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Saturday, 14 May 2011

Wearable Interface.

Short project blog-wise.

Struggled throughout the entirety of this project.  Initially ran with using a gun (I realise this was frowned upon from the get go).  I wanted to get the project rolling so left the creative aspect up in the air.  The gun fit in with the theme of our movie, and allowed me to focus on getting the work done.

Max/MSP was a disaster.  Programming was an aspect of the course I was completely unfamiliar with, and missed the immediate introductory lessons.  I quickly found out though, that the majority of using this program involved searching for existing code on the internet.  It was relatively easy to find, and if something didn't suit, forums easily provided Max/MSP enthusiasts who were keen to help.

To this end I came up with the basic idea to manipulate the tempo of the gunfight scene from our last project.  The tempo was a focus of our film, we built slow throughout the story and finished with the gunfight.  We were aiming to flip the slow pace on its head and create contrast between the plot driven scenes, and the action scenes.

When the gun was holstered a button would be pressed -this would maintain tempo at the regular frame-rate. When the gun was drawn the button would be released, slowing the footage down.  Lastly when the trigger was pulled, another button was installed that would create a flash on-screen, and momentarily speed the footage up.  Playing with basic Max templates related to the frame-rate this was easily achieved.  I felt like this was too easy and didn't really push creative boundaries.  However I still had a lot to do concerning the physical apparatus, so I cracked on with that.

The gun was cheap, I could easily tear into it with a small rotary tool and install the buttons.  There was enough space inside to hold the encoder from the keyboard and any necessary wiring.  I could also leave the small trigger tension system inside after all this was put together, which kept pressure when the trigger was pulled.  *Think operating a toy gun, it all still worked like it should, but it had been re-fit with new purpose.

The keyboard encoder was more difficult.  After mapping the individual keyboard button presses to the encoder, I set to adapting the hardware to fit the new buttons in the gun.  Was relatively straight forward, but time-consuming.  Then the soldering effort, which I completely messed up.  I had issues with removing the black covering from the connections, and wasted a few at this stage.  I then fried a few more soldering,  which really irritated me.  I had reached the stage where I had destroyed so many connections that the encoder was pretty much useless.  It needed 4 connections to adapt the new buttons.  It didn't have 4 viable connections left.

I was really unmotivated at this stage.  We were in the final few days of project work, and I felt like my system was:

a. Conceptually relevant to the previous project material.
b. Adapted hardware was not what the tutors were looking for insofar as using a gun, when I knew it was frowned upon.
c. Broken.  The encoder was un-useable and the only person I had to blame for this was myself.  I had missed vital time spent in class learning how to use the necessary tools.
d. Not able to be rebuilt or fixed due to time and fiscal constraints.

However I also feel, that during the process:

a. I learned the basic skills involved in Max/MSP through research and exploratory practise.
b. I manipulated existing equipment to fit new hardware.
c. I ran with an idea that developed and built upon meaning and ideas that were initially explored within the 'Little Red Riding Hoodie' project.
d. I feel most of all, that I have developed my personal skill-set, and understanding of the creative process involved in our course -'Creative Technologies'.

I admit that I definately still have a lot to learn, but feel like that is all part of growing within the course.  I hope I have the opportunity to give these aspects of the course another shot within our next project, or ultimately if I need to redo the Wearable Interface project for re-assessment, I would be happy to do so. (as my hand-in consists of this blog material and a reflective statement)

*Will attach photos and Max screen captures in the near future. -Need more substantial material if I want to try and keep up with previous project attempts.

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