing conversation here at the Walker concerns the issue of systemic wayfinding within our spaces — certainly an important issue for an institution actively seeking attendance and public engagement, not to mention an institution whose building is literally a hybrid of the old and new (with our 2005 expansion). While not normally in New Media’s purview, and only occasionally so for Design, a recent initiative to improve the flow and general satisfaction of visitors brought with it the idea of using digital displays, with their malleable content and powerful visual appeal, to guide and direct people throughout the Walker.

Our new static directional signage

Currently installed in one location of an eventual three, and with a simple “phase one” version of the content, the Bazinet Lobby monitor banks cycle through the title graphics for all the exhibitions currently on view, providing a mental checklist of sorts that allows the visitor to tally what he or she has or hasn’t yet seen that directly references the vinyl graphics at each gallery entrance. The corner conveniently works as an intersection for two hallways leading to a roughly equivalent number of galleries in either direction, one direction leading to our collection galleries in the Barnes tower, and the other our special exhibition galleries in the Herzog & de Meuron expansion. To this end, we’ve repurposed the “street sign” motif used on our new vinyl wall graphics to point either way (which also functions as a nice spacial divider). Each display tower cycles through it’s given exhibitions with a simple sliding transition, exposing the graphics one by one. An interesting side effect of this motion and the high-contrast LCDs has been the illusion of each tower being a ’70s-style mechanical lightbox; I’ve been tempted to supplement it with a soundtrack of quiet creaking.

The system, powered by Sedna Presenter and running on four headless, remotely-accessible Mac Minis directly behind the wall, affords us a lot of flexibility. While our normal exhibitions cycle is a looped After Effects composition, we’re also working on everything from decorative blasts of light and pattern (the screens are blindingly bright enough to bathe almost the entire lobby in color), to live-updating Twitter streams (during parties and special events), to severe weather and fire alerts (complete with a rather terrifying pulsating field of deep red). In fact, this same system is now even powering our pre-show cinema trailers. I’m particularly interested in connecting these to an Arduino’s environmental sensors that would allow us to dynamically change color, brightness, etc. based on everything from temperature to visitor count to time of day — look for more on that soon.

See it in action:

Behind the scenes / Severe weather alert:

 

Installation:

  

Testing time-lapse software

WACTAC has an event next week called Don’t Sleep on It, taking place during Art-a-Whirl. The gist of the event: over the course of 24 hours different groups of artists will transform a gallery space, destroying and re-building the art many times over the period. At the end of the event, they want to show […]

WACTAC has an event next week called Don’t Sleep on It, taking place during Art-a-Whirl. The gist of the event: over the course of 24 hours different groups of artists will transform a gallery space, destroying and re-building the art many times over the period. At the end of the event, they want to show a time-lapse video of the transformation.

Making a time-lapse movie is not hard. While it can be done using a video camera, it’s easier to use a digital still camera. You take a series of images at predefined intervals and stitch them together using software like After Effects, or, even simpler, Quicktime Pro. We’re using a Canon G10 and the Canon Remote Capture software to take photos every 10 seconds. I set up a test in our office just to make sure it would run correctly and without incident. Here’s the result:

[flickrvideo width=”500″ height=”333″]http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkerart/3510291897/[/flickrvideo]

Taking one photo every 10 seconds over 24 hours generates 8640 frames, creating a video just under 10 minutes long. We may end up dropping every other frame to create a shorter movie. The nice thing about using a digital still camera for this is that it produces a video well beyond even 1080P HD resolution.

In the above video, you can enjoy watching me look up documentation on Django, read a book about symfony, and my be mesmerized by a screensaver.

Insights Lecture Series video teaser

One of the myriad of things New Media Initiatives is responsible for around the Center is motion graphics. There are already great posts on here about some of the more interesting technical projects involving multiple projectors and fancy software. In addition to these more complicated solutions, we also do some old-fashioned linear motion graphics work […]

One of the myriad of things New Media Initiatives is responsible for around the Center is motion graphics. There are already great posts on here about some of the more interesting technical projects involving multiple projectors and fancy software. In addition to these more complicated solutions, we also do some old-fashioned linear motion graphics work in After Effects. I’ll dig into the recesses of my hard drive in the future and post some of that work.

In the meantime, here’s the latest piece for the Insights Lecture Series, which began yesterday. This video is entirely based on the poster designed by Vance Wellenstein and Ryan Nelson, I just added some slightly sophisticated transitions and timing.

2008 Insights Lecture Series Teaser from Justin Heideman on Vimeo.

This video runs for the period before each lecture start, while visitors are finding seats. It’s used as branding for the series and to remind those who haven’t bought tickets to the next lecture they might just want to. I’ve put the video on Vimeo rather than YouTube because Vimeo’s video quality is much better.