Visual Garbage

Discussion of modular and standalone video generating/processing techniques and associated hardware.

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bitSmasher
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Visual Garbage

Post by bitSmasher » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:59 am

So whilst I haven't committed myself fully to the world of video synths, I'm having fun playing in the shallow end of the pool whilst keeping my other hobbies attended to.
I've been unemployed for 6 weeks and decided to embark on an ambitious project combining a few ideas that'd been put on hold for the past year, the results have been somewhat interesting... Not something you see every day :zombie:

In the Sydney "free party scene" there's a growing trend of building wheelie bin sound systems, for portable peace disturbance.
A DIY grass roots festival, Reclaim The Lanes, has grown quickly to attract many systems and thousands of people.
Having a small and portable sound system means you can make parties happen anywhere. We usually choose laneways, industrial areas, parks and beaches... open public spaces that are either unnoticed or underutilised.
I've been wanting to build a bin for a long time, and decided to throw together something that would be used as proof of concept for future projects.

Here's a few pics of the completed unit. This stands half metre tall and weighs about 40kg (rough guess, yet to check)
For detailed step by step pics of the build, amongst other discussion, check out my post on another forum

Yep, it's a pink bin with yellow speakeers
Image

Control box and power sockets, they're all paralleled. Audio goes to the amp, video is just a loop through. Switches for amp power, fluro lighting, and push button for battery check
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Lights fitted to lid, the entire bin glows from these
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Internal wiring, as neat as I can be bothered with. Down the bottom are 3x 12V 18AH SLA batteries, a small car amp is pushing ~70W (claimed, hah :bang: ) in to stereo 2 ohms, with four 6.5" woofers + tweeters
Image

A wooden handle shaped for comfortable use. The protruding bolts/nuts is intentional...
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Next to a full sized bin, for scale... yep, there's a lot inside for such a small bin, the pics make it look bigger than it is!
Image

Here's a video of it running some test tones, lid flapping fun. I've since highpassed around 80hz and cut the gain so it's loud enough, decent sounding and has good battery life. Clipping amps at 2ohms sucks :deadbanana:
[video][/video]

Audio is one thing, but a few years ago I found LED/LCD projectors that ran on 12V - cheap enough to buy one and wait 'til the right time to experiment... and that was inspiration for the bin, I could've gone overboard with sound but that wasn't the primary purpose.


Most of my video stuff runs on low voltage DC, which means it's "easy enough" to use battery power...
So I gathered all the good bits, found a sturdy case for it and did some test fitting
Edirol V8, Korg Kaoss Pad Entrancer and a small audio mixer
Image


The lid for the case housed 2x LCD screens and currently pictures is a Stray Technologies VBlank, Wireless Video Receiver and Gieskes' HSS3i
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Scrounging my video supplies for more cables, adapters and other useful widgets
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Video case, almost finished.
In it is a Edirol V8 mixer, Stray Technologies VBlank, Critter & Guitari Cellular Automata, Gieskes HSS3i, wireless video receiver (for wireless security camera), 2x LCD screens, 3 video converters, power supplies and a whole bunch of cable spaghetti. Not pictured is the Korg Kaoss Pad Entrancer yet to be installed.

Image

It was way too complicated, with intermittent power problems and a huge mess leading me to scrap the idea - the snowballing of issues became too much to deal with... I couldn't risk destroying over $4k worth of hardware with the power problems, or at the least have issues in use that would ruin the workflow.
Usually I'd troubleshoot such issues but I'd pushed myself to get this finished by a deadline and was rushing too much... plus this was overly ambitious, overkill for the intended use.

This was quickly dismantled to build smaller, more effective units.

Korg Kaoss Pad Entrancer + Gieskes' HSS3i video synth. Creating and effecting audio/video noise.
This is run off 12v, with a stepdown power supply to 7v for the two units.
The umbilical cable provides power and contains the video + audio wiring as well as LED illumination
Image

Video Feedbacker.
A VCR camera is pointed at a 5" B&W CRT screen. Purchased from a reuse store for $5 each
The resultant video feedback varies from smooth fluid blobbiness to total chaos.
Both are cable tied to a piece of wood, with a piece of foam under the camera to allow it to be moved about.

It is designed to piggy back on to the Kaoss Pad + HSS3i board, with power and video cables to suit
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Aluminium tubes and fittings prepared for assembly, this stuff is heaps of fun to build with! I cut the aluminium with a cheapo wood drop saw, slightly scary but doable.
Image

The frame partially assembled, just bang it together with a rubber mallet.
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12v LED/LCD projector fitting inside the frame, that fits snugly inside the bin
This cost a couple of hundred dollars from ebay, runs off 12v with 2amp power draw.
Puts out ~1500 lumen which is impressive for something so small, and it works effectively in dark outdoor locations
I have thoughts of replacing the LED with something more powerful but am in no rush to do so...
Image

This is only the size of a shoebox, so like the bin it's smaller than the picture might suggest

Testing the setup, the bin and LEDs glow brightly!
In fact, the LED strip in the umbilical was too bright and washed out the screen, so I switched back to a more subtle EL wire
Image

And the first run, at a laneway party last weekend
[video][/video]
Note this vid was taken at 4am so it's a bit ordinary and lacks the energy the night had initially - I know it's not groundbreaking in terms of content, but still heaps of fun...

