Music Visualization, 1938, All in Paper: Oskar Fischinger's Masterpiece "Optical Poem"

Oskar Fischinger – Optical Poem (1938) from Avant-Garde Cinema on Vimeo. Before digital animation, the early works of abstract pioneers constructed meticulous sequences of images that transformed music into synchronized visual for the first time. These works didn’t simply predict computer animation. They helped create it. The works we make now are heavily indebted to the ideas about abstraction and visualization that these works first established.

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Rock Zebra2 Like Hans Zimmer: Dark Zebra Pairs Soft Instrument, Dark Knight Sounds [Video, Screens]

A shadow was unquestionably cast across the film by tragic events last week in Colorado. But while it became an unexpected stage for terrible events, The Dark Knight Rises itself is also a cultural object from artists we care about, and as musicians and sound designers, we value every chance to express ourselves. Composer Hans Zimmer and synth sound designer Howard Scarr are today releasing some of their work in a unique piece of software. It’s simultaneously a work of engineering – one of the most sophisticated software instruments available, Zebra2, and sound designs for that tool – and a …

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Synesthesia: Beautiful, Surreal Short Film Imagines Sound Across Senses

At Music Tech Fest in London last month, I gave a talk and did an afternoon-long workshop exploring ways of connecting visuals to sound. We worked with pen and paper, with patching (in Pd), with code (in Processing), and via a survey of some interesting recent work, in this case all connected to drawing. A theme of the conference had been “synesthesia.” But it’s important to note that synesthesia goes beyond just making music visual. It deals with people actually having a sensory experience in which one input (like sound) triggers a different sense (like smell or color). Sure enough, …

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High-Quality, Augmented Filmmaking as Kinect Meets DSLR; Musing on Raw Data

The Kinect camera is built first and foremost to be a three-dimensional sensor, not so much a “camera” in regards to fidelity of the visible image. But what if that data could meet the optics filmmakers want, in a single, calibrated image? The free and open source RGB+D Toolkit answers that need. It’s a combination of tools and knowledge – the mount to combine a Microsoft Kinect camera with your nice, DSLR camera, plus software for bringing everything together. But seeing it in action is the real joy. Check out the workshop results above, filmed at Barcelona’s HANGER, and overview …

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Mechanical Motion: Drawing with Turntables, Phasing with Film Projectors

Speaking of mechanical motion and machine drawing, in the work of Robert Howsare, vintage equipment becomes part kinetic sculpture, part machine artist. In “Drawing Apparatus,” two turntables become a generative geometric drawing machine, Spirograph-style. (See some really lovely-looking renders by this machine on the artwork project page. Via Today and Tomorrow, hat tip to portable.tv and Cool Hunting.) The revolution of the records create drawings that serve as a markers of temporality. The drawings also speak to the idea of the editionable print through their ability to be replicated using domestic materials. IV Phases is a hypnotic work involving phasing …

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In a Liquid Dance of Monochrome Texture, "Slowdance" and Other Matthew Dear Videos

In a world where videos can be afterthoughts, branding and promotion only, the label Ghostly International and founding artist Matthew Dear have been a beacon for real design. So, it’s little surprise that the new video for Matthew Dear’s “Slowdance” off Black City has taken time, and treats viewers to sumptuously-considered layers of texture. Put these next to the other visual artefacts of Black City, and Matthew Dear has created a delightfully-immersive world of texture and visual rhythm. “Slowdance” is full of liquid layers of images, as if emerging from the chemical bath of a darkroom. Moments with the model’s …

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In a Liquid Dance of Monochrome Texture, “Slowdance” and Other Matthew Dear Videos

In a world where videos can be afterthoughts, branding and promotion only, the label Ghostly International and founding artist Matthew Dear have been a beacon for real design. So, it’s little surprise that the new video for Matthew Dear’s “Slowdance” off Black City has taken time, and treats viewers to sumptuously-considered layers of texture. Put these next to the other visual artefacts of Black City, and Matthew Dear has created a delightfully-immersive world of texture and visual rhythm. “Slowdance” is full of liquid layers of images, as if emerging from the chemical bath of a darkroom. Moments with the model’s …

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Led by Deru, a Wonderful Band of Artists to Head to Iceland to Make a Soundtrack, Film

A merry band of complementary filmmakers, photographers, and musicians, a curated ensemble perfectly fitted to the landscape, are heading to remote Iceland to make images and a musical soundtrack inspired by the landscape and its people. Photographers Tim Navis + Kim Høltermand and film collective Scenic are heading up the visual component, while composer and electronic producer Deru has assembled the musicians. Improvisation is intended to be a guiding force, say the creators. With the assistance of a community organized on Kickstarter, it’ll also be crowd-funded. In addition to the obligatory, pretty photo book and prints and boxed set of …

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Cross-Processing as Digital? Video, Textural and Glitchy, Transformed in a Game

“Cross-processing” in the film domain involves using the chemicals intended for one kind of film on, essentially, the wrong kind of film. After discovering some effects by mistake, the technique largely makes use of negative image. But what if the idea, conceptually, were applied to digital video? This workshop in Portugal by No-Domain explores the idea: The Comunicar Design/ ESAD invited us to give a workshop that we called it “Video Cross Processing”, name inspired by the classic 90´s C-41 reverse chemicals process. During the workshop 25 students shared an exciting experience playing with a lo-fi-video-technique to generate analogue glitches, …

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Optical Music: Bibio’s New Album, Videos, Inspired by Bokeh, Film, and Optical Effects

As film makes a resurgence as a medium, music, too, responds with optical, chemical halos. Bibio’s music, sounding acoustically as if wrapped in a layer of warm gauze, was already partially cinematic. His new album for Warp, “Mind Bokeh,” is more tuneful and poppy, but as the name implies, it also draws directly from visual inspiration. It’s so visual, in fact – and the optical creations so central – that I think it belongs more here than even on our sister site. For the new record, the multi-instrumentalist and producer, aka Stephen James Wilkinson, takes a photographic technique and spins …

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