Senna – videosampling application for kids

Playful educational program that enables kids to make musical video compositions with the videos of their choice. This setup is installed at ‘De Klankspeeltuin’ in Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, Amsterdam.

Idea/Concept: Jeroen Hofs / Eboman
Technical realisation: Bas van der Graaff, Nenad Popov, Timo Rozendal, Mattijs Kneppers

For everything: from custom 3d interface, to sequencer, to video playback and analysis, to visual and audio effects and animations.

Do you remember the first Max patch you ever made? What was it?

I do remember: the first assignment I gave myself while learning max was a video effect that distributed a video over a grid of cubes, then placed them randomly in 3d space and faded them back to their original position. I was surprised I could make that in a couple of days with Max. The first patch that was actually used was a coll-based drum stepsequencer that I made a week later. It worked fine for years, but it was hard to add or change functionality later on.

How did you come up with this project idea?

The project originated from Jeroen Hofs (Eboman) and was programmed by Bas van der Graaff, Nesa Popov and myself (and it builds on some code and ideas from previous projects by Mattijs Kneppers).

Over the last years we developed all kinds of interactive applications for Eboman's live shows. This project is a way to investigate how we can use these techniques to enable kids to be creative with the stream of audio and video that they are bombarded with.

What sorts of problems did you have to solve?

The first big problem was: What is the best way to make our ideas work for kids. So we did lots of test workshops with temporary versions of the program to see how kids responded to our ways of doing things and various features (see: ). Max is great for this kind of prototyping and testing.
Actually the whole hand-painted interface helps them a lot and now we are surprised how little help they need to find out how everything works.

The other main problem was the complexity of the program itself. My experience is that with every Max application that exceeds a certain level of complexity you run into various problems that are hard to solve. Often these problems are hard to isolate (and hard to report if they are bugs) since they are only present within that complexity, not isolated.

If there were one person who you would want to see your project, who would it be?

Actually, what I like best is when I see kids having fun with it and when they are genuinely proud of what they made when they show it to their mates.

At the conclusion of this project were you:
a) exhausted
b) ready to do a new one
c) thinking of ways to expand it
d) [other, please describe]

d: actually, all of the above.... It was good to take a break and do something else after this, but currently we make a slightly modified version of this for the TropenMuseum in Amsterdam and now it feels good to go back to the the code and concept, to clean it up and improve it.

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Oct 14 2011 | 3:08 pm

For everyone who is attending the Expo ’74, I wanted to let you know that I will be displaying this app on Saturday evening, on the Science Fair.


Oct 16 2011 | 10:01 am

How did you do such a beautiful graphical interface?? Did you use any external libreries or so ? Very nice work.

Oct 16 2011 | 12:48 pm

It’s all done in jitter using open GL with various render passes, no external libraries were used (though some custom shaders were written).

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