LoopMaker Animated GIFs on iPhone; What’s Your Favorite Mobile Video Loop Maker?

This is Loopcam from Loopcam on Vimeo. Having looked earlier this week at the historical saga and artistic development of the animated GIF, here’s one mobile app for iPhone that lets you easily create these on the go. (Some readers will translate that as a “grab a lot of footage for your next VJ set” tool for your pocket.) LOOPC.AM is a free iPhone app, a Berlin-based startup produced by Stockholm-born developer Tor Rauden K√§lligsten. It’s amusing watching the dot-com scene’s take on this sort of thing. To us, the need for animated GIF tools is self-evident. To those whose …


Touch iOS Music in a New Way: Hands-on with Cantor for Users, Inside Details for Developers

Don’t fret. An iPad can open up new ways of touching musical ideas. What if you could touch sound more directly, using sophisticated sensing to play between most common notes – even with hundreds of levels of microtonal pitch? Cantor lets you do just that – and it’s here now, proving that Apple will indeed allow the use of a little-known API for sensing finger area. (Hey, Apple: please, please keep this around, as it’s essential to making the iPad more expressive.) It’s an important development, and it’s real and something you can use right now, today. So, we provide …


Thicket for iOS Thickens; Artists Describe the Growth of an Audiovisual Playground

By the 1990s, the notion that computer software could be a means of delivering interactive digital art more personally was enjoying a Renaissance. This was the age of the Voyager CD-ROM, which catered to new multimedia PCs and Macs with titles from the likes of Laurie Anderson and Morton Subotnick, the decade in which Brian Eno released Generative Music as software and Monolake – before Ableton – included a Max/MSP patch with an album. But the reach of these experiments was doomed to be relatively limited. Now, of course, things are different. First, we saw some widely-available audiovisual toys, coinciding …


How to Make a Music App for iOS, Free, with libpd: Exclusive Book Excerpt

What will you do with this blank slate? Photo (CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. Apple yesterday described their iPad as “this magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” So – how about making mobile devices into what you want it to be? With the help of author Peter Brinkmann and publisher O’Reilly, we’d like to give you a taste of Peter’s new book, Making Musical Apps: Real-time audio synthesis on Android and iOS. Imagining that a lot of you are especially curious about iOS, we’ll include the chapter on how to get started with development. It …


Full-Featured Genome MIDI Sequencer for iPad, and a Chat with its Creator

The tablet – or at least the iPad – is beginning to look like a terrific accessory for lovers of MIDI and hardware. With its compact form factor, it coexists nicely with your MIDI gear and lets you focus on sequencing, perhaps moving to the traditional computer to finish up your track, mixing, and the like. And it’s spawning MIDI sequencer apps that imaginatively explore ideas for how to create sequencing, all with an immediate touchable interface. The latest entry: Genome MIDI Sequencer claims to be the “first true pattern-based MIDI sequencer for iPad.” The word “true” might be debateable, …


Novacut Open Source Collaborative Video Editor, and Details from its Creators

Novacut, via a Kickstarter campaign gone viral, promises real-time collaborative video editing from an open source tool. Open source video editing itself has been a long-unfulfilled dream; software from Blender to kdenlive can do editing in theory, but it’s hardly a seamless experience for an editor experienced in the proprietary competition. At the same time, it’s not as though editors are entirely satisfied with the closed options, either – least of all as Final Cut Pro X opens a gap between at least some of its users’ desire and what the tool delivers. Novacut boldly suggests it can fix that …


A Glimpse of the Soundplane Controller, Innovative Tactile Multi-Touch, in the Lab; Call to Action

Alder Soundplane prototype with blanks of reclaimed redwood and Doug Fir. Photo by Randy Jones; used by permission. On tablets, on displays, multi-touch control these days is calibrated largely as a software interface – more Starship Enterprise panel than violin. As such, it works well for production tools and exploring compositional ideas. But it falls far short of being an instrument: even on the much-hyped iPad, touch timing and sensitivity is too imprecise, and the absence of tactile feedback and real, kinetic resistance makes you feel like an operator rather than a musician. Several projects in experimental instrument research seek …


Madrona’s Randy Jones on Aalto Soft Synth, Designing a New Instrument, Small Makers

Patching together unique sounds on the classic Buchla 100 was an impetus for a new software instrument by Randy Jones – just released for Windows. Photo (CC-BY) guiltyx/roll_initiative. Software can easily enough emulate, down to each knob and patch cord, a vintage synthesizer. But can a genuinely new software synth incorporate the ideas about instrument design beloved in a classic synth like the Buchla modular? How do you balance open-ended sound design with the sorts of limitations that give an instrument personality, limitations that inspire? And could all of this be meaningful even for someone first discovering synthesis, who may …


Imagining a Tablet Synth: Developer Christopher Penrose Shows Us SynthTronica for iPad

What can a new digital synth be in 2011? How will it work and sound? And given access to so many excellent tools, how can it stand apart? In place of a press release and some marketing-speak, developer Christopher Penrose (Leisuresonic, Cosmovox) sent us an extended essay explaining his thinking behind his just-released SynthTronica synth for the iPad. Aside from getting into the nitty-gritty technical details, it cuts to the crux of the issue: how to make something personal and new that nonetheless can work for other people, and how that idea can be tailored to a tablet. As the …


As Apple Pulls GPL-Licensed VLC, The Developers' Version of Events, What it Means for Free Video

Why did Apple remove the free VLC video player from its iOS store? One developer close to the story who asked not to be named answered that question, simply, “No f**king idea.” And that perhaps sums up the mess, misunderstandings, and resentment now surrounding a mobile port of the video app. The word “open” these days seems to mean whatever people want it to mean. But a dust-up over the distribution of free and open source video player VLC is far from abstract. By determining whether or not people are able to use a popular video tool on their iPads, …