Archive Page 2

We love a good old LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), right? But what about the toilets?

I recently moved to Denmark, and almost all the toilets have lfö written on them. Actually, until writing this post I thought these toilets were a brand called lfö but it turns out it’s ifö. Regardless, I present to you this Instagram series of #lfö toilets.

If you want to connect on Instagram, my username is AndrewSpitz.

There are other Instagramers getting involved, so far there is Minipagura and razsadeq. So if you come across some lfö toilets, snap and tag :-)

phonoLapse is a free desktop app for Mac and Windows that lets you create audio time-lapses. For the 2010 Enterferenze New Art Festival I put together a little Time Lapse Phonography piece that followed me over the course of 24 hours (check the video below). I have been receiving emails from people wanting to create their own, and decided to work on a standalone version so you too can create some time-lapse phonography :-).

phonoLapse [MAC]
phonoLapse [WIN]

Please let me know if you have any issues.

In case you fancy making crazy long files, the max size of your final sound can be 7 minutes. Also, there’s always a chance it might bomb out after you’ve been recording for days (and that would be sad), so to be safe you can export every now and then and select “continue recording” in the popup.

I love seeing/hearing what you create with it, so swing me a link if you do something! It’s really exciting to see what people get up to with my apps!

me, doing this. is a programme built in Max/MSP that visualizes myself programming this programme to visualize myself programming… Yip, coding inception.

In realtime (while coding), I collect the mouse data (screen position, mouse down, mouse up), and whether or not I’m currently working or procrastinating. The white lines are when I’m working (the patcher in focus), and the red lines are when I’m procrastinating (patcher not in focus). Each dot represents a mouse down, and the brighter they are, the more clicks that have happened in that area.

The total project took 9h15m10s to code. I spent 62% of the time working on it, and 38% doing other stuff. A total of 666,207 lines of data with a timestamp were recorded and played back at superman speed.

This was part of a small afternoon project for a data visualization class at CIID, run by Golan Levin.

Paper Note creates a tangible waveform from laser cut disks of paper. The user records a message, a sound or loads up music, and the system analyses the sound to map each moment to a corresponding slice.

This project was made with Andrew Nip at CIID. We programmed it using Processing. Each Paper Note is made up of around 450 stacked disks of paper. The louder the volume at a specific moment, the bigger the disk. Our algorithm samples the right amount of information from the recording to scale the physical waveform to the size of around 14cm.

Special thanks to David Gauthier, Joshua Noble and Marcin Ignac for their help with the code.

Lately, I have been playing around with Processing. This little sketch experiments with ‘polluting’ arrays of pixels depending on the sound level coming in. There is a feedback loop on the sound, and every time the sound gets looped, it’s degraded to a much lower quality.

Just a word of warning, the audio and video quality is pretty low. It’s straight off my iPhone.

I’m busy working on a new interactive installation. This time, it’s a video wall activated by floor mats. I’m installing it this weekend – please send me good vibes so that it all works fine! I will post a video of the actual installation, once it’s done.

Last night I finished soldering all 16 mats together, and could not resist mapping it to a synth. I used a free synth called Crystal, it sounds pretty decent.

I used an Arduino Mega and Max/MSP to get it all working. In the context of the actual installation, I’m sending OSC messages to Quartz Composer (programmed by Stephen Buchanan), which is triggering the 16 videos and animation.

Here’s a video of the Floor Mat Synth:

A few months back, with Mann Made Media, I had the privilege to work on a great project for BMW. BMW was announcing their sponsorship of the South African rugby team – the Springboks. Our brief was to simulate the feeling a rugby player would experience as they walk onto a packed stadium. It was well received and we were finalists at the Loerie Awards 2011.

general overview

Participants enter the event through a dark 30m long tunnel. As they walk, the sound builds from a distant stadium stomping their feet in unison, to the South African anthem being sung. As they go deeper into the tunnel, the sound keeps developing and getting more exciting, loud, and present. Around the bend, a motion detection system picks them up and the whole “stadium” erupts sonically and visually. We had six LCD wall panels displaying a stadium full of animated people standing up and cheering. We also hacked the flashes of disposable cameras to augment the experience.

Check out this video to get a feel for the installation as a whole:

sound design

The goal was to quickly and effectively give participants a feeling of excitement and pride. I was going for an army-like collective – a stadium is the perfect venue for this. There’s nothing quite like the unison of a packed stadium cheering and singing an anthem to unify a country. Fortunately the Soccer World Cup happened recently, so I had lots of material. Also, for a commercial I had gotten a small crowd of 20 to sing the anthem and also had them stomp their feet together, which is the sound stomping you here in the first two mixes below (with lots of processing). All and all, each loop is made up of a gazillion layers!

