Digital Media Design


Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

Performance Video

Performance Video – The Brief

The musical instrument

For the interface design unit your task is to create a ‘digital’ musical instrument and to use it as part of a performance or to get someone to perform with it. Your instrument can be constructed in numerous ways, it can be software, it can be a physical construction, it could be generative or use environmental factors. The performance, should have an audience and a performance, the place can be a street, the pub, and hilltop or a nightclub.

Performance Video – Idea Development.

The groups idea (from Lee’s Personal Portrait project) for the Performance Video project is to produce a sequence of videos for each of the members of a choir. Each singing to camera a single note. From these video performances we hope to have enough videos/notes to reproduce  up to 3 to 4 Octaves.

Midi Keyboard

Midi Keyboard

To control these videos we will design a custom midi interface to control the sequence of the videos, so that any midi compatible instrument will be able to effectively play the videos, producing a musical score.

Performance Video - Video Wall

Performance Video - Video Wall

To visualise this concept think of a video wall with each individual video featuring a single member of the choir and as you play, for example a midi keyboard – for each note depressed a video runs and you hear that note being sung. Pressing more than one key at a time to make a chord will play the corresponding videos and so you would hear the chord being sung.

We are already considering a number of input devices one of which is a oversized floor positioned piano keyboard an example of which featured in the film ‘Big’


Another example of the Giant Piano


My Responsibilities

For this project my primary responsibility will be to shoot and edit the video footage, almost certainly using my Canon EOS 60D. Due to the technical nature of this project I fully expect to have some involvement in the design and development of the midi interface, which may involve the use of max/msp and jitter or similar technology, which will become apparent after researching appropriate website references and published material.

It may be that the control technology is already in existence in which case we can concentrate on the performance aspect of the project.

As usual I will offer assistance/input to other members of the team as required.

Research Links

What is Max?

Make connections. Make things happen.

Max gives you the parts to create unique sounds, stunning visuals, and engaging interactive media. These parts are called ‘objects’ – visual boxes that contain tiny programs to do something specific. Each object does something different. Some make noises, some make video effects, others just do simple calculations or make decisions.

In Max you add objects to a visual canvas and connect them together with patchcords. You can use as many as you like. By combining objects, you create interactive and unique software without ever writing any code (you can do that too if you really want to). Just connect.
Website Accessed 18/11/2011.


MuSET is a research group dedicated to the exploration of computer applications to music and sound. The research group was established in 2004 and is located in the School of Music at the University of British Columbia. Website Accessed 18/11/2011

Project Blog Entry Links

  1. Performance Video – Conclusion
  2. Performance Video – Wiimote MAC
  3. Performance Video – VJ’ing using Quartz Composer
  4. Performance Video – Kinnect on MAC and PC
  5. Performance Video – MAX MSP Jitter
  6. Performance Video – Modul8
  7. Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

Word Count 592


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