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Generative Exploration (VCV Rack + Adobe Audition + Magic Music Visualizer)

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Making Touchdesigner

Touchdesigner Samples

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Making

Electronics Projects

Since around 2010, I’ve spent more time expanding my understanding of microelectronics, programming (C, C++, Javascript, PHP) and have built a number of projects for fun. I particularly enjoy Arduino, Particle Photon, Teensy, NodeMCU and anything that involves audio/sound. I’ve even branched out into making my own boards.

Included below are most of my electronics experiments. From late 2018 to late 2020, I moved twice, and had to go on hiatus. But there are some new projects on the way!

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Nomadic Soundsters Summer Showcase

“Ocean” by the Nomadic Soundsters Blue Team

In March the Nomadic Soundsters (NS) 2021 residents located in various parts of the world (US, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Tasmania, etc.) were presented with the theme prompt “Fragile States”. The NS 2021 Summer Showcase is a premiere of the virtual collaborative works created by the residents.

Program Notes for “Ocean”

“Ocean” represents the Blue Team’s first long distance collaboration and response to the writing prompt of “fragile states”.

The first music segment of the piece features Yunfei as primary composer, with additional elements added by Tang and Jeremy.

The second music segment started with a generative composition provided by Jeremy, and was embellished by Yunfei. The third musical segment features the piece “Lost Letters” by Tang.

The choreographic elements of the piece were inspired primarily by the movement of the ocean, and was created through a series of improvisational explorations. The music inspired and influenced the speed and quality of the movement in the final piece, in addition to the desire to produce three properly distinct experiences for the viewer. The dance footage and the majority of the ocean footage came courtesy of Sammy, shot on an iPhone. The short transition ocean shot and audio came from Yunfei (also via cell phone). Jeremy combined these with additional original footage of Pennsylvania streams. Video processing, done in Touchdesigner, includes audio reactive elements that determine how/when video clips appear, using an element of randomness (another reflection of fragility).

Blue Team Members:

Yunfei Li https://www.yunfeilimusic.com/

Supakorn “Tang” Wongsumdang https://soundcloud.com/supakornwongsu…

Jeremy dePrisco http://www.jeremydeprisco.com

Sammy Gerraty (movement artist) Currently based in San Francisco, Sammy is, above all, a manifestation of the desire to do absolutely everything all at once – less of an artist, more of a walking mental breakdown relying on the arts for sanity. She has and continues to create work about grief and loss on a personal and planetary scale, and hopes that art can help her form an understanding of herself and others in the face of tragedy. Dance and dance choreography in collaboration with live music and the California outdoors are her transcendent language of choice, though she dabbles in costume/lighting design, acting, spoken poetry, and painting. Find her on Facebook or Instagram.

Learn more about the creative process for this work here: https://www.nomadicsoundsters.com/pro…

Learn more about Nomadic Soundsters: https://www.nomadicsoundsters.com/

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VCV Rack + TD + OBS Testing 9/1/2021

Putting a new Lenovo laptop through the works… everything here is done in real time. A few false starts here and there, but hey – it was recorded live!

Testing VCV Rack running with Touchdesigner and OBS on the same machine!

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GoPro via WIFI?

As I’ve noted in past technical posts, I’m not very enamored of GoPro as a company because their support is not great, and they have not been very forward thinking in terms of camera configuration – particularly when it comes to using GoPros as webcams. Never willing to just give up on a technical challenge, I came back to this topic after a few months. Once the dust settled, it appeared that some new tools became available, thus this blog post and update.

Should you use a GoPro as a webcam?
Even if you get over the configuration hurdles, you should know that GoPros tend to run extremely hot when used for any length of time. This is especially true when used as webcams where they are constantly streaming data. USB power is a must, otherwise the battery rapidly depletes. Like many have observed, it’s probably just better to use a “traditional” webcam. USB web cams are lower cost, just as good quality, and don’t get nearly as hot!

But, if you are hellbent on getting every ounce out of your GoPro investment, and your camera meets the requirements, read on…

Live Streamer for GoPros (on MacOS High Sierra)
First, you’ll need to download Live Streamer for GoPros by Harald Meyer. The program costs about $11 US, but for what it does it’s worth it. However, there are some additional configuration tweaks to be aware of to get the most out of it. First, let’s take a look at how I got it working…

The Goal
1. Connect the GoPro as a webcam.
2. Use camera signal in OBS, and combine with other content as needed
3. Ensure that OBS is still using Ethernet (not WIFI) for the most stable broadcast quality.

