On Cameras


Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on digital cameras. My first digital camera was a Canon Powershot, and my first inter-changeable lens mirrorless was the Panasonic GF1. I loved the 20mm 1.7 pancake the GF1 shipped with, but unfortunately I lost this beauty on a night out in NYC.

Even still, the GF1 gave me a good impression for what Panasonic were doing with micro four-thirds. So when I was looking for a new camera in 2013, the GH3 was a no-brainer. However the GH series had become more famous for its video features, but I didn’t mind, it was an equally good stills and video camera.

However I cant say I liked the 12 – 42mm power zoom this model shipped with, I liked the zoom, but the aperture wasn’t quite as wide as the pancake on the GF1. It turned out this was a great learning lesson in the value of wide apertures, at least for the type of photography I like to do.

And really the bug to get back into photography has hit hard lately. I think it’s got a lot to do with getting outdoors, visiting interesting locations and spaces, and capturing them on a sensor. Lately I’ve been super interested in doing my own timelapses – something I’ve never really done before, plus long exposures, night photography and in general just getting back into photography for photography’s sake. Previously I’d shot on slide film, and for quite a while my cameras have existed for me merely as a documentation tool for artworks, or, lately just with my iPhone as a travel cam.

But ‘doing photography’ is something much more, I think, and certain types of photography like long exposure, well, the iPhone just isn’t up to it.

So I decided to get my first ‘full-frame’ camera for low light and low-noise purposes, moving up from the smaller ‘cropped’ micro four-thirds sensors I’d been working with. There’s a lot of activity in full-frame mirrorless at the moment with new announcements from Panasonic, Canon, and Nikon, however Sony has been innovating from the front in this field for quite a number of years.

I was originally sold on the new Nikon Z6 (pictured below) which is out this November, it has a near perfect feature set for what I’d like to achieve, but as a new camera it’s quite expensive.

Full-frame cameras are entering into near perfect image quality, particularly in regards to 4K video resolutions and the emergence of 10-bit colour depth (the Z6 can record 10-bit to an external recorder). In the end, however, I decided to save some money and go with the A7sii from Sony. It’s a couple years old, but it has time-lapse functionality, great 4K and 1080p video, and excellent low-light performance. What’s also cool is you can adapt Nikon or Canon lenses to the Sony with adapters. I picked a basic one up from Gobe, an ethical adapter and lens filter company from Byron Bay.

The only caveat with the S series from Sony is that they use 12 megapixel sensors. They do so to achieve their famous low-light capabilities, and while absolutely fine for the web and uploading online, this resolution is a little concerning for doing high quality prints. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this and hope I can achieve good quality results. Doing panoramas could also be a nice way to achieve higher resolution.

After years of coding and playing around with programming languages, coming back to photography and video feels like a nice return to cameras in many ways. I’m also quite interested in exploring drones at some point in the future for the aerial photographic perspectives they offer. Like a piano, lens-based imagery is such a pliable, accessible medium, that anyone can use. I’m looking forward to capturing a lot more content soon across landscape, astro-photography, and low-light videography. It’s an idea that I’ve been trying to capture with stock material, computer graphics and software for many years, but going back to the camera feels like finally coming home.

 

 

 

 

On Labels // Archives

over time i’ve become really enamoured by labels, their entire discographies, the consistency across the album artwork. in some ways I follow certain labels more than I do so particular artists.

in reality most artists have quite a low volume output (perhaps, except, for artists like Machinefabriek 🙂 ) but with a label, you get a release maybe once a month at the very least, and wind up with this large coherent collection among stacks of releases.

i think for me, after getting hooked on certain labels I really developed a taste for wide and deep catalogues. maybe it’s because of this sort off ‘on tap’ music world we live in now – there’s so much music out there, for me it’s kind’ve hard to hunt down individual releases or artists. I love stumbling upon a newly found and loved label and being able to, for lack of a better word, feast on a whole catalogue of new music, all the while discovering a bunch of new artists.

looked at another way it means you’re always listening through fresh stuff, rather than the same stuff over and over ( however listening to certain music over and over has its merits also )

i think labels serve well this kind’ve feed-based world we live in, but also shuffle, loop, playlist type concepts that purvey modern ways of music listening.

that said, one of the things that bums me out about modern streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, is the surprising inability to search by label, or for labels…

for this reason it really makes sense to connect with labels on Bandcamp, which is pretty label centric. but Bandcamp is very ‘album’ focused – you cant just play a labels worth of music on random or continuously, you have to listen to each album individually, or in their track based feed.

but I figure, if the label does release on Spotify or Apple Music, then making a public, label centric playlist is great way to add that functionality onto those services

which brings me to Archives:

I absolutely adore this label. Run by Agustín Menas’, Archives focuses on ambient music and dub-inspired soundscapes. Hailing from Spain, Archives also provides a platform for Menas project Warmth, while Archives sister label,  Faint sees releases from Menas SVLBRD project, among other top artists such as Purl.

