Will.i.am, the Grammy award-winning Black Eyed Peas artist, blazed a technological trail with his latest camera creation in collaboration with Selfridges early in December of 2012.
With a special lens case and free app, the foto.sosho transforms the iPhone 4s into a fully loaded camera. will.i.am’s new company, iam+ wanted an installation that would provide an opportunity for customers to interact with Will.i.am as they arrived at the London-based flagship store. Cue Multimedia Plus.
Technical Director, Guy Ferguson comments: “We’d worked with Selfridges on a number of unusual installations, so when this project came up, they immediately got in touch with us to create the right technical solution.”
We planed to have an alleyway of 8 portrait 65″ plasma screens, which had video loops of 8 celebrities standing beckoning the customers into the display area. We used passive infra-red (PIR) sensors in each screen, which detected customers as they approached.
When the PIR was triggered, the media players would be scripted to cross fade to a second video of the celebrity raising the new camera and taking a picture. As the customer walked between the 65″ screens, each screen was triggered in turn, so it appeared the celebrities were taking pictures of the customers: a reversal of the usual celebrity-paparazzi role.
We used two IP cameras to take pictures of the customers as they approached. We fed these pictures into a couple of Apple computers that used facial recognition technology to cut out head and shoulder shots of people to a uniform size. These images were then sent to another computer, where they were flown in from either side of the screen to build a photo mosaic of will.i.am holding the new iam+ camera.
It was fun to see people suddenly recognising themselves as part of the on-screen mosaic. As it was right next to the till, it created quite a buzz.