The Setup
1. Be sure you have both WIFI enabled and an Ethernet connection plugged in to your computer.
2. Turn off the screen saver on the camera, and be sure the camera is powered via USB. Otherwise, the screen saver may interfere with connection.
3. Follow the setup and requirements posted on Harald’s page. As he notes, the camera must connect via WIFI. For this to work, you’ll also need an RTMP server. If you don’t already have one, try Local RTMP Streaming Server on GitHub. This worked fine for me.
4. In MacOS Preferences, set the priority of your networks to be Ethernet first, followed by WIFI. Note the IP address of your Ethernet connection.

connectionorder.png

5. In OBS, create a scene with your GoPro as a Media Source. You’ll be using the RTMP address supplied by the instructions you followed above in the Live Streamer setup.
6. Under OBS Settings / Advanced / Network, set OBS to bind to IP, referencing the IP of the Ethernet connection.

The masked area should show your Ethernet IP address. Alternatively, you could try Default (as long as the connection order is set in the previous step), but I wanted to be sure I was using the Ethernet IP without question.
The masked area should show your Ethernet IP address. Alternatively, you could try Default (as long as the connection order is set in the previous step), but I wanted to be sure I was using the Ethernet IP without question.

7. Validate that your setup by broadcasting to the destination of your choice. Then, pull out your Ethernet cable. The camera signal should continue to stream to OBS. That is because it’s connected to the computer via WIFI. However, the OBS stream should stop. This verifies that you are using Ethernet to send the signal out to the world, and not WIFI!

When the Ethernet is plugged back in, it may not recover well. That’s OK. This was just for testing. Obviously, you would normally leave your Ethernet connected!

I’ve only tested this on MacOS 10.13.6 High Sierra, but other OS options are available. If you have multiple cameras, this method can also be used. See Harald’s great video on this.

Like many, I really wish the direct USB connection of the GoPro Hero 8 Black and the “official” webcam feature was more stable, but the solution above is workable if you don’t mind having some WIFI lag on the camera before things go out on the stream.

Here’s the test in OBS. Note that even though the GoPro is set for linear view, we’re still seeing some narrowing on the lens setting (fish eye distortion).
Here’s the test in OBS. Note that even though the GoPro is set for linear view, we’re still seeing some narrowing on the lens setting (fish eye distortion).
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Boycotting a Venue

I was recently faced with a decision to continue associating with an online venue, or boycott the venue for what appeared to be some “good ol’ boys” fraternal immaturity that just didn’t seem right.

In the end, after some consideration and discussion with my wife, I determined that the right thing to do was to distance myself from the venue in question.

Everyone must make their own decisions on things like this, but I decided to boycott the venue in the form of a) canceling my upcoming performance and b) pulling any technical support for the concert series.

Even though it had been some time since I was directly involved with the concert series in question, I felt that I would be reinforcing a “guilt by association” by continuing to support the series, even tangentially. So I pulled down my online wiki which supported the series for now. I may reinstate the wiki under more generic terms as the info was helpful to many beyond this series, but I don’t want it to be associated with the venue in question.

It troubles me that – just when we need solidarity among artists during this trying time during COVID – we are faced with the same old problems of misogyny and discourteousness that have plagued physical interactions among musicians for decades.

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Summer 2021 Newsletter

Latest Mailchimp Newsletter

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Five More Terrariums

By the end of May and early June, I still had some drift wood, lots of rocks, and substrate materials left over from my first round of builds. My springtail culture was also going strong, and the isopod culture I started in April was doing well too.

During a flea market outing, we also chanced upon Ott’s Exotic Plants in Schwenksville, PA. It was totally unexpected and turned out to be an amazing place! I picked up some unusual plants that I had not seen before, and will definitely be going back.

Ott’s is probably the best terrarium and gardening place I’ve ever seen outside of Longwood Gardens. They have a wide selection of just about everything, complete with a indoor rainforest that you can walkthrough. The pictures below only scratch the surface.

Combined with the plants left over from my first batch of builds (some from The Rhoads Garden, also a great supplier close to me), I really needed to find containers for everything. Several trips to flea markets and other outings resulted in some great finds. On a single day I scored two of my best large terrarium jars at Berwyn Flea Market and Quakertown Flea Market.

For some inspiration, we also traveled to Longwood Gardens for a day and got to see much more of the place than we had seen in the past. At other times that we’ve visited, we’ve focused mainly on the indoor displays, but there are also substantial paths, trails and outdoor gardens.

If you are not familiar with Longwood, and you love plants, you simply must check it out. Plan to spend a large part of the day to take it in. I didn’t take many pictures this time because, honestly, they don’t do the place justice. What you see above from Ott’s… times 100? Maybe that captures it. Just go!

Each season, Longwood has different displays, fountain shows, entertainment and some of the most spectacular plants, trees and flowers from all over the world. There’s also a huge pipe organ on site. Go figure!

Anyway, with all that galavanting as context… here’s a quick overview of my June 2021 builds, presented with some original music.

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Good Times With Ivan

Audio-visual piece inspired by Ivan on Tech on YouTube. Visuals are a combination of Critter & Guitari Eyesy and Touchdesigner. Music is a VCV Rack patch I was building at the time.