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Video Thesaurus

In July 2014 we were commissioned by WIRED Magazine to create a new interactive media art installation as part of  Bentley Motors Night Call event in the historic Wind Tunnels at Farnborough Airport. This prestigious event celebrated British design and engineering excellence with the launch of Bentley’s new Continental GT V8 S. This was the building where Bentley had tested its original V8 powered car design back in 1957 and the building had been abandoned for many years and only recently opened up for events. We instantly fell in love with the building and its history, however it was a very quick turnaround for such a large scale project and our ideas had to be achievable in a short time frame.

Our response to this challenge was to explore the relationship between sound, space and energy while referencing the building’s long history of aeronautical design and engineering.The resulting piece was a sound reactive video installation built with custom software in Openframeworks that uses a realtime fluid dynamics engine to distort and manipulate a set of vector fields. We designed and developed this custom software to allow us to visually map this huge space and to create a playful interactive piece that would engage the audience at the event while they walking through the tunnel.

We used a set of six 20k Full HD Christie projectors with very wide angle lenses to cover the walls and ceiling of the tunnel in three separate bands along the lengh of the space. Each of these arches of light contained a pair of Naim Audio speakers and a pair of vocal microphones at their bases. As the software generated different virtual energy forces that slowly moved down the space, the audience were encouraged to interact with these visuals by releasing their own sonic forces into the room. The resulting audio visual emissions and graphic turbulence created in these vector fields drove a multi channel piece of sound design in Ableton Liveusing OSC and Midi messages. The resulting sound scape sampled, effected and distorted the audience’s utterances and triggered additional lighting effects at each end of the space.


Video Thesaurus

Client: Getty Images
Production company: The Light Surgeons

In 2013 I was commissioned by The Light Surgeons to create the sound design for an interactive installation project for Getty Images at the Cannes Lions 60th Festival of Creativity. The installation displays over 800 video clips simultaneously across a huge 14 metre long video wall as individual animated film strips that are then activated by a set of Xbox Kinects, allowing visitors to browse and interact with them through the selection of different keyword metadata. Each video clip reveals its network of relationships to other clips on the wall, transforming the whole installation into a giant video thesaurus; allowing people to explore different themes and subjects across each collection of curated video content.

I worked closely with programmer Marek Bereza from “is this good” to develop a sound set to illustrate the programatic animations triggered by the movements of the audience interaction. I drew inspiration from various mechanical sounds from clocks to wheel of fortunes. We also wanted to add a musical layer, so as the audience member moves up and down the installation, they trigger a set of musical notes. Malcom Litson then worked on a sound set for each clip which gets mixed in when the clip is selected.

After its initial presentation at Cannes Lions in 2013 it has gone on to be shown in Singapore at Spikes festival.

Creative Direction: Christopher Thomas Allen
Interactive Producer: Luis De Jorge Ladrero
Programming & Animation: is this good
Editor: Jai Rafferty
Sound Design: Tim Cowie | Malcolm Litson
Production Assistant: Ashraf Saifullah
Technical Production: Elite AV