Applicants Day was held today (Saturday 23rd March 2013). I started setting up the equipment for the demos around 14:00 on Friday afternoon, and had some help from the support team moving the Jib, Microsoft Surface (Samsung SUR40), & Samsung Series 5 HDTV to the foundation year lab. After that I got the demos in the green screen room sorted out and did a quick check on the motion capture system. After sorting through the afternoons emails once these demos were in place it was around 19:00, so time to head home. A while after getting home I set about preparing a presentation of some photographs that included Light Painting, and high speed photography. These images needed a bit of editing done to them and down-scaling to a suitable size for display. By the time all this was done it was just after 22:00 in the evening.
The next morning I was at the School for 08:45 so as to get everything going before the 10:30 start time. The Jib and NX5E video camera was one of the first things to get powered up and operational on the actual day of the event. Some student help arrived in the form of 3 students from first year and 2 from third year sometime between 09:30 and 10:00. So this helped to speed up the setup process. Once the Jib was operational the Surface, a Canon 600D and a setup of tables and some objects were put in place to demonstrate Depth of Field, use of the surface and the Canon EOS Utility to allow for control of the camera. Concurrently the green screen room was being prepped by the first years (who had carried out this high speed photography demo with me during the CM1013 module recently). The support team also established video links between the triple lab, the green screen room and C44 (Motion Capture) leading back to C08/09. We did this for the first time last year and it seemed to work really well, allowing visitors and all those involved with the event to see what was going on at other locations.
The PowerPoint slideshow of the light-painting and high-speed photography was setup to project onto a portable screen that was setup in the triple lab in close proximity to the jib and surface.
As you can see below, we had half a dozen tripods ready to be put into use. Two Canon 600D’s, a Sony A100 and three JVC video cameras to capture some of the days events. With the aquarium filled and polished it was ready for some fruit to be dropped in and the resulting splashes to be captured. We were also all set to blow some Bubbles and capture the pouring of water into a wine glass. During the morning the students also experimented with some flowers and a water sprayer, capturing some really great shots of a rose encrusted with water droplets. You may also notice 3 Rode microphone tripods, a Gorillapod and Ballhead X along with a Cinesquid ready to be put into action.
With those demos now operational it was time to get the motion capture system up and running. As always it needs some system calibration data to be loaded up and a Skeleton applied for the actor in question. This however produced some unexpected results, hence we tried re-calibrating the skeleton to find that instead of detecting the 34 markers of the suit it was detecting around 40 or so distinct points. On further examination of the camera footage under a grayscale view it was discovered that some recent work in the room had slightly altered the position of the cameras, hence a recalibration of the entire system was required. This consisted of eliminating cameras in view of other cameras, wanding the capture volume, processing the results, establishing the ground plane & reviewing the 3D volume. With the capture space now established a T-Pose Skeleton calibration was carried out for the actor, this was quite straightforward and the cameras readily picked up all the points on the mocap suit. Finally some identifiers were laid down to establish the boundaries of the effective capture volume area. It was now 12:00 in the afternoon so was now able to get back and chat with a few visitors who were around the C08/09 lab.
The day finally wound down around 14:00, hence it was time to tidy things up and with plenty of people around to give a helping hand it was sorted within about an hour. A lot of elements have remained in place such as the photography demos & the MoCap system should be ready to go for the next day in just a short amount of time. After rounding up the last of the cameras & tripods etc, I was ready to head off around 15:30. Its really quite surprising, and I’m sure not many people realise just how much time is required to put such demos in place & prepare materials for same. A fairly accurate estimate of the setup time would be about 20 hours taking into account help from the support team, students and my own time.
Overall it was a fun and interesting experience & I think its safe to say that those running the demos had quite good a time doing so (should have some images available to post early on in the week). The next Applicants Day will be coming up again fairly soon so hopefully one or two more elements of technology can be in place for this, and with a good few demo elements in place setup time should be a good bit faster. You probably noticed the lack of photos from the MoCap system, these can perhaps be included after the next session.