The Departure. (Digital Ornithology).
A Jason Bruges Studio project, copy from the JBS website:
Client: In collaboration with JAC studios & No Parking and supported by the Esbjerg Municipality
Location: Wadden Sea Visitor Centre, Vester Vedsted, Denmark
In 2014 Jason Bruges Studio won the competition, in collaboration with JAC Studios, to create an immersive installation that represents the 12 million migratory birds and the unique landscape of the Nationalpark. Digital Ornithology is the last sequence of the exhibition, which follows a journey of exploration and discovery of the native birds, to being fully immersed in their unique habitat and behaviours. The space allows visitors to be at eye height and experience the take off and landings at close proximity, thereby amplifying the presence of the birds. The installation is comprised of 562 LCD screens suspended from the ceiling in a sequence that represents the migration of the birds. With an amalgamation of projection mapping of live footage and the light-modulating behaviour of the LCD’s, the result is an ephemeral and captivating acquaintance.
I started on this project at the very beginning, going to the Vadehavcentret in Denmark for the initial briefing. From there I was involved with the design/visualisation/software until completion of the project.
This video shows some of the technical processes.
Designing the structure itself went through many iterations and processes, the video shows how a parametric C4D rig was used as a part of that development.
The projection mapping system used both Cinema 4D and Openframeworks. The warping of the meshes were basic deformers in C4D. This allowed the process to be fairly speedy as it was mainly using familiar modelling tools to do the mapping. The deformations of the mesh were sent live to the Openframeworks app which had a separate output window for each projector, the frame of the movie content was also linked to the C4D timeline. Once the mapping was complete, the deformed movie was exported with the mapping set, this could then be places into the show control software.
The animations to drive the LCD chandelier were developed in C4D with a heavily customised Mograph setup. To simulate the swarming birds moving through the canvas, a bespoke particle system using python effectors was used, this was a productive workflow as it was still possible to layer up with the standard Mograph features for adding textural and ambient effects.
To maximise design time on site (it's always a priority for a site specific mixed media piece such as this), a custom C4D python plugin was written to interface directly with the chandelier hardware in real time. This was in addition to an exporter plugin which was developed to export out a pixel mapped bitmap sequence for use with the show control software after the design process was complete.
The final control aspect was the lighting for the space. Using projections which function better in a dark space mixed with the liquid crystal panels which function better in a bright space presented a challenge and opportunity. The lighting was specified to be DMX controllable in the space to bring in an additional layer to manage the brightness in different areas of the room. This control allowed the shifting of focus across the space depending on where the viewer should be paying most attention to. Again for the design process this was controlled in real time in C4D. So, in one file it was possible to have full control of all of the LCD pixels, the lighting for the space and to manage the video content, all responding to the C4D timeline. :)