We have all seen how awesome the Iron Man and Minority Report holographic interfaces are. To most people, that technology still seems decades away. But how far in the future might it actually be? For music producers it could be as early as this year! Byron Mallett from New Zealand is working on an immersive Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), and we at FMIN couldn’t be more excited!!
By MacGyvering up motion control gloves using components from Razer Hydra controllers, Byron's hands are rendered into a virtual scene where he can grab, move and modulate samples and synths powered by Ableton.
So what are the benefits of an Immersive DAW over a computer or laptop?
Let’s start with the most obvious.
Infinite real estatein every direction for as far as the eye can see. A pretty big upgrade from the constraints of one or two, 1920 x 1080px screens. Without experiencing VR it is hard to truly grasp the value of what this means. So what are you waiting for? Find your local VR meetup and get your cyberpunk on!
Movement.A studio marathon session for me consists of sitting pretty stationary (with the exception of my right leg which is constantly shaking to its own beat) in an office chair, tediously clicking away on my mouse for around 20 hours. An Immersive DAW, will engage my whole body, maybe even enable me to dance to my beats as I create them.
Setting a scene.One of the most intriguing things about an immersive DAW is how the scene you choose could radically influence your creative output. If I could, I would make tracks by the beach, next to a waterfall or while sunbaking on the deck of a cruise ship as it floats through the middle of a Norwegian Fjord. Imagine composing a post-apocalyptic score in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. How would the landscape of an alien planet influence your sound? What about making a tune at the bottom of a deep sea trench with bioluminescent creatures eyeballing you in the darkness? Or maybe an abandoned (and of course, haunted) mental asylum. One that every so often has a jump scare to always keep you in a state of anxiety. Music is emotion, and I personally believe that if we could amplify our emotions through immersive scenes it would also amplify our creativity.
VR video clips. There has already been a massive adoption of 360 video concerts and music videos by the likes of Sir Paul Mccartney, Bjork, Beck and Squarepusher. But there are a lot of limitations to 360-degree video. Mainly in that the viewer is fixed to where the camera was mounted to the tripod. I believe that DAW's of the future will adopt game engine functionality. Allowing producers to gamify their tracks to maximize the listening experience through interactivity. Imagine being ‘inside’ an audio visualisation of a track and being able to remix the audio and visuals in real time using your body movement! Video clips are unlikely to remain a purely observational experience.