January 4, 2010 - Comments Off on City on Fire

City on Fire

This project began when The Barbarian Group had an office on Union Street in San Francisco. It was a small office but it had a view of the Golden Gate bridge and most of the Marina District.

Aubrey, the Barbarian's ex-CTO, and I thought it would be funny to set a webcam up on the roof to try and make the East Coast offices jealous of our view. We put the camera on the roof and ran the firewire cable down in through my office window. The camera was weather-proofed with a 2-liter soda bottle and was weighed down by a cast-iron skillet.

We decided to use Processing to intercept the webcam feed so that we could add content to each image before letting it go live. I took a still image from the webcam and cut it into several layers in Photoshop in order to create depth masks. I could then apply those masks to the live feed and composite graphics between the layers to give a greater sense of realism and depth. We could have added anything at that point. UFOs, giant kittens, Cher. We ended up going with explosions, smoke plumes, and a Godzilla walking back and forth, breathing fire.

Sadly, there is no documentation of this because we got sidetracked. Then we moved to a larger office and lost the awesome view. However, I ended up recreating the project at home using a camera on the roof of my apartment, sans Godzilla.

Published by: Robert Hodgin

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