Preparing to Make my MA Project Holographic Film

This will be viewed in the Microsoft Hololens, which I continue to discover more about during my trials at home, my visits to CSM 4D Digital Studios, and during my stint at the Digital Maker Collective Tate Exchange (last one next week). I have also bought a book about making Holograms for the Hololens. Terrifying!!! Here is Sharon trying it out at the last Tate Exchange.

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My home project has been to take the 3D scanned image of the Theresa sculpture into the Hololens, scale the result and place it within a real life environment. Much easier said than done. However, I did it, following the idiots guide to Hololens (but for geniuses only). Sadly, Theresa literally filled the room when viewed through the Hololens. I could only scale her down to the size of a house (sorry Theresa), but I could move it in a limited way. I sought help from Sion Fletcher who teaches Unity etc at CSM. His approach was to make a Unity program to achieve what I was looking for. It took him the best part of half a day. Quick for Holographic program development. It worked but was highly unstable. The images of Theresa were correctly scaled but they took 5 minutes to appear, then would disappear, only to reappear in a completely different place in my house, which took me 10 minutes to locate. Then the hologram would refuse to be moved more than a few centimetres at a time.

Suzy, who is participating in her first MA show, having seen the extremely enticing holograms of ballerina’s and the like, asked to include her scan (as Theresa) using the Hololens in her first Kingston University MA show ‘Museums in 2030’. I was on the rack, and panicking as her show set up is this coming Monday. Fortunately, I read the Hololens instructions again and realised that there were size and format limitations to any imported file. This was yesterday (Friday). So I set about trying to convert an SLS file (used to print the Theresa sculpture at CSM), to SDK (used by the Ultimaker 3D printers at Camberwell, and the make I own). I experimented with lots of software, as I had to go via converting to OBJ (used by my 3D scanner). Ughh! I was pulling my hair out by lunchtime. Then I thought about using Blender (which I had never used before). Jonathan loaded it on to the Mac in our studio, and with a few hints from Alejandro (who was busy using it that afternoon for his own presentation the next day) amazingly I did it. This time it worked. Scaled from over 2 metres in size to 20 cm wide. Reduced from 77,000 vertices to 28,500, under the 30,000 prescribed maximum, and directly converted to SDK  from STL, and within the file size limit of 25 MB, down from 100 MB. So I went ho,e to try it on the Hololens using their standard method. Miracles. It worked. And was stable. It did not run about the house. Nor did it keep disappearing.  Success. Relief.

Now I have to teach Suzy how to use the Hololens and manipulate her holographic sculpture in the exhibition space at Kingston University. Exciting. The private view is Tuesday next week. I will put pictures on my blog.

Last week I also tried Green Screen filming for the first time. This is necessary for me to understand when it comes to filming my actors for the Hololens. Alasdair, Vic, and Mady worked together in the Digital Media studio at Camberwell. We played around with Leonora software (which Vic understood) and equipment borrowed form the Camberwell loan store (a first for Alasdair and I). Here are a few video clips and pics of how we got on.

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Due to the four week break due to Easter and Camberwell building work, Alasdair and I and the rest of our small team are decamping to Alasdair’s studio at the bottom of his garden in Barnes. We could not loan the equipment over this time so decided to buy it as it was not as expensive as we first thought. It will give us a level of independence when everyone from Camberwell BA and MA want to use the Digital Media Green Screen studio and loan equipment when we need to. It will also be a backup for me in case I am unable to use the wrap around Green Screen facility at Wimbledon for my final shoot. This looks exceedingly likely as it is currently booked out to Wimbledon Theatre Design students until July! So a necessary investment we think.

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