[PD] PD for theatrical use

Simon Wise simonzwise at gmail.com
Fri Sep 30 06:50:12 CEST 2011

On 29/09/11 00:54, Pagano, Patrick wrote:
> Hi
> I will be most likely be giving a workshop class for using pure data in theatrical/Dance performance @ SETC this year
> Some of you might remember last year @ EmillyCarr we demo-ed a 5.1 sound server using pd/pdjimmies/lyon potpourri objects
> Interfacing with 4 marker less motion capture units [oganic motion] over network with OSC [still then deprecated oscx libraries]
> SO I am soliciting working simple patches for OSX/Windows [these are not going to be linux folks per se] that can/could be used in theatrical performance
> Hopefully the cool and usable patches will be given away on a commemorative usb stick [free] for workshop attendees.
> Any ideas or patches would be cool
> I wil be showing people how to trigger cues with cameras, devices and other programs in the intro/how-to part
> Then we will show examples of some pieces that were successful with technology [pure data] patches
> There may be some isadora in there too.

Using a control surface like my BCF2000 and a number keypad makes operating a pd 
driven system much more comfortable and familiar for most theatre technicians, 
so the plotting of the cues fits naturally into the standard lighting and sound 
plot. Using DMX as an input to pd means that it becomes an even more natural 
extension of the lighting plot because you can then assign lighting channels to 
the pd part of the system. Lighting operators are rather familiar with all kinds 
of visual effects running along with the lighting plot and as long as it is all 
controlled by the lighting desk then everyone is happier when several video 
projectors are used to create the space on stage.

Add a spaceball or two to the tactile interfaces and you can start to do some 
very interesting work with video following the action on stage - say following a 
dancer as they move through the stage. The old models were very expensive new, 
but built very robustly and are much better in this context than the new, 
cheaper versions. They can be bought quite cheaply on ebay, the usb models just 
before they went cheaper are the best, and work fine on linux with [hid], the 
older serial ones are more work.

> Please send me stuff

The patches I have done using these are not at all simple, and are very specific 
to each show, so not much use to post.

But here is patch of mine that 'plays' the lighting state using the vocals of 
two performers who are using a very particular kind of vocalisation. The patch 
communicates with a lighting desk via midi. The vocalists are using a whole 
range of noises - half swallowed words, lots of plosives without vowels, various 
extended vowels etc. We worked together to give them a vocabulary of lighting 
states and transitions to go with these sounds, so they could play the space 
around them like they might play a musical instrument.

We had a couple of mics, and the BCF2000 for fiddling with parameters.

It is very old! It was the first real patch I did - about 8 years ago - there 
are lots! more things that could be added as far as detecting different sounds 
go, but I didn't know about them then. And the GOP is the old style, before the 
big changes to GOP several years ago, so if you edit the GOP bits you will need 
to rearrange them too, but they are simple enough and the new way is much easier 
to use.

But because of that, and the fact that I didn't have any library of my own stuff 
to work with, it is very simple and self contained - and it might be fun to play 
with in a workshop, especially if people are new to pd, and you have access to a 
proper lighting setup with a desk that can take cues via midi.

Anyway it is attached as-is ... have a look around at the various scenes we 
ended up with, some are simple tests but a few made quite nice demos.


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