I have written some code for automagically synchronising musical notes with video. I am quite pleased with it. This is an example:

MIDIO Vampyros Lesbos from Conor on Vimeo.

You can download a better-quality .avi version here:


Adrin Neatrour has reviewed the screening of this video at the Star & Shadow cinema Eyes Wide Open film night here.

Pete Hindle asks...

I think this is a really interesting project, but I want to ask some questions.

First, I'm guessing from the name that it's using MIDI data... does that mean you can't just run any old music through it?

Secondly, is this inspired by the recent show at the NGCA of Cory Arcangels' piece, "1001 Short Films about Glenn Gould"? It seems to have a really similar methodology behind it, apart from the Youtube bit.

I think I'd like to know what you want to do with it as well - whether you made this as an experiment, or you want to use it to make more films, or if you want to do something else with it... or all of those things!

Conor replies...

Yup, you're right. This does use MIDI data. I have experimented with automatic synchronisation of regular music (.wavs) and video using fourier transforms and wave amplitudes, but it's never that satisfying. It always comes out looking like a visualization from Winamp or Windows Media Player. This is a problem I have with a lot of VJ stuff. Sometimes the way their algorithms misinterpret musical events makes me sad.

I haven't seen any of Cory Arcangel's work unfortunately, but many people do beautiful things when they synchronise music and video laboriously and painfully by hand, offline. I have experimented with this kind of thing before and it is very time-consuming and frustrating. I wanted to make it automatic so that I can generate many such videos.

I will make more MIDIO videos. I enjoy looking at this one over and over actually, the psychotic editing gives the mind plenty of things to try to interpret. I don't think I will ever shoot any footage with it in mind, I don't shoot much footage anyway, but I would like to find someone who can play keyboard who is interested in making a piece of music with MIDIO in mind. It is suited to scales, arpeggios and trills, less suited to chords and dramatic pauses I guess.