Gianpaolo and Sara from sounDesign ran a panel/workshop last weekend at the Enterferenze New Art Festival, and asked some of us around the world to contribute. The topic was “Design o’ the times” based on the concept of time design.

I have been wanting to create a time-lapse phonography piece for some time now, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, I’ve been so busy lately that I could only dedicate a few hours to this. So what you see is the basic workings without making it sound or look good.

With more time to program, I will use crossfading and FFT to create a morphing over time, which would hopefully make it sound good.

how does it work?

I wrote a program in Max/MSP to automize the whole process. Every 144 seconds, the software capture one frame from the webcam and a 100ms slice of sound, with a 5ms fade in and out to attempt ironing out the non-zero crossing clicks. Each new sound slice gets appended into a buffer containing the other sounds, which then gets exported and combined with the video.

In fairness, the timing is not fully accurate as I had to switch off my computer to work on sound as the sample rate was different. So I would switch off the time lapse to work on sound, and then catch up later with a few manual triggers.

the 24 hours

  • Start the time lapse at 12am before going to bed
  • Wake up (notice the birds waking up in the time lapse, awesome!)
  • Drive to breakfast and do internet stuff
  • Go to my usual coffee shop Vida e Caffe to prep for the weekend’s recording session
  • Go home and eat lunch
  • Go to the studio to edit some sound files and record a VO
  • Go home where my friends are playing poker, but I don’t have time to participate :-(
  • Prepare all my gear for the weekend, where I’m going to the bush to record animals, ambiences and bush related sounds.
  • I see the iPad in real for the first time (yes, it’s still not in South Africa)
  • Pack my cloths for the weekend
  • 12am (24hrs later) switch time lapse off

Added a bit of compression and EQ to the sound, then I combined the sound to the video. Went off to bed at 1.30am to be up at 4am! I was knackered!


15 Responses to “Time Lapse Phonography {+ time lapse}”  

  1. 1 verushka

    This is amazing!!!

  2. 2 Haydn Payne

    That is a very cool idea
    Its surprising how intelligible the 100ms snippets of audio are, even without the visuals you can get an idea of where you are.

  3. 3 Michael Maroussas

    Love it, really cool Andrew – the birds come up really quickly!

  4. 4 James Bryant

    Wow, cool concept, and a surprisingly effective execution.

  5. 5 prosoundfx

    That was a great little piece.. a day in the life!

  6. 6 John Keston

    Nice one, Andrew! I’d love to see more of this. Great use of Max/MSP.

  7. 7 laura sinnott

    Very cool Andrew, have you seen Luke DuBois’s projects where he does something similar with the movie Bladerunner (he used Jitter)? Also, something along those same lines, his film ‘fashionably late for the relationship’ http://fashionablylatefortherelationship.com/

  8. 8 Andrew Spitz

    @Laura I haven’t seen his ‘fashionably late for the relationship’. But just checked it out, it’s really cool. Thanks for the link.

    I later discovered he’s done something with time lapse phonography, but haven’t found any examples I can listen to. Have you got a link?

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Time Lapse Phonography {+ time lapse} at { sound + design } -- Topsy.com
  2. 2 time lapse phonography – abulafia
  3. 3 Design o’ the times panel at Interferenze Festival | sounDesign
  4. 4 Miguel Isaza » Time for Dreams
  5. 5 Free Audio Software: sound + design - phonoLapse (Timelapse Audio) : Noizefield – make better music
  6. 6 What if You Could Make Timelapse Out of Sound? Free Mac+Windows App, Made with Max | Dorchase
  7. 7 phonoLapse {+ software} | Uber Patrol

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