Eyes on You, Tarantino!
Visualizing how our eyes follow movies
Eyes on You, Tarantino is an exploration of unique style of the movie/video directors from the perspective of the eye movement patterns of the audience. Capturing how the eyes of the audience follow the short scenes from Tarantino, Hitchcock and Gondry, using with DIY eye tracking glasses and software, Eyes on You, Tarantino displays these patterns on an interactive installation that project the scenes and recorded eye movement patterns in an intuitive interface.
In this project, I took it as a challenge to capture the viewers’ eye movement patterns, which differ from movie to movie. I proposed that these patterns were directly the result of movie directors’ unique style of shooting scenes. In the first phase, I built eye tracking glasses and a software to capture the motion of one eye of a person watching a movie scene and the looking position data. In the second phase, I built the visualization which draws the eye movement curves on the wall, and the wooden controller lets users to explore these patterns by browsing different movies using an intuitive interface.
Our focus while watching movies shifts continuously from corner to side, actor to actress, dancer to assassin, making our eyes move continuously on the screen from left to right, top to corner, etc.. What we are not aware is that the smooth/complex patterns of these focus shifts of our eyes are different in each scene/movie and posses the signature and style of the director.
“Eyes on You, Tarantino!” tries to capture and visualize these patterns by projecting the patterns on a column, and gives users the opportunity to explore the movies in reference to these patterns using a physical controller surrounding the column.
Project includes two parts:
1. Tracking the eye movements of the audience with custom build eye capturing glasses, and calibration of the captured data.
At the first stage, I created the eye tracking glasses with a camera attached to one lens and recording one eye. Using Processing, I wrote a code to track the position of where the eye is looking, Using this glasses and the code, I recorded the eye movements of 4 people watching the different scenes from Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino), Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock) and Hyperballad (music video from Bjork, Michel Gondry).
2. Creating a physical installation to present the captured patterns, in a meaningful data visualization which allows users to browse the movies in reference to these patterns.
At the second stage, I worked with data to see if I can observe any patterns that would be unique to the scenes and directors. The patterns I ended up focusing on:
- Directors’ shooting style defines how jittery or smooth our eyes follows the screen
- In the scenes where actors stand still, Tarantino prefers providing “eye action” moving camera continuously around the actor. Hitchcock prefers positioning actors on viewport separately to provide “eye action”. In Gondry’s example, he uses a unique technique to oscillate the camera that makes the eyes oscillate left and right.
After observing these various patterns, I designed a physical installation in which these patterns can be projected in accordance to the scenes being displayed. After a set of sketches and cardboard prototypes, I made the project ready to be exhibited at ITP’s Winter Show 2007.