Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hidden Village at Tyndall Assembly concert 5

So last week Lauren and I played at the fifth concert of the Tyndall Assembly series. There were not that many people there when we played- which is unfortunate (for those that weren't there ;). We played two pieces: Black Dog White Dog and Toriton (for one).

You can watch a one minute video containing excerpts from the performance here (mov, 1.2mb). If you are unable to watch it, please let me know and I will convert it to a more friendly format. It is just the same feed as was shown on the TV and the projector, so it is not 'the whole performance' on one screen. Or something.

The idea behind Black Dog White Dog is to have a 'visual score' written on the Vectrex Logo program. The score is comprised of three movements, held in banks 1-3 of the Vec. The Vectrex is then filmed via a video camera, which is on its side to compensate for the machine's unique screen dimensions. The video signal from the camera is then routed to a 51cm TV. The output from the TV was further routed to a projector, so the audience could properly see the Vect animations.

Connected to the TV was a set of twenty-four light dependent resistors (whose resistance lowers the more light is presented to them), each replacing certain buttons in one of four 'recreated' Atari 2600 CX50 control pads. These four matrix sets where plugged into two Atari 2600's each running a copy of Paul Slocum's Synthcart. The catch is that the LDR's are not the standard, cheap 10MΩ or even 1MΩ types. Those cheaper ones could not lower their resistance enough to allow notes on the Synthcarts to trigger. After a quick test, I realised roughly 3-4KΩ is required for the task; however, the 1MΩ model only goes as low as 6-7KΩ when the television is at it's very brightest. In the end, I ordered 0.5MΩ models from interstate. They work very quickly and very well, however the TV must be calibrated properly in terms of having the correct brightness and contrast.

Below you can see the layout of the four pads.
                Left Atari              Right Atari
Button Pad A Pad B Pad C Pad D
1 X X X
2 X
3 X X
4 X X X
5 X X X
6 X
7 X X
8 X X X
9 X
* X X
0 X X
# X

Both Ataris' visuals where routed to two 34cm TV, and the Synthcart was set to lightshow mode, a simple (yet effective and very cool looking) visualisation based on the notes that each 2600 is playing. Both Ataris had had a direct audio modification performed on them. The audio from the left Atari was played directly through a Marshall guitar amp. The right Atari was through a Behringer bass amp. Both Ataris were set to square and lead voicing.

Here you can view the Logo patches for the three movements.

Below is a picture of me playing the piece for water surface, Toriton (for one).


Vectorzoa said...

Wow, Sebastian. Very impressive stuff. I'm delighted that you have taken Logo and found ways to use it in ways I had never dreamed of. Your creativity is an inspiration. I've just looked back through your archive posts too. Very interesting indeed.

Fantastic effort, I look forward to reading more.

Regards Alex Nicholson
(author of Vectrex Logo)

Jake Morris said...

hello again,
i really like the visuals for BDWD, especially where the blue lines form a cross, with a few lines placed around the axis. it looks sort of, to me, like birds (you may not no the part i'm talking about, it's towards the end of the video?!).
the way the bird-things randomly flash up onto the screen is really very cool, and the cross kinda gives it a religious touch (maybe).
i'll be sure to make it to the next hidden village performance!

after reading your blog for a little while, i've noticed that you are quite proficient with electronics and circuitry. is it this that has allowed you to work through mediums like the vectrex, gameboy and so on? see, i don’t know much about the stuff, so would using the vectrex and such electronics be out of the question for the lame person (like me)?

Sebastian Tomczak said...

Thanks for the kind words, Alex. I will be in touch when I do more stuff with the vec + logo.

Sebastian Tomczak said...

I am glad you like the BDWD animation. Thanks for the comments.

Jake, I am a "lame person". I do not have any education in those fields whatsoever. And have only been interested in this stuff since summer. I have learnt much from what I see what other people are doing through the internet.

Happy to have a chat anytime at uni- in fact, I guess I will see you on thurs at the forum.

hayley said...

Hey Seb,

what you and Lauren did looks really coool. wish I could have been there!
cya in like a month!!

Sebastian Tomczak said...

Cheers Haz.
See you in a few weeks!

mikolaj kaczorowski said...

lovely lovely stuff. extra disappointed that i didn't make it that night. to quote jake "i'll definitely make it to the next hidden village performance!" you may have already seen this.. but you may find the videos at Alva Noto mildly interesting.. once again.. fantastic stuff... be well. mikolaj

andy said...

Great Stuff, especially using that lovely Vectrex for this kind of Project!
Keep up the great work!
Will you play in Europe some day?


Sebastian Tomczak said...

Hello Andy,
Thanks for your comments.

Perhaps indeed we will someday play in Europe... I have much family there.


ctrix said...

I think this is one of the most awesome things I have ever seen and my mind may just explode. Question though... did the Marshall non-magnetically-shielded amp have any effect on the CRTs?