Live Cinema: Designing an Instrument for Cinema Editing as a Live Performance

Lew, Michael

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper describes the design of an expressive tangible interface for cinema editing as a live performance. A short survey of live video practices is provided. The Live Cinema instrument is a cross between a musical instrument and a film editing tool, tailored for improvisational control as well as performance presence. Design specifications for the instrument evolved based on several types of observations including: our own performances in which we used a prototype based on available tools; an analysis of performative aspects of contemporary DJ equipment; and an evaluation of organizational aspects of several generations of film editing tools. Our instrument presents the performer with a large canvas where projected images can be grabbed and moved around with both hands simultaneously; the performer also has access to two video drums featuring haptic display to manipulate the shots and cut between streams. The paper ends with a discussion of issues related to the tensions between narrative structure and hands-on control, live and recorded arts and the scoring of improvised films.