littleBits Electronics recently asked me to take a turn in front of the camera to support an April Fool’s project. It’s a quick comic video where I get to use some of my Harold Lloyd/Buster Keaton silent film-type moves. Spend a minute with it, or just enjoy my overwrought mugging in the still.
This video is one of the main video documents for MakerBot’s Replicator® 3d printer. In addition to acting as the talent for this one, I also wrote the script, adapting it from the documentation I wrote for the Replicator. It was produced (and shot and edited) by Annelise Jeske, star MakerBot TV.
While it may be a bit more prosaic than some of the other videos showcased here, working on documentation like this is very satisfying — quality documentation has a tremendous impact on user experience. I like to think that making this video helped a few people have a smoother first experience with personal fabrication.
Update: MakerBot has decided to delete these videos.
During an earlier phase of MakerBot, I was part of a team tasked with creating a web series for MakerBot’s community — it was originally intended as a support resource, but it grew and took on a life of its own.
Robot Hospital was made without much in the way of time or resources, and it definitely showed in a bad way sometimes. (It was usually put together on Friday afternoons, in a total of 3-4 hours.) Sometimes, though, it just added a manic energy which really made it fun.
Check out my Thingiverse roundup segments, where I do voice-overs and have a look at some of the cooler things available on the design-sharing site. Another favorite is episode 7 which is a mini-doc about a user’s project to build domes with MakerBotted parts.
This is a feedback loop device into a wah pedal enclosure, which allows for an intuitive control over your feedback-noise performances, especially if you’re already using your hands for other things (say, playing guitar or keyboards, or even twiddling with other knobs). As you can see, it is useful for making a wide variety of high-pitched screaming sounds, and bringing out the unexpected from effects pedals and other devices.
It was a fairly simple project: I used a schematic from Beavis Audio Research, though I replaced the 500k pot with the 100k I found in the wah pedal.
Feedback loop controllers like this one do make very interesting things happen — however, always keep in mind that you’ll need the feedback loop you’re controlling to add gain. If you have less than unity gain, you’ll just find that the loop gets very quiet when you open it up all the way.
I’ve updated the Sparklesound patch to work with delay lines instead of sound grains. This cleans up both the interaction (which is much more straightforward, presenting a set of pervasive on/off options instead of triggering semi-random events) and also the sound.
I’m pleased with the interaction, but I do need to implement a way to dynamically alter the delay lengths: currently they are set at 125ms for each step to the right; this will have to be done externally because I’m committed to a modeless interaction on the monome itself. Also to be implemented are quick toggles for each delay step, i.e. 1 connects all the filter banks to the current adc input, 2 to the 125 ms delay, etc.
This video makes use of a classic Max Fleischer cartoon with Betty Boop (lapsed into the public domain and available here at archive.org) and, once again, the Cab Calloway classic Minnie the Moocher.
Basically, there is a set of eight filter banks, one for each row of monome keys. If you don’t touch anything, the sound just plays through without much modification. If you do hit some keys, however, the live sound will be turned off and instead, slices of delayed sound will be played through that filter bank. You can also add in random grains, too.
The cool thing about it (I think) is that it’s a modeless interaction — that means a button press will always do the same thing. I wanted to make a monome app that was simple and intuitive, and didn’t have a row of mode-changing keys taking up an eighth of the surface. Obviously, you give up a lot of flexibility in favor of simplicity by doing this, but I’m pleased with the results.
The captions are really fast in the video, though, so feel free to pause. Also, there is a nasty clicking problem which I’m going to work on in the next version.
Here is a link to the latest version.
For this project, I used some video that Brett and I shot when we were driving from out to California several years ago. I wrote the music to go along with it, and the process seemed to fix the memories in a new way.
Most of the audio was composed beforehand, but the video was performed live using a patch written in Puredata and Gem.
This is really documentation of an ephemeral project, as opposed to a document in itself. The project culminated as a performance where I mixed the video live using the midi keyboard seen in the opening frames; I also hooked my rig up to a small television and made viewers crowd around it instead of using a larger projection screen. As you can imagine, the result was quite different experience than the one you see here.