Setting up at the SATosphere
Some of this content appeared on the Facebook page for the event as this was the most direct way to explain what was happening to the people who were going, so apologies for any repetition.
Pre-gig article by Lucinda Catchlove for CBC Music on what it’s about and what I intend to do.
Now some background on the process of getting it to the screen:
July 9th: Currently rendering footage from both After Effects and Final Cut Pro as well as preparing images in Photoshop. To show films ‘full dome’ (ie covering the whole surface of a dome) you need to have an image between 3000 and 4000 pixels square. Only Red cameras can shoot over the 4k image size but this is only on the long side, and the raw footage for one frame this size is 36MB. As a result most full dome films are animations and I’m attempting to make a 50 minute sequence to go with my mix of the album.
July 12th: Another late night, nearly ready to put the whole thing into the final arrangement. Most of the animation is done in After Effects but AE isn’t too great for synching visuals and sound together, especially a 50 minute sequence. So image sequences are loaded into Final Cut Pro for an easier handle on editing to a timeline although low res versions are made because of the huge file sizes needed for a dome and not a regular projection screen.
Once everything is in it’s correct place an XML file of the session is exported BACK to AE so that a plug in that simulates a 3D dome environment can be added in various different ways to sections. More on that later, that’s the really tricky part where you go from thinking in 2D to 3D and start placing things in space…
Trying to render FX on 2700×2700 pixel footage from a R3D Epic camera inside a 3600×3600 pixel video sequence. “Computer says no…”
July 9th: Animating images is largely done in After Effects then rendered to Image sequences of huge jpegs at 30 fps (frames per second). That’s 30 jpegs per second x how ever many seconds in a sequence. I’m making a 50 minute + show: 30 x 60 x 50 = over 90,000 images. Here’s one below…
I’ve already broken the whole soundtrack down into ‘stems’ (each instrument or part isolated onto a separate track) and this has been sent to the SAT where they are busy making ‘sound maps’ for each song in the mix. With over 150 speakers inside the dome we can place each sound from each track wherever we want. Even better, once the show has begun I should be able to move sounds around the dome manually as it plays using a program on an iPad.
So if you wonder what I’m doing if you come along, I’m not surfing the web or checking email, I’ll be moving sounds around to mess your head up. The song I’m most excited about for this is ‘A Trick Of The Ear’ – this track was actually written with the intention of each part panning around a sphere. Besides various polyrhythms working in tandem throughout the track, I wanted it to feel like you were inside a gyroscope when you listened to it. Hopefully we’ll get somewhere near that next week.
Friday 13th: Last day putting the finishing touches where I can before bouncing it all over to After Effects and applying the full dome plug in to certain sections. Off to Belgium today for a gig too so going to leave stuff rendering no doubt but some will have to be done at the SAT next week.
Monday 16th: Well, I’m in Montreal, about to head down to the SAT and plug everything in, still need to do work on parts today before we push the ‘render’ button. Had to pull an all-nighter Saturday in order to make sure everything copied over to 3 external hard drives. Today should be a pivotal day in getting this from my machines into the SAT. For anyone thinking of getting into dome projection in the future, I’d say… think very carefully. But if you’re determined you’ll need a very fast machine / graphics card, huge amounts of hard disc space and lots of time on your hands…
It’s 9.40pm and I’m still at the SAT, today has been trying to say the least. The Mac to PC file exchange got off to a flying start when trying to copy 300GB to their servers was going to take 9 hours. Luckily they have a Mac Drive program now which enables them to read drives formatted in HFS+ (Mac read/writable) and we needed the time to finish fine tuning the show.
Dominic, who is helping me with all the visual side is about to be a new dad, I mean imminently, not any day, but any hour or minute. He was giving me tips by mobile whilst at the hospital The initial render time direct from my drive for the 50 minute piece was over 30 hours so we’ve stop that and are now copying the files needed to the server for a multi-machine render tomorrow. Here’s a shot of the mini dome that they have in their computer lab and the bar and terrace on the second floor outside the dome.
On the audio side we have 164 separate tracks to sort out and bounce to a manageable amount before ‘spatializing’ them into different parts of the dome for each song. This will create song maps unique to each track and enable me to move certain parts around at will. For everyone back in the UK, the sun was out this morning and I’m in shorts and a T-shirt. But lo and behold, what happened this afternoon? It pissed down, exactly like London, I couldn’t quite believe it.
Oh yeah, I forgot to say, at one point the master drive I’d bought as back up with EVERYTHING on it wouldn’t show up on my laptop after being pulled out of the SAT server. ‘The drive could not be found, would you like to reinitialise it?’ Luckily Disc Utilities saved the day.
Tuesday 17th: Day 2 in Montreal: Woke up to rain at 5.45am – WTF? I’m beginning to think I brought the bad weather with me from the UK. Monday was full on, got home around midnight with ‘homework’ on the audio to do. Couldn’t face it so got up super early this morning to get a few hours in before heading out.
Dominic was here (still no baby arrived) and set the visuals up on 6 machines to render, he thinks it will be done by tomorrow morning when it then has to be re-rendered for the various projectors in the dome. Making sound maps and spatializing all the tracks this afternoon hopefully – I need some lunch.
Wednesday 18th: Mixing, mixing mixing, all day and into the night with Olivier Rhéaume… The downstairs floor of the SAT is open plan and there’s been a full orchestra ‘practicing’ most of the week. Insanely good players, completely perfect to my ears, we’re working on the 2nd floor and hearing Holst‘s piece ‘Mars’ from The Planets suite wafting up the stairwell was amazing. Apprarently we really pissed them off with the volume we were mixing at unfortunately. Had a midday break to go and record a mix for CBC (see last post) and do an interview for La Devoir paper then dinner and back to the mix until 11pm.
Thursday 19th: Show day – last minute emergency, some donut (me) left a reference film in place of the last sequence. When we watched the whole thing through we got to the end and it looked like someone had used an animated gif in place of a hi res image sequence, not a good way to end the show. Currently re-rendering from the proper source files…
Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 at 2:04 am under DJ Food, Event, Film, Gigs. br> br> You can follow these comments using the RSS feed. You can trackback from your own site or leave a comment below..