Framing Dance: Interview with Thorsten Bauser & Location Scouting (Germany)

I arrived in Hamburg, Germany on 4 May. The next day morning, I went down to University of Applied Sciences Europe (Hamburg) to share my learning journey for Media Art Nexus. 

Half of the students in the class were preparing for the visuals to be screened in Elbphilharmonie. They shared their ideas and most of them are using C4D as their main software. We exchanged various ideas and opinions and many students’ ideas were enlightening.

Right after the class, I scheduled a meeting with Thorsten Bauser.

Thorsten Bauer is the creative director of Urbanscreen, a collaboration of German artists and technicians who use architecture as their medium. Using projected sound, light and animation, they transform buildings like the Sydney Opera House, Leopold Museum in Vienna and Rice University’s academic quadrangle in Houston into spectacular temporary art installations. (Extracted from The New York Times;

We had an hour long discussion over the possibility of using dance as an element in the project/film and he showed me a few inspirations.

He suggested using close up shots of the dancer dancing and split the screens into diagonal forms.

Thorsten also advised me on

  • Lighting direction (Key light up and above, fill light on the side)
  • Choice of attire when it comes to shooting (Ideal to keep the dressing style minimal so as to not distract the viewers)
  • Choreographer (Make sure there is a choreographer directing the dancer so that I have the liberty to move and film in the studio without having to worry about the dance moves)

On the same day, I went down to the site itself to do some location scouting and to understand the architecture of the building and its surroundings.


The Elbphilharmonie with its impressive glass facade and wave-like rooftop rises up from the former Kaispeicher building on the western tip of the HafenCity. Accommodated inside are two concert halls, a hotel and residential apartments. Between the old warehouse and the glass structure is the Plaza – a public viewing area that extends around the whole building.

The Elbphilharmonie takes inspiration from three structures: the ancient theatre at Delphi, sport stadiums and tents.

Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron

(Extracted from

As I researched further into Elbphilharmonie, I became more interested in the ability of architecture, places, and locations in bringing people together to bond, interact and socialise.


The media wall is huge and I realised that when it is viewed from a distance, only the lower half of the screen can be seen. Also, the pixels and screen resolution is lower than that of the media wall. There are 3 major ‘blocks’ which I have to take note off when I execute the placement of the frames.

Frames Dancing: The Beginning

Through the past 3 years in ADM, the school exposed me to various art expressions, mediums and platforms. Starting from the basics of foundation drawing, product design, photography and film, I developed an interest in experimental film and I wanted to explore more in my FYP after taking the module, Media Art Nexus. I had a Skype conversation with Ina in America and I was told that the theme of the FYP could be music. 
This is a rough sketch of what I envision my project to be like. 
Idea: Exploration of Spaces. As seen below, the black shaded region on the left side is according to the specifications that I received from the ELMAN brief. I envision shooting a dancer moving through spaces. It could be shot in Germany and/or Singapore. As the dancer moves between spaces, she exits a frame and enters another. The frames could move as well throughout the video. This idea plays with more spaces, and concept.
I was particularly intrigued by a visual done by Yuge Zhou.
Yuge Zhou is a Chinese born, Chicago-based artist whose video and installation works explore urban environments as they are inhabited and experienced and the collective rhythms of human activities in these spaces. (Extracted from
This work is titled Underground Circuit
Underground Circuit is a collage of hundreds of video clips shot in the subway stations in New York. Station to station, the movement of the commuters in the outer rings suggests the repetitive cycle of life and urban theatricality and texture. The inner-most ring includes people sitting on benches waiting; the central drummers act as the controller of the movement, inspired by the concept of the Four-faced Buddha in Chinese folk religion, the god who can fulfill and grant all wishes of its devotees.
I proceeded on to research more on the artist and I realise that she have done other installation series that experiments with framing.

Deep Ends suggests a tension between carefree buoyancy, vulnerability, and inherent risk. Water on the edge of an urban landscape invites crowds, and shot from a long distance, the scene strangely oscillates between leisure fun and the aftermath of a disaster. Deep Ends is part of The Humors, a four-part video collage series exploring urban dispositions.

Soft Plots portrays a conception of urban living that is both group-oriented and discontinuous. In many ways, we live in big cities like we live in small towns—except that our communities are scattered across a dense network of other communities and other storied lives of which we only catch a glimpse. Soft Plots is a mental map of meaningful locations and (richly-inhabited) voids in between. Soft Plots is part of The Humors, a four-part video collage series exploring urban dispositions. 

