HumDrums

Proof of basic concept and documentation of an installation/instrument created for RINSE (Real-Time Interactive Novel Sonic Environments) and SPIT (Sonic Performances with Idiomatic Technologies) at RMIT [2016].

Amplitude captured from each separate audio channel would manipulate separate video effects on the projected webcam feed. The projection would fade to black if insufficient audio was received (like a gate).

The amount of movement detected through frame-differencing in the webcam feed was ‘mapped’ to control the variable amount of different audio effects on each channel. The upper portion of the frame would further increase the amount of effect added, especially reverb. This was intended to encourage comically large movements (as in a stadium show) but failed to inspire the other drummers.

The sensitivity of movement detection could be altered within Max for Live to suit the playing style of different drummers. ‘Slide’ values could be altered to determine the speed at which the audio/visual ‘wet/dry’ values would increase/decrease.

The stripped-back drum kit was chosen to reduce the strain on the already-overloaded CPU, however the lack of toms and other cymbals reduced the movement of the players, thereby somewhat reducing the effectiveness of the system. The ride cymbal was added last minute (unamplified) to encourage movement.

In the video, the direct audio feed from Max and Ableton is combined with the natural room sound that included amplification.

Drummers: Jesse Rehaut (Jakubi), Sam Raines (Dorsal Fins), Christopher Port, Anthony Murray (Benny Walker, Jesse Valach), Ed Crocker, Michael Sacks, Pete Apsrey, Lachlan O’Kane (Canary, Dorsal Fins, Theme Team).

In a funny turn of events, no non-drummers showed up to play with the system, thereby limiting the research portion of the experiment, and heavily effecting the intended purpose of the system.

Filmed and edited by Ed Crocker and Michael Sacks.

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