FROST - dance with cocoa and of

hi people

we just got a video together, documenting the performance FROST, that jonas jongejan and i got involved in on a very short notice in the fall 2009 - incidendtially, just after my trip to greenland.

we put three point grey cams and some infrared lights, led par 64 cans (dmx from our own arduino, of course) and a nice panasonic projector on stage.

on the mac, we dived into cocoa, and made the first version of a modular openFrameworks app, controllable via midi.

there’s links to further info down the page, where you will find a full video documentation of the piece and the google code project.

best / ole


_dance performance
danish dance theatre, fall 2009

an interactive video scenography for a danish dance theatre performance/installation. developed with choreographer tina tarpgaard and programmer jonas jongejan.

first edit of the full performance


working with the talented dancers of danish dance theatre, we created a universe of frozen bodies, melting ice and dripping waters. the scenography is primarily consisting of video projections in concert with andreas buhl’s lighting design, primarily using led based light sources to accomodate the intricacies of infrared tracking.

frost was from the outset designed to be tour-friendly and as such our software has to be flexible and easily adjustable for different stage dimensions.

the software is open source and we are very grateful to the openframeworks community, whose efforts form the basis of our programming work. the software for frost intergrates openframeworks into a cocoa-based mac os x snow leopard application running on a mac pro seeing the dancers through three point grey flea 2 ieee 1394b cameras, showing the opengl graphics using a single video projector with a 0.7 wide angle optics and qued from qlab using apple’s midi networking capabilities.



while the code is full of all kinds of nice trickeries, the application itself is not of much use outside the scope of our performance. apart from a quite big space and a professional dance company, it requires IIDC cams and it works tightly together with qLab, a third party app - and i haven’t even listed the c++ lib dependencies

… the code is messy too - so read if you please, compile if you can - but don’t expect it to compute straight away

Thanks for sharing some code, it’s always really interesting to glance through projects and see how people have put things together, even if all the dependencies and the toolchain aren’t easily available/assemble-able. Looks like you guys have some more OF+dance projects coming up that I’m looking forward to hearing more about as well.

i got the chance to watch this while in Copenhagen some months ago and it was really amazing.
Besides being really cool guys, Ole and Jonas are doing amazing work.
Keep it up! and thanks for the code! :wink:


ole, I’m curious if you could share your experiences with near-infrared? I’ve been looking at this technique for a potential tracking project and haven’t been getting great results.

  • How much wattage are you pumping out with the IR lights?

  • Do you have a specific model of IR lights you used?

  • Did you have to remove an IR filter from the fleas?

  • Did you use a commercial IR pass filter or make something?

  • Did you try any other types of cameras?

Any other anecdotal information would be welcomed. Thanks for sharing your project!


hi there, sorry for the late reply, i’m going to make it quick as we’re in rehearsals for our next performance ‘fuck you buddy’ these days.

[quote author=“jamezilla”]

  • How much wattage are you pumping out with the IR lights?[/quote]
    there’s no definite number, i’m afraid. it really depends on angles, surface reflections, and costume material. the latter always is an elaborate venture, usually involving equipping the costumier with an ir-pass filtered webcam and a laptop when she goes shopping. h&m even kicked her out once for filming in the store.
    depnding on the contrast between floor, dancer and costume we try out different lighting setups.
    what we do is simply to get the cameras up and running, and then we spend time mounting lights till we get it right.
    if the dancer is darker than the background, we mount ir lights around the camera, as close as possible to minimize shadows by convergence, or spread out behind diffusion (essentially a softbox). we have to take care not to shine the light right in the face of our audience for too long.
    if the dancer is lighter than the background we put rows of backdrops downstage and on the sides, pointing in the same angle as the camera. we make sure not to spill on the floor.
    if we want to track contact with the floor surface, we set up some lasers with wide angle lenses, spreading IR ‘fans’ approximately 1-2 cm’s above the floor surface.
    for tracking objects we’ve just made an arduino/xbee based thingy with four leds, that via tracking continuously updates our projection matrixes for mapping vide for projection mobile screens.

[quote author=“jamezilla”]

  • Do you have a specific model of IR lights you used?[/quote]
    depending on what works best on the specific camera and textures and backgounds we work with diode-based 850mn and 940nm ir lights such as the rayleds. they’re expensive and not standard theatre gears, so we actually prefer to work with conventional theatre ligthing fixtures with r+g+b filters to block visible light.
    for conventional visible sidelights during tracking we use etc source four profiles with dicroic ir-blocking filters, made for eg lighting of paintings in museums. otherwise we have to stick to leds, and have stocked up on cheap china par 64 led lights. we drive their dmx from the arduino and openframeworks.

[quote author=“jamezilla”]

  • Did you have to remove an IR filter from the fleas?[/quote]
    no, point grey only put the ir-blocking filter in their colour cameras. the monochrome editions work straight out of the box.

[quote author=“jamezilla”]

  • Did you use a commercial IR pass filter or make something?[/quote]
    again, it depends. we combine the diy solution with 2 layers of developed slide projection film with commercial grade ir pass filters from a local cctv supplier, camtech.

[quote author=“jamezilla”]

  • Did you try any other types of cameras?[/quote]
    as for the flea2’s we went for the editions that work best in the near-ir area. point grey have response curves on their website. in the past we’ve also worked with pal cctv cams, but we’ve grown attached to the iidc firewire 800 cams, they allow us for programmatically storing and recalling shutter/gain settings on the cams when we change tracking light sources eg between backdrop fronts and lasers.

have a peak into our current process in this video - where we were thrilled that we got the fub software to add midi cues from rightclicking cocoa controls via applescript to qLab:…-tware-win/

Thank you so much for this thoughtful and detailed reply! Lots of good info in here.

Hi Ole!

Thank you for the code. But I can’t find the arduino to openframeworks connection parts. It’s what I’m most interested in.