Green play is a joyful orchestration of one of the great meeting places in New York City—Central Park, a utopian playground and repository shared by locals and tourists alike. The spliced footage choreographs a single summer Sunday and encapsulates an optimism that is central to American life. Green Play is part of The Humors, a four-part video collage series exploring urban dispositions. 

Social synchronization is a phenomenon where individuals within a group influence one another’s behavioral patterns. For Midtown Flutter, I shot a variety of architecture in midtown Manhattan, allowing passersby to interrupt the scene. By selecting and then composing the video footage according to the formal qualities of the architecture within the scene, the architecture in turn dictates the patterns and flow of the pedestrians. Midtown becomes a flattened, uniform construct for this play of texture, rhythm and interruptions. Midtown Flutter is part of The Humors, a four-part video collage series exploring urban dispositions.

Note on The Humors:

Ancient Greek philosophers wrote of four temperaments (or ‘humors’) that color all of creation: sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. Urbanity is part of this creation, and also embodies versions of these dispositions. The Humors suggests urban behaviors and relationships, those of people and of the built environment itself.

As the project will be screened in Elbphilharmonie, and no music is to be used, I thought of incorporating the element of dance. Dance is one of the best visual representation of music and the movements and rhythm of the dancer is able to bring out the essence of music as a mood itself. The next step is to consider the kind of dance style I’d like to explore as well as the places I’d want to shoot the dance scene. 

Week 6 Progress – Intergalactica Bath Bomb

This week I bought another bath bomb. This time I got the ‘Intergalactica’ bath bomb.

I prefer this bath bomb because the colours are much more pleasing and colourful.

I took some stills after it has completely dissolved.

I like how it looks like the milky way/galaxy.

Throughout the filming, I tried blowing the liquid too with a hairdryer.

It produced really beautiful effects.

I tried inserting the stills into the long panel format.

I also tried to create visuals that help me to visual how the final look might look like.

After consultation with Ina and advice from my friends, we thought it would be better to drop the black frame behind the model.

I inserted the footage into Premiere Pro and adjusted the brightness and contrast only. The work in progress can be seen below.

Intergalactica WIP

Overall, I love the visual of the second bath bomb that I captured. I will use a mix of the first and second bath bombs that I dissolved.

In addition, I’ve chosen the music that I want to use for my visual. It will be a 2 minutes audio from

The music producer has given me the permission use his music. Thankfully, I managed to find an oriental looking friend and I will most probably shoot the model footage on recess week.

Next Step:

  • Book photo studio (Make sure there is green screen)

Week 5 Progress – Lush Bath Bombs

I started filming with the Lush bath bombs. Over the weekend, I searched up for bath bombs that are able to give off an array of colours when it is dissolved. I chose the ‘Experimenter’ in the end.

I got a small rectangular box as well because I cannot find a bathtub. I didn’t get a glass tank either because firstly, it is expensive and inconvenient to move around. Secondly, it does not affect the video results as the bath bombs would have covered what is underneath after a few seconds of dissolving.

You can watch the process here > Experiment 1 and Experiment 2

I haven’t fully got to edit it but I did a quick color correction and cropping to roughly see how the product would look like. I slow down the video to 10% from 100% to gauge the look when it is shown on the long panel in North Spine.

I thought the green liquid looks a little off-putting so I tried changing the colours of the liquid. However, it depends on the theme of my video and if it fits, I will still stick to green.

The clip look a little blurry because I exported it in medium birate. But I will export it in high birate for the final video. I might need to adjust the FPS settings of my DSLR as it doesn’t look very smooth when I slow down the video.

Note to self

  • I will get another bath bomb to experiment. Keeping in mind that the theme is in relation to ancient China, I will get one that can give a reddish or gold look.
  • Adjustment to the position of the softbox can be better.
  • When inserting the bath bombs to the tub, lower it slowly or else it will ‘disturb’ the water and post-production can be tricky/difficult.
  • Use something long to ‘move’ the bath bomb when it is dissolving or else it will only stay in one location of the bucket.
  • In subsequent experiments, if the bath bomb still stays only in one side and not moving around, I can consider the use of mirror effect for great dynamism.

Next step

  • Search for another bath bomb and continue with experimenting.
  • Search for color effects and transitions online that I could incorporate in my video for both the bath bomb and the model
  • Start looking for an oriental-looking model
  • Book photo studio