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Coagula Light Live

Introduction

Coagula Light by Rasmus Ekman allows the user to convert images into sound by means of the frequency domain. From the first couple of uses I was hooked, creating many different types of images that ranged from single music notes to pictures of lightning. The results are always interesting even if not always musical. For performance I created twenty minutes worth of images (some of these were looped) and attempted to create a score from these images. The first few attempts used graphic programs to create simple drawings; this developed into using real images of buildings, fruits and garden scenes.

Related Audio

 

Related Video

 
 

Production

Cubase VST v5.2 beta 7

cubase vst startup screen

It has been argued so many times about the quality of this program and its place in the professional field of audio. For this project I aimed to show its stability under the most intense of processes and at the same time its flexibility to a live musician. Without a doubt its main asset is its capability to integrate Virtual Instruments, MIDI and audio, It is also one of the most stable MIDI program that I have used, allowing other instruments to be controlled at the same time as playing with no loss in the time-code. For some of the tracks in the set there are up to 26 single stereo track (or the equivalent to 52 mono tracks) each with their own assigned effect, these include four Virtual instruments (played by myself not all at the same time however) and a Rewire link of 26 channels from Reason also having their own assigned effects if required. This is all running at a set ASIO clock speed of 20millisecond, a borderline of latency required to play the VST instruments live without the delay being too great to be noticed when attempting to play in time.

VSTI Used

  • FM7
  • Pro53
  • Z3ta1
FM7 Keyboard
Pro-53 Keyboard
Zta1 Keyboard
 

Plug-ins used (n = native to Cubase)

VST plugin reverb

(n) Reverb

VST plugin reverb32

(n) Reverb32

VST plugin double delay

(n) Double Delay

VST plugin view

Waves L2

VST plugin phasor

V1 Phasor 1

 

Reason

Reason

Although designed as a standalone program when linked to VST via the Rewire technology it becomes an irreplaceable sound source that is controllable directly from the VST window enabling it to sit quietly in the background, removing any possibility of crashing when moving between the two programs. The main audio source taken from Reason is its very versatile Re-Drum machine. I chose to use this over loops as it allowed me to set the individual samples from the machine to separate tracks within Cubase. This is extremely useful when mixing dance where the Bass kick is so important using a loop would make it impossible to change the amplitude of a single percussion sound without affecting the original timbre of the loop. This is also the sound source for the flute that is used in 'Animals awake' and 'The Mist' and offers me a split keyboard when using the NN-19 sampler.

Virtual instruments linked to Cubase

Reason NN-19 Reason DR-Rex Reason Redrum VST plugin reverb32
  • NN-19 sampler
  • 2x Re-drum machine
  • 3x Dr-Rex file player
  • NN-XT advanced sampler
 

Interleave by analog X

Analog X

Before this project I had not heard of this software or its approach in placing files from a hard drive to a fragmented order. As someone who knows fragmenting is not the ideal thing to do I was slightly skeptical of the claims the software made. I had nothing to fear as this program increased the performance of Cubase and its ability to read audio from the hard drive.

Windows ME

Microsoft Windows ME Logo

Even though this is not essentially tied into the audio performance it is however the backbone to the computer. To enable this performance to be a reality on my own PC it has required me to create a separate install of windows that has many of the main resources of the operating system removed. A manufactures install of windows and the programs that I have used created an operating system of over one half gigabytes in size. After eliminating the unnecessary parts needed for this performance I was left with an operating system that was only 429mb in size. Taking this version and then compressing it with Winrar gave a .RAR file of 180mb that can be un-packed in one an half minutes from a CD-Rom. This gave me a recovery plan if anything went wrong with the operating system and a reinstall/recovery was needed.

Graphic & Video production

Ulead Photoimpact8

PhotoImpact Logo

This program was chosen due to it extensive collection of real images that were available even in the thirty day trial version I used. Each of the final images that are used in the video production of the Coagula, were saved from this program into the needed .BMP format. During the creation process I first created a blank document and then added the relevant images to each document.

Techsmith Camtasia Studio v1.1.0

To enable real-time video footage of the rendering process that took place in coagula it was essential to find a piece of software that would record the computers monitor from the computer desktop. Unfortunately recording the monitor from an external source such as a camcorder leaves the flickering of the monitor on the recording. This thirty day trial software was excellent at recording the screen at the required minimum rate of fifteen Project Programs and their roll in performance
frames a second, anything lower than this would cause the eye to see images as stages or with flickering present.

Visual Jockey R3

Virtual Jockey Logo

Originally I found this program whilst looking for an alternative to MAX/MSP. The program carries both positive and negative points but overall became one of the main sources used for graphical video rendering. The positive points were its ability to render very high quality video clips and at the same time giving the user the option to change parameters of the images as they progressed through a cycle of approximately ten seconds. These clips can then be saved as compositions which from here can be taken into the show section of the program. This section made it possible for me to then either use a timeline or keypad access (limited to sixteen keys) to change from composition to composition. The negative side to this program was its inability to receive any MIDI data whilst in show mode. This was unfortunate as the only other program that was available to me that had this feature was Arkaos a program that I had dismissed earlier due to its instability when performing in live mode.

Sonic Foundry & Vegas Video 3

Vegas Video Logo

To create the final video files and to render them into the codec that were required this program impressed in its delivery and performance in nearly all areas it was used for. In my previous performance project I taught myself the highly acclaimed Adobe premiere. When using this program I felt restricted by its inability to change from one video clip to the next without using seventies style transitions, also this program only allowed one channel of video to be seen at any given time. This program seemed to cover all those missing areas and became the main program that was used to piece the video clips together. The only negative point that comes with using this software is that every time a rendering of a video file takes place the image has to resize itself even if it is the correct size to start with. Searching through the help files of the program and forums on the internet I still haven't found a solution to overcome this within the program. The resizing of the images drastically increases the time of the overall render. The other main advantage of this program was the ability to timeline effects over the duration of the clip using key frames and marker points to change the effects characteristics.

DD-Clip Free

DD-Clip is a simple program that allows AVI files to be edited and joined together in extremely fast times. This program was used as a way of getting round the problem that Vegas 3 gave with the resizing of frames. The only negative point to this program is the imported video clips have to be of the same attributes.

Virtual Dub

This program was used to prepare the video clips for fast joining in DD-Clip, other than this task it had no other purpose in the preparation.

 

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