Tracing the Frenetic Movements of a London Symphony Conductor - Atlas Obscura
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Tracing the Frenetic Movements of a London Symphony Conductor

Using 12 cameras and data visualization, this project animated Sir Simon Rattle’s baton flicks at 120 frames per second.

What if we could capture what music looks like? Not just how it sounds, but how it moves? Digital artist Tobias Gremmler did just that. Using motion capture to track the movements of London Symphony Orchestra conductor Sir Simon Rattle, he created this hypnotic video. As Rattle’s arms rise and his body sways, each movement is tracked and animated, creating sweeping patterns of light.

Part art, part data science, the project required a lot of technology. To create this effect, the project’s creative directors used a modified baton and 12 cameras, which captured Rattle’s motions at 120 frames per second. Using this data, Gremmler created a series of animated films.

The resulting images are explosions of light, sounds, and swirling patterns visualizing the music. As Gremmler explains, “When the music becomes louder, the linearity gets bent by the motion of the baton, which results in more complex visual arrangements.” Even the colors have meaning, Gremmler notes: “[the] textures, colors, materials, and lights are inspired by classical instruments.”

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