Project 2: Person in Time


This project is due Tuesday, March 31, at the beginning of class.

Using expanded capture techniques, acquire an impression of a person over time, and develop a media object from this impression which reveals your subject’s (or subjects’) quiddity — something essential, hidden or immaterial (or at least: non-generic) about the person and/or event.

Give consideration to the nature of the event, activity or situation during which you capture your subject. This might be a breath, a parade, a ritual, a fight, a fart, a conversation, a party, a magic trick, a stillness, a performance, a micro-expression, something fleeting, something banal, or something transpiring over days. This list is not exclusive or exhaustive.

Regarding your media object: your project might take the form of one or more of the following: a video; an animated GIF; an immersive VR or game; a still image or sequence of still images; a 2D image or 3D form representing a trace over time. This list is not exclusive or exhaustive.

You are not restricted to one person.


Technical Considerations

Capturing a person-in-time event will almost certainly require that you research, devise, and/or customize a capture process or apparatus. You may use equipment such as high speed cameras, thermal cameras, 360º cameras, motion capture systems, 3D/RGBD capture systems, robot arms, OptiTrack motion capture studio, Kinect depth sensors, Leap sensors, Tobii eye trackers, face tracking software, Wacom Cintiq, Arduino data logging shield, GPS shield, 9 DOF movement/orientation sensor, and more. You could explore backwards time, looping time, slow-motion, time-lapse, multi-perspective capture, or stroboscopy. These lists are not exclusive or exhaustive.

For this assignment, one possible way to develop your project could be to amalgamate synchronous recordings from two simultaneous data sources, such as video plus some parallel data stream. Examples (among many others) could include:

  • Video plus GPS location (using an Arduino GPS shield or mobile phone)
  • Video plus eye-tracking information (using the Tobii)
  • Video plus hand joint data (from a Leap controller)
  • Audio plus body skeleton data (from a Kinect, OptiTrack, or OpenPose)
  • Video plus breathing or pulse data (from an Arduino with sensors)
  • RGBD point clouds plus thermal imaging
  • Heartbeat (pulse) plus full-body motion capture
Ethical Considerations
  • Keep in mind that when a subject allows you to record and represent them, this is an act of generosity.
  • Please collaborate with and earn the trust of your subject. Make a good-faith effort to show them your project when it is complete.
  • Please secure consent from your subject, beforehand, as to how you will use, display and store your captured data, especially if you are capturing any potentially compromising or embarrassing media.
  • Nude photography/videography of persons under 18 years of age is prohibited in this course. For subjects over 18 years of age, you must have clear-cut written permission to capture any nude images or video.
  • You are prohibited from creating capture scenarios which put yourself, your subject, or anyone else in mortal danger.

Please feel free to contact the professors if you have any questions. It may also be helpful to consult our course policies on Code of Conduct, Freedom of Expression, and CMU’s Reasonable Person Principle.


This project will be evaluated in critique on Tuesday, March 31. There will be at least two guest critics present, and a shared Google doc to compile notes from everyone present. You will be expected to present your project from a blog post on this course website.

Please be sure to complete all of the requirements below.

  • Create a blog post on this WordPress site, in which you will document your project.
  • Categorize your blog post with the WordPress category, PersonInTime.
  • Write approximately 300 words (a page) discussing your process and results, in your blog post. Be sure to address the questions below.
    1. Discuss: What event, activity or situation did you choose to capture? Why did you select this subject (what opportunities did it present)?
    2. Cite (and include an image) of at least one piece of prior work that inspired you, or which you see as related to your project.
    3. Discuss the system you developed to capture this event. Describe your workflow or pipeline in detail, including diagrams if necessary. What led you to develop or select this specific process? What were your inspirations in creating this system?
    4. Discuss the relationship between form and content in your project, including type of media object you created to present your findings. (Is it a map? a collection? an immersive VR? an animated GIF?) Why did you select this form? How does your chosen capture technique or display medium help illustrate something about your subject, beyond what a normal photograph could?
    5. Evaluate your project. What findings does it make clear? That is, what aspects of your subject, or their activity or situation, does your process help reveal?
  • Embed an image of your event in the blog post. This might be a screenshot, photo, CGI rendering, etc. Preferably include more than one!
  • Embed a scan or photo of any relevant notebook sketches you made, if possible.
  • If your media object is interactive and time-based (such as an interactive VR), be sure to create a video to document it. Upload this video to YouTube, Vimeo, or directly to this WordPress site. Embed this video in your blog post.
  • Create a brief animated GIF of your project, no larger than 800 pixels wide, and ideally under 5MB. Make sure your GIF is set to loop infinitely. Embed this animated GIF in your blog post. Be sure to preview your blog post to make sure that your GIF plays correctly.

Learning Objectives

Upon conclusion of this assignment, students will be able to:

  • Design and construct a novel or non-traditional capture technique, and demonstrate an understanding of its application to the production of a poetic, elucidative, and/or revelatory temporal representation of one or more persons.