What's the strangest/most interesting thing you've done with Isadora?

  • Tech Staff

    Hello all,

    One of my favourite things about Isadora is its flexibility, and as such, I love hearing interesting stories about the things people have done with it.

    For me: Teaching a workshop to college students last year, I triggered the first projection in my introductory Patch by biting a banana, in order to demonstrate that one can interface just about anything, (including a banana), with Isadora. The banana and myself were both wired to a Makey Makey, and biting it, I completed the circuit, triggering a key-press on the computer, which Isdora picked up via a Keyboard Watcher actor, which then started the projection.

    Anyone else care to share?

    Best wishes,


  • Izzy Guru


    A friend of mine was working for the Red Cross somewhere in Central Afrika and during the night he had to check every full hour if the people on the radio sent a control message to everyone. So instead of setting the alarm clock to every hour, I built him a patch where Isadora triggered another software to record the sound with the internal microphone of the Mac and it recorded the sound from 5 minutes to the full hour to 10 minutes after. In the morning he just had to go through the recordings.

    Best Michel

  • Izzy Guru

    I always tell the story of a lady who sent us a video of her fish making music. She used Eyes to motion track the goldfish in X and Y. This was converted to MIDI and sent to garage band. 

    You could even download the album from Google Music!

    The video has been deleted from YouTube but the very old forum thread is still in the archive somewhere. 

  • once I had to send subtitles to a very strange shaped screen and the actors company had only a powerpoint. the projector was with a near to zero keystone or broken keystone, I don't remember precisely, so instead became crazy I've used their laptop with powerpoint then through a webcam I've captured the laptop's  screen in real time and resized with isadora. Rough but it worked smooth!!!

  • Tech Staff

    These are all really neat! I can't wait to see people add more!


    Ingenious application of the software! I wonder how many interesting and varied applications Isadora has been used for that we don't know about yet. Hopefully we'll find out more in this thread. 


    I think I found it: https://community.troikatronix... Wish I could see that youtube video of the musical fish though. Damn...


    See? I told you we're theatre wizards (not bards!) ;) Way to come up with a simple-yet-elegant solution and make the best of a bad situation my friend!

    @everyone else

    Keep the stories coming!

    Best wishes,


  • Tech Staff

    Cool. Please collect and keep them for the next Werkstatt, we make a show and tell out of this.

  • Tech Staff

    I think my most unusual/unexpected usage of Isadora has been for costume design (twice now).

    The first time I used Izzy map to help me reshape a thunderbird outline so that it would fit fabric being used for a shawl. 
    The shape was masked off with tape so that it could be painted. https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ...

    Second (just last month), I sent artnet from Isadora to a wireless arduino receiver to aid in visualizing different colors and patterns for the integrated 160 rgb leds.
    Once the color and design was worked out the final effects were programmed direct to the board.


  • Beta Platinum


    I have recently been approached by a publicist working for Fox media who offered poseable figurines from the Wes Anderson animated film ‘Isle of Dogs’. The gig was to develop a stop motion rig for local student filmmakers to create  short micro movies using the Wes Anderson figurines. I looked at the software used by Anderson’s team ‘Dragonframe’ and noticed that a lot of what the program was doing could be quickly patched in Isadora. So I put Isadora to the task and currently have 2 x stop motion rigs operating with student animators busy making their micro films for local cinema screening in association with the April 2018 release of the Feature film.

    I don’t think my project is particularly unusual or strange. But, I do think that Isadora is a very approachable visual programming environment, that is totally underestimated by the industry. It provides exemplary rapid concept development, proof of concept and prototyping capacity. 

    - I am just dreaming now! It would be even more remarkable if there was an option to package Isadora patches with their own runtime engine so they could be distributed as stand alone app's.

    Best wishes


  • Tech Staff

    @xenia @Skulpture 

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think these concise blurbs and examples could make for fabulous promotional material (with consent of course). Mini Artist-Spotlights on our social media perhaps?


    Wow! It's so cool that our projection mapping tools have applications in both the fashion and lighting design industries. Now I need to visit Canada so I can see all of your fabulous tech and fashion design in person.


    Working on something associated with a Wes Anderson film already sounds like a dream to me! Congratulations! A very imaginative use of Isadora from you (as always), and I agree with you that Isadora is very approachable visual programming environment that is totally underestimated by the industry, especially considering, as you mentioned, it's rapid concept development, proof of concept, and capacity for prototyping. At the 2017 Isadora Werkstatt Berling, @Skulpture told a great story about how his students would completely blow clients away by whipping up a proof-of-concept for them in just a few minutes.

    Another one of mine: My first Isadora project was an interactive projection performance-game for a dance composition course I was taking. In my rehearsals, I didn't have my cast rehearse, but instead introduced them to how to interact with various elements I would be using in the product, (Kinect, motion tracking, etc). All of the instructions as to what to do and who was to do what were provided by the Patch in the form of projected text and interactively-selectable options., The selections as to what direction the performance would take were projected on the wall in the form of labelled buttons. Two security cameras, pointed towards the same wall, allowed me to have the performers use themselves as "cursors" to select projected options with targeted motion tracking triggered by their digital image entering the area of any given "button". Having had them rehearsing/experimenting with how interact with the elements I would be using, I intentionally created the piece such that first time my cast saw what the Patch actually did was while they were performing the piece for the final showing. Were they playing the game, or was the game playing them?  Who knows?

