Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity
Master Of Animation, Games & Interactivity

Theme:

Play and Place

Method:

Using a combination of the Kaelidiscope effect in Photobooth on iPad Pro and screen recording software, walk around a space and capture unplanned and random footage to compile into a video to music, in order to create a style of motion graphics. 

Context:

Place can be formed through interaction, behaviours and actions with people (Tuan and Relph) and allow us to draw upon many different areas such as social, physical, emotional, cultural and community, through alternative, playful and expressive ways which are provided through a variety of different spatial practices – both digital and non-digital. 

In the past, I have spent time exploring and examining body and space and how we can use movement through dance and improvisation to create different experiences through spatial awareness, learning to tune into our different senses and positioning this spatiality in a range of different environments to form expressive movement based off place. Playing through improvisation and dance in a non-digital space to create playful, alternative and expressive experiences. 

Place, can mean many different things to different people, but at the very core we can all relate to a place called home. Although universal, it looks and feels different to each and every one of us, in which we form our own versions of home through different interactions and experiences.

For this week’s response, I wanted to explore the idea of play and place by leveraging these past experiences and playing with movement drawn from a physical place, in order to create an expressive and abstract outcome in a digital space – exploring the practice of motion graphics. The aim – to play and experiment with video captures in order to create a visually and engaging work that draws upon these experiences through combining my place of home and dance. 

Kaleidoscopes are an optical device consisting of mirrors that reflect images of bits of coloured glass in a symmetrical geometric design through a viewer. They form interesting and intriguing patterns and explore light, colour and movement. They are also used through the form of colour therapy which allows the participant to experience these things:

  • focus their mind, 
  • decrease physical tension, 
  • develops mind and body awareness 
  • providing clarity to the participants emotions 
  • calmness 
  • social interaction in safe spaces
  • Allows the right-side of brain to become engrossed in something non-threatening and kinaesthetic
  • Connection with nature 

(https://kaleidoscopetherapy.co.uk/)

Through the accidental discovery of the Kaleidoscope effect through the photobooth app on my new iPad whilst playing with silly photos with a child at home, I questioned how I could apply the effect through video footage rather than still photos to explore this idea of movement, place and digital space. 
 

Response:

  • Explore the Kaleidoscope effect in photobooth on iPad to play with different ways of creating the patterns
  • Download screen recording software 
  • Drive to Alkimos Beach 
  • Walk around aimlessly within the environment on both the beachfront and playground and capture footage with the Kaleidoscope effect applied 
  • Play with different variations through movement and speed, standing in front of the camera within the environment, focusing on just the environment, holding the camera still, moving the camera around really fast and rotating the camera 
  • Import footage into Premiere Pro 
  • Slice up interesting sections of the footage 
  • Download a creative commons version of “The Swan” from Swan Lake 
  • Pix and Mix the footage to work alongside the music 
  • Apply an overall camera colour filter to unify the footage a little more and to provide an overall style. 

Reflection:

This week, I found myself floundering around with ideas due to finding myself within one of the richest sources for content – home. There were so many different approaches I felt I could take and explore with things I hadn’t done before and it wasn’t too long before I realised I was hugely overthinking the “theme” of the week once again like the week we looked at “Objects”. I needed to completely step away from it for nearly the entirety of the week and allow myself to not think and just relax, play and have fun with those I love and wait to see what might arise during that time. 

It has been a reflective week for me being at home after an extended stint on the sidelines and there have been many in depth discussions that have taken place. As a result of these discussions, I began to reflect on both the past and the present and what home meant to me, what home looks like in my life, how home made me the person I am today, the different emotions that arise when I visit home again both good and bad and dug my way down a rabbit hole to realise one thing. 

For this week’s theme, Matt encouraged us to draw on the physical world with digital experiences and throughout the lecture I kept thinking about this one particular experience through my contemporary performance studies that related very strongly to the theme of place and my past experiences of exploring the different senses through place and tuning into the sounds of nature, textures of the environment and physical things such as wind to feel and reflect place through improvised motion. 

