Passengers: Compositing Assistant + Generation

by chaotic*neutral @ 11:12 am 11 May 2011

This project conceptually started before this class. I was working on compositing myself into Hollywood car scenes. I was using a crappy piece of software to live preview and align the actor within the background plate they would be composited into. I realized I could write a bunch better application to do the job. It allows the live feed + image to be paused together to look closer/discuss with camera assistant, toggle between images, crossfade between images, load directory of images. It is a very simple application, but a tool for something much greater. That was the first step of the process.

The compositing assistant allows me to take a live HD image over firewire from the film cam, and cross fade between that video feed and the background plate. Think onion-skinning. A by product of this process are interesting screenshots where self and original actor are morphed.

The second process was to make these films generative, so they could theoretically be infinitely looping. Currently these films only reside on youtube and dvd’s – the generative versions are created to an hour long dvd – so perceptually a viewer seems them as infinite. It could also run on a computer.

The Markov Chain code is implemented and works, but I have yet to add a GUI for tweaking of values.


Inspiration comes from a lot of experiences in cars. People moving in and out of vehicles. Instead of action based, or narrative driven, I thought I would rather have a scene of superficial nothingness, but when you start examining thin-slices (, the viewer projects something there. (Kushelov effect)

(a facebook status update)
I park on the street, start rummaging through my bag. Girl idk is confidently walking towards my car on the phone. She opens my passenger side door and gets in. I say, “oh hello.” She looks freaaaaked out and says, “oh jesus, you’re not my dad.” I respond, “No Im not, but I guess I could pretend to be if you want.” She apologizes and states how confused she is, gets out and continues walking down the street.

Remainder, Tom McCarthy
Platform, Michel Houellebecq


I still have yet to see these projected large format and in context with each other. I need to play with presentation and how they function together as a whole. I need to continue pushing the scenes and play with genre. Right now the films come from a very specific time range and very specific film stock, thus they look similar. What if it was a horror film car scene? Or a sci-fi car scene, etc? I need to create more. My goal is 10. I currently have 5, but one of which I wont ever show.

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