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In order to improve viewing for its audience Kickstarter compressed the videos and it is noticeable. While this is unavoidable it doe not make a large difference and many viewers will be seeing it on a tablet or phone. However here is a uncompressed version of the video:
Kickstarter is a very popular crowdfunding website, it has been a large part of my life – a lot of my previous projects have been inspired by content found on Kickstarter, including the inspiration for this very project – The Eta Clock.
Kickstarter also receives over twice as many monthly visitors than its competitor IndieGoGo – However, since starting the project page I have noticed a few restrictions that I did not expect from such a large organisation. (Although I do understand why they are in place)
For example, the main part of the project page is the Product Description, this section has very limited formatting options. There is no option to justify the text (a personal preference of mine as I feel it makes text appear more aesthetically pleasing – e.g this blog). There is also no font editing controls which means that in order to add defined subtitles these have to be image files and finally the photos uploaded have to be the perfect size prior to uploading as there are no scaling tools available. If a photo is too large you have to edit the file and re-upload it, unlike this blog where I can simply drag the transform controls around the edge of the images to resize it.
Form a design perspective this makes the project a little more difficult, if the photos are uneven sizes then it will distract people from the content while also make the project look less professional as you can see from the gif below.
My original plan was to submit this project as a concept video for the product, however I now feel like a singular video would not be a sufficient means of delivery. Therefore as suggested I plan to hand this project in as a Kickstarter page. This will have the look and the feel of a Kickstarter project but will not be published as a live project. This will allow me to include more content and more details about the product and project.
A benefit of using a crowd-sourcing page is that I will get clear insights into what type of audience is interested in my project.
Use this link to see a preview of the project:
These are the first screenshots of the page:
Here is the first rendered animations ready to be mapped into the concept video. These have been displayed on iPhones purely for aesthetic reasons. Only the screens will be mapped into the video.
These graphic are the first stills from what will become a full app animation ready to video map into the concept video footage when it is recorded and edited. To create the graphics I used photoshop and found graphics. The animations were produced using After Affects.
A quick 2 minute video below shows the process of creating the calibration menu graphics and then proceeding to animate the content. This video is important because not only does it show the process of how it was made but it also shows my thought process along the way, specifically the trial and error.
In order to show the the capabilities of the Magic Sky a concept video needs to be produced. The location for the video will be determined at a later date however the location needs to feature a plain white ceiling and plain white walls. For the sake of getting all the content within the parameters of the camera a small room would be ideal. The reflective sphere will also need to be hung from the ceiling or inserted in post-production.
The video will start off with the camera within the room facing the door, a person will enter the room and flick on a light switch, this will turn on the projector and the light within the sphere. The person will stand in the middle of the room and take out their phone. The camera will then be positioned behind the person so the phone screen and the ceiling are in shot. The person will open the Magic Sky app, after a loading screen, a searching screen will appear, the phone will pair with the projector and the app will prompt the user to start first time setup. The person will tap the “start first time setup” button and the screen will display a message saying “Stand in the centre of the room, hold your phone in front of you and face the red line”. The projector will display a thin vertical red line, this will extend from the centre of the ceiling to the edge and down about a quarter of the wall.
The person will face the red line and tap the “Start calibration” button. A red dot will appear on the wall, the app will show “Move the phone to align the dot with any of the top corners of the room then tap next” The person will physically move their phone and the dot on the wall will move relatively. When the dot is aligned with the corner the person will tap “next”. Another dot will appear and the process will repeat for the next three corners (or it will fade to the next scene). The footage will be filmed anyway as to allow for both possibilities. When the calibration is done the projector will highlight the edges of the room (This is just for show).
The user will then select the “Content menu”, the app will show a variety of options, the person will select the utility menu and then select the clock. A clock will be projected onto the wall and the user will move their phone to position the clock. When they have put the clock in the place they desire the user will then flick through the styles of clock until they find one they like.
They will add more content this same way.
The closest example of what I plan to create is this video here:
In order to calibrate the projection and to add/remove/position content the device needs an input method. I propose a smartphone app. We live in a cell phone culture and almost all devices are now controlled via our smart phones.