Home is the place I learnt to express myself and spend 80% of my life dancing. Dancing was my life. When I think of dance, I think of home and become flooded in memories. Dancing was a language to me, in which it allowed me to express everything there was to feel, say and experience. Dancing saved my soul, gave me all my “firsts” in life, allowed me to just be free and to be myself and through choreography, it’s where I learnt to tell stories in both traditional and abstract forms which led me down a pathway into theatre. Home is such a wonderful mix of content through experiences and emotions, in which I really wanted to take past understandings and experiences of telling stories through motion with my body and somehow bring that reflective use of motion into a digital space.  

On the plane coming home, I was listening to one of my favourite classical ballet tunes on repeat – “The Swan” from Swan Lake, otherwise known as the dying swan. It’s always been a piece I have enjoyed dancing to and I also find it quite meditative when reflecting on life. With the experiences of the past year and the desperation of needing to get home to my family, this song represents a lot in both my past, present and future. 

So, in order to explore this idea of motion in a place that holds so much meaning to me and provide a digital experience, I chose to use “The Swan” as the music for whatever motion came out of the result, to hopefully create a reflective and meaningful work – although most likely not obvious or recognisable to people who wouldn’t know the context of it all. 

I didn’t really know how I was going to explore this idea of motion, until I was having a silly play session with my little guy on my new iPad using the photobooth app and it was through trying all the different effects within this, that I discovered the kaleidoscope effect. The app is designed to take photographs not video, but I was really curious to explore using the effect to create videos as it was creating some interesting effects when moving the iPad around. This was the trigger for my response this week.

In order to convert the effect for use with video, I had to download a screen capture software and have it running in the background whilst playing with the photobooth app. This was slightly frustrating as the photobooth app keeps a timeline present at the bottom which is a gallery of all the previous photos taken within it, so there is a fair bit of screen real estate lost, however I figured it was be an easy enough work around in premiere pro to scale the footage to fit the 16:9 space. 

I chose Alkimos beach as my place of play. It holds a lot of rich history in my life both past, present and future and I felt like it was a good space to immerse myself in and express or summarise everything into a short abstract video to ‘The Swan”. 

I played with moving my body in front of the camera to create the idea of movement through use of body and space, spent time exploring stillness in the space whilst still running the effect on the ipad and walked around different areas within the space moving the iPad around to capture really random mashups and aspects of the environment. I was really curious to see the difference in outcomes between using natural motion from nature through the waves and water on the beach, in which I practiced a more reflective and still approach for this to allow the water to provide the motion and then the outcomes from forcing the motion myself by walking through the playground which held a lot of interesting textures and shapes. 

The result was a really lovely combination. The waves crashing within the kaleidoscope mirroring point created some really interesting patterns, which I would never be able to re-create manually. The static environment with manual motion from the camera formed some insane psychedelic outcomes from the ground and natural plants and environment. The footage I thought was going to be too crazy and not work out at all from moving the iPad around too much, was some of the best results to come out from the experiment, which are extremely rich in textures and motion. 

Editing the footage in Premiere Pro, I didn’t end up adjusting the speed to any of the footage. Playing with time, pace and velocity within the space, provided some really nice variations within the footage to match to the time and pace of the song. I did however flip some of the footage upside down to move the key point of the kaleidoscope around for a more interesting visual outcome and applied an overall colour filter on at the end to help unify the footage as one with it’s own style. 

Some people might find the outcome really interesting, reflective and meditative through it’s approach and others might not see any meaning in it at all, but the overall outcome of using motion from a physical space in order to create abstract digital art, works well. If I was to do it again, I would experiment further with lighting and stability of the footage to push the effects of the patterns and textures further. 

The other interesting thing was, although I was intentionally focusing in on motion graphics, my area of interest and practice with texturing still ended up shining through in a digital form. 


 

About This Work

By Amber Southall
Email Amber Southall
Published On: 31/03/2021