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For the past few weeks I’ve been working with Gian Slater and her choir Invenio to produce a new audio-visual work called Luminesce. The concept for the show is an extension of my Concerto for Light Sculpture piece, seven singers are arranged in a line and are projected onto. Each singers voice controls what exactly is projected on to them and Gian has arranged the music in such a way as to create emergent patterns of light across the singers. The show’s debuting next week at The Guild Theater, Melbourne. If you’re a Melbournite and like pretty music, shiny lights and/or technical technology you really should come!
For the nerds who like to know what’s happening under the hood, read on.
The overall architecture for the show is something like this: each of the singers has a microphone that’s fed into a macbook running Ableton. Each Ableton track has a Max for Live device measuring the inputs’ amplitude, converting it into a float between 0 and 1 and beaming that via OSC over to a windows machine running Derivatives’ Touch Designer .
Luminesce is the first project I’ve used Touch for and coming from Max/MSP I’ve found it super easy to pick up. Each node in Touch lets you see exactly what it’s doing and the environment is text based where it’s better to be. It’s probably most similar to Quartz Composer but more mature, flexible and usable. It also feels nice and scifi, the way you zoom in and out of nodes – very Minority Report. I think I’ll be using it a lot more in the future .
The onscreen UI I’ve built for the show has controls for selecting colour schemes, controlling colour levels and a soft border, as well as meters to see the amplitude of each voice coming in and another meter showing how each voice channel is being processed (boosted, squashed or clamped). UI building seems to be a strong suit of Touch too. It’s almost a cross between Max and Java/Swing with containers and panels but also sliders and meters, the sort of things you need for media. Although, No prebuilt piano keyboards. It is absolutely possible to build that sort of thing in Touch but for audio and midi generation/processing Max still carries the torch.
For Luminesce I have a dozen or so scenes built from reactive geometry and shader effects that I can fade in and out through out the show but other than that everything is driven by the data provided by the singers.
select your keyboard from the menu on the left. this might take some trial and error – when you find it the yellow button next to the menu will flash when ever you hit a key. mine’s “Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad 4″.
choose your MIDI output settings. “from midipress 1″ is a safe bet.
make sure your target application (ableton, FL studio etc.) has your chosen midi port active in it’s preferences.
set your velocity and note length.
do whatever! you can control any midi mappable parameters or jam as you type.
And then I made this. It’s called Archaeopteryx, it’s a MIDI controller designed with VDMX in mind and I think it’s pretty hot. I’m going to make a run of similar, smaller controllers called The Sleep Crime so if you’d like to get your hands on one shoot me an email. But for now here’s how this one came into being. Continue reading Archaeopteryx: a DIY MIDI controller
much is happening. earlier this week i released an update to VIZZable, my set of video plugins for ableton live. it’s a big update with fancy new features like GL optimisation and autoconnection(!) the auto connection code is thanks to chris gough from the jitter in live google group. if you’re into video and ableton live and maybe even max/msp, you should join us to help us test and make various awesome things.
if you’re in melbourne, you can see these plugins in action along with some button pressing, singing and jumping around when i play live at plugnplay next thursday the 28th of april at the kent st cafe, 201 smith st, fitzroy. i think i’m playing with vdmokstati, jean poole and others… bit short on details at the moment… but it’ll be awesome, i’m sure. the day after that (friday 29th) i’m playing at the builders arms with time shield, the leafs and sun blindness. i’ll also supplying visuals for the leafs and sun blindess. check the fb event! and the poster:
in other news, the dudes at projuice have thrown up a little write up about me which makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy. projuice is a media creation showing airing on abc at the moment – it’s really great seeing tutorial style programming making the airways especially since it’s pretty much favorite sort of thing to watch on the interwebs. that and videos of baby sloths.
in other, other news, i’ve been inspired by this, this and this and have decided to build a midi controller (i’ve undertaken a similar project in the past). i’ll be using the guts from two korg nanokontrols and a usb qwerty keyboard and it should end up looking a bit like this:
i’ve been wanting to run video plugins since before Max for Live came into existence and Max/MSPs VIZZIE VJ modules seemed perfect as Ableton plugins. so i swapped out all the non-MIDI automatable parts and shoehorned some plugins together.
These plugins are completely compatible with the amazing V-module suite by Fabrizio Poce. These two projects have now merged to provide a comprehensive suite of video, effects and real-time graphics tools for Live. If you’d like to become involved in testing and developing these plugins please join us in this google group.
Updated auto-connect v 1.0
Syphon output added to the viewr module
new midigrid device – receives midi notes and outputs white squares. originally made for the novation launchpad but will work with any midi input
new 2switchr device to toggle video between two different outputs
All modules can now auto-connect (thanks to Chris Gough from the Jitter in Live google group)
All module’s preview windows can be disabled by clicking
Viewr GL optimized
Viewr can now toggle menubar in fullscreen mode
Viewr acts as a central hub to all other VIZZable modules allowing toggling of module preview windows and setting global resolution for all modules
New Previewr device, similar to viewr but without global controls or fullscreen
New Zamplr effect module
Playr has several performance improvements
Playr now properly saves loaded movie folders with live set
Clicking the Playrs name below the preview window activates a FPS meter and unique frame toggle for performance monitoring
VIZZIE preset code removed – presets can be saved in Live browser
Effect modules are now bypassed when device is deactivated.
All parameters can now be automated with clip envelopes
Code cleaned up
Scribbler bugs fixed
All devices now connect using the same drop down system as V-module
Player now has selectable resolution
all devices frozen and outputs plugged with “.” to prevent stack overflow errors