Go to 20’21″ to hear our contribution to the Audio Catalog.
The Soundwalk festival happened this past Saturday. The installation created by my students was very well-received. It was particularly interesting to watch the variety of interactions with the piece; I documented some of them in the above video.
Generally, I think the piece was quite successful. People seemed to understand and appreciate the expression. People were willing to engage with the work for extended periods of time. I noticed, however, that most people did not listen to the entirety of a soundscape. Most of the sounds were between one and two minutes. They were much more interested when a discernable loop sounded or the track glitched. In both cases, the distortion was an unintended consequence of the camera, poor lighting underneath the table, or software issues.
I especially enjoyed the dimension given to the work by the projections. This was made possible by the stand-alone software programmed in Max/Jitter by Zach Poff. The program is called Live Video Delay. The software allows you to adjust and mix a delayed-video image independent of the delayed audio. For our project, the video image was set as a 50/50 mix of the realtime image and the delayed image. The delayed image was separated from the original by about 100 frames- about 3 seconds in practice. The audio was delayed by 7 seconds.
I used a Yeti-microphone set to an omnidirectional pickup pattern to collect all the ambient sounds. These were fed into a separate Mac hosting the Live Video Delay. A Playstation Eye webcam served as the camera. I chose this cam because economy of scale makes it cheap, it is optimized for low-light levels, and it has a zoom lens. I ran the camera at 30 fps. Macam is required to plug this into a Mac. FYI, for some reason, Xbox webcams are plug-n-play with Macs! I don’t know why.
Congratulations to all of my students on a job well done! I’m already looking forward to next year’s project.