Who has seen a glowing pink mini wheelie bin running visual garbage projected on to a bedsheet in a back lane of an industrial area :hmm:
The reactions I received were exactly what I wanted - random trippers and other curious folk, willing to watch and make of it what they want. I also let people have a go with the feedbacker and KPE, much to their enjoyment. At the end of it all, I mashed nyan cat through the KPE for some demented live remixing, a good way to laugh your ass off whilst packing up as the sun rises on Sunday morning.

Whilst Sydney's summer so far has been miserably cold and wet, we're keen to get out and do more free parties over the next few months. It doesn't take much to drag the bin out, set up video stuff on a milk crate and tie the sheet to a fence/tree... and between events I'll work on my techniques to have more simple but interesting video to project. If nothing else I can just run video off my phone for an easier setup again.

As mentioned above, it was a proof of concept with plans to build more portable systems with what I learnt from this.
Any questions are welcome, I love discussing this sort of thing to get more ideas and inspiration :tu:

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lizlarsen
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Post by lizlarsen » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:25 am

Great stuff!!! Thanks for sharing.

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barto
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Post by barto » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:32 pm

8_)

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Post by Matos » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:26 pm

Fooking rad man. Pink rubbish bin is soo cute! Wish you could do this in NYC with out getting beaten and waterboarded by the cops.

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Post by Bricks » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:48 pm

:eek:

:love:

:sb: :sb: :sb: :sb: :sb:

Pink trashcan with speakers going bonkers is SO win

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Post by Luka » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:57 pm

this is awesome mate
i hope to see it in action when i get back

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Post by bitSmasher » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:16 am

Matos wrote:Wish you could do this in NYC with out getting beaten and waterboarded by the cops.
Ahh yeah we have had our fun with police whilst doing large-scale warehouse parties.
I used to help a crew that would drag out a 15K rig and attract 500-150 people, but then we started getting some attention:

[video][/video]

And the way police acted at this was the final straw for many of us
[video][/video]

So that's why I'm more interested in smaller, portable systems. Allows for more spontanous parties, less hassle and less police trouble!

I'm already pondering how to include the VBlank with KPE and HSS3i, possibly even using a "dirty mixer" (basically a pot to blend video signals).
This bin will probably get a short run on Saturday as part of a "magical musical tour" for an Unpopular Music event (apt title!), hopefully get more footage then.

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Post by franzschuier » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:31 am

WOW ... very kewl!

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bitSmasher
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Post by bitSmasher » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:40 am

Slight diversion from this, but I spent the past few days building another portable system - really should focus more on video work but it was fun :nana:

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Post by Hosaka » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:01 am

That system is fucking wicked. Great job! :yay:
How can you call yourself a DJ if you don't even know how to babysit a bunch of kids?

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Post by bitSmasher » Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:16 am

It's been a few months since I used this last, but inspiration struck at the right time.
Vivid Sydney is a light/music/whatever festival on right now, it's my favourite event of the year... get to see a whole lot of interesting and inspiring work made accessible and open for everyone. The Opera House and a few other buildings get video mapped and the harbour foreshore is turned in to an illuminated wonderland:
http://www.vividsydney.com/

My friends talked about taking their battery powered trolley system down to a park under the harbour bridge to play some music, so we decided to grab the bin and projector and see what could happen. Rain stalled us last week, but we had a clear Friday night so gave it a go.

A couple of bedsheets hung on a wall, using rocks to hold them, was my screen. HSS3i+KPE noise for 4 hours was a good way to spend the night!
Confused a bunch of onlookers, had some interesting and random conversations...

Image

[video][/video]

Shame my phone camera doesn't capture it too well, the projector was ample but it'd be nice to be brighter... something to work on in the future
Last edited by bitSmasher on Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by bitSmasher » Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:23 am

I've also decided to redo the bin when I get a chance, taking a more refined approach to the system.
Tripath amps and tuned speaker boxes, possibly even with a MiniDSP to tweak the sound, will help get a louder+better sound whilst dropping a stack of weight. Car amplifiers are horribly inefficient, so instead of using 3 batteries now with a better amp I could just run one.
Which means I can then use the spare batteries for more portable systems :tu:

When I first bought the projector I had in my mind replacing the LED with a brighter unit. Might hold off until I can buy a second projector to experiment with, but it'd be great to get brighter output whilst still running on 12 volts. Something to look forward to doing in the future... everything needs to be louder and brighter, to give the noise assault more impact!

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