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A blog following my musical activities

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Krapp’s Last Tape: Soundwalk 2011 Installation

October 3, 2011 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



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.

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  1. Aquarium Reactive App Project Overview: 2011 « mostlynoise reblogged this and added:

    [...] am building on the compositional skills learned in the “Krapp’s Last Tape” project in the creation of the apps. Using the RJC-1000 software by the RJDJ team, each app can host up to [...]

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