Paint controlled pixel mapping

The goal of this project is to test interactions between physical and digital arts.
A camera captures live artists (painter, dancer, musician…) and map the video signal to display it on RGB led tubes as a very small resolution screen.

We’ve used this setup on several gigs and it integrates perfectly with traditional concert lighting because the led tubes always take the ambient stage color.
If we want, we can create some variations by filming some details on the stage.

In the project video, any video signal (live or pre-recorded) would have worked, but the paint seemed more fun and physical!

MAX is used to grab video signal, downscale it to a 4x16 pixel matrix and convert values to DMX.

Do you remember the first Max patch you ever made? What was it?

I had been using Max less than one year before I made the paint controlled pixel mapping project.
My first patches where from the Max tutorials, but the first thing I tried to make by myself was a simple video booth for the wedding of a friend.
I didn’t have the sufficient knowledge of Max, so I finally did it with some other software…

How did you come up with this project idea?

A concert hall where I work bought some DMX led tubes several years ago. It was a pain to control with our traditional lighting desk, because of the big number of DMX channels they request.
I was sure that I could do something easier to control with Max and a simple DMX interface, so I began to develop this project.

What sorts of problems did you have to solve?

I was quite comfortable with Jitter grab object because I had already used it. However, I didn’t know anything about matrix operations and how to transform a multi dimensional matrix into a simple list.

If there were one person who you would want to see your project, who would it be?

Nobody in particular, but I’d like to show performing arts artists and technicians that today, with some good pieces of software, they can do a lot of things quite easily. And I would like to encourage them to try to dive into IT tools.

At the conclusion of this project were you:
a) exhausted
b) ready to do a new one
c) thinking of ways to expand it
d) [other, please describe]

At the conclusion of this project, I was thinking of ways to expand. I’m sure I can push further the control of these led tubes, for example by adding tempo controlled effects on incoming stream.
And I was ready to do a new one, because I have a lot of other ideas to control lights and video on stage with some simple sensors.

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