Thursday, 29 April 2010

BlockDJ by VeBu

Finally, our sound device, BlockDJ, is complete and ready for our hand-in and presentation tomorrow morning. Above is the press release we have made. Just click on it to view full size.

As well as the press release we have created two more videos. The first link is the shortened demo which is the video which will also go towards part of our grade. The second link is the extended version. I would have liked to have done a better set using the blocks on the videos, however we have not had enough time to master any techniques or skills using our device, we've spent too much time making it! Maybe we'll post another video later after having time to play with them more and make more samples.
Here are the links....

We didn't expect our device to turn out this effective but it seemed as if once one thing went right in the making of it we felt as if we had to make everything else work, and it did. We are both proud of our creation, BlockDJ.

Thanks to those who have read the blog. We will post another blog reflecting on our feedback and grade for this project.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Contextual shot

Just a quick post to show a picture of our product being used.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Almost There

Lots of good images for you to catch up on since our last post. Lots of satisfying progression has been made. The blocks have been built, painted, sanded and lazer cut. The electronics have been secured and the coding has been changed until it was exactly the way we want it. Not much left to worry about now except making a press release (which we will post), preparing our presentation and making a demo video of our product.

The work we done over the last 4 months has been very up and down with all the changes that have been made, but the last couple of weeks has been fun, educational and inspirational for Robbie and I. We are both looking forward to the completion and presentation of our sound device.

Hopefully our next post should be of the completed product unless something goes horribly wrong.

Monday, 5 April 2010

A Satisfying Development

Here you go. The new shape for our dj blocks. After a long time of pondering we decided on this slightly changed shape with big differences. It is made of the original cubes but it now has half on one of the faces angled and the following edge has been rounded. This makes it a lot more fun to play with and really feels like a piece of djing hardware. I'll explain that in a minute. First here's a new rationale to match our new blocks and our tilt concept.....

Four cube-like blocks with an angled face and one rounded
edge, used for mixing samples together. Each block has one
assigned sample and is activated by a tilt switch. Rock the block
back on forward on the angled face to switch the sample on and
off or roll the block over its rounded edge onto the next flat face
for continuous looping of the sample.
Create a new mix every time with these hands-on and intuitive
sample blocks.

Ok, so why is this new design better? First of all the blocks no longer have to be picked up. Just rock and roll them on a flat surface (no pun intended, really). Now the samples can be triggered and paused quickly and easily with use of the angled face. This feels brilliant because it has a crossfader feel to it, like cutting a track, amazing. And then when you roll the block over to the continuous looping flat face it really feels like your throwing a track right into your set. After the developments over the last week i am really starting to become proud of this device as i'm sure Robbie is too. I hope I get a chance to use this in a club or event because, as I said earlier, its starting to really feel like a piece of djing equipment.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tilt Switches

Yay! The tilt switches arrived a couple of days ago and Robbie and I tested them with the rest of the electronics then temporarily fitted them in our recently constructed cubes. They seem to be working reasonably well but still need a lot of tweaking as they are quite temperamental. Hopefully some adjustments on the code will do the trick.

As far as the cubes go, They are intact as I just mentioned, except for the lids, but they still need finishing. So we've had a play about on the lazer cutter to see about getting VeBu cut into the surfaces of the cubes, still not sure about it yet. As well as this it also needs painted and sanded and to get the tilt switches mounted inside properly.

However, after a talk with our lecturer we agreed that we should look further into the shape of our blocks. Why are they cubes? What are the alternatives? Something just doesn't feel right about them just now. They are not as fun and intuitive to control as we had hoped. And just when things seemed to be going well......

Monday, 29 March 2010

Electronic Prototype

Fortunately we have managed to make a lot of progress in the last few days. After a bit of help from our lecturer, we have wrote the PICAXE coding that gives the exact electronic effect that we had hoped for our device. This means when a switch is activated it only plays the sample when in contact and stops when disconnected. Due to this development we were able to quick construct this Electronic Prototype (above) that will hopefully give everyone a fair impression of our aims for the dj cubes. The prototype is basically using most of the technology we will be using for our final product except this has no tilt switches or cubes.

Also, here's a link to a video of the prototype in use

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Samples done

After trying lots of different methods that were not working or were not worth the effort I finally got some samples made for our sample cubes. After finally working out how to do it, I've made three sets of three samples, all are around 120bpm and all are very housey sounding. The process of creating them was quite long but I soon got into the routine of it.

Samples where made mostly on GarageBand (I would rather have used Reason but I can't afford it). After selecting the tempo and noise of the sample I then turned it into a loop and used converting software to turn it into WAV format. Next I used Audacity to make slight tempo and length adjustments to each sample so that they would all match and loop perfectly. Each set of three samples consists of a bassline loop, a beat loop and a melody loop. Each set of samples can be mixed smoothly with all the other samples I've created

I've been playing around with our new samples on our Puredata patch using only Puredata (no hardware or PICAXE). The samples seem to be working perfectly and should go very well with or cubes.