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360 degree camera

From Geoff Manaugh at BldgBlog

The “Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera,” designed by Jonas Pfeil as part of his thesis project at the Technical University of Berlin, creates spherical panoramas after being thrown into the air.

The project video includes images taken with the ball camera.

Ujin Lee and photographing dust clouds

Ujin Lee’s dust series is related to Motion Lapse because Lee is capturing the moment of a dust cloud explosion.

Ujin Lee

Ujin Lee's Dust series

Via: Hey, Hot Shot!

Animate Form and Urban Tick

I have been following Urban Tick, a blog written by Fabian Neuhaus about data flow in urban environments, for several months. Many of the posts are related to the work on my blog. Now that my project is done and I’ve graduated I can take the time to indulge in Neuhaus’s posts.

The post, Book – Animate Form – Topology, Form, and Parameters, is particularly relevant to motion lapse. Neuhaus reviews the book and provides a link to the first chapter,

The famous book ‘Animate Form’ on digital architecture by Greg Lynn is out as a reprint. Its twelve years and a lot of development, both technically as part of the software, application, platform and architecture has happened since.

The publication was originally published in 1999 as one of the very first comprehensive books on digital architecture and has no been reprinted as a 2011 version by Princeton Architectural Press, the original publisher. The new print has no changes and runs as the same book.

Lynn writes, “There are three fundamental properties of organization in a computer that are very different from the characteristics of inert mediums such as paper and pencil: topology, time, and parameters.” I have learned at least six different pieces of digital modeling software in the last three years. I have also developed design skills with drawing tools, paper and solid objects. Having gone through this academic gauntlet I can affirm that these three characteristics are quite different in the computer than they are with haptic design tools. This statement is perhaps most transparent in the work of my classmate, Lane Rapson.

Neuhaus argues that the most underused property in architecture, even a decade after Lynn’s book was published, is time. He also pointed out that Etienne-Jules Marey used reflective tags on the joints of his subjects that allowed him to track motion as well as trigger the camera. Time, motion triggered cameras and architecture are three topics that are on the forefront of my thoughts.

Etienne-Jules Marey

Multi-frame photographic study of a man walking by Etienne-Jules Marey

control and looseness

Christian Korab commented on the panopticon photographic tool,

“It’s a tool that operates in an heuristic manner with stochastic information, so its not so much what the ego makes with the tool as it is what the tool does to guide the ego in the design process. Its a tool that needs to be held loosely in keeping with the nature of peripheral vision.”

This semester I taught two sections of Design Fundamentals 1, an undergraduate class. Every week I asked the students to allow their chosen material and tool to inform their design process. I asked them to strike a balance between control and looseness in their work so they would design an object that was neither forced nor a product of their preconceived idea of what it should be. Motion Lapse uses a tool that allows designers to have control of their bodily choices and allow the tool to document the stochasticity of the exercise.

M. Arch 2011

My classmates made some incredible projects this semester. You may download the M. Arch project brochure with a brief description of each project. It is an 11 MB file. Please be patient.

M. Architecture 2011 project brochure

M. Architecture 2011 project brochure


Motion Lapse is part of a constellation of work. Cosm is one of the stars in that constellation.

Cosm is an integrated collection of extensions to Max/MSP/Jitter to assist the construction of navigable, sonified, complex virtual worlds, and has been designed to facilitate use in CAVE-like environments. Cosm adds support for six degrees of freedom navigation for both camera and world-objects, collision detection between objects (based on spherical intersection), spatialized audio for mobile objects. It also provides rich support for 3D fields as dynamic environments, and agent-environment interactions.

Cosm uses stereo technology to create left/right pairs. COSM is part of transLAB, which is also in the constellation.


I spent the last month writing about my process and findings. The full pdf of Motion Lapse may be downloaded. Here are a few highlights:

Motion Lapse

A photographic modeling tool that prioritizes the experience of architectural space

Motion Lapse uses a photographic tool placed in a panopticon
position that records stereoscopic, fish eye and motion activated photographs in plan view of the center of Rapson Hall courtyard. Through exploration of the panopticon, I discovered a modeling method that prioritizes the experience of space in early stages of architectural design. For the duration of the project, the panopticon collected over 160,000 photographs, which I selectively edited to create multi-frame photographs. These blended photographs compress time and reveal changes in activity and light patterns. Motion Lapse interrogated the panopticon, a photographic tool that represented compressed time, movement, change and 3-D form.

Final review

I presented Motion Lapse on Monday. I set up both motion activated cameras to demonstrate their function to the jury. As a result, I have a 3D mesh of the audience.

download pdf of 3-D model of crowd

download pdf of 3-D model of crowd


161 days

My camera was suspended above Rapson Hall courtyard from November 21, 2010 to May 1, 2011.

150,293 photographs



multi-frame, auto blended photographs

225 GB

photographs produced



Version #16

Motion lapse uses a photographic tool that records stereoscopic, fish eye, motion activated images in plan view of the center of Rapson Hall courtyard. I built this tool to interrogate photography’s ability to inform architectural design. The tool has recorded over 160,000 photographs in the last seven months. I have used the photographs an informant of activity and light patterns, as a sketch modeling method and as a driver for 3-D form. Photography is an architectural tool that can represent compressed time, movement, change and 3-D form.

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