Working on visuals for Ghost Ghost’s album “No Clothes on Ragged Island” in 2010.
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Just wrapped up the premiere of Lotus Lives in Vermont, which had been in the works for years. Now it’s back from the opera to the Lower East Side with Ghost Ghost.
Club shows in New York require quick setup and small footprint. Last night I put the projector and camera together on a tripod, to drop down on the floor by Charlie Kemmerer’s canvas when we were on. He paints during most shows, and we’ve been working on a live video/painting collaboration
The photo doesn’t do it justice, but Charlie’s beast was on fire (actually a waterfall in reverse, red, plus some shimmering from a mylar balloon). I ran both projectors from an iPad with TouchOSC, through VDMX. It’s good to walk around and not spend the show leaning over a laptop. I’m working on getting rid of screens altogether.
I’ve also learned that it’s a bad idea to run OSC from my phone — more portable, but I look like some asshole who’s texting during the show.
Here are a few older pictures of my LES club projector rig in action — it’s a 3,000 lumen Optoma projector mounted on a piece of wood, with a baby wall plate, grip head, C-stand arm, and mafer clamp (plus safety cable when hanging overhead). I run everything through MadMapper since it was released in May, so I just have to point the projector in the general direction, and can square the image up with software.
Ghost Ghost’s main show at SXSW this year was the Ignite Austin/Dorkbot SXSW Interactive opening night event at the Austin Music Hall. It marked the live debut of Ghost Ghost’s new lineup, with weirder, more electronic sound — more synth from Kevin Peckham, Karl Ward creating vocal and percussion loops with Ableton, and the incomparable Mark Christensen on guitar. The fans seem to approve.
Mark couldn’t make it to Texas this year, so he appeared via Skype, on a center-stage laptop. I threw that into the video mix. It worked with the interactive theme, although Mark missed the tacos and beer.
In addition to my usual VDMX rig with Akai MPK49 keyboard to trigger video clips, I built a few new toys in honor of the techie nature of the show. First was a simple foot pedal switch, since I was on stage with the band.
I used an enclosure and basic stomp switch to create an on-off toggle that closes a circuit coming in through a 1/4″ jack. That way I can connect it to the computer with any instrument cable. The blue LED is independent, and a bit too bright.
On the other end of the cable was a Hagstrom 36-input USB keyboard encoder, with a 1/4″ jack wired to a few of the inputs. Stomping on the pedal sent a simple keyboard signal to the computer, which I assigned in VDMX.
I built a few pedals, but only ended up using one. It started and stopped video recording from my handheld camera, so I could grab snippets throughout the evening and build them up into a collage of loops. I’m still working on getting this to run smoothly on my MBP, but it’s coming along.
The other new toy was Spikenzie Labs’s drum kit kit, which is an Arduino-based MIDI encoder for piezos. I just taped the sensors onto the bottom of Karl’s drums with blue painter’s tape, and set the levels to adjust video effect levels.
After the show we went back to a dot com startup office to finish off some kegs with the organizers. The last time I was at SXSW was in 2000, just before the end of the original dot com boom. Now everyone’s talking about revenue models. So different. But they still have giant beanbag chairs.
SXSW Interactive has ended and music is underway. Ghost Ghost had a good show on opening night, playing the Ignite Austin/Dorkbot event at the Austin Music hall, and I dorked out my visuals to suit. More on that later.
Here is one final Ghost Ghost video dispatch from the road, providing a representative summary of SXSW 2011.
Finished a video flier for Friday’s SXSWi Ghost Ghost show. Some people throw around buzz words like “robots” and “lasers.” Folks, we’ve got ’em.
— posted from Ghost Ghost Mobile Operations, a black minivan somewhere in the hills of Virginia
At NYC Resistor, hackerspace in Brooklyn above MakerBot Industries, shooting new elements to project at Ghost Ghost’s upcoming SXSW show – we’re the band at Dorkbot/Ignite’s Interactive event on May 11. Matt Griffin running the MakerBot with Unicorn pen attachment for plotting. Also shooting the laser cutter and Raf’s oscilloscope.