MEZ was inspired by the 'imp' and 'impression' still-image processing programs by Paul Haeberli of SGI (Silicon Graphics Incorporated). These programs were in turn inspired by impressionist painters, who built an image of a scene by picking certain important colors from the scene and making complete brush strokes with those firstname.lastname@example.org. It runs on Windows PCs.
I have brought MEZ to the burning man festival every year since 2002 (where, for the past few years, it has lived at Camp Nose Fish in 3 o'clock plaza), and also shown it in Pai, a small village in the mountains of Northern Thailand where I have lived for several years.
MEZ is not currently available in any form (product or otherwise), but as I have poured many years of work into it, I am considering ways of packaging it (e.g. as a standalone performance program, a screen saver, a module for Max/MSP or jitter, an After Effects filter, or other). If you are interested in MEZ, please send me information about how you would like to use it and features/video formats/file formats/... which you would need.
Here are some images of people enjoying MEZ (thanks to James Fleishman):
Here are some screen shots of MEZ processing a static image:
Here is a 7.3 MB QuickTime movie file which shows people enjoying MEZ at Burning Man 2003. It gives you a vague idea of the real-time aspect of MEZ. Even at 7.3 MB, the horribly blurry internet video movie doesn't even come close to the real thing, though! Many thanks to Tom Davis and Ellyn Bush for the original DV footage:
In this case, I need 18' behind the screen for the truck, and at least 8' in front of the screen for the lights and the dancing people! The lights must be about 4' in front of the screen for the camera angle and spill to work out correctly.
Elevation (one square is 1' x 1'):
This is a picture of the setup from Burning Man 2002:
Nowadays, my screen is an 8'x8' RP fastfold screen instead of that wooden monstrosity in the picture, and I raise the lights up 2' for better lighting of people's faces, but everything else is the same and the dimensions are roughly the same.
|computer||225 W (it's a big one)|
|cooling||fans 100 W ~|
At this time, bringing DV video in over a firewire/1394 connector is NOT an option -- the problem is the video comes in compressed, and my software (or some software) would need to decompress it first, which burns CPU cycles I'd rather use for my effects. Admittedly, with today's computers there is spare CPU, but I haven't gotten around to coding that in.
Note: I am seeking a good USB uncompressed video input dongle! The Osprey PCI card I used in my desktop system worked perfectly, but I cannot find a laptop solution that works in real-time. I have tried several USB 2.0-based composite/svideo input dongles from Belkin and Digivue. All the units claim they can do 640x480 at 30fps. None of them can, not through Video for Windows and not through DirectShow either. It doesn't matter what pixel format I choose. Not even the Y'CbCr based formats (which use up half the bandwidth) work! I think it is probably the kind of problem where I have to make a magical, undocumented software setting to make it go in real-time, but I have yet to find that setting and yet to reach any actual engineers at the dongle companies.
Has anyone out there found an uncompressed video dongle that works, or tricks to make the Belkin or Digivue work? Please let me know!
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