When the projector is first turned on it will prompt the user to connect the app via wifi and/or bluetooth. When the app is connected it will start the calibration process. The projector will project a single green vertical line. The app will prompt the user stand in the middle of the room and face the green line and then tap to begin the calibration process. The projector will project a dot onto the wall, to calibrate the device the dots needs to be aligned with the top corners of the room. To move the dot the user will physically move their phone, the gyroscope within the smartphone will detect the movement and react by moving the dot. Essentially the dot will move dependent upon where they point their phone (As if the phone is a magic wand from Harry Potter), when the dot is positioned in the corner the user will tap the screen to confirm the positioning. The user will then repeat these steps for the remaining corners. (If the user struggles with using the gyroscope or their phone doesn’t have the feature they will be able to complete the process by using a onscreen joystick to position the dots)
While working on this project I have come to the understanding that the sphere can be more than that a simple reflective surface. My idea is to implement a light and a speaker into the sphere. This will mean that the room can still be lit without the need for the projector to be turned on. The speaker would also help with the TV mode of the device. One aspect of the Magic Sky allows the user to place a TV on their wall or ceiling at any size in any position or any orientation; the speaker would act as a sound output for any audio accosted with the device, especially the TV/Video content. The bulb and speaker could be connected directly to the projector and be used only by the projector or the speaker and bulb can be smart and be able to be connected to other devices.
The sphere could also feature adjustable height, this would allow the device to lower itself down in order to increase the area of the room that can be projected on.
At this stage the project is still only a concept and therefore a working prototype needs to be produced in order to move forward. The first prototypes will be scaled down versions of what the final artefact should be. To create this I used a cardboard box, the Sony MP-CL1 laser projector and a reflective domed table lamp.
Project Creator: Shane Smith
Project Title: The Magic Sky
To break down the boundaries of fantasy and reality.
The idea for this project came straight from the popular classic “Harry Potter” (a fictional book and movie series set in a world where magic is real). Magic makes almost anything possible and in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (a school that teaches magic within the series) the ceiling in the great hall is enchanted to look like the sky outside:
“Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, […] Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whisper, “It’s bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History.” It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn’t simply open onto the heavens.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling (1997)
This projects concept is to turn this magical idea into a reality
To explore a fantasy themed media text and highlight a “make-believe” artefact.
To design digital media concept(s) to bring the found artefact into reality.
To generate a prototype version of the aforementioned concept.
To discuss possible uses for this device.
To regularly document progress via a University blog.
To produce a critical review of the project.
Weeks 1 – 2: To formulate ideas, discuss ideas and decide upon a final idea to take further.
Week 3: To create a project proposal ready to hand-in in week 4.
Weeks 4 – 5: To design and create a prototype device to demonstrate idea.
Weeks 6 – 8: To design the digital aspects – projection mapping, content and demo plan.
Weeks 8 -10: To create a demo video which will exhibit the devices possible uses.
Weeks 11 – 12: To critically evaluate work completed and discuss how to take it further.
The Magic Sky is aimed at the smart household/office. Hypothetically there will be endless uses a device such as this, some example uses could be but is not limited to:
To have the ceiling of the room mimic the sky/weather outside,
As a lighting alternative with adjustable brightness, colour and direction,
To project a clock and/or calendar on the wall with live event updates,
To link with a video doorbell to show who is at the door (or linked to CCTV or baby monitor),
To project a TV onto any wall (almost any size) or on the ceiling for in-bed viewing,
To project family photos/artwork/videos anywhere on the wall,
As the technology and software advances the broader the audience will become.
In order for the single projection to be cast 360 degrees around the room a curved mirror is needed. In the first mock-up example I created (seen here to the right), the object I used for the mirror was in fact part of a light fitting, this light fitting is the perfect shape and helps to show that the mirror would not look out of place in a typical home/room, however the reflective finish is dull and rather warped. The chrome finish was made for aesthetics and not for reflection and therefore this light fitting would not be suitable for the project.
