react.TO.music

December 3, 2010
If all art aspires to the condition of music, all the sciences aspire to the condition of mathematics.
- George Santayana

This video art submission to the 2010 Getty Images mishmash music video remix competition is constructed from a remixed piece of MUSIC called "Underneath It All" by Channel, Getty Images video clips with different speeds found by searching on TOronto, and mathematically based REACTive sound visualizations.

Awarded runner-up for the Americas.

Creating this media art piece was really fun. At first I headed in the direction of a music video with clips from Getty containing actors. But I gave up on that as I couldn't focus in on any kind of narrative.

During this time I was reading the Create Digital Motion blog quite a bit and there just happened to be a few stories on public audio/video projection mapped art. So I went out and about in Toronto and shot some architecture, transit, landscapes, etc. with my HDV camcorder hoping to add this footage to the Getty stock that I would download (50% of the video needed to be from Getty stock footage) to create a form of virtual projection mapping.

However, as I searched Getty Images for clips of Toronto, I realized that everything that I could possibly want was on their site, so I started to piece together a rough outline of the visuals along with deciding on a song that fit with them. I ended up actually remixing the song a bit so that it would be long enough to match up with the visuals I was exploring.

The third aspect of the piece are the mathematically-based sound reactive visualizations. I had a library of iTunes visualizations collected on my Mac over the years so I went through them and all their settings to decide on about 15 or so to record. I used a great screen recording program on my Mac, Screenflick from Araelium Group, and grabbed all the clips to the Apple ProRes 422 Quicktime codec.

I also converted all the stock footage to ProRes and imported everything into Final Cut Studio. For the locked-off clips I brought stills into Photoshop and created area masks on various parts of the shot, which I then imported into FCP to use as key masks. For the moving clips I used several different methods of colour keying in FCP best suited to the particular clip. I then synchronized all the visualization clips to the music, each in its own channel. And finally I edited the stock clips to the music and chose a suitable visualization to display through the key.

Although I didn't receive a lot of votes on the site, my piece received a lot of attention and votes from the judges and I ended up being awarded one of 2 runner-up positions for the Americas. Thanks very much to everybody at Getty Images!

Along with the great honour and recognition, I received a cool prize which was the Sony HDR-TG5V Flash Memory Camcorder.

It records 1920 x 1080 HD video in AVCHD format. This format requires a bit of a roundabout way to get into my Mac for real-time editing, but overall not a huge problem. It comes with 16 GB of built-in memory which allows for 2 hours of HD video at the highest quality setting. It also takes Memory Stick media for easier transfer to the computer.

Because of its very handy size and form factor, I'm already dreaming up great uses for the camcorder.

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