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Interactive Zoom performance (thanks to Izzy!)



  • Hi all, new Isadorable here (hope I've stuck this in an appropriate forum category),

    Really excited to get involved with this community -- I've been spending the course of lockdown learning how to use Isadora, and have spent many hours watching tutorials on youtube and browsing this forum for insight... thought it'd be worth speaking up at some point to say THANK YOU!

    I've got some background in applied theatre & participatory arts, and have been using Izzy to create at-home interactive / participatory workshops on online videoconferencing platforms (to ultimately bring some interesting theatre to those who cannot otherwise access it). Its all standing on the giants' shoulders of the Guru sessions and the new remote-performance features (NDI integration + the screen recorder plugin have been life savers!), so a huge thanks to the troika team for that!

    I ran a series of online devising workshops over ther course of a month, which has culminated in a 40-minute interactive storytelling session. It's a similar effect to what I've seen from others running remote performances, but what I feel is more new is how interactive it is for the audience -- instead of sharing a recording or a livestream on YT/Twitch, we stream the Isadora straight into a Zoom call, and give the audience the opportunity to draw our sets, pick which props we use, have their voices become part of the soundtrack and even act 'on-stage' alongside the other performers.

    We're doing a scratch sharing of this piece on Monday (4pm BST), and I thought I'd share it here on the off chance any Isadora-savvy creatives were interested in watching / had any thoughts about the project. Link / more info here.

    We don't have much in the way of excerpts / promo materials for it, though if anyone's interested here's a rather clunky recording from our first workshop -- which may be rather banal for those familiar with what Isadora can do, but has been very exciting for theatremaker friends.

    Long story short, big thank you to Mark and the troikatronix team for making this all possible -- I'm really excited to keep learning and developing in this world of interactive media -- and if anyone is interested in watching/participating in an interactive storytelling performance you're more than welcome :))

    Best! -- Django


  • Tech Staff

    @django

    Amazing! Congratulations on this magnificent project. I especially like that your format is focused on bringing theatre to the online stage in order to make it accessible to everyone. I'm very excited to see how this project of yours continues to evolve over time and I can't help but think that it'd be great to get other people doing this too. Such an exciting and beautiful concept!

    Best wishes,

    Woland



  • @django incredible job ! Very creative and actually a new way for "online art". If you feel ok to share some "backstage" of the patch or just to tell some technics you used to create this scenic device it would be great. Thanks a lot !!

    Best,

    Maxi


  • Beta Platinum

    @django

    Hi, I started watching the recording of Hansel and Gretel. It is delightful and I was compelled to watch through to the end. It was really great to sense the genuine pleasure of your participants. So playful and direct, it is a really creative interactive engagement. Just watching the joy of engagement made me consider the power of the arts to really lead a creative recovery even from the unfortunate position of lockdown and isolation.

    Feeling very inspired and a little bit recovered!

    Best wishes

    Russell



  • thanks all! really means a lot :))

    @RIL  Happy to share some of the backstage stuff -- some of the patches are a little all over the place though!

    I'm capturing actors with the screen capture plugin, rather than using multiple NDI inputs (to save CPU power, plus Skype lacks a lot of features I wanted to make the experience easy for the actors/audience).

    I set a bunch of global variables at the beginning of the session for how many performers are on thecall and where each one is. Then I have a user actor (copied for each performer) which makes a matte of the screen capture based on the global values set for that performer. Here's a corner of the control panel + a look at the matte user actor. I'm sure there's a way to streamline this whole process, but I'm yet to figure it out myself!

    Then it's just a case of compositing it together with videos, graphics effects etc

    For puppets controlled by the actors, I used Eyes++ for a couple actors' little frames, and they would use their phone torches so that Izzy would have something to track. In the case of the bird in H&G, it was mostly just a lot of javascript and the spinner actor to get each part to rotate and stay in the right place. I also made a 'marionette' puppet where the head (it in this reel from the same workshop), body and arms could be operated independently by different participants. We tried to act stuff out with it... but turns out its pretty tricky to animate a digital puppet with just a couple phone lights! This was probably one of the most exciting interactive things we've done though.

    For the scratch sharing, we then stream this via NDI to a separate laptop running a Zoom call. We do 'spotlight video' so that everyone is watching the Isadora stage, and then manually 'pin' different participants so that we can then capture their image in fairly high resolution, and then send it back to Izzy via NDI to put them on stage alongside the other actors. We privately message lines to audience volunteers so that they can be part of the story we're doing. We also have images to send over 'share screen' which can be annotated by the audience, saved, and reincorporated as backgrounds.

    All the while there's a whole lot of physical audio routing to add soundtrack and make sure everyone can hear each other! It's pretty frantic on our end!



  • @django 

    Thank you very much for your generosity in sharing your work and experience with these new virtual sceno-technical challenges. Best,
    Maxi



  • Here's a recording from the show if anyone's curious... recorded in Zoom so the audio is not great! (it cuts out whenever an audience member speaks) ...

    Had a few technical wobbles (audience members coming off mute at the right time, picking out the right people etc, missing a cue or two) but was a great live experience and we got good feedback from the audience. Pretty much everything was live and in response to actors + audience.

    Aiming to develop this now to make it slicker (our next step is to automate the sound cueing process!) -- looking forward to the next Guru session, which sounds very relevant and informative!

    https://drive.google.com/file/...

    Django



  • @django absolutly brillant !!! creative, simple fresh. Congratulations !!

    Best

    Maxi



  • @django Nice work! Thanks for sharing your process.