LoopyCam 1 LoopyCam 2

What is it?

LoopyCam is a handheld live visual performance instrument to accompany music and dance performances. It was invented by Tim Thompson. LoopyCam 1 uses a standard game controller, and LoopyCam 2 uses a standard numeric keypad combined with a Pertelian LCD display. The camera is a standard security camera that automatically turns on infrared LEDs in low-light situations, so it works just fine even when there's no light.

The buttons on the controller can be used to start and stop the recording and playback of up to eight video loops, as well as insert new recordings into the middle of an existing loop. All loops currently playing are overlaid in the projected image, and can be resized and moved around. FreeFrame plugins are used to mangle the camera image in various ways both before and after the looping is done. The buttons on the controller are used to select the visual effects and modify their parameters.

What does the output look like?

When used as a performance tool to accompany other live performers, the results can be very musical and complementary, primarily because of the handheld, immediate, and interactive nature of both the camera and its controls. Here's a video showing a variety of things it can do:


How does the software work?

The software has evolved over several years. LoopyCam 1 is implemented with a FreeFrame plugin that I wrote. Communication with the plugin is done via OSC (Open Sound Control). The handling of the controller input and mapping to OSC is done with KeyKit. I use Salvation as a FreeFrame host, and other FreeFrame plugins provide visual effects for the loops.

LoopyCam 2 was a complete rewrite. FreeFrame plugins are still used, but I wrote my own FreeFrame host that allows me to use both FreeFrame 1.0 and 1.5 plugins. The LCD display and controller input are now managed with a Python program.