International Curatorial Exchange (ICE), is Crane Arts’ most recent program initiative. Building upon previous international projects, the I.C.E. program invites commissions from international curators and artists that would be installed within the 125,000 cubic feet of the Ice Box Project Space, and/or that would utilize its new 2500 square feet video wall and sound system. The mission of I.C.E. is to present cutting edge international arts projects in support of Philadelphia’s and the East Coast’s diverse arts audience, and to provoke discourse that internationalizes the region’s art audience and its growing community of artists.
The Projection System:
Our new video system gives artists the power to utilize a 100 foot canvas (the width of The Ice Box) to project upon. Four synchronized video projectors work together to create one seamless, 100 ft. wide by 25 ft. tall composition. On this “canvas” the artist can combine multiple video files, live video feeds, static images, and sound layers in an almost unlimited number of ways. The diagram below represents an isometric view of the Ice Box with the four ceiling-mounted projectors represented by the magenta, cyan, yellow and green boxes near the top edge of the long wall at the left. The long wall to the right receives the overlapping projections from projectors one through four.
The diagram below shows an example of the various ways video might be displayed using the system. Projector One is showing a live camera feed from outside the building. Projector Two is showing the film “A Voyage To The Moon” by Melies and has some additional static cloud shapes (saved as .png files) that are floating on another layer above the video. Note how the cloud shapes enter the space of Projector’s One and Three. Projector’s Three and Four are working together to play the movie Tron in one seamless display.
The actual program used for this system is Dataton Watchout and it works, like Photoshop on the principle of layers. Movies, still images or live feeds can be layered on top of one another to create the desired effect. The four projectors work together to create one 3646 x 768 pixel canvas. Some screenshots of the program would be helpful at this point. The first image below shows a new document before any image or video files have been dragged into it. The second image shows the Avatar trailer (Avatar.mov) projected across the space of Projector’s One and Two. The Avatar file has simply been dragged and dropped here from a location on the hard drive. The third and final image shows 3 instances of the avatar trailer, starting at different instances along the time line and a static image (.jpg) of the Mona Lisa (why not?) stacked above the trailer in the space of Projector Four. The possibilities are endless. The system can be used to play something as straight forward as a traditional film that fills the entire wall or as complicated as each projector working on different projections that are interacting with each other. We are thrilled and very excited about this system and a big thanks goes out to EGWRK for their efforts in installing it.
Dataton WATCHOUT Technical Specifications for Artists:
Dataton WATCHOUT is a compositing tool for displaying and laying out media created using other software. Even though the ICEBOX system uses 4 Projectors (Displays), think of the interface as a single blank canvas that is 3646×768 pixels. You will have the ability to place multiple pieces of content on the canvas, layering them together, and adjust timing of how long you want to see it with ease.
WATCHOUT will accept most popular image formats, including BMP, GIF, JPEG, Photoshop, PICT, PNG for transparency, Targa and TIFF. IMPORTANT: In order to use Photoshop images with the system, files must be saved with “Maximize PSD File Compatibility” enabled. This Photoshop option is found under Preferences, File Handling, File Compatibility.
WATCHOUT will play back movies and videos saved in a Windows Media (DirectShow) or QuickTime-compatible format, including MOV, WMV, AVI, DV and MPEG-1/2. The recommended video compression to use is MPEG-2.
A live video feed from a external camera or DVD player can be incorporated into the composition using the S-video input and has the Standard Definition resolution of 640 x 480.
WATCHOUT can generally play any sound file that can be played using Windows Media Player. However, the recommended sound file format is WAV. There’s usually no reason to use a compressed sound file format, such as MP3, and the additional decompression step adds unnecessary load. The size of uncompressed sound files is usually not an issue with the kind of computers used to play back WATCHOUT composition.
Some video and movie files contain an audio track in addition to the video. In this case, the sound will play from the same display computer(s) as the video does. If you don’t want this, cut the sound track out of the movie and place it in a file of its own, thereby ending up with two media files: one containing the video and one the audio. This allows you to place them separately in WATCHOUT, making the sound play from any computer. You can use QuickTime Pro or any QuickTime compatible video editing software to split the audio and video tracks of a QuickTime movie into two separate movies. In QuickTime Player, open the composite movie and choose “Show Movie Properties” on the Window menu. Select the sound track and click “Extract”. This extracts the sound track into its own movie, which you can then save as an AIFF or WAV file using the Export command on the File menu.
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