I used a combination of sounds I recorded specifically for this, sounds from my personal library (mentioned above), and I crowd sourced a little on Social Sound Design to fill up the stadium crowd stuff. These sounds were donated by Rene Conorado and Kurt Human – Thanks so much guys! I also found some really useful sounds in the blastwave FX library.

For general rugby crowd sounds (eruptions, claps, screams, singing, etc.), I did a recording trip to a rugby match. My gear consisted of an MKH 418s, a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, and a Zoom H4n (which turned out useless). I have to say, those little DPAs sounded amazing with crowds – beautiful spatiality and clarity! I have two Sound Devices 702, which is handy to split up perspective. Thanks to Wesley Mace for helping me record!

Below are two pics from the session. We got media passes so we were right there by the pitch – awesome!

Here are the loops. They really don’t give any justice to the experience, as they were mixed specifically for the space and to the system in the venue. There’s some serious low end going on, which massive subwoofers were dealing with. When listening in the venue, the loops sound a lot more accurate to how it would actually sound.

Distant South African anthem. At the entrance of the tunnel. As you’re waiting in the reception area, you can here this sound very distantly.

More present South African anthem. From one third into the tunnel. Synced to first loop.

Picking up the pace and excitement with this loop. Close to the exit of the tunnel.

The climax as you step out of the tunnel and “onto” the pitch. This loop is triggered by a motion detection system.

This transition allows the loop to reset itself and go back to the idle “excited” state.

Software

I programmed the software to control the loops in Max/MSP. Each section controls several speakers lining the tunnel. Below is a screen grab of the programme. The tricky bit was to have all the loops work rhythmically and sonically together, transition smoothly, and not be too obnoxious so that people already inside don’t go crazy from the repetition. I also had to create a basic dynamic mixing system to avoid all the sound just piling up on top of one another and creating a wall of noise.

Our control room, I’m on the left, Stephen Buchanan (realtime graphics programmer) on the right:

sound in the venue

I sent to the sound engineer six channels, and we distributed it to a total of 12 speakers and two subwoofers lining the tunnel. The tunnel was made of material that diffused the sound and made the speakers sound way less directional – handy! Once out of the tunnel, when the stadium erupts, we had a speaker array right above them. Sadly, because of the position and huge cost of the LCD panels, we could only safely fit one set of speaker arrays, so we didn’t get that big and wide surround feel I wanted. It still sounded alright.

It was tricky getting all the levels and frequencies right, as each section had to not conflict with the next, and not be too loud for the people that have either already experienced the tunnel or waiting in the entrance.

and more…

This blog post focuses on the sound design, but it was only part of my responsibility, I was also in charge of the augmented camera flashes. For this, I hired Dino Fizzotti, a super electrical engineer. You can check out the (very) brief writeup on my portfolio site.

For my portfolio website, I wanted to create a bio in a different way than just typing out a description of my life. I find it very hard to capture effectively my life as a blurb, and showing all the key parts in my life visually and in a timeline form for you to distil as you wish seems more appropriate.

I actually created it several months back, but I wanted to share it with you here.

Click on the image below to see it big, and once again to see it even bigger.

This is my 100th post! Thanks for all the support :-)

Nick Maxwell from Nick’s Tutorials, put together an awesome tutorial on how to use Sound Doodle. It’s a lot better than the one I originally  made.

Nick makes fantastic Ableton Live tutorials. If you haven’t already, check them out!

Enjoy!

I recently was on a shoot in Liberia, Monrovia. What an incredible country.

After a little confrontation from the Liberian equivilent of Area Boys [left pic], we managed to get to an awesome location by the river. There was a tree [right pic] swarming with hundreds of very vocal fruit bats. I couldn’t resist, and ditched the team in favor of the bats.

This sound is when the bats were calm:

Recorded on Sound Devices 702 & MKH 418s

As we got there, the bats were flying around like mad, but by the time I got the gear out, they calmed down. We tried many embarrassing things to get them to fly again, with zero success. One of the people there took pity on us and brought a massive oil drum to bang on. It worked.

Here’s the sound of the bats excited:

Recorded on Sound Devices 702 & MKH 418s

Coincidently, while I was writing this up, Tim Prebble from Music of Sound shared a sound of a flying fox he recorded in Samoa, which is the same as a fruit bat. They are known as Megabats. If you want to hear these bats solo rather than as a mass then head over to his blog post.