2017 saw the release of Mister Mellow by the band Washed Out, their first studio album in four years. To promote it, Washed Out commissioned short films for nearly every track to extend the album into a visual environment as well. As a part of the Mister Mellow tour, we sought to extend this even further out into the real world to let fans be completely immersed in the audio, video, and performative together.
I worked as a part of a small team to figure out how to bring real-time interactivity to a touring show. It needed to be portable, reliable, and work in different stage formats. To solve this, we used Microsoft Kinect sensors that would live on stage with the performers. We also wanted to match the aesthetic of the videos and the album as a whole, so we concentrated on creating a suite of effects based around silhouettes and video feedback.
I created a custom C++ application to handle input from 3 Kinects and transmit the data over a network in real-time. The data could then be used to create effects that could be combined in different ways and feed back into one another. The software was not only a means to author the effects, but also tied in with midi and osc messages to respond to the music as it was played. The same piece of software drives the performance during the show, and additionally integrates with Resolume for high quality video playback.
Making Mister Mellow Wild
We Are Listen