Friday, March 13, 2009

Motion detector for ambient music generator

I have been hacking away at an idea burning its way through my skull for the last couple of days. This morning on the train to work I made a breakthrough and got the motion detection grid up and running.

I based this on a patch by the fantastically talented Memo Akten but even following that it has taken me a couple of days to understand the processing and how to represent that in Quartz Composer. The biggest challenge was getting all the layers to render in realtime to a video file on disk. Took me most of the time to get my head around output buffer redirection in Quartz and compiling plugins.

I will write about the overall vision for the project later but for now you can have a look at the pretty squares.

Motion Detection Test 1 from Rick Hawkins on Vimeo.

I think I am going to have to write a custom plugin in Cocoa to do the heavy lifting work of splitting the input into the grid and iterating over them. Memo's patch (which was in itself a proof of concept test) does this using an iterator that generates as many cubes as needed along with the outputs. However this doesn't scale too well if you want very granular control or sensitivity. I know that he recoded the whole thing in C++ and processing for his installation, I want to try and keep it in QC if I can.