At this Friday’s After Hours event, we’ll be debuting our latest crowd pleaser. “Party People Photos” is an installation that lets people take their own photos and have them projected onto several screens during the party. Additionally, we’ll be putting all the photos up in a Flickr Pool for all to see and even add their own photos to the pool.
The idea for the project grew out of the theme of the ads for the party, “Party People”, which uses images of people from the expansion opening party back in 2005. We like the opening photos, but we want more of them and we want everyone to be able to experience the party. We did a test run of the installation on monday and it went quite good. Word got out among some of the staff and we captured quite a few photos. Funny, sassy, weird… Exactly what we’re hoping for.
Below is a screenshot of the projection movie from the test, which is what it will look like on Friday night.
We’re using an iMac with a built-in iSight to capture the images. The iMac is hooked up to a Canon Eos 10D via USB, which is the camera that actually takes your picture when triggered. To trigger the capture, we have a big red button connected to the computer via an i-pac. I soldered up the connection for the button and the iPaq, which marks the first time I’ve ever got to do soldering at my day job. The button took some googling to find, but it turns out the company that makes it is actually located in Roseville, MN. The flash on the camera is a ring flash, so they have a sexy, fashion photo feel.
Tying all of the inputs together is Max/MSP + Jitter. When the button is hit, it acts as if the “x” key has been hit on the keyboard, which starts the countdown. At 7 seconds, the camera capture is started. As I talked about in a previous post, we’re using gphoto2 to handle the capture. It takes a few seconds for it to happen, but goes off at right about 0. The built-in iSight on the iMac is used to give a preview image so people can compose their shot with the proper amount of sass and pizzaz (heavy on the sass, please).
Once the photo is downloaded, it is dropped in a folder where launchd sees it and triggers a script that rysync’s it to the projection computers. At this point, the capture station is ready to take another photo.
The projection isn’t quite a slide show, but achieves the same goals as a slide show in that it shows a collection of images. We’re using quartz composer to do this, since it’s the hottest graphic tool on OS X and makes this kind of thing very easy and very smooth. In this patch, the images around the edges randomly pick an image from the pool of available images and display it. The center images have a simple algorithm that displays a mix of the most recently taken images, but some other random ones as well. This way, if you’ve just gotten your picture taken, you’ll be able to see it big, but you’ll also have an opportunity to see other photos.
If all goes well, the projection will be showing on “The Rock” in the Bazinet Garden Lobby and on the shades in the Cargill lounge.
On the Web
Once the party is over, we want the fun to keep rolling, so all the photos are going up on flickr. Not only do we want an easy way to show the photos, and flickr has one of the best web-based interfaces for that, but we also want people to be able to add their own. We’ve set up a group for the After Hours parties, where we’ll be putting our photos. If you go to the event and take some photos with your phone or digicam, join our group and add it to ourAfter Hours Flickr Pool. We’ve also set up a page on the walker site that has some info about After Hours and the flickr group.
One small note: By attending the party and getting your pictures taken in the photo booth, you give us the rights to use your photo in documentation of the party and project. This is all covered on the back of your ticket for the event, so it is basically a condition for getting in the building. If you add your photos to our pool, they’re covered by whatever copyright restriction you put on them in Flickr.
So, go to the party, get your picture taken, take some photos of your own (just not in the galleries), join our flickr group, and upload your pictures. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it.