The imaginary world of Nutcracker

ARTECHOUSE is an innovative art space in Washington D.C. that hosts exhibitions of works by contemporary artists and popularizes interactive technologies in art.
Project goals
On the eve of 2018, the ARTECHOUSE decided to combine the classic Christmas fairy tale “The Nutcracker”, which is already more than two hundred years old, and the latest light projection interactive technologies and augmented reality. With its past projects, ARTECHOUSE attracted the attention of the press, and this installation also had to become bright and ambitious.
The concept of multimedia exhibition was to ensure that viewers move around the hall and interact with the characters of the fairy tale. As a result, we have created a whole set of installations with very different mechanics.

The first thing the viewer saw was a mirror. We installed a Kinect sensor and anyone could see himself in the mirror in the image of the main character of the fairy tale - The Nutcracker. The reflection instantly repeated every movement after the user.
On the opposite wall of the hall is the main antagonist in this story - the Mouse King. Now the threatening shadow of the Mouse King repeated the movement of the user, and ominous little mice danced around him.

In the middle of the hall on the wall hung “alive” pictures with characters from a fairy tale. The characters smiled and flirted with the audience in every possible way. But as soon as the user pointed the flashlight with the hidden sensor on the picture, the characters froze.
At the same time, the user could make noise, clap his hands loudly and, thus, started the game of the gramophone projected on the wall.
Project development
A large-scale interactive installation on the entire hall with high ceilings and ten projectors required a large-scale technical implementation. In this project, a hybrid approach of video + 3D was used. This allowed us to get a very high-quality picture and a good interactive. A separate issue was the stitching of 3 different walls. We synchronized between three powerful computers, each of which was attached a separate Kinect.
The power of the equipment and software was enough to do compositing in real time and cope with a large number of layers. So we have ensured that the interactive work without delay and freezes.
First of all we made very accurate wall layout.
Secondly very simple 3d geometry was created for doing technical development in parallel with content production.
Below you can see some funny pictures from software development team how programmers see visual projects internally.
On-site setup
As always we found some surprises on-site, but nothing extraordinary. So team made setup in few days and show had started on time.
Visitors opinions
We found some very well videos in internet. You can see one of them from the original source.
The goal of the project was to attract the attention of the press and visitors. As a result, both the press and the public were delighted. But the main result of this multimedia installation was enthusiastic reviews from bloggers and viewers who came to Washington from all over America.
We assembled the reporting video about the project from the posts and materials of the visitors themselves, in which they studied the world of The Nutcracker with interest and actively interacted with the characters and attributes of the famous fairy tale.
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