Shooting stars was a technical art installation made by me and 7 others during the last quartile of our first year Creative Technology. The project also served as a submission for a competition between technical art installations, the winner of which would be awarded a spot on GogBot, a large Tech-Art festival in Enschede. When we presented this project, they liked it a lot. So much so that they wanted our installation to continue into the second round of the competition. However, not enough of our group members were able to be present at that date. So they actually promised us a spot on GogBot right away, skipping the second selection round. However, even though I would have liked to, we had to refuse. Since a few of our group members were also unavailable at those dates.
Shooting stars was a meme at the time. The general idea was that you had a person who was falling or made an otherwise funny movement, and cut them out of the video. You'd then edit them to be flying through space or something like that whilst Shooting stars from Bag Raiders played in the background. Our installation would automate this meme-making process. The idea was that you could run alongside a wall with greenscreen on the inside. You'd jump on a trampoline and would safely land on a pile of matrasses and pillows. In the air you would be filmed for a specified amount of time. We programmed it so that as soon as you jump on the trampoline the filming stars and timed it so that we could get a nice few frames. The green screen would then be automatically replaced by our preset video and you'd be flying through space via preset animations. All made possible by a nice combination of AutoHotKey and Adobe After Effects. Once the video has rendered, it is uploaded to our own local server automatically. Via a QR-code you could download the video right there.
Although this sounds cool, it did need some pizzazz. We did this by decorating the outside of the wall with space stuff. There were glowing stars, planets, an astronaut and even a UFO with LEDs. This took a lot of effort and was mostly done by me. We used large wooden door frames as the basis of our structure. For the stars we used Christmas lights and we lasercut some of the other decorations like planets or larger stars. Since the installation had to be easy to move, every part was attached to the next one with hinges, so that the thing can be folded to one piece (mostly). The video and 3D model below shows our design:
Click on the video above to view an 3D animation of the setup of our installation. Note that the 3D model differs from the actual installation. For example, the actual installation has a 3D UFO with LEDs, whilst the animation only shows a 2D UFO. This did make the installation harder to transport and set up.
Click on the 3D model above for a 3D view of our installation. Note that zooming out too far may cause the model to disappear since it was build in a box. I might fix this later.
This was a really fun project to work on. It's a prime example of one of my favorite things about Creative Technology: Using incredibly difficult and smart techniques to do something super silly and dumb. We used some pretty serious programming just to make some memes. What's also nice is how much credit we actually received for this project. GogBot wanted to have our installation on their festival, and the University of Twente wanted to keep the frame of the installation as decoration. I'm very proud of this project.