The Video Machine is a video controller, powered by an Arduino, that controls the playback of videos presented on a web browser. By pressing a button on the controller, the correlated video is being played on the screen and heard through the speakers.
Videos are being played in an infinite loop.
Only the videos that are being played, are being heard.
I was lucky enough to work on this project with the super talented Mint for our Physical Computing class mid-term.
Working with Mint not only was a great learning experience, but also a lot of fun! I hope I’ll be able to work with her again on our next project (more on that below).
Many thanks for Joe Mango, our beloved resident, who assisted a lot with finding the right technologies for the project, and helped us on one critical moment, when suddenly nothing worked.
The building process
The process of building The Video Machine went through the following stages:
- Prototyping – Once we had a broad idea about what we want to make, we wanted to test how hard would it be to build such interaction, and if the interaction feels ‘right’ to us.
Understanding what’s possible helped us shape our final design, and the different features
- Designing the architecture – Before we started to build the final product, we talked about the technical design of the product under the hood. These decisions basically defined the way the end product would operate, and the way users would interact with it.
- Picking up the technologies – To apply our technical design, we needed to find the right tools.
- Building, and making changes – We started to assemble the project and the write the needed code. While doing that, we changed our technical design a few times, in order to overcome some limitations we learned about along the way. And then came then moment where everything worked smoothly.
The entire code can be viewed on our GitHub repository.
The reactions to The Video Machine were amazing. The signals started to arrive on the prototyping stage, when people constantly wanted to check it out.
When we showed the final project to people on the ITP floor, it appeared that everyone wants to put a hand on our box.
People were experimenting, listening, looking, clicking, laughing, some of them even lined up to use our product.
I hope that Mint and I will be able to continue to work on this project for our final term.
I cannot wait to see the second version of The Video Machine.
I believe that the goals for the next version would be:
- To add more functionality, that will allow better and easier video/sound manipulation.
- To make playing very easy for people with no knowledge of music or playing live music. Beat sync could be a good start. The product should allow anyone to create nice tunes.
- To find a new way to interact with the content, using the controller. This new interaction needs to be somethings that allows some kind of manipulation to the video or the sound, that is not possible (or less convenient) using the current and typical controller interface.
- To improve the content so all videos will be very useful for as many types of music as possible.
- To improve the web interface to make it adjustable for different screen sizes.