google google hangout hangout

i was in a g+ hangout earlier with some of my mates from Galaxy and a fantastic accidental thing happened that i wish i would have captured on camera.

the three people who were on the other end were in a restaurant (Shari’s) and they tried to do this thing where Adam sat on one end side of the table with his laptop set up and Rus sat on the other side of the table with his laptop set up. What they didn’t anticipate was the resultant echo created from the fact that both microphones would pick up one person speaking, plus the resultant feedback loop created from the close proximity of the laptops so the microphone would pick up the speaker signal which had to be loud to hear me talk because they were in a moderately loud restaurant.

that in itself isn’t terribly unusual (although it sounded awesome), but add on top of that the fact that google hangout has an auto-detect-who-is-talking-feature. As in, everyone who is in the hangout is set up on the side of the screen as small windows, and the person who is actually talking is in the main part of the screen as a big window (unless it’s you), and hangout switches who belongs in the main screen by detecting who has the strongest audio level or something similar. So the whole echo-feedback thing resulted in the screen starting with, say, Adam when he tried to say something that would switch over to Rus after a couple of seconds and then switch back as Adam was still talking and then switch over to Rus again until it would randomly settle somewhere once they stopped talking because we were trying to get the feedback loop to subside.

It was fantastic, and it makes me want to create a piece of music that replicates those conditions more deliberately. Like, have three or four laptops that are all signed into different googletalk accounts in the same room, all trained on a performer, and that performer plays music. All laptop audio and video feeds get recorded, and the best one out of all of them gets used as a performance video.

i don’t have enough laptops to try to get that to work, but i *can* try it with two to start and see if anything fun happens from it, then see if a few friends are willing to experiment with it more. Then maybe i can create some sort of piece together to put on my spring concert using googletalk as a conduit.

it has promise. We’ll see what happens.


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