Exploration in Isadora


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In the Special Topics in Theater class offered this past Spring semester, we were assigned a final capstone project with a very open-ended format. My partner (Julian Stapleton) and I decided to use this opportunity to explore a piece of software called Isadora (developed by Troikatronix). The ultimate goal of our work was to develop a functional understanding of both live video editing and show control for theatrical applications, as the School of Theater plans to run projections for future shows via the program.

We began by simply watching numerous tutorials and reading the user manual cover to cover, and then completing a LOT of experimental programming (coupled with dozens of screenshots, as the demo version of Isadora does not allow for saving files). Some examples of these screenshots can be seen below. For my own purposes, I decided to focus on mapping parameter control of images via MIDI. Isadora is a very open-ended program, and control over settings can be mapped to virtually any kind of control surface, whether that be the velocity of a keyboard note, a knob, a fader, or any other sort of control change function contained within a MIDI surface. The information given to the program with these control changes are then processed in real time, and can range from very subtle to very dramatic. One of my favorite uses of mapping with MIDI was patching the rotation of the projected image to a knob, allowing for very precise and very easy control over image size and rotation.

We used the @Lab’s Panasonic Theatre Style Projector for our final installation, which took place on the side of Putnam Hall, shooting into the underside of Glidden Hall. Image and video of this installation can also be found below. This project would not have been possible without the usage of both the @Lab facilities and hardware.

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