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Interactive Film Installation using Celluloid Film, Animatronics & Computergenerated Animation

by artist Marieke Verbiesen, Stan Wannet, Håvard Pedersen & the Bergen Centre for Electronic Art.


News  About the project  Making Of  How it works  Video  Photos  Partners 

Moviestar the installation blends together classic film, animation, animatronics, sound and motiontracking to create an interactive filmset where both old and new media are utilised to create a surrealistic livecontrolled moviescene. Here you can have look in our kitchen and see how its all made.

*Click on the pics to enlarge

Models & Animatronics

Neeltje made clay models of fantasy animals for our miniature filmset, wich will be casted into silicone and become part of the miniature filmset. Inside the silocone casts small motors programmed by a PIC microcontroller will make the animals move. The robotic animals will be mounted on a pin that will move underneath the set horizontally so they will move in and out of the camera angle.



The miniature filmset will feature a 16mm film backprojection, electromotors, silicone animals, a miniature waterfall, trees, plants, lights and sound. A fantasy jungle-like environment with moving animals and running water will be visible on top of a custommade cabinet, showing the filmset on top while the invisible electronica magic is making it work below. So we got our hands dirty with clay, sand, paper, glue and paint.


For the installation, a camera will record visitors in front of a greenscreen which will be keyed out using chromakeying. Additionally, the usermovements will be mapped using motiontracking, also called match-moving, so animations can be triggered by usermovements > example movie

16mm Filmloop

After the timelapse animation got devellopped, an 30 second fragment got selected to be printed from super8 to 16mm film. For this print, also called a "blow-up", the film is printed 15 seconds forward, and 15 seconds backwards. This results into a continues loop where the clouds morph in both directions. We will be using a 16mm loopbox on a projector inside the space as part of the installation.

16mm editingtable still of timelapse film 16mm editingtable still of timelapse film 16mm projector with Loopbox
Quadraphonic sound

We wanted the audio for this installation to complement the feeling of being in a surreal, strange world, rather than making a straight soundtrack for a fictional movie. The reference of a «futuristic jungle» was used as a metaphor, describing the space. Still it should be less concrete than ordinary jungle sounds and similar heard in countless movies. This is the sound design for the installation as a whole, and not the sound design for the movie portrayed in it. Still we agreed to give certain elements a complementary sound that would appear in sync with them. This is used more as an effect than as a concept for the design. We therefore settled with the two types of sound:

1 – concrete sounds that complement appearing objects.
for this we will use motiontracking to track the visitor/user. Since the visitor will be "an actor in a movieset" and activate objects moving around him/her, these are accompanied by sounds.
2 – abstract sounds that complements the feeling of being somewhere surreal.
And we formed a third goal:

The miniature filmset with the animatronic animals controll sounds as well, for this we are using a midi controller to play abstract growling of a wild animal, possibly a dinosaur ;-) > example movie

At work in Studio Loos

Ableton Live soundsetup Quadraphonic soundsetup in Studio Loos


Stopmotion animations are blended into the environment, these should respond to users movements for which we will be using motiontracking in Maxmsp Jitter/ Jamoma. I started to create stopmotion timelapse animatons from objects and plants in my studio, these stopmotion animations are then cut out frame by frame and the timelapse movement order is changed so they dont move chronologically but can grow bigger smaller at any speed or framerate.

Example of user in front of greenscreen projected into the environment Still frame of timelapse animations made in the studio at De DCR Cut out still frame of timelapse animaton with super8 film background


The installation will feature a large greenscreen that will be used to film the visitors, these recordings will be blended into the final mix. Since we are using maxmsp-jitter to blend out the background, there are two ways to do it; using motiontracking with a black background or chromakeying with a green background. For chromakeying on greenscreen, good lightning is crucial and lots of testing with filters needs to be done to light out the screen in the background, seperately from the visitor in front.

Frame for the greenscreen Greenscreen-to-be wall Cam-comparisation between black and green

Super8 Filming

Part of the installation is a projected background filmloop on 16mm film, which will be rerecorded in realtime and function and projected on a fitted screen. The plan is, to start making stopmotion animations from the sky using a Canon 1014-XLS super8 camera with interval fuction, so it can make an automated timelapse animation of the sky on 50iso super8 color reversal film. After devellopment of the film at the super8 lab (Thanks Frank!), a small fragment is selected for printing forwards and backwards to 16mm film to create a continues loop. Super8 interval recordings video (mp4)

Filming on the roof of the DCR

Canon 1014-XLS Super8 camera

The results at the super8 eiditingtable