    This thread is so interesting; I can't wait to see what else people have done!

    Best wishes,


  • Not sure it was the strangest but for sure the most unexpected/fun that turned into really interesting results : ran quite some times into the type of situation where other softwares are failing 5 minutes from the go/stuff simply not going as it should last minute/sync with musician going bananas /unexpected troubles/sensors’ batteries dying during performance, and well in that case what I did was simpky getting a new empty patch and doing some live patching from scratch and improvise 😅😁. Worked really well, interesting instinctive approach by using very basic tools ( sometimes I really began with a shape actor only and kept on adding, or getting live feed and running it through a bunch of effects ). TOTALLY UNEXPECTED RESULTS, but for sure you can’t beat the adrenaline ! I have to say I really enjoied it each time. So is the strangest use the one you don’t even plan? Ihih.

    Anybody up for a live patching challenge? 😜

  • Tech Staff

    I have another one:

    Tomorrow, for the second time on the same production, I will be accessing a friend's computer and Isadora Patch remotely from a few states away and adjusting his projection mapping for him blind (I can't see the output) while talking with him on the phone (so that he can tell me "Left", "Right", "Up", "Down", "Stop", "Back a little", ect.). It's a hilarious process and I love it.

  • Tech Staff

    Built an installation where people with a hearing disability could meet each other, and communicate using there voice. Built with Isadora and Max, we used there voices (And that is quite a weird sound) as input for a experience where light and vibrations met :)

    Izzy controlled the logic, the controls and the lighting.

    Max was responsible for all the sound inputs / outputs.

    (All images are not meant for publishing without permission from the original authors..)

  • I've done alot of strange things with Isadora but the strangest one to me (because it wasn't strange at all) was when I made a Powerpoint style presentation using Isadora for a funding bid interview. Seem to remember it had a few interactive elements.

    I was expecting the interview to be casual but there were loads of people there and they all seemed pretty serious.

    I'd just made the transition from Windows to Apple and realised before I started that I didn't know how to get a Mac to work with a projector. Doh.

    I quickly looked around at the panel and they were all total mac media types. I figured I couldn't ask them how to do it as I would look like a right tw@t.

    They weren't impressed with my Isadora presentation (I showed them on my laptop screen) and I never got the funding!

  • @woland I used to do this with my Virtual Coconut Shy! The laptop was in the front of the van and I had to adjust the projector position by shouting to someone looking in the back of the van where the projection was. After several years I made an ipad control system where I could do it standing at the back of the van. It was blissful but I only used it a couple of times and went back to the old system!

  • Beta Platinum

    Wow. These are fantastic. 

    I've definitely had a few unusual usage cases myself where izzy has served as the superglue over the years...

    of things that can be shared: salmon boat fish finder as interactive control for a video installation (via writing a NMEA protocol parser for the raw serial input); there's a set of household appliances that I taught to appreciate (and respond) to singing (and occasionally to sing themselves; a student's project where izzy helped mediate a live video interface for lizard - human dominance interactions; and a network performance project where izzy fed interactive audio cues back to old school analog cell phones on 5 continents; and to let a tired old couch / bed express its discontent with being sat on.

  • Excellent thread!

    I once created a burglar deterrent at my studio. I recorded myself stomping towards the door, and playing music, and then used a contact mic attached to the door itself as a trigger.

    I also ran a 'seance' in an old peoples' home using skype and isadora video effects. The residents would roleplay dead celebrities by skyping through the next room, looking ghostly with motion blur etc, and we'd ask them questions.

  • Izzy Guru

    I had a group of students re-create pong a few months ago. It was very cleverly patched. Used Leap Motion and Kinect too. 


  • Tech Staff

    Two summers ago my best friend's father died unexpectedly. I was in the middle of tech for a production and couldn't be there for the funeral, but was fortunate enough to be able to take off for a couple days to go back home briefly. That night I built an installation using Isadora's capture to disk functions, a spare Mac Mini, and a Logitech C920 webcam. It had a Control Panel with instructions and buttons so that people could use it as a video letterbox to say goodbye to him, as a way to express thoughts and feelings that would have otherwise been left unsaid, or to record stories about him for the family. I left the equipment to be setup with a brief but thorough read-me with instructions. I had everything automated (opening the Patch on startup, starting the live feed, etc.) and I made it foolproof so that my father, who set it up for me and has no technical theatre background, only had to plug in the computer, webcam, mouse, keyboard, and monitor then turn the computer on; no knowledge of Isadora required. 

    I feel that it was the most meaningful thing I've ever created with Isadora but I still don't know who I built the installation for; was it for him, for the family, for the people who knew him, or was it for me?

  • Izzy Guru


    Lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

    I have isadora still running in the museum I used to work at. They have been running for years now using a similar set up. 

  • @woland

    Hi everybody!

    my goldfish makes music and painting since 2010, but there are maybe other fish artist in the world…(Isadora+ Ableton live)


     and he is theatre performer too (see « Homefish » here :

    http://chezzef.free.fr/installations.html )

    best regards!