Inside Installations: Mapping the Studio II
HOME Acquisition
WORK IN FOCUS The role of the Conservator
RELATED THEMES Re-cycling in the art of Nauman
Technical Notes


The Digital Format used for the filming of Mapping the Studio II

The format used was Digital 8 (Data Rate: 25Mbps – Compression Ratio: 5:1) video format, with the night vision option on a standard digital camcorder. The CCD (charged coupled device) in the camera can respond to a broader range of near-infrared rays than the spectral response of the human eye (between 690nm – 4,000nm). On a digital camcorder, switching to the night vision mode allows more near-infrared rays through to the CCD by physically displacing the camcorder’s internal glass filter. Internal circuitry then amplifies these signals to create an image from the recording of the reflected near-infrared light.

Dennis Diamond

Dennis Diamond of Video D, has worked with Bruce Nauman on a number of projects since the early 1970s.

Michael Short

Michael Short works for Sperone Westwater gallery and has assisted Bruce Nauman on various projects

Selecting the Projectors used in the installation of Mapping the Studio II

Seven LCD (liquid crystal display) Sharp projectors (XG-P25X) were chosen for the installation because they have lens shift and because in comparison to other projectors they rendered the colours well and were able to produce a suitable level of contrast. In addition to LCD technology, a newer technology called either DLP (Digital Light Processor) or DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) was also considered. The projector models tested were the type which have a single chip and create red, green and blue using a colour wheel in the path of the light. Despite the greater contrast level, this technology seemed to flatten the image and in this case did not render the colours of the piece vividly

Video production route

In the case of MAPPING THE STUDIO II with flip, flop, & flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage) 2001, the piece was shot using digital hi-8 tapes on a night vision camera. The material was then compiled into 5 hours and 45 minutes of material and processed for flip flop, flip/flop and colour shift. The final files were then output to Beta SP in a format for safe keeping. The compiled material was then compressed to MPEG2 for DVD encoding. This was then burnt to DVD which is the display format that runs the work.

Ambisonic sound recording

The ambisonic recording was made using a sound field microphone developed for Sound lab. The sound field microphone contains 4 microphones. Three record directional information and one records the general levels. This information is recorded into 4 channels of audio which in the sound lab is then decoded into a 12 channel three dimensional soundscape using 12 speakers. Check the Arup site for further information.

Video Preservation

Where possible, Tate tries to archive to totally uncompressed component digital tape formats. However, given the large volume of material in this case, a format with mild loss-less compression, Digital Betacam, was used for cost reasons.

Videotape is made from three different layers. The video signal is encoded into the top layer of the tape, which is a binder layer made from polyester polyurethane in which the magnetic particles (which carry the video signal) are embedded.  These metallic particles store a magnetic charge in which the picture and sound are encoded, in a digital domain, as electrical pulses. Video preservation is an ongoing process whereby the encoded signals are transferred onto a new carrier – i.e. new stock and new formats in order to ensure that they can continue to be played back without error.