“Walter – An Eye-Aware Kinetoscope” was created for the class “Computational Cameras” at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Walter watches your eyes as you watch a film, and every time that you blink, it edits the video.
Based on the theories of Walter Murch in “In the Blink of An Eye,” I’ve transformed the subliminal action of blinking into a method of interaction with a film. Building on the assumption that the act of blinking is an emotional or intellectual cue, this kinetoscope leverages the users’ blinks as an indication to advance to the next shot of the film. So, every time that you blink, “Walter” reads your reaction to the images and edits the film in kind. What results is a film that is customized to your emotional reaction, created without interrupting your absorption in the narrative.
All edited footage of the “scene” of the girl/boy/director in this video was edited using blinks and not manipulated in further post.
“Walter” was built using a hacked PS3 Eye camera. Based on instructions from the creators of Eye Writer, I attached an infrared LED in order to track the eye. I wrote a program in processing that looks for the infrared light in relationship to the pupil. Whenever your eye is closed, the reflection vanishes, and the program moves to the next in a sequence of images. So, blink by blink, you control the flow of the film — and are delivered a narrative customized to your interests and attention.
Filmmaker Magazine featured Walter as “a new way to edit.”
Walter meets Walter — A few photos of Walter Murch’s encounter with this device here.
To learn more about Walter Murch’s thoughts on blinking as an emotional cue and its link to film editing, you can read his book, “In the Blink of an Eye” or, for an abbreviated version, listen to the following RadioLab podcast, “Blink” —
Many Thanks to: Dan O’Sullivan, The Computational Cameras Class, Sarah Hallacher, Heather Velez, Missy Hernandez, Sue Curcio & Don Parker.
Video Music: Composed by:David Flavin, ASCAP (50%), Roland Rudzitis, ASCAP (50%); Published by: Freeplaynjj, ASCAP