To cast the projection without any distortion the surface of the object will need to be smooth and evenly reflective. If you enlarge the photo of the light fitting you can see small imperfections in the reflection where the shape of the dome is not perfect. For this project to work it will need a reflective hemisphere that was designed for reflection and not for decoration. To achieve this I propose using a dome security mirror. These objects are primarily used by stores to allow the storekeeper to keep an eye on customers no matter where in the store they are.
The main component of this project is the projector. Without it the project wouldn’t work and with the wrong type the project would face many problems. Having experience in projection mapping (an example can be seen to the right) will really help this project move forward faster and avoid some problems. I already understand that a laser projector would be ideal for this particular project and these are the main reasons why:
Firstly, lamp projectors require optics to project the image, this mean that these optics have to be individually focused for each scenario whereas a laser projector projects directly and thus is always in-focus. Because this project features walls and ceilings of varying distances from the projector it would be impossible for a optical projector to be in-focus on each of these areas.
Secondly, the projection needs to be masked into a circular shape to prevent any excess light from bleeding around the edges of the hemisphere and onto the floor. Typically to do this a black mask is placed over the images and this ‘removes’ these areas. However, black is the absence of light and therefore projectors cannot project it. Optical projectors project a colour a few shades brighter than black and hence this means that you will always end up with a distinct black rectangle when trying to remove areas of the projection. On the other hand a laser projector can dim/turn off areas of the projection which are black. A laser projector would be more ideal for this reason.
Other benifits of a laser projector are, start up time, no need to replace bulbs/lifetime, lower power consumption and lower maintenace needs.
Step 1 – Remove the ceiling light.
Step 2 – Insert projector into ceiling facing downward.
Step 3 – Mount a reflective hemisphere below projector. Flat side down.
Step 4 – Turn on projector (projection should project in 360 degrees around the top half of the room) The lower the hemisphere the lower the projection.
Step 5 – Map the projection into a circle which covers the hemisphere and removes any excess projection which would otherwise bleed onto the floor.
Step 6 – Map the projection to the shape of the room.
Step 7 – Project content.
Other things that can and should be projected:
- Baby Monitor
- Video doorbell
It’s a clock based upon the clock from the Harry Potter series, one that shows the location of your family and friends. Such a simple and yet beautiful idea, I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw the clock in the Harry Potter film but despite being so young I still found it really cool and wished it was real. This made me think about everything else that I have seen in a non fiction movie that I wished was real, therefore I have planned to marathon all the Harry Potter films and hopefully find something that I would love to create. If I don’t find anything then I will start on other non fiction films, books, games etcetera.
After three years of studying Digital Media at undergraduate level (alongside other modules) I have been able to explore many mediums of the practice such as:
- Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
- Projection Mapping
- Motion Graphics
- 3D Modelling
- App Design
- Motion Graphics
And although I enjoyed these formats and the projects they were a part of I feel like I would have little to gain if I was to revisit the areas. I would rather choose a new area to focus my attention, preferably one which I have little to no experience using. During week 1’s group session, we split of into pairs to discuss our ideas, plans and interests in order to help share and develop them. I paired up with Samantha Santos; her idea was to create a 3D modelling application that uses the hands as the tools. She explained that she had done some research and found that she would need 4 Xbox Kinects in order for her idea to work. Therefore I introduced her to the Leap Motion, a hand tracking input that should be perfect for her project instead of the kinects.
In my first year of university I was introduced to the leap motion and didn’t think much of it and then in my third year I saw it in use in conjuncture to a virtual reality headset. From this I saw the potential of the device and really wanted to develop with it; however by this point I was already halfway through the semesters project and had no time to do it. I had actually forgotten about the device until Sam sparked my memory in the session and now that I had remembered it I really wanted to develop with it again.
I came up with an quick idea that was to somehow use the Leap Motion as a tool to understand and translate sign language, however upon sharing this idea James Fields explained that a past student had the same idea and as they researched they figured out that there’s already companies trying to create this exact idea and are struggling to do so because sign language isn’t so much what the hands but rather where the hands are doing it in relation to the person. So it was a nice idea but I think it is time to revisit the drawing board.