Visual Performance Software

Spring 2007- Ongoing

Get the Code on Github

This has been my longest running project, and has grown from a side curiosity into my primary artistic focus. It started as a way to just play with video live using different MIDI controllers. I started the same way every visualist seems to, by using clips of retro films and other footage I could find online. I would cut these up real-time with different Jitter effects and got a few easy gigs with some great local DJ’s running the monthly Troy Night Out Afterparty series. Gradually, my focus shifted into using the software and hardware as a real instrument. I became more interested in bringing the visualist into the position of performer and improviser.

As the years go on I’ve been adding more and more visual effects and physical interfaces. I stay away from more cliche effects if I can and try to dig up ones that feel more gestural or emotional. I can do a lot more with a bright flash than a cheesy posterize effect. I am constantly re-working how I’m mapping different effects to my physical interfaces. Currently the system uses the following MIDI devices:

-M-Audio Trigger Finger (a 4×4 drum trigger with pressure sensitivity, knobs, sliders)
-Akai MPD24 (another 4×4 drum trigger)
-3D Space Navigator (special mouse for navigating 3d environments…very sensitive)
-Wacom Bamboo tablet (for scrubbing video and drawing on top)

The software and hardware is discussed more extensively in my thesis available here. It has been used in every performance I’ve done, and for several different recorded videos as well, including all of the videos used for Phantogram’s 2010 tour. It is very modular and adaptable to different situations.

For some reason I have never placed a proper name on this project, and part of the reason for that is because I feel like I would’ve started confusing myself and wondering “Is this really the same thing as that project from 3 years ago?” continues to be vaguely named for now…although most of the files are called “Trigmovies” or “Padmovies” as a mix of Trigger Finger, or Padkontrol, my main MIDI interfaces at the time.

Below are some images of the device from my thesis, but they are already pretty outdated..but it gives you a general idea of the setup.

Click for full size