Blast from the Past

I stumbled upon this old tune that I worked on with Judah Kim at Berklee College of Music in 2003. It was my first “Producer” project in the Music Production and Engineering program. Still sounds good to my ears!

Sweet After Effects visualizer template from Andrin Rehmann

Float Land VR

More experiments in VR Music land….this time in a more cheerful setting.

Kite Surfing Brazil VR

Ilha Do Guajiru is a tiny strip of sand and ocean in Northern Brazil with incredible kite-surfing. I wanna go back! I took some time-lapse and 360 footage to capture the feeling. Sadly the Ricoh 360 camera resolution is just not good enough to handle all the lovely chaos.

VR Space Music Experiments

My initial experiments that explore visualizing and playing music in VR. These are also my first efforts to learn programming and 3D art in Unity. Fun stuff!

Grain Monkey

What does a monkey trapped in a 5th dimensional time warp sound like? A granular synth of course! In this experiment, I mapped a variety of realtime audio parameters to various ball-monkey impacts. I also created some blend-shapes in Blender (for the 1st time ever) as a way to visualize the change. The 1st version of this prototype actually used conventional sliders to achieve a similar affect but its so much more fun to blast and strafe your way to interesting sounds. Perhaps a more robust version of this could be a semi-legitimate way to design sounds in VR?

My First Push Jam

I recently purchased some really cool live music toys. The Ableton Push 2, Novation Launch Control XL and the Korg KP3 Kaos Pad. The main goal is to remove myself from the laptop so that I can focus on jamming and making music. The problem with point-and-click style production on a laptop is that it’s tedious and totally uninspiring. There are no happy accidents. These innovative new devices feel more like actual instruments than just midi controllers.

These tools have almost instantly increased the fun factor of making music…but they are also relevant to deciphering interesting ways to design interactive music for games. There is a decent amount of overlap between live electronic performance and a responsive music system for games. They both need to react quickly while still sounding good.

Soooo…I tried hooking up some basic sounds and giving it a whirl. There are some mistakes and weirdness in a few places…but such is the process of learning. More jams to come!

Sphericals

In my continuing quest to learn about Cinema 4D, I began playing with animation and physics being controlled by music. There are a nearly infinite number of ways to achieve these audio-visual synchronizations. Unfortunately my computer is just barely strong enough to try out some basic tests. To take this much further, I will need a stronger newer machine. Nonetheless, this was fun and has encouraged me to keep exploring.

Jackson Hole Snowmobiling in 360

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My friend Dave had his bachelor party in Jackson Hole Wyoming last weekend. The resort is right on the edge of the Grand Teton National Park. It was quite dramatic to be surround by such massive peaks. The name “Jackson Hole” comes from the fact that the area sits in the middle of all these mountain ranges and looks like a “hole” from above. It was definitely the steepest riding that I have done. That means lots of carving across the mountain or I would quickly approach crazy speeds. But overall it was a good way to push my skills forward.

Since I already have a nice selection of snowboarding 360 videos, I focused on our snow-mobiling bonus adventure. We had a few nearly-on-purpose crashes to make it more exciting. They occurred by driving off the groomed path and into the powder. Fortunately nobody was hurt. Unfortunately, I was not filming. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see the spherical footage at high speeds.

A few lessons so far:

  • – speed does not translate well without some nearby reference like trees, rocks or other riders
  • – it’s always interesting to track people moving across a wide range of the sphere
  • – A tripod works better than my hand!

 

Sundance and the New Frontier

 

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Sundance Film Festival has mostly been known for independent and experimental films over the past 4 decades. In the last 3 or 4 years, Virtual Reality has inched it’s way into the spotlight. I was lucky enough to be working with Ben Vance at Buffalo Vision on Irrational Exuberance when it was accepted to the New Frontier exhibition.

The festival showcased  a wide array of uses for this new immersive technology. Matt Damon’s film The Martian was converted into a seated VR experience that was actually pretty exciting. There were several intense documentary style experiences that explored serious topics like gun violence, planned parenthood and solitary confinement. VR seems to be a great platform for digital activists to evoke some serious empathy from willing participants.

Other VR artists focused on more abstract explorations of this new space. In the Eyes of an Animal, you take on the various forms of magical animals. It kind of felt like being inside a Bjork music video. Reggie Watt’s Waves creates a bizarre and hilarious experience that can’t help but put a goofy grin on your face.

All in all, it was an inspirational experience. I expect the VR component of Sundance will continue to expand until we are locked permanently to our chairs. See you in VR!

Sundance meets Snowdance in 360

Sundance Film Festival would not be complete without floating on the mountains of Park City…in 360 of course. Follow Ben and I by tilting and rotating your phone. If you are on regular computer (on Google Chrome Browser), drag your mouse on the video or use the WASD keys on the keyboard.

 

Can you find the secret High Five?!

 

3D Explorations

Last night I explored a few tutorials in Cinema 4D to make some interesting landscapes and musical spheres. More to come!

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Audio Ring

I recently bought a neat little midi controller called the Hot Hands.

 

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It’s essentially a little ring that you put on your finger that sends accelerometer data to your computer. It measures positional change in the X, Y and Z axis. This change can be mapped to pretty much anything in the universe. I chose to connect it to some expressive knobs in a Reaktor module called S-Layer. It was surprisingly fun to twist and vibrate some new sounds out of this already interesting plugin. It also gave me ideas for gestural control of sound in a VR environment. Good times!

 

360 Ice Skating

Our Salsa group went Ice Skating….in 360 of course.

 

360 Mammoth

Follow me down Mammoth Mountain by standing up and moving your phone around in 360 to follow the action. You can also click and drag if you are on a normal computer.

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This was shot with the Ricoh Theta S spherical Camera. It shoots in 360 degrees and made me look like a flux capacitor. The moisture/shock-proof case was helpful but definitely adds some odd glare and scratchiness to the footage. I also need to dive into the big bad world of matching exposures of the different stitched angles. Good times!

360 Beach

My 2nd test with spherical video. This time with a ridiculous fireball!

On this test I discovered the problem of adding post VFX when dealing with stiched video. It’s not so easy to have the visual effects line up when reaching the edge of the flat equirectangular video.