Procams 2006

Procams 2006 (see previous post for explanation of event) went very well today. I met some very interesting people and got a lot of positive feedback on the Wiremap. It was also great to talk continuously about the project, and seeing which questions came up most often. The questions most commonly questioned was how long does it take to calibrate, what is the best angle to view it at, how was the wire placement designed, and what were the wires made of.

The Wiremap takes about 30 minutes to calibrate. I use a calibration tool, and then I run the calibration program for them, where you line up your projector in such a way that blue is the dimension closer to the projector, and red is further away. A video of this is available on YouTube here.

Because the Wiremap is truly volumetric, it should be consistent from any point of view. It was funny to get this question over and over, and it sort of pointed at the idea that in order to engage with certain technologies, one must place oneself in a proper, conventional relative position.

In terms of wire placement, each wire must correspond to a sliver of light, but its depth is independent of that sliver (how far or close it is to the projector). The wires are placed randomly across that independent dimension.

I did at one point consider making a pattern with the depth, but it turns out there are quite a few advantages to randomizing it. When random, the overall aesthetic hints to the fact that there is no optimal point to view it from, while if it were patterned, certain points of view would be better than other points of view. I decided to steer away from this because in nature, when we interact with real 3d objects, we never worry about looking at it correctly - it's either there or it isn't.

The last question, what were the wires made of, came from the confusion that many people had that the wires themselves were emitting light. They don't. The wires are glossy white, so they reflect light really well. The wires were made of cut and straightened coat hangers, and the projected image is the only thing that creates the 3d model.

I met some very cool people... in no particular order:

  • I met Jason Eppink, a friend I met on YouTube, for the first time in person. He had a lot of insightful aesthetic observations
  • Jeff Han, the designer of the Holodust, the inspiration behind the Wiremap, was there to talk to me. He was surprised at how convincing the whole thing was. He also remarked that the display was way more convincing when dynamically moving.
  • Perry Hoberman and Mark Bolas, USC faculty and colleagues were there. They seem to have been doing quite some work in this field using projectors to build volumetric renderers. They had a lot of insight, intriguing questions, and quite a bit of experience with the principles behind the project.
  • Laura Venner a, "NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador," came by and whipped out her hunk of aerogel (a substance that is 99.8% air, .2% of silicon dioxide) at the request of the guys from USC and shot some projector beam through it. Awesome...

I also wrote up an artist statement and technical information packet for the event, which can be seen here.

Most people understood the globe right away, and most people had difficulties wrapping their minds around the cube. Some people couldn't get the globe until after it was explained to them, and a few could comprehend everything about the cube in all rotations.

Thanks for everybody who showed up. Keep checking back as I embark on making either a 6 foot tall one, or one that has 256 wires (or a 6 foot tall one with 256 wires).

There were alot of photos and video taken at the event. If you happen to be one of those folks, I'd love to get copies of those pictures / videos. My email is

Wow, I'm becoming one of those bloggers who has way too much disorganized content... a textbook blogger. I'll work on it, I swear.