Tag Archives: sonifyer

New publication: Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams

SMC-poster-thumbToday I will present the paper Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams at the Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC) in Stockholm. The paper is based on a new implementation of my sonomotiongram technique, optimised for non-realtime use. I presented a realtime version of the sonomotiongram technique at ACHI 2012 and a Kinect version, the Kinectofon, at NIME earlier this year. The new paper presents the ImageSonifyer application and a collection of videos showing how it works.

Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams


The paper presents a non-realtime implementation of the sonomotiongram method, a method for the sonification of motiongrams. Motiongrams are spatiotemporal displays of motion from video recordings, based on frame-differencing and reduction of the original video recording. The sonomotiongram implementation presented in this paper is based on turning these visual displays of motion into sound using FFT filtering of noise sources. The paper presents the application ImageSonifyer, accompanied by video examples showing the possibilities of the sonomotiongram method for both analytic and creative applications

Jensenius, A. R. (2013). Non-realtime sonification of motiongrams. In Proceedings of Sound and Music Computing, pages 500–505, Stockholm.


    Address = {Stockholm},
    Author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum},
    Booktitle = {Proceedings of Sound and Music Computing},
    Pages = {500--505},
    Title = {Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams},
    Year = {2013}}


I am currently working on a paper describing some further exploration of the sonifyer technique and module that I have previously published on. The new thing is that I am now using the inputs from a Kinect device as the source material for the sonification, which opens up for using also the depth in the image as an element in the process.

To be able to create figures for the paper, I needed to record the input from a Kinect to a regular video file. For that reason I have created a small Max patch called KinectRecorder, which allows for easy recording of one combined video file from the two inputs (regular video image and depth image) from the Kinect. As the screenshot below shows, there is not much more to the patch than starting the video input from the Kinect, and then start the recording. Files will be stored as with MJPEG compression and named with the current date and time.


The patch is not particularly fancy, but I imagine that it could be useful for other people interested in recording video from the Kinect, either for analytical applications or for testing performance setups when not having access to a Kinect device. So here it is:

Below is a short video recorded with the patch, showing some basic movement patterns. This video is not particularly interesting in itself, but I can reveal that it actually leads to some interesting sonic results when run through my sonifyer technique. More on that later…

Performing with the Norwegian Noise Orchestra

Performing with the Norwegian Noise Orchestra

Performing with the Norwegian Noise OrchestraYesterday, I performed with the Norwegian Noise Orchestra at Betong in Oslo, at a concert organised by Dans for Voksne. The orchestra is an ad-hoc group of noisy improvisers, and I immediately felt at home. The performance lasted for 12 hours, from noon to midnight, and I performed for two hours in the afternoon.

For the performance I used my Soniperforma patch based on the sonifyer technique and the Jamoma module I developed a couple of years ago (jmod.sonifyer~). The technique is based on creating a motion image from the live camera input (the webcam of my laptop in this case), and use this to draw a motiongram over time, which again is converted to sound through an “inverse FFT” process.

In the performance I experimented with how different types of video filters and effects influenced the sonic output. The end result was, in fact, quite noisy, as it should be at a noise performance.

To document my contribution, I have made a quick and dirty edit of some of the video recordings I did during the performance. Unfortunately, the audio recording of the cameras used does not do justice to the excellent noise in the venue, but it gives an impression of what was going on.

Record videos of sonification

I got a question the other day about how it is possible to record a sonifyed video file based on my sonification module for Jamoma for Max. I wrote about my first experiments with the sonifyer module here, and also published a paper at this year’s ACHI conference about the technique.

It is quite straightforward to record a video file with the original video + audio using the jit.vcr object in Max. Below is a screenshot from a patch (sonifyer-recorder.maxpat) doing this:

The most important part here is to remember to input a 4 plane matrix to jit.vcr, otherwise it will complain. For this I use the little jcom.luma2rgb% component, which will automagically convert the video stream from 1 to 4 matrices, if needed. Here I have also combined the original video, motion image as well as motiongram into one image that I record, alongside the sonification of the motion. The output from this patch looks something like this:

Sonification of motiongrams

A couple of days ago I presented the paper “Motion-sound Interaction Using Sonification based on Motiongrams” at the ACHI 2012 conference in Valencia, Spain. The paper is actually based on a Jamoma module that I developed more than a year ago, but due to other activities it took a while before I managed to write it up as a paper.

See below for the full paper and video examples.

The Paper

Abstract: The paper presents a method for sonification of human body motion based on motiongrams. Motiongrams show the spatiotemporal development of body motion by plotting average matrices of motion images over time. The resultant visual representation resembles spectrograms, and is treated as such by the new sonifyer module for Jamoma for Max, which turns motiongrams into sound by reading a part of the matrix and passing it on to an oscillator bank. The method is surprisingly simple, and has proven to be useful for analytical applications and in interactive music systems.

Full reference: A. R. Jensenius. Motion-sound interaction using sonification based on motiongrams. In ACHI 2012: The Fifth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, pages 170–175. IARIA, 2012.

    Author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum},
    Booktitle = {ACHI 2012: The Fifth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions},
    Pages = {170--175},
    Publisher = {IARIA},
    Title = {Motion-sound Interaction Using Sonification based on Motiongrams},
    Year = {2012}}

Video examples

Video 1: A screencast demonstrating the jmod.sonifyer~ module.

Video 2: Examples of sonification of some basic movement patterns: up-down, sideways, diagonal and circular.

Video 3: One attempt at sonifying the two axes at the same time. Here both horizontal and vertical motiongrams are created from the same video recording, and the sonifications of the two motiongrams have been mapped to the left and right audio channel respectively.

Video 4: Examples of the importance of filtering and thresholding of the motion image for the final sounding result. The recordings were done at high-speed (200 fps) and played back at 25 fps.

Video 5: Sonification of a short violin improvisation (courtesy of Victoria Johnson).

Video 6: Sonification of a piece by a French-Canadian fiddler (courtesy of Erwin Schoonderwaldt).

Video 7: Sonification of free dance to music.

Video 8: Soniperforma: Performing with the sonifyer at Biermannsgården in Oslo on 18 December 2010. The performance was improvised and based on applying only video effects to change the sonic quality.