Percussa micro super signal processor

Forget waiting until tomorrow to see photos of a party on lastnightsparty.com: now, see snapshots of partygoers projected around a space in real-time. That’s the idea behind Party People Photos, an interactive installation at the Walker Art Center in Minnesota. Co-creator Justin Heideman writes to point us to coverage of the installation:

The idea for the project grew out of the theme of the ads for the party, “Party People”, which uses images of people from the expansion opening party back in 2005. We like the opening photos, but we want more of them and we want everyone to be able to experience the party. We did a test run of the installation on monday and it went quite good. Word got out among some of the staff and we captured quite a few photos. Funny, sassy, weird… Exactly what we’re hoping for.

Justin has posted extensive details on how the installation was made, and CDMotion regulars will be particularly pleased to know he’s revealed how they managed to capture still images automatically, live on the spot, using the Mac. After examining FrameThief and iStopMotion, Justin settled on a Linux utility called gphoto, which has also been ported to Mac OS X. This is obviously really exciting for us, given our ongoing interest in stop action, timelapse exposure, and interactive installations; this particular application is only one example of the many possibilities this opens up.

Here’s the full setup:

  1. gphoto2 for OS X for triggering photos on a Canon Eos 10D, connected via USB
  2. iMac with integrated iSight for image preview (i.e., the iSight is used for live preview, while the Canon camera takes the shot itself)
  3. Max/MSP/Jitter for tying together all the elements and interfacing with a hardware button for guests
  4. launchd for triggering scripts
  5. rsync for syncing the captured photo files onto the projection computers
  6. Quartz Composer, the free Mac visual developer tool, for creating slick projections of random captured images

Yep, it’s a veritable geek-fest of Mac and *nix toys. Be sure to read through for copious technical details, particularly on making the automated camera capture work. I’m already imagining totally different applications for this. From blogs.walkerart.org:

Announcing Party People Photos with full setup details, shots of the QC and Jitter patches
Still images triggered by a computer via gphoto
h.264 QT movie of the results

Updated: For a view of the setup and hundreds of photos taken by the automated system at the event, see the flickr pool. And yes, people love to be photographed:

The Walker After Hours Pool