Both labels are backed by the brilliant photography of Alexander Kopatz, otherwise known as GO70NORTH , where Archives provides a platform for Kopatz wilderness photography, and sets the tone of the nature and landscape theme for both labels.

It’s all very inspiring for me and gives me plenty of thought for my own work and projects.

And based off my observations above about the misgivings of various music platforms, I made an Archives playlist on Spotify for the easiest way to check out the entire catalogue:

https://open.spotify.com/user/prgrms/playlist/6ZzWHyVPnvF2e8PvVxUivk?si=XRB4ELt1TDWVCRO0cdJJjg

enjoy ~

New 2017 update/rollback

I recently updated to the new WordPress version and it effectively broke my site, the ‘High Art’ theme which was designed by Allan Cole a number of years ago seems to have been the culprit. I guess it’s not being updated anymore. As a result I’ve had to upgrade to a new WordPress theme, it turns out this 2017 theme is quite nice, with a few tweaks it serves up pretty much what I want 🙂

That said I lost all my ‘Exhibits’ from my previous site, which were essentially photographic documentation of various events and exhibitions I’d ran or attended. I think in their place I might make a new ‘Documentation’ page that simply serves this purpose.

So much has happened recently and I haven’t posted here in so long, it’s kinda hard to work out why this ‘blogging’ platform became less important.

I think it’s got something to do with the fact that blogs aren’t networked in many ways, there’s no real feedback, unlike the feedback you receive on social media. It’s fair to say platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have really dominated over the last few years, and a platform like Tumblr is really far more suited to social blogging than WordPress ever was.

In the end WordPress serves me well as an online portfolio, and I guess ‘blogging’ is sort of a remnant of over a decade-old internet practice, that really not many people participate in anymore. Maybe there still are regular bloggers out there, but all the good blogs tended to become pro news outlets.

It’s really crazy looking back over the old posts here – a lot of links are broken and images are missing towards the back end. I’m still interested in representing certain projects here. But the reality hits you that some projects and thoughts are approaching decade-old ages, it’s almost 10 years ago since I posted some of my first projects here. I think some of them are still relevant, and it may be that fresh, new work comes to push the old out of the spotlight so to speak. In that regard I’ve become very interested in the Unity software lately, primarily for its platform agnosticism and ability to export to a variety of media.

In truth, I’ve mostly been posting on Instagram for the better part of the last year. It’s hard not to feel that typing things here is something of a vacuum or a void that somehow goes unnoticed, activity on social media has much wider reach and impact. I’ll keep adding posts for now, but maybe some things are better kept in the archive rather than on the front page.

🙂

MT

audiovisuology

51ZO052USjL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_i’ve really enjoyed undertaking my research degree at MADA for the past two years. It’s coming to a close, and I’m right into the body of my thesis at the moment. It’s put me into contact with some great texts which really circumnavigate the field as it pertains to audio-visual practice.

in particular dieter daniels and sandra naumann’s ‘audiovisuology compendium‘ really does a great job on bringing together a range of audio-visual practices. out of print for some time, its recently been republished in a new edition that combines the first two ‘see this sound’ volumes. i can’t wait for my copy to turn up in the mail 🙂

also, I discovered ‘the audio-visual breakthrough’ – the whole book is available online as a free pdf so be sure to check it out. but if you’re more into physical copies of books the design of this one is really great and also worth picking up. it’s something more of a treatment of the field of live cinema and its fringes, which is the basis for the current chapter I’m working on.

while i’ve known about live cinema for a while, and have performed my own work in this field before, i never really considered myself a live cinema performer. however the creative work in this new project has really tunnelled down into that direction. and its been great just how much more i’ve learn’t about the field through both the project and the research.

i think i’ve come to be really passionate about live audio-visual performance over the years. its easy for it to get confused with other fields, or it often gets bundled up with vjing. but to me it is a more discrete practice, in general a practice of dealing with both sound and vision in equal measure, rather than being a practitioner of one or the other.

lately however, rather than specifically focusing on the audio-visual as a particular subject for research, i am fascinated by the idea of the ‘runtime’ as it pertains to digital media. to me, live cinema is a form of runtime media which, like video games, pursue the computational medium of computer graphics, sound and control for the development of audio-visual experience.

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AVB_Book4

Banff Convergence

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I’m super happy to announce that I’ve been selected for the Convergence Residency program, at Banff Centre, in Alberta Canada.

Taking place in a little over two-weeks, Convergence offers a space for ” artists to research, conceive, prototype and present new artistic works, tools, techniques and perspectives for electronic music, sound, and visual creation. “.

