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Optivideotone responding to videotape input that is visually erratic at first and then suddenly fades to black:
Listen to the sound sample


A popular form of theremin is the light-sensitive variety. As the name implies, this type of instrument reacts to changes in light levels (i.e. brightness) just as the spatial proximity-based theremin reacts to changes in capacitance.

Professor Scott F. Hall of Cogswell Polytechnical College, Sunnyvale, California, has used this idea in the creation of his Optivideotone, an assemblage of audio and video electronics combined to produce an object that is sculpture, musical instrument / composition tool, and projected video art exhibit in one.

The Optivideotone sits on the floor reacting in sympathy with moving video images it projects onto the ceiling. Professor Hall composes for the Optivideotone by piecing together bits of video from either pre-existing footage from the public domain or from frame-by-frame animations of solid color screens.

As the video footage changes, the audio circuit of the Optivideotone reacts audibly with wild buzzes, howls, and weird microtonal synthesizer-like chords.

The Optivideotone was recently displayed at Cogswell College in the faculty art exhibition.


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