Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Instant Kitten (The Application)



Today a piece of software no less! This is the Instant Kitten Application I built in Max/Msp/jitter a couple of years ago and which is the brains behind Fleshtones and SkyPoint.

Basically the app provides an instant audio accompaniment to any movie. So how do you use it? OK firstly download the zipped file here.. Unzip it and then double click on the Instant Kitten application inside the folder. It takes a moment or two to warm up. Once going switch it on using the big blue button. Click on the "read" button to open a movie file. Ideally the film should have no soundtrack. It doesn't matter if it does just the existing soundtrack and the new one might get in each others way. OK so the movie is playing. Next click the midi button and change it to QuickTime (unless you have some fancy midi app you want to drive instead). The sound defaults to piano but you can change the instrument in the "change instrument" box to xylophone, flute etc. The duration of the note is set to standard decay but if you want long sustaining notes in the "dur" box enter say 1,000 or even 2,000. You can slow the movie down using the speed box. 0.5 is half speed etc.

Sensitivity sort of controls the response; experiment. To get full screen mode hit the escape button, hit escape to get out of full screen mode as well.

OK it only works on Macs. I've tried it on both PPC and Intel and it seems to function fine though no doubt your computer will immediately break down and crash when you try it.

12 comments:

SAM RENSEIW said...

ah..! a new toy. great. thanks for the link. will try it out... let's see (and hear) soon...
best, sam

SAM RENSEIW said...

goodness!
what a toy! kittens straight into the 70's, with almost any instrument. super!
how to save, tought? menu buttons not active...

ps said...

Well it is really a live instrument -there is no save. However you can either use the line out on your computer and record to some sort of sound recorder or use a programme like audio hijack. Once you have recorded your Kitten sound you can then add it back to the movie. A bit of a faff I know .

SAM RENSEIW said...

ok.
well, as i very often use this procedure, that might add some fine further layer(s). great. thanks !

( funny how most of it produces a fine 70's hammond/ synth flavour... will try to dabble with the toggles to see what can come out of it)

SAM RENSEIW said...

here is something a bit older:
the world first recording from 1860, just made available online!
see >
http://www.firstsounds.org/sounds/index.php

ps said...

Well Instant kitten likes clear changes in movement or lighting, hence Fleshtones and Skypoint. The choice of instrument will of course make a lot of difference as to whether you get a 70's flavour or something else. Try using the telephone sound for example.

You may find that when recording something it helps to have a very simple flash at the start of the movie - say a period of black and a few frames of white. Then it can be really easy to sync up the music when you add it back later to the movie, otherwise it can be really tricky to sync up. Afterwards you can of course cut the flash off.

As to the recording of Claire de la lune, yes I heard this yesterday on some site - very odd.......

SAM RENSEIW said...

it works! amazing what instant kitten can do: almost classic!
>
http://blip.tv/file/get/SamRenseiw-testForPs789.mov
;-) sam

ps said...

Ah if only .........that is problaly not impossible mind you

SAM RENSEIW said...

well, one would have to work on it. :-)
(i'm still trying kitten out. great fun! the johan sebastian overlay was just to see what the actual difference/ similarity would be in both appearance and musicality. a sort of "error" or "blunder", simulating.)

just this: "flesh tones" is indeed an amazing piece of both conceptual and technical work!
seems so simple, but but there is a whole array of potential research hidden there. the actual connection of colour tones with notes...

if tinkered with, in a more restrained way, say using only piano and pixels, something might be (re)discovered about bach's loops. i supose that this could be a fine exercise for student composers. kitten is a magic playfull box that, when used more in depth, in a combination with goethe's coulour theory and bach's loops, migth lead to new insights.

then, there ios the whole aspect of "abstract" v/s "concrete" imagery. how would some of mondrians more complex works sound, ie. his "broadway boogie-woogie", taken as such, then animated and subjected to kitten?

that would be the pixelated try-out. what then would a painting by turner sound? ie. "shades and darkness", taken as such, then animated in some loop. that would be the blurred swirll.

both pixelated and swrills are allready in your palette and tested.

Steven Ball said...

I've had a bit of a play with the kitten, yes bold, abstract and or repetitive contrasty sequences are most interesting, the repetitive making for more formally 'musical'. The biggest restriction is the QuickTime musical instruments, is there some way to edit these in OSX+? Used to be able to do it some years ago in earlier OSs. Will the next version become a fully grown cat, a tiger, a panther... ?

Anonymous said...

Fraid you can't edit QT instruments like you used to be able to, they changed the format......however you can drive various soft synths with the midi out on Kitten option including simple synth whcih allows access to the full QT range (slightly more instruments) and also allows you to import soundfonts of which there are various ones free on the web.
Tech support....

Anonymous said...

Before you ask simplesynth is here.....
http://pete.yandell.com/software/simplesynth/Read%20Me.html
underpaid tech support.....paypal donations welcome