Completeness?

News of Steve Pearce’s tree project in Tasmania set me off thinking about how we record sport performance.

There is a home page for the project.

The page includes this information:

In 2016 the team spent over 8 weeks in the Styx Valley, 100 km to the west of  Hobart, filming, photographing and climbing giant Eucalyptus regnans trees.

The camera rig for photographing the tree portrait took two weeks to install due to the huge size of these trees, the wide distances they were apart and the frequent bad weather events. 

Despite this, the team have managed to create an incredible portrait of a 84 meter high tree.

We have also produced some stunning photos and videos of the forest, capturing many beautiful photos from a bird’s eye view using drones.

The picture shared here is comprised of 87 photographs that took “more than 3 weeks of full time editing to assemble”.

The team (there were eight members) note “Of the 67 days in the field we had 12 successful mornings of weather and only 5 mornings of suitable fog.”

They add “There is so much more to the story of this photograph and it possibilities”.

The possibilities include a shared virtual reality experience.

This is a link for use on a mobile phone.

The team write of their consideration of virtual reality:

During the Tasmanian Tree Project we experimented with the idea of creating a virtual reality tour of the tree. This presented us with a number of technical and financial challenges. Our biggest consideration amongst these was the setting. A tree offers no secure sturdy platform to shoot such images with a typical DLSR setup which requires great precision. 

A mobile delivery option would mean we could take advantage of the accelerometers on a mobile device providing a infinitely more dynamic experience and opening up the possibility of using more affordable VR headsets. We also wanted very much for the experience to be one that everyone could download for free and take home from the museum. This mobile delivery would allow to effectively transform the viewer into a advocate for these grand trees when showing it to a friend.

There is a 3D model of the tree too.

Throughout my reading about the project, I was fascinated by the desire to share the process and outputs of the project. I was struck too by the roles team members played in data capture.

  • Creative director
  • Project co-ordinator
  • Research climber
  • Lead climber, POV cameras
  • Forestry scientist
  • Support climber and rigging
  • Filmaker and producer

I thought too about the invisible work that teams do. In this project:

The camera rig for photographing the tree portrait took two weeks to install due to the huge size of these trees, the wide distances they were apart and the frequent bad weather events.

All of which left me thinking about aspirations for completeness in the observation, analysis and recording of performance … that might enable us to appreciate the beauty of performance.

The Tree Project Team share this perspective on their work:

We feel that the simple yet profoundly striking vision of seeing a tree for for first time can break down all preconceptions. We believe that this also allows everyone an opportunity to grasp further complexity and deeper ecological concepts.

I can see how this might guide our work in sport too. We might even start conversations about the ecological validity of our analysis process.

Photo Credit

The Tree Project, Steven Pearce.

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