Caroline's Final project
The goal has remained the same throughout the semester. To make the depression of a pillow trigger nightmarish effects. I am using the bed from my youth, a daybed, with comfortable blankets and a stuffed animal as well as some surrounding toys to hopefully make the whole production appealing enough to attract someone to interact with it. in order for the presentation to work, a person needs to actually lie down on the bed and rest their head on the pillow. This act will trigger the pleasant imagery projected overhead of a little boy puppet sleeping to change into a horrifying nightmare puppet show.
First I fixed my prototype, I replaced the "cloth walls" with foam that I purchased upon Jane's suggestion. This foam provided me the exact amount of spring to make the sensor extremely reliable. Instead of using two pillows I replaced one with a layer of foam. Still tinfoil was the conductor, but I sewed four foam segments about and inch by an inch by about 4-6 inches long on the pillow and another five of similar size to the foam layer (one in the middle to provide extra tension. I incased this all in a pastel green pillow case, also from my childhood.
Then I configured the breadboard and arduino as follows, based on documentation I eventually found online. upon Diane's suggestion I cut the wires so that the entire production looked neat and organized. Then I soldered some longer wires together to attach to the tinfoil conductor. However, i found this to be burdensome, considering the electronics kept getting disorganized and mushed in the pillowcase. Eventually I reverted back to detachable clamps, so as to keep the hardware separate and in good condition.
I worked on the puppets and videos with Carolyn Kopecky and Hamil (I don't know his last name, but he's got a blue screen - haha). The little boy puppets were sculpted out of cheap clay and fake black fur for the hair. The heads were attached to sticks and placed under a sweater made from an old purple sock on which clay hands were attached as well as strings. The puppet's bed was made of things we could find in our house, paper towel, cloth, doilies and so forth. The little boy was moved with simple string pulls and stick twists. Then for the nightmare scene, stencils or shadow puppets were made depicting unique monster characters and they were shot moving across a blue screen. We did this many times and then layered each filming with a different color so that it looks like there are a lot of different colored monsters when really there were only about 5 plain black cut outs. After that, Hamil helped us transfer the footage of the boy puppet experiencing a nightmare onto the blue screen. This whole process was very educational and due to Hamil's help, I feel I should plug his shows on public access at 10 every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. He has call in shows such as call in Karaoke, call in scrabble, and call in poet television as well as many spontaneous ideas and he films all of them live in front of a blue screen with live editing. What he does with blue screen technology is quite amazing and artistic.
Anyway, the rest of the project involved set up. The bed I brought home over thanksgiving break with the help of friends Pat Jackson and John Lutz. The bed was brought to school by John and I just a day before presentation. I set it up on Wednesday night and decorated it with blankets and toys I had thought ahead to bring with me. I set up a screen on the ceiling with the help of Karen and then propped the projector against a stool which I attempted to camouflage with blocks and books. This was not an ideal position for the projector. It should have been projecting straight down onto the screen from above but because of the low ceiling and the fact that the space was being used by other people, this could not be done. The angled projector was not bad though.
Originally, I had wanted there to be a projection on both the wall and the ceiling, but I soon realized that this would be much more complicated of a procedure. I am happy with the use of only one and I think that two would have been too much to look at.
the video taken in class does not show the actual bed at all and since that was only up for a short time i did not get any pictures or video of it, but here are the puppet videos
What I would change:
I never really took sound into consideration, immediately assuming that silence would be appropriate. However, I do think that if I had used simple lullabies and then some sort of disheartening sound for the nightmare, the whole scene would have been more impacting.
Also, I wish I could have explored Max/MSP more fully so as to learn more about it rather than just exactly what I needed to do this project. (Now Hamil wants me to teach him things I learned in this class so he can do even more with his show. This will be difficult considering what I don't know, but it should be fun, because I will learn a lot in the process of attempting to share the programs with him.