There’s some amazing mentors in tow – Robin Fox, Uwe Schmidt, Dasha Rush, Markus Heckmann and Kieth Fullerton Whitman to name a few.

I have to say I’ve always wanted to do a residency at Banff Centre – it strikes me as an amazing place, so I’m super excited to be able to attend the centre with such a relevant residency. For Convergence I hope to write new music and form a link with the visual material I’m currently working on.

Lately here in Australia I’ve been exploring some new music tools over the Summer months, while on break from my Masters.

I recently purchased two Elektron music making machines – the Analog RYTM drum machine, and Analog Four synthesiser. Its been awesome learning them and getting with the Elektron way of working – in particular the Overbridge protocol which allows fully two-way midi communication and control via Ableton Live, and perfect sync between software and hardware. It also allows for full multi-channel recording of the devices – it’s such a great blend of the analog and digital that I am such a fan of. Together with Push 2 which is also a part of my current setup, it makes for such a malleable, flexible music making system thats also just so fun to make music with! Check out Overbridge below:

Once I return from Banff I’ll be right back into the thesis writing phase of my degree, before wrapping up with the final examination exhibition.

Exciting and busy times ahead!

FRAMED 2.0 Arrives

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Well it’s been a long time coming, but it seems Framed 2.0 is finally here! I’ve been following this company since their first digital art screen Framed 1.0, which was a hefty 55-inch unit coming in at close to $15,000 AUD. Since then the prospect of a more affordable 2.0 version has been looming.

Digital art screens are something I’ve dreamed of for years – you can even look back to an old post I wrote in anticipation of ‘Google TV’ (something that never really materialised). Well, Framed 2.0 may just be the Google TV I’d always hoped for.

The concept is simple – digital art has emerged as a notable field in recent years, but there’s never really been a way to display it. Enter Framed 2.0.

It’s a nascent time for the digital art screen. And there are a range of competitors entering the market. But there’s something Framed 2.0 promises to do that none of the others do – and that’s run creative coding frameworks – live software applications such as Processing, Cinder, OpenFrameworks, vvvv, and max/msp – right out of the box.

While that’s certainly no mean feat, Framed also offers similar features to competitor devices: gifs, website display, and fullscreen video. But this offer of native runtime software, if they can pull it off, gives Framed 2.0 an edge I think, one that may appeal to some people in particular, namely – software artists.

Like many others, I backed the Framed 2.0 project in a Kickstarter campaign a little over a year ago, and while there’s been sporadic communication from the creators since then, and the delivery dates have been pushed way back for all, I have to say at this point, upon delivery of three units today (the ‘studio pack’ tier), the wait has been well worth it.

The rest of this post functions as something of a visual ‘unboxing’ for other backers that may be interested (spoiler alert!), and as a review of the device and the system that supports it at this early Beta stage. Because ultimately, that’s currently where this offering sits. It’s clear there’s more to come from the Framed team in terms of an official launch, the native remote control app, artists uploads, and of course native software support – but what exists now is solid, clean, and to be quite honest a joy to use. I was blown away.

The packaging is fantastic – everything is well and safely packed. You get a remote, power supply, usb cable for charging the remote, a wall mount, start up guide and of course the device itself.

Continue reading “FRAMED 2.0 Arrives”

OCD OSC

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I’ve spent the last couple months getting together a basic outline of my thesis, but also trying to get together a workable 3d camera system.

In my research I discovered Vezér, an OSC platform for sending and receiving Open Sound Control messages around various software. It should really be called Open Signal Control, because at the moment I’m not using it to control any sound.

It’s a great application, allowing me to control animation and camera movement with easing and bezier curve acceleration, without the code. Just set up an address, and Vezér does the rest. Initially I looked into duration, but its buggyness and lack of active development motivated me to look for something else. Vezér on the other hand is actively being developed and has great support on the website from its creator.

On the camera side of things, I’m using OCD – Obsessive Camera Direction – a workable camera library for Processing. While I initially started with PeasyCam, it proved too limited in its functionality for my needs. OCD provides basic functionality for moving and aiming multiple cameras, and I found a great hack online enabling me to send multiple camera feeds to seperate graphics layers in Processing (which in itself was its own hurdle).

Along with control from TouchOSC, I now have a workable system whereby I can control camera movements wirelessly with an iPad, record those movements in Vezér, play them back, and see the results directly in Processing in real-time. It’s fantastic.

Not only that, all of Vezér’s controls are OSC addressable, meaning a bit of code in Processing can have you skipping and moving around multiple chapters and compositions, keeping things well mixed up – which is exactly what I want 🙂

It’s certainly been challenging figuring it all out, and not without some help from friends and members of the Processing community. The task ahead now is to begin setting up multiple scenes and multiple cameras, recording camera paths, and finally, creating a whole range of 3d content.

Lots of work ahead >_<