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Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

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Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby SecretSam » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:20 pm

To avoid lots of automation, I am looking for a native VST or AU auto-panner plugin that can do very slow, very precise periods, such as 0.043478 Hz. In case you are curious: it is for an audio installation to go with a large set of very big pendulums, and the sound programmed for each pendulum will move across the stereo field in time with the pendulum.

I know, I should get a life.

The usual auto-panners in my toy box won't do this. Have you come across one that does ?

Happy New Year
Sam
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby BJG145 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:48 pm

Will the frequency gradually change...? If simply recording and looping the panning automation is no good, I can't really imagine a plugin that would do the job unless you program it yourself with Max or similar.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby SecretSam » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:57 pm

I could indeed record (or better: draw in) the panning automation. That's plan B if the lazy way isn't available.

Just for pub trivia: the period of a pendulum (and therefore of my audio installation) is constant, which is why they use pendulums in clocks.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby BJG145 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:03 pm

SecretSam wrote:Just for pub trivia: the period of a pendulum (and therefore of my audio installation) is constant, which is why they use pendulums in clocks.

Huh. Well, you learn something every day. Obvious now you explain it. Not very intuitive though.

I was wondering if you might be able to leverage the host sync facilities of this one. But if you have different speeds on different tracks, I guess not, unless there's some kind of multiplier function...

http://www.meldaproduction.com/freevstplugins/mautopan.php

Sound Toys stuff is generally pretty good...might be worth looking at the Pan Man demo.

http://www.soundtoys.com/product/PanMan

(Which DAW are you using incidentally...?)
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:56 pm

SecretSam wrote:To avoid lots of automation...
Sam

Pardon my dumbassity but why? It seems like such an obvious solution.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby dmills » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:03 am

Use a suitable tone generator plugin to produce a very slow raised cosine wave on a track, DC offset it so it goes from 0 -> 1 rather then -1 -> 1 and then use it together with your desired audio as two inputs to a ring modulator plugin?

Probably easier in Max or something similar.

You do realize that no matter how carefully you set the frequency the sound is going to drift out of sync with the real pendulums, phase shift is the time integral of frequency difference after all?

I would probably cheat and only have a single cycle recorded set up to be triggered by a proximity switch on the pendulum once per cycle, that way everything would stay in sync.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby zenguitar » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:10 am

dmills wrote:
I would probably cheat and only have a single cycle recorded set up to be triggered by a proximity switch on the pendulum once per cycle, that way everything would stay in sync.

Regards, Dan.

Funny enough, I was thinking along the same lines earlier when I read the original post. Proximity switch, breaking a light beam, Hall Effect device, something along those lines.

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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:54 am

SecretSam wrote:Just for pub trivia: the period of a pendulum (and therefore of my audio installation) is constant, which is why they use pendulums in clocks.

This is pretty much true for small swings, but the period increases for larger amplitudes. If you're planning anything over about 20 degrees it no longer resembles a simple harmonic oscillator & you'll need to accomodate a fairly complex correction.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby SecretSam » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:05 am

Thanks for the hints, chaps. This is no longer looking like the 'I can program that in ten minutes' job that it appeared to be when I confidently broadcast a commitment to the team last week.

The pendulum installation is going to be a larger version of the ones you can see on YouTube under "Tea equals two pie el over gee." The music over the existing videos has nothing to do with me !

I will have to read Andy, dmills and Dynamic Mike's posts a couple more times: that's more physics than I can remember.

The reason I wanted to type in a period to a plugin is that I want to pan 15 tracks, and am very lazy indeed. However, if automation it has to be, then so be it. I am using Ableton, so envelopes are easy to cut and paste, but faking up a sine wave will be fiddly until they deliver the curve automation with Live 9. There is an old copy of Logic 8 somewhere on a shelf, and I will take a look at the manual to see if there is an easier way there. However Logic did used to take so long to install that writing the automation might be quicker.

I will look at the SoundToys gadget first (I would already have a few of them if only they sold them one at a time instead of in a UD$500 bundle.)

Proximity switches ... well OK if I have to.

I don't have Max, but I do have Reaktor, so would probably be able to make a suitable gadget in that (700 page manual .... uuurrrgh).

Deadline for this is end of March, so it isn't a panic yet ....
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby Folderol » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:08 pm

zenguitar wrote:
dmills wrote:
I would probably cheat and only have a single cycle recorded set up to be triggered by a proximity switch on the pendulum once per cycle, that way everything would stay in sync.

Regards, Dan.

Funny enough, I was thinking along the same lines earlier when I read the original post. Proximity switch, breaking a light beam, Hall Effect device, something along those lines.

Andy
Me three

Extra proviso. I'd make the panning attempt slightly more that 100% to avoid a possibility of a small jump if the pendulum is slightly faster than expected (change of length due to room temperature).
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby dmills » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:41 pm

Yea, plenty of ways to skin it, but just playing back a recording will probably not cut it for more then a few tens of seconds, you need to lock the audio to the motion of the thing in some way.

Light beam or hall sensor would be my instinctive choices, or possibly a lashup involving a small magnet and an inductive proximity sensor, but it will need something of the sort.

Max or PD are probably the weapons for this, possibly something like one of the Csound derivatives or even a virtual analogue synth like Beast or something (Anything that lets you hook up VCAs and triggered LFOs and that lets you trigger on an external signal will do)?

Don't forget that a large pendulum will tend to precess, they do not naturally stay in the same axis unless you force the issue.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby zenguitar » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:49 pm

I'd extend the pendulum beyond the pivot and mount a sensor at that end. And I would look at an PIC or Arduino with a simple MIDI interface to do the work. A little code to time the period of the pendulum and keep checking and updating that value, divide the period by 2 and then map that to a MIDI CC so it goes from 0 to 127 and then 127 to zero. Once it's MIDI you can simply map the CC to Pan an individual instrument or a channel in a DAW. Nice and scalable too.

And you can get Arduino compatibles with built in radio links cheaply from Ciseco. £17 each. Add one of these for £30 with a MIDI shield, DIY or £14 here. OK, there's some cost, but you would save a lot on cables and they could be re-programmed for future projects.

But as has already been said, there are lots of ways to skin this cat. That's just my take, hope it gives you some ideas.

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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby SecretSam » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:13 pm

Thanks again, chaps.

The pendula (is that the right plural ?) are 4.5m long steel rods with varying load on the ends, and are on bearings that constrain them to move in one plane. They move for about three minutes before they need re-launching.

They will be used throughout the day and night in the Tankwa Karoo desert, so a light beam won't crack it, but the hall effect jobby might.

I haven't used a soldering iron since about 1979, so this is going to be a hoot.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby dmills » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:29 pm

Depending on where you are based there might well be a local 'hackspace' that will have people familiar with all the tech needed to pull this off, and they are usually pretty free with help.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:44 pm

However you achieve this (and I am in awe of anyone who knows how to even START to crack this nut!), it sounds a fascinating project. SOS really should take a look at this as a piece for the mag!!
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:45 pm

The Elf wrote:SOS really should take a look at this as a piece for the mag!!
Well, let's wait and see how it pans out first.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:49 pm

BJG145 wrote:
The Elf wrote:SOS really should take a look at this as a piece for the mag!!

Well, let's wait and see how it pans out first.

I don't know - I would want to read about it no matter how it turns out. Sometimes the journey is more important (and more interesting) than the destination! By the time the job is done the process of how it was achieved tends to get forgotten, and the failures along the way are glossed over.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby Folderol » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:50 pm

As the pendulum is steel, the simplest option is an inductive sensor. Dirt cheap and easy to set up.

Just a extra detail. Your timing sync point needs to be at the centre position. Although the frequency will remain stable, the stroke amplitude will decay so you can't use sensors at the end of the stroke.
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby shufflebeat » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:53 pm

BJG145 wrote:
The Elf wrote:SOS really should take a look at this as a piece for the mag!!

Well, let's wait and see how it pans out first.


Pun-tastic!

...or should that be Pan-tastic?
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:58 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
BJG145 wrote:
The Elf wrote:SOS really should take a look at this as a piece for the mag!!
Well, let's wait and see how it pans out first.

Pun-tastic!
Oh strewth - I missed it!

Touche, man. You got me fair 'n square!
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby Folderol » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:17 pm

Must be a New Year thing... I missed it too
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Re: Is there a very slow, very precise auto-panner plugin ?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:27 pm

Folderol wrote:Must be a New Year thing... I missed it too

What - you mean because you still have a hangover?


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