Archive for October, 2011

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Performer by Adam Frank

October 12, 2011

Adam Frank at his installation "Performer" on Anita's Way Times Sq. NYC

I recently finished a cool project.  Installation artist Adam Frank brought me in to help create the sound design of his street art piece titled “Performer“.  Basically, it’s a theater spotlight located in a public space.  When you stand in the light, you get a big round of applause!  And it seems to be making everybody smile.

The night before the install, testing and tweaking the system at Adam's studio.

Mark Stock tweaking the programming on site.

Programmer Mark Stock worked on creating the computer code to make this work.  Using an old webcam as the sensor for a custom made motion detection system, a computer triggers the sounds of an audience who is very happy to cheer, shout and wow at anything you do in that spotlight.

We used about 100 different separate sounds, between whole crowd ambients and individual claps, shouts, whistles, ooh’s & ahh’s. Then we created different rules for the different types of sound, for when they could play or wait, how often, volumes, etc.  The end effect is that you never feel any kind of repetitive loop.  It doesn’t feel like a pre-recorded sound effect.  It comes across as if the same crowd of people is reacting in different ways every time you get them excited.  This gives a sense of realism that is hard to describe and really cool to experience.  You just have to go there yourself and stand in the light.

The team at Anita's Way in Times Sq.

Mark testing the motion sensor system.

Located in Anita’s Way, One Bryant Park, between 42nd & 43rd Streets, near Times Square, NYC.  It’s running now until November 21st (8am-10pm).  Official opening is Oct 13th, 2011.

Project commissioned by the Times Square Alliance

Adam discussing with the rigging guys how to attach the computer box to the truss. Inside the box, a mac mini, an audio interface and lots of cables.