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Krapp’s Last Tape: Proof of Concept Number 1

September 26, 2011 , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Soundwalk entry this year is inspired by Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape”. In the play, Krapp interacts with his recorded self separated by some thirty years.

Our installation seeks to explore the experience of memories through an interactive soundscape.

Participants will visit a table with a tape player and objects of childhood. Placing cassette tapes on the table triggers soundscapes designed by my students. The soundscapes recreate a memory from their past in the way they remember it.

At the same time, the installation itself is a soundscape. The tape player sets the keynote sounds establishing the time and place of the table in the late 20th-century. An omnidirectional microphone picks up the recording as well as any ambient sound. Projected in front of the table is a ghosted and delayed video capture of the installation itself.

The participants will see and hear the experience in realtime and delayed by three to five seconds. Our hope is to convey the distortion of time upon the memory of one’s experience.

This proof of concept is to check the delay capabilities of the computer and software over several hours, and to set basic parameters for this part of the project.

The software used for this portion of the installation includes Macam and Live Video Delay by Zach Poff.

From the Macam website:

    macam is a driver for USB webcams on Mac OS X. It allows hundreds of USB webcams to be used by many Mac OS X video-aware applications. The aim is to support as many webcams as possible.

    In addition, macam also supports downloading of images from some dual-mode cameras. macam especially tries to support those cameras not supported by Apple or by their manufacturers.

From Zach Poff’s Website:

    This app was made to answer a question from a student: “How come there’s no free software to delay a live video feed?” The original version used the GPU for fast video processing and storage, but VRAM is too limited for long delays, so version 2010-04-08 uses system memory to store the recorded frames. Stereo audio is also delayed, with independent delay-time so you can tweak the synchronization between picture and sound. Additionally, you can mix between the live and delayed video feeds with a crossfade slider. DV-NTSC runs at a solid 30fps on a MacBook Pro laptop, but HD resolutions might be faster using the older (more limited) version of the app.

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