Sunday, May 24, 2009


Another experimental music video of my own construction: "Lightbox."

The Background

This time the audio came first. I had the idea of taking a sound source, splitting it up into five different frequencies, and applying a different type of tremolo to each frequency. The source I tried was a modified Hammond organ soft-synth, playing a rising series of barely-musical chords. That's the basis for the track.

Then I realized the bass was underrepresented so I added a single-note bassline (not an electric bass sadly, but another software synth). Up next was the "ting" of a pot handle being whacked with a spoon.

Once I'd gotten that far I tried to think of what it reminded me of, and ran down my ever-growing list of "box" words. Lo and behold: "Lightbox!" It was sharp, clean, shifting, meditative...

...but where to find the visuals? Lying in my bed on a Sunday morning and filming the odd pinhole camera effect of light coming through tiny slits in the curtains, filtered through blowing tree leaves. Those images aren't manipulated except for tiny tweaks in brightness and contrast; otherwise, that's the sort of thing I wake up to in the morning.

I tried filming the reflective lights of passing cars -- the phantoms that my cat chases at night -- but they didn't show up very well, and I'd pretty much decided to stay with stationary light only. Then I shot a few images of daylight around a chair and on my ceiling, and I had all the footage I needed.

Back to the music again. I sent the same, slowed-down chords through Logic's "Sculpture" instrument, which emulates the behaviour of various objects interacting with other this case, a really crazy bow being drawn across wood. I played a few descending notes on the ESQ-1 to finish it all off, and voila.

I like it. It's pretty, in a strange sort of way. It really does capture the feeling of laying in bed and watching the lights. Not much happens or changes during the song -- I took out the few stimulating samples and beats that I'd experimented with early on -- but I don't think anything SHOULD happen. It's just a lazy contemplation. It's meant to make you snooze.

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