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Work in progress: Tracking movement in St Enoch Square

As part of the final unit on my course, we’ve been given a general brief to create a piece based on or in St Enoch Square, one of the larger public spaces in the centre of Glasgow. I have decided to focus on the movement of people through the square, and see if I can create some sort of “data-driven” piece using Processing. Here is a video showing some of the development work I’ve been doing, using some footage from a previous project.

There are a number of iterative steps going on here…

1: The original, untreated footage.

2 and 3: Using a basic frame differencing technique based on the Processing example by Golan Levin to identify movement between frames. There is a threshold filter so that any movement is one colour and anything still is another colour, with nothing in between. This makes it easy to go to…

4: Using BlobScanner to identify “blobs”, i.e. large areas of continuous pixels. Applied to the previous video it should, in theory, pick out the moving sections, mark the centre of each and draw a bounding box around it. As you can see, with varying degrees of success!

5: Draws a line between blob centres when they’re within a certain distance of each other.

6: Shows the bounding box of each blob and the links between them, on top of the original unprocessed footage.

7: Remove the footage and let the marks remain in place for a while and fade. This is getting closer to the how I originally envisaged this, while what went before was more about getting it to work in the first place. The music is a tune I made about five years ago and forgot about. The continuing plan for this is to get some better footage (both in terms of resolution and position) before settling on what the best output result is likely to be- I quite fancy making some really big prints with the abstract stuff on it. More to come soon - this project has to be finished within about ten days. If you have any questions